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Parry Sound is a town in the Near North of 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.

Understand

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Parry Sound is a town in Ontario's near north roughly half way between Toronto and Sudbury. Parry Sound has approximately 7,000 year-round residents (2021), and the summer influx of cottagers increases its seasonal population significantly. There are about 21,150 people in the wider Parry Sound area.

The town is on the eastern shore of Georgian Bay and is the heart of what locals call The 30,000 Islands. The islands along the shoreline, stretching from Midland to French River form one of the largest freshwater archipelagos in the world, and are designated the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve.

History

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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.

Climate

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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.

Visitor information

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  • Town of Parry Sound
  • 1 Visitors' Information Centre, 2 Bay St. May (Victoria Day) - Oct (Thanksgiving) 10AM-6PM; Nov-Apr M-Sa 10AM-4PM.

Get in

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By car

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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

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By train

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See also: Rail travel in Canada

By plane

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

Get around

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Map
Map of Parry Sound

See

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Do

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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.

Outdoor sightseeing

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Several providers take you into the wilderness landscape surrounding Parry Sound and the shores of Georgian Bay.

  • 5 Bear Claw Tours, 35 Shoebottom Rd, +1 705 746-9481. ATV guided tours.
  • 6 Georgian Bay Airways, 11A Bay Street, Town Dock, toll-free: +1-800-786-1704. A modern fleet of seaplanes operate sightseeing flights from Parry Sound’s downtown waterfront.
  • 7 Spirit of the Sound Schooner Company Ltd., toll-free: +1-888-283-5870. M.V. Chippewa III offers several 30,000 Islands cruises and menus.
  • 8 Diver's Nook, 55 Bowes St, +1 705-746-9757, . Th-M 7AM-5PM. A fully stocked SCUBA dive shop offering charters and air fills/equipment. They usually dive the shallow wrecks around the Sound, and a charter consists of two dives.

Provincial parks

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Several provincial parks provide access to the unique natural areas here, and provide a variety of activities or camping experiences, from one of Ontario's most popular parks for car camping, or backcountry canoeing and camping through a rugged part of the archipelago.

  • 9 Killbear Provincial Park, 35 Eddie Ramsay Pkwy, +1 705-342 5492. On a rocky peninsula, Killbear provides canoeing, sailing, and windsurfing opportunities on Georgian Bay. Several sandy beaches are located near each campground. Over 800 individual campsites for car or RV camping are available January through early November. Killbear Provincial Park (Q6407350) on Wikidata Killbear Provincial Park on Wikipedia
  • 10 The Massasauga Provincial Park, +1 705-378-2401. The Massasauga provides 13,000 hectares (32,000 acres) of rugged backcountry on a Georgian Bay archipelago. Campsites are accessible by canoe only. Day use areas for fishing, boating, hiking and swimming are also popular. Permits are required and reservations are recommended for overnight stays. The park includes hundreds of islands and twisting waterways; proper navigational maps should be used when planning your trip. The Massasauga Provincial Park (Q6784554) on Wikidata The Massasauga Provincial Park on Wikipedia
  • 11 Oastler Lake Provincial Park, 380 Oastler Park Dr, +1 705-378-2401. A relatively smaller park compared to others around Parry Sound. Oastler Lake provides over 100 campsites for car camping, a large sandy beach, and rentals for canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards. Oastler Lake Provincial Park (Q14875370) on Wikidata Oastler Lake Provincial Park on Wikipedia

Buy

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Eat

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  • 1 Bay Street Café, 22 Bay St, +1 705-746-2882. Friendly service, view of the Georgian Bay.
  • 2 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. W-Su 4-9PM. Rustic decor, varied menu, good seafood.
  • 3 Trappers Choice Restaurant, 50 Joseph St, +1 705-746-9491. M-Sa from 8AM. Appetizers and light meals, including salads, sandwiches and burgers, full main courses specializing in steaks and seafood.
  • 4 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.

Drink

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  • 5 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.

Sleep

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Connect

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Nearby

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Depot Harbour

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1 Depot Harbour Depot Harbour on Wikipedia is an 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 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, and a fishery has since opened on the docks.

Go next

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  • Barrie — on the western shore of Lake Simcoe, and at the cross-roads of transportation links between Toronto and Muskoka, and destinations throughout Simcoe County.
  • Gravenhurst — to the southwest in Muskoka, part cottage country on the Highway 11 corridor.
  • Midland — a popular summer vacation town on Georgian Bay, and home to Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, a living history museum depicting missionary life in the 17th century.
  • French River — a rural area north of Parry Sound, along the historic French River waterway, providing a 110 km (68 mi) corridor for canoeing, fishing and backcountry camping between Lake Nipissing and Georgian Bay.
  • Sudbury — the largest city in Northern Ontario, and a transportation and service hub along the Trans-Canada Highway.
Routes through Parry Sound
WinnipegSudbury  W  E  WashagoToronto
SudburyFrench River ← becomes  N  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.