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Parry Sound is a town in Northern Ontario that is a popular summer cottage destination for Torontonians. It is also the world's deepest natural freshwater port. The town is home to several cultural festivals, including the Festival of the Sound classical music festival, an annual dragonboat race, and a buskers' festival which takes place as part of the town's Canada Day festivities.


Aerial view of Parry Sound.jpg

Parry Sound is a town in Northern Ontario (just barely), on the eastern shore of Georgian Bay in the Heart of the 30,000 Islands. It is located roughly half way between Toronto and Sudbury. Parry Sound has approximately 6500 year-round residents (2016),vehicle the summer influx of cottagers increases its seasonal population significantly. There are about 21,150 people in the Parry Sound area.


Long before the European explorers, Parry Sound was inhabited by the Ojibwe who referred to it by Shining Shore. Captain Henry Bayfield surveyed its waters in the 19th century and named the town after the Arctic explorer Sir William Parry. Years later, rail service made Parry Sound a valued depot along the rail lines to Western Canada.

During the early part of the 20th century, Parry Sound attracted artists such as Tom Thomson and others from the Group of Seven. Historically, the town competed with a nearby rival lake port at Depot Harbour; that community is now a ghost town.


MV Chippewa - Spirit of the Sound Schooner Company (3407022135).jpg

From spring to mid-summer, lake waters are cooler than nearby land areas, resulting in less precipitation, but alternation of low clouds and fog resulting from warmer air passing over snow-covered ground, frequent into May most years with occasional sunshine, especially once the long winter's snow cover has melted (mostly May through July). Parry Sound's average driest month is July; here, thunderstorms are rare, due to cool lake waters inhibiting the combination of heat and humidity that fuels thunderstorm activity over areas like the central, southern and eastern United States.

From September to January, nearby waters release their stored warmth from the summer season, and increasingly strong polar and Arctic air outbreaks pass over these still-relatively-warm waters before hitting Parry Sound. This results in heavy cloud formation, unstable rain showers (in September and October), transitioning toward heavy snow showers and squalls as temperatures continue to drop from November to January. December, the wettest month, sees heavy snowfall, followed by more in January.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Parry Sound is 225 km (140 miles) north of Toronto on Highway 400; exit on Bowes Street (exit 224). From Sudbury and the Trans-Canada Highway mainline, go 160 km (100 miles) south on Highway 69 (2hr 15 min) to Parry Sound Drive. A branch of the Trans-Canada Highway passes through the area, traveling between Sudbury and Kanata (near Ottawa) on Highway 69 and 400, then Highway 12, then Highway 7, then Highway 417.

By bus[edit]

Ontario Northland Motor Coach Services run buses daily from Toronto, en route to Sudbury.

By train[edit]

VIA Rail Canada, toll-free: +1-888-842-7245. Operates train routes across Canada. Operates The Canadian up to three trips per week between Toronto and Vancouver with stops in both directions in medium to large cities and tourist destinations such as Sudbury, Winnipeg, Portage la Prairie, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Jasper, and Kamloops. In Parry Sound, there are two stations about one kilometre apart, as the railroads through Parry Sound use directional running:

  • 1 Parry Sound for eastbound trips toward Toronto
  • 2 Parry Sound South for westbound trips toward Vancouver

By plane[edit]

Scheduled flights are available 185 km away at the Greater Sudbury Airport (YSB IATA).

Get around[edit]

Map of Parry Sound



The Seguin Trails are perfect for a hike or a bike ride. You can also stretch your legs and take in the sites along the Waterfront Fitness Trail.



  • 1 Bay Street Café, 22 Bay St, +1 705-746-2882. Friendly service, view of the Georgian Bay.
  • Log Cabin Fine Dining, 9 Little Beaver Blvd, Seguin (3 km south of Parry Sound, Exit 220, Hunter Drive, 1 km south on Oastler Park Drive), +1 705-746-7122. Rustic decor, varied menu, good seafood.
  • Trappers Choice Restaurant, 50 Joseph St, +1 705-746-9491. Daily from 8AM. Appetizers and light meals, including salads, sandwiches and burgers, full main courses specializing in steaks and seafood.
  • The Country Gourmet Cafe and Gallery, 65 James St, +1 705-746-5907. M-F 7AM-3PM, Sa 7AM-3PM, Su 10AM-2PM. Home-made soups, quiche, fresh salads daily, comfort foods, coffee, desserts, wi-fi, art gallery.


  • Trestle Brewing Company, 9 Great North Rd, +1 705-751-9108. Taproom and kitchen: M-Th noon-9PM, F Sa noon-10AM, Su noon-7AM; retail M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 11AM-7PM. A small, independently owned craft brewery in downtown Parry Sound on the waterfront where the Seguin River flows into the harbour with a spectacular view looking towards the CPR Trestle bridge and Georgian Bay. The brewery includes a taproom serving year-round beer offerings brewed on site and other seasonal special beers. The taproom offers a menu.




Depot Harbour[edit]

This abandoned ghost town, of which little remains but ruins and foundations, had been a busy Georgian Bay lake port as the western terminus of the Ottawa, Arnprior & Parry Sound Railway. Ottawa lumberman John Rudolphus Booth established a port and railway roundhouse on expropriated native land, building a railway to send trainloads of western grain through Algonquin Provincial Park to Ottawa on its way east to Atlantic ports. By 1898 the town had a hotel, rail yards, two large grain elevators, a school and three churches. In 1904, Booth sold the line to the Grand Trunk Railway for $14.2 million; in 1923, the bankrupt Grand Trunk became part of Canadian National. CNR closed Depot Harbour's roundhouse. The Welland Canal, a competing transportation route, was rebuilt in 1932. An ice-damaged rail bridge in Algonquin Park severed the line in 1933 and was never repaired. A World War II cordite maker in nearby Nobel stored its wares in the railway's dockside freight sheds; an August 14, 1945 fire and explosion destroyed much of the town. The docks, briefly used for coal shipments in the 1950s, later loaded pelletized iron ore from the Low Phos Mine at Sellwood. The last of the town's homes was abandoned in 1964; the mine closed in 1979 and the railway tracks were removed in 1989. The Anishinaabe natives reclaimed their lands in 1987, but little remains of the town except the loading docks, a bank vault and the foundations of what was once a village. One building remains in use as a cottage.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Parry Sound
WinnipegSudbury  W VIA Rail Canadian icon.png E  WashagoToronto
SudburyFrench River ← becomes Ontario 69.svg  N Ontario 400.svgTCH-blank.svg S  WaubausheneBarrie

This city travel guide to Parry Sound is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.