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North America > Canada > Ontario > Northern Ontario > Parry Sound

Parry Sound

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Parry Sound is a city in Northern Ontario.


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 itself has approximately 6500 residents and 21,150 in the Parry Sound area. The town is a popular summer cottage destination for Torontonians, increasing its seasonal population. It is also the world's deepest natural freshwater port.


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.

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 160km (100 miles) south on Highway 69 (2:15 hours) to Parry Sound Drive.

By bus[edit]

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

By train[edit]

VIA Rail provides passenger rail service 2-3 times a week on its line between Toronto and Vancouver, stopping at 1 Parry Sound railway station.

Get around[edit]



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.

  • 3 Georgian Bay Airways, 11A Bay Street, Town Dock, toll-free: +1-800-786-1704. A modern fleet of seaplanes operate from Parry Sound’s downtown waterfront.


  • Hemp Tent, 63 James St, +1 705 746-1549. All-natural, Fair Trade and Canadian made clothing, accessories, jewellery, body products, hemp foods and house wares.


  • 1 Bay Street Café, 22 Bay St, +1 705-746-2882. Friendly service, view of the Georgian Bay.



  • 40 Bay Street Bed & Breakfast, 40 Bay St (across road from boat cruises), toll-free: +1-866-371-2638. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Waterfront B&B, 3 rooms each with own private bath, air-conditioning, free parking, WiFi, 24 hour coffee & tea station, guest fridge, bottled water. Full, hot breakfast; can provide for special diets. $125+.



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

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