The culture and history of South Georgian Bay
Explore small town history in our region. Take in the Grey Roots Museum & Archives, Collingwood and Meaford Museums, the Nancy Island Historical Sight, Creemore’s ‘North America’s Smallest Jail’.
Also discover interesting outdoor locations such Awen Gathering Place, Beautiful Joe Park and the iconic Nottawasaga Lighthouse.
North America’s Smallest Jail
Craigleith Heritage Depot
Preserving Collingwood’s heritage is a century old tradition at the Collingwood Museum. Changing exhibits and core displays share the stories of the region’s First Nations peoples, as well as Collingwood’s evolution from a transportation and shipbuilding hub to a tourism destination. The Museum offers special events, educational programs, archives and research facilities and a gift shop.
45 St. Paul Street, Collingwood
Craigleith Heritage Depot
The Craigleith Depot owes its existence to Sir Sandford Fleming, celebrated railway engineer. In 1872, Fleming’s father sold land to the Northern Railway for the construction of a train station, Today the Craigleith Heritage Depot is a museum, library and research centre.
113 Lakeshore Road E, The Blue Mountains
North America’s Smallest Jail
The Creemore Jail, built in 1892, measures 15 by 20 feet on the outside and contains three small cells. The story has it that the first prisoner was a cow and after that it was used mainly by men who had too much to drink, until the 1940s.
Meaford has a robust and unique history that transcends its. You will learn about people including the Man with the Iron Hands (Andrew Gawley), John Muir, Margaret Marshall Saunders, local soldiers, Sir John A Mac Donald Stained glass window and much more. Visit the Apple Pie Trail room to learn about the history of the apple industry in Meaford.
111 Bayfield Street, Meaford
Creemore Log Cabin
Creemore’s last surviving log residence, built in the 1870s, relocated as a heritage building 2011 to 141-151 Library Street, Creemore. “History Hosts” welcome visitors on Saturday mornings from Victoria Day to Thanksgiving.
141-151 Library Street
Nancy Island Historical Site
British Schooner and fur trading vessel, H.M.S. Nancy met her end on the banks of the Nottawasaga River in 1814 during a fight with American naval ships. Today you can see Nancy is all of her charred glory and discover Wasaga Beach’s unique naval history during the War of 1812.
119 Mosley Street, Wasaga Beach
Sheffield Park Black History & Cultural Museum
Museum with exhibits & artifacts on cultural history & African-American pioneers & settlers.
241 Clark St, Thornbury, ON N0H 2P0
The Nottawasaga Lighthouse, constructed in 1856-1858, is one of the few remaining symbols of the region’s marine heritage. Take in the sites from the shoreline or up close by boat.
Beautiful Joe Park
These 8.5 acres of tranquility, bounded by the Bighead River, host the final resting place of Canada’s most famous dog, Beautiful Joe. In 1893 he gained notoriety when Canadian author (Margaret) Marshall Saunders submitted his story of abuse and rescue to a contest in the U.S. by the Humane Education Society – and she (& Joe) won! She was the first Canadian novelist to sell a million books, and Beautiful Joe was later translated into at least 10 languages, selling over 7 million copies world-wide. Not bad for a little dog from Meaford! Beautiful Joe Park honours the author, as well as celebrates the animal / human bond with many monuments recognizing contributions of animals that enrich our lives and keep us safe. Before leaving the Park, be sure pat Joe’s head for 100 dog years of good luck! Learn more at beautifuljoe.org, and please visit Meaford, the Home of Beautiful Joe.
Trout Hollow Trail
Along the trail you will find the remains of the Trout Hollow Sawmill where John Muir lived and worked with the Trouts while in Canada. John Muir later became the founder of the Sierra Club and is referred to in the US as the father of their national parks system. You’ll also see the river-ravished remains of a century old hydro dam.
Grey Roots Museum & Archives
Grey Roots engages and educates our communities in the human history of Grey County by preserving and sharing collections and stories that define our collective identity. Innovative programs and demonstrations, rotating exhibits, a heritage village, and archival resources come together to create an exciting and educational visitor experience.
102599 Grey Road 18, Owen Sound
South Georgian Bay honours our Indigenous heritage and communities continue to celebrate the cultural significance through art, gathering places and festivals. The Awen’ Gathering Place located at Harbourview Park in Collingwood is fitting because Awen is a Wendat word for “water”. In Creemore, less than 20 minutes from Collingwood, visitors can read about the Wolf Tribe, part of the Wyandot (Petun) Nation that settled over 400 years ago. They were farmers and hunters and their village was one
of the earliest and furthest south in a series of eight villages that ran north along the Escarpment. Once home to the Petun First Nations, you can step back in time to explore the caves and caverns at Scenic Caves.
A refreshed series of 10 Discovery Hubs in downtown Collingwood make visiting the old shipbuilding town that much more interesting. Each is marked by an interpretive panel and QR code enables digital stories adding more depth to these self guided historical tours of downtown Collingwood. Click HERE for more detail.