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Collingwood is a town in Simcoe County, Ontariomarker. Geographically, it is situated on Nottawasaga Baymarker at the southern point of Georgian Baymarker.


Collingwood was incorporated as a town in 1858, nine years before Confederation and was named after Admiral Lord Cuthbert Collingwood, Lord Nelson’s second in command at the Battle of Trafalgarmarker, who assumed command of the British fleet after Nelson's death.

The land in the area was originally inhabited by the Iroquoian Petun nation, which built a string of villages in the vicinity of the nearby Niagara Escarpment. They were driven from the region by the Iroquois in 1650. European settlers and freed Black slaves, arrived in the area in the 1840s, bringing with them their religion and culture.

The area originally had several other names associated with it, including Hurontario (because it lies at the end of Hurontario Street which runs from Lake Huronmarker — of which Georgian Bay is a part — south to Lake Ontariomarker), Nottawa, and Hens-and-Chickens Harbour, because of one large and four small islands in the bay.

In 1855, the Ontario, Simcoe & Huron (later called The Northern) railway came into Collingwood, and the harbour became the shipment point for goods destined for the upper Great Lakes ports of Chicago and Port Arthur-Ft. William (now Thunder Bay). Shipping produced a need for ship repairs, so it was not long before an organized ship building business was created. On May 24, 1883, the Collingwood Shipyards, formerly known as Collingwood Dry Dock Shipbuilding and Foundry Company Limited, opened with a special ceremony. On September 12, 1901, the Huronic was launched in Collingwood, the first steel-hulled ship launched in Canada. The shipyards produced Lakers and during World War II contributed to the production of Corvettes for the Royal Canadian Navy. Shipbuilding was one of the principal industries in the town, employing as much as 10% of the total labour force. Overseas competition and over capacity in shipbuilding in Canadamarker led to the demise of shipbuilding in Collingwood in September 1986.

In 2008, after four years of successful site remediation work, the former "brownfield" Shipbuilding lands were acquired by a development partnership between Slokker Real Estate Group, founded in the Netherlands and the Fram Building Group of Toronto, Ontario. The first phases of the "The Shipyards", a 712 home master planned community on these lands is well advanced and will connect and provide public access for the Town of Collingwood to its waterfront. The development is seen as a major economic stimuli to the Regional economy, creating hundreds of jobs and homes for over 2,000 new residents upon completion.

The creation of government incentive programs and a fully serviced industrial park made it possible for Collingwood to attract eleven new manufacturing firms to the town by 1971. Eight additional manufacturing companies had located in the town by 1983, making Collingwood the largest industrial employer in the region.


Today, Collingwood's industrial base, which includes Collingwood Ethanol L.P., Pilkington Glass of Canada, Goodall Rubber Company - Canada ULC, and VOAC Inc, and which are among the community’s largest employers, has begun to erode. Several industries in the area have closed in recent years, including Nacan Products (2004), Backyard Products (2004), Kaufman of Collingwood (2006), Goodyear Tires (2007), Alcoa Wheel products (2008) and the internationally-famous Blue Mountain Pottery (2004). Collingwood does however have a growing knowledge-based economy, and is home to five engineering firms, one of which is CF Crozier and Associates, who is currently working on the Shipyards Project. Collingwood is also home to the distillery where Canadian Mist Whiskey is produced.

In June, 2007, Collingwood Ethanol (Now Amaizeingly Green) began production in the former Nacan facility. The company expects to produce 50 million litres of ethanol annually to satisfy regulatory requirements on ethanol content in gasoline mandated by the provincial and federal governments. Collingwood Ethanol also produces byproducts of the ethanol manufacturing process, including an organic corn gluten fertilizer. There is significant concern about the effects of ethanol production on the environment in the east end of Collingwood. Petitions have been submitted to the town by east end residents in an effort to force Collingwood Ethanol to reduce the amount of odour and noise that they are causing during the times when they are in full production.

Collingwood has focused on establishing itself as a four-season tourist area. Located on the southern shores of Georgian Baymarker and located in proximity to Blue Mountain, a promontory of the Niagara Escarpment, the town has become the major recreation area for the southern part of the province. Blue Mountain itself is noted for skiingmarker, and also for its Scenic Caves. The town is also a short distance from the popular Wasaga Beachmarker Provincial Parkmarker, an attractive destination that received the title of Biosphere Reserve in 2004.

Since 1981, Collingwood has been home to the Thomson Tennis School, an elite tennis training academy operated by Richard Thomson (former Davis Cup captain and coach) and his son Michael.

Blue Mountain Ski Resort's association with international resort developer Intrawest Corporation began in 1986. In 1999 Intrawest purchased 50% ownership of the resort from the family of late Blue Mountain founder Jozo Weider. Together, Intrawest and the Weider family have accelerated development at the mountain, and the cultural and economic focus of Collingwood has increasingly shifted towards providing services for the resort trade.

The Barrie-Collingwood Railway (BCRY) is a short-line railway operation involving a partnership between the City of Barriemarker, the Town of Collingwood, current shippers, CP Rail and the railway operator Cando Contracting Ltd. The BCRY mandate is to provide rail service to all industries in and around Barrie and Collingwood.

Local media include the Collingwood Enterprise-Bulletin and Collingwood-Wasaga Connection community newspapers, and radio station CKCB-FM. The Barriemarker-based regional television station CKVR-TVmarker, an A station, maintains a bureau in Collingwood, and the Owen Soundmarker-based Bayshore Broadcasting radio group maintains an office in Collingwood. Collingwood is also known for its annual week-end Elvis Presley festival, which attracts Elvis impersonators from the world over in late July of each year. 2009 marks the fifteenth anniversary of the Elvis Festival.


The current mayor is Chris Carrier. The federal Member of Parliament is Conservative Helena Guergis, and the Member of Provincial Parliament is Progressive Conservative Jim Wilson.


Collingwood is served by Highway 26, which runs along the shore of Nottawasaga Bay, and county road 124 (which was part of Highway 24 before the provincial government downgraded that portion of the highway in 1998). The town is also served by a rail trail along a former CN Rail line, connecting Collingwood to the towns of Owen Soundmarker, Meafordmarker, and Barriemarker, with a spur heading north through the town's central business district, to the large grain elevators at the downtown wharf, where trains would formerly load and unload onto ships.

The town of Collingwood also started a public transportation initiative in 2007.

In addition to Collingwood's position as a lake port, it is also served by Collingwood Airportmarker (CNY3), a medium-sized airport located about 4 miles (7.4 km) south of the town.

Sister Cities

Famous people from Collingwood


  • 2006 Population: 17,290 (in 2001: 16,039, in 1996: 15,596)
  • Population growth 2001 to 2006: 7.8%
  • Total private dwellings: 9,316
  • Dwellings owned by usual residents: 7,318
  • Land Area: 33.46 square kilometres
  • Population density per square kilometre: 516.8


  1. CF Crozier and Associates
  2. Collingwood Ethanol
  3. Thomson Tennis School
  4. Intrawest Corporation
  5. 2006 Community Profiles

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