Grey County is a mostly rural region of Southwestern Ontario. Grey County is an outdoor vacationland: hiking and biking on trails in the spring and summer, spectacular fall colour driving tours and foodie experiences in the harvest season, and downhill cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter. There's caving and climbing and beaches, gallery and studio tours, museums and summer playhouses, shops and gourmet restaurants.
- 1 Durham — a small town on the Saugeen River
- 2 Hanover — the one-time "Furniture Capital of Canada"
- 3 Owen Sound — it has a beautiful harbour and bay, winding rivers, tree-lined streets, plush parks, numerous trails and a thriving, historic downtown
- 4 Village at Blue Mountain — a purpose-built skiing and summer sports resort town
- Tourist information, name=595 9th Avenue East, Owen Sound, ☏ , toll-free: .
The first European settlement was in the vicinity of Collingwood or Meaford. Exploring parties arrived from York in 1825 by travelling from Holland Landing and down the Holland River into Lake Simcoe and Shanty Bay. From there they travelled by land to the Nottawasaga River into Georgian Bay and along the thickly wooded shore.
In 1837 the village of Sydenham was surveyed by Charles Rankin. In 1856 it was incorporated as the Town of Owen Sound with an estimated population of 2,000.
Grey County was named in honour of the British Colonial Secretary's father, Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1830-1834.
In 1861-1862 the first gravel roads were constructed into Owen Sound. The four colonization roads were:
- the Garafraxa Road running from Fergus to Owen Sound (now Highway 6);
- the Durham Road leading east and west from the village of Durham (formerly part of Highway 4, and now County Road 4);
- the Lake Shore Road from Collingwood to Owen Sound (now Highway 26); and
- the Toronto-Sydenham Road leading from Shelburne to Owen Sound (now Highway 10).
Prior to the road building it often took two days to walk up to Owen Sound.
Highway 10 takes you from the western suburbs of Toronto 190 km to Owen Sound.
Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ IATA) in the north-west corner of Toronto is the nearest major airport, with flights from many domestic and international destinations. Grey-Bruce Airbus offers eight trips a day from Toronto Pearson International Airport to Owen Sound.
Roads are mostly rural highways with one lane in each direction. Minor roads are occasionally unpaved. To find the most efficient routing, plan ahead, use a GPS unit or GPS-enabled device, or bring a map. The Official Government Roadmap for Grey and Bruce Counties is available online.
In Owen Sound, the Tom Thomson Art Gallery exhibits a collection of works by Thompson and the Group of Seven, who were an important group of Canadian artists in the early 20th century. The town also has the Billy Bishop Heritage Museum, dedicated to a World War I aviation hero, and the Grey Roots Museum and Archives, which focuses on local historic events.
Meaford Hall Arts & Cultural Centre (12 Nelson Street East, Meaford, ☏ ) is a beautifully restored theatre that plays host to a wide variety of live entertainment, gallery exhibitions, films, and events.
The Village at Blue Mountain is a year-round centre for those looking for outdoor activities such as skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, golf, mountain biking, rock climbing, and caving.
Those looking for more sedate activities may be drawn to the Gateway Hanover Racetrack Slots and Casino.
Canoeing and kayakingEdit
The Sydenham River flows from Harrison Park through Owen Sound’s historic downtown to the city’s East Boat Launch. The river winds through marshlands along the Niagara Escarpment with lots of opportunities for viewing wildlife and birds. Rent a boat from the Putt n’ Paddle in Harrsion Park.
The Beaver River is a 40-km gentle gentle paddle from Kimberley to Heathcote. Keep an eye out for the great blue heron, the great horned owl, white tailed deer and the beaver. Put ins are available on Grey Road 13 north of Kimberley, on the Epping Side Road and at Healthcote allowing you to vary your route from 6 to 15 km.
The Saugeen River runs from Hanover west into Lake Huron. It has placid stretches through farmland to swirling eddies and rapids. The trip from Hanover to Southampton is 102 km, but it's easy to plan a shorter route.
Lake Eugenia is Grey County’s largest inland lake, and offers excellent paddling and fishing. Bring your own boat to the public launch
Georgian Bay ranges from glassy waters to whitecaps. Sea kayaking is a great way to explore and calm days are perfect for stand-up paddleboards. Great places to launch are Northwinds Beach near Thornbury, Colpoy’s Bay near Wiarton or the Owen Sound Bay.