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Parry Sound (2006 census population 5,818) is a town in Central Ontario, Canadamarker, located on the eastern shore of Georgian Baymarker. Parry Sound is located 160 km (100 miles) south of Sudburymarker and 225 km (145 miles) north of Torontomarker. It is the seat of Parry Sound Districtmarker, a popular cottage country region for Southern Ontario residents increasing the town's population to approximately 75,000 during the summer months. It is also the world's deepest natural freshwater port.


During the early part of the 20th century, the area was a popular subject for the many scenic art works of Tom Thomson and members of the Group of Seven. There was a slight decline in economic activity shortly after World War I with J.R. Booth's construction of a rival town, Depot Harbourmarker on nearby Parry Islandmarker, but this setback was overcome through later developments in tourism and commerce, and the accidental destruction by fire of the entire town of Depot Harbour on August 14, 1945.

The body of water that gives the town its name was surveyed and named by Captain Henry Bayfield in the 19th century, in honour of the Arctic explorer Sir William Edward Parry. In 1857, the modern townsite was established near the Ojibwa village of Wasaukwasenemarker ("shining shore") at the mouth of the Seguin River. In the late 19th century, rail service was established, making the town an important depot along the rail lines to Western Canada.

In 1916, a cordite factory was established in the nearby town of Nobelmarker for the Imperial Munitions Board. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, an explosives and munitions factory was also built at Nobel, making Parry Sound an important part of both the First World War and the Second World War effort.


Parry Sound is host to many annual events including an ATV jamboree, a sailing regatta and a classical music festival, the Festival of the Sound.

It is the birthplace of hockey legend Bobby Orr, the namesake of the local community centre and the town's own Bobby Orr Hall of Fame. Canadian actor Don Harron's stage character Charlie Farquharson remains one of the town's most cherished personalities. Former Ontario premier Ernie Eves also called the town home for many years; he was the MPP for the Parry Sound—Muskoka riding from 1981 through 2001.

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. The Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts serves as the principal performance venue during the Festival of the Sound, and also hosts concerts, live theatre and other cultural events throughout the year.

Sports and recreation

There are several provincial parks in the Parry Sound area, including Oastler Lake, Massasauga and Killbearmarker, as well as numerous provincial conservation reserve. A 230-kilometre recreational trail, the Park-to-Park Trail, connects Killbear with Algonquin Provincial Parkmarker near Dwightmarker, with a second proposed extension connecting to another site east of Kearneymarker.

The town is home to an annual ATV Jamboree and a motorbike rally. There are also guided ATV tours of the region's wilderness throughout the year.

Parry Sound's Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary cares for injured and orphaned animals, and has limited daily tourist hours as an informational and interpretive centre for wildlife education.

There are several golf courses located in and near Parry Sound, including the Parry Sound Golf and Country Club, the Seguin Valley Golf and Country Club, Deer Run Golf Course and the Rocky Crest Golf Club. Ice hockey and fishing are also popular recreational sports in the area.

The Parry Sound coastline is home to the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve, one of only 13 UNESCO sites in Canada. The eastern coast of Georgian Bay where Parry Sound is located is known as the "30,000 Islands" and is considered the world's largest freshwater archipelago. It covers 347,000 hectares of shoreline ecosystem, and over 100 species of animals and plants that are at risk in Canada and Ontario, including unique reptiles and amphibians.

Sightseeing tours of the 30,000 Islands are offered by Georgian Bay Airways, and the Island Queen and MV Chippawa cruise ships. The area is also home to White Squall Outfitters, a sport outfitter which offers kayak and canoe rentals and tours during the summer, as well as winter sporting gear rentals during the winter.


Harbour of Parry Sound
Although construction on Highway 400 is continuing northward, with an extension to Highway 559 scheduled to open in 2010, Parry Sound is currently the northern terminus of Highway 400, where it changes into Highway 69. The former alignment of Highway 69 from Parry Sound southerly to Holmur now has the street name Oastler Park Drive and serves as the main access road to Oastler Lake Provincial Park.

The western termini of Highway 124, which extends easterly to Sundridgemarker, and Highway 518, which heads east to Kearneymarker, are both located just outside Parry Sound's town limits.

Bus service from Torontomarker is available by Ontario Northland Motor Coach Services, the government-owned transportation company, and buses arrive daily en route to Sudbury. In addition, VIA Rail (Crown corporation passenger railway) serves the town with passenger rail service twice a week, on its line between Toronto and Vancouvermarker.

The town is served by the Parry Sound Area Municipal Airportmarker and the Parry Sound Medical Heliport, as well as numerous small water aerodromes:

The Big Sound Marina is a 120-serviced slip marina on Georgian Bay for transient vessels up to 60 feet.

Forest fire protection history

The Parry Sound Forest Fire District was founded by Ontario's former Department of Lands and Forests in 1922 (now the MNR) as one of 17 districts to help protect Ontario's forests from fire by early detection from fire towers. The headquarters for the district were housed in town. It was the central location for 18 fire tower lookouts, including the Parry Sound fire tower, which was erected in the same location as the modern lookout tower at 17 George Street. In the 1970s all the towers had been decommissioned as aerial fire fighting techniques were employed.





According to the 2006 Statistics Canada Census:
  • Population 2006: 5,818
  • Population 2001: 6,124
  • % Change (2001-2006): -5.0
  • Dwellings: 2,781
  • Area (km²): 13.33
  • Density (persons per km²): 436.4


  1. The Park-to-Park Trail
  2. Spring Jam
  3. Parry Sound Sportbike Rally
  4. Bear Claw Tours
  5. Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary
  6. Parry Sound Golf and Country Club
  7. Rocky Crest Golf Club
  8. Georgian Bay Airways
  9. M.V. Chippewa
  10. White Squall Outfitters
  11. Big Sound Marina
  12. Statistic Canada Census for Parry Sound (2006)

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