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Penetanguishene ( ), sometimes shortened to Penetang, is a town in Simcoe County, Ontariomarker, Canadamarker. It is located on the southeasterly tip of Georgian Baymarker. Incorporated on February 22, 1882, this bilingual (French and English) community has since grown to a population of 9,354 in the Canada 2006 Census, an increase of 12.5 per cent from its 2001 population of 8,316.

The name Penetanguishene comes from the Ojibwa language meaning "place of the white rolling sands".


As early as AD 800, the Huron settled in semi-permanent villages in the area. Étienne Brûlé was the first European to set foot in the Penetanguishene area, some time between 1610 and 1614.

In 1793, John Graves Simcoe visited the area and saw Penetanguishene's potential as a naval base to maintain warships to protect the newly-developed northwesterly trade and exploration route. Beginning in 1814, the Penetanguishene Road was constructed to provide the area, which was previously accessible only by river transport, with a land route to Barriemarker and Torontomarker.

In 1817, naval units from Michilimackinac and Schooner Town (near modern-day Wasaga Beachmarker) were consolidated at Penetanguishene. However, because of treaty limitations with the U.S. that limited both countries' naval power on the Great Lakesmarker, two British armed topsail schooners, HMS Tecumseth and HMS Newash were laid up in ordinary and eventually reported to have sunk at their moorings in the harbour in 1828. Some other small craft, however, were headquartered in Penetanguishene for the exploration and mapping of the Great Lakes' coastline. In 1828, the main British military establishment on the Upper Lakes moved from Drummond Island to Penetanguishene. Families of Metis fur traders who had moved with the British from Michilimackinac to Drummond Island after the War of 1812 moved to Penetanguishene and settled in the town and the surrounding area. Although the naval base was closed in 1834, the military base remained until 1856.

In the 1840s, families from Quebecmarker (mainly the area immediately east of Montreal), attracted by promises of cheap and fertile land, joined the French-speaking Drummond Island settlers already in the area. Later, as the logging industry began to develop, more settlers arrived and Penetanguishene became the local market and meeting place for these individuals. Many of Penetanguishene's families today are descended from these Québécois settlers that arrived in the 1800s, giving the town a marked bilingual culture.


The historic naval and military base (Discovery Harbour) near Penetanguishene is open to visitors, and at one time offered trips in the two reconstructed sailing ships from the 1812 period, HMS Bee and HMS Tecumseth. While this is no longer permitted, the sailing ships still remain in the harbour.

Penetanguishene, along with Parry Soundmarker, is now one of the departure points for Georgian Bay's 30,000 Islands boat tours, which leave daily from the town's main dock.


The town is also home to the province's last remaining Protestant Separate school board.


The Junior C hockey Penetang Kings are based in the town.


Penetang-Midland Coach Lines (PMCL) operates from Penetanguishene.


The town has a significant concentration of Franco-Ontarians, and is one of only three communities in Central and Southwestern Ontario where the population of francophones exceeds the provincial average of five percent, the other two being Wellandmarker and Lakeshoremarker.


The town is home to a francophone community radio station, CFRH-FM, but is otherwise served by media based in the neighbouring town of Midlandmarker.

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