Fall is the time to celebrate the bounty of the season and many of the activities occurring reflect the history of the area. Scattered throughout the Parry Sound area are villages and towns that hold fall fairs that offer the opportunity to see animals, purchase local crafts and goods and partake of local entertainment.
Ontario's hardwood trees are ablaze with colours, and Parry Sound offers many great ways to experience them - during the drive up (with maybe a little detour to stroll down a lane way or two along the way), on a 3 hour cruise on the Island Queen, from the air with Georgian Bay Airways and finally, with a panoramic view from the Observation Tower. Of course, the views from the enclosed sun porches at 40 Bay Street Bed & Breakfast are spectacular too! Parry Sound is a shutterbugs delight at any time of the year, but when you couple our famous Georgian Bay sunsets with the fantastic fall colours, you have a combination that can't be beat!
Parry Sound Snowmobile District member clubs operate a trail network of over 1,100 kilometers containing both a mix of looping or family trails along with several Trans Ontario Provincial (TOP) Trails. Trails in the Parry Sound Snowmobile District span from the Moon River in the South to the Key River in the North and from Georgian Bay in the East to Hwy 11 in the West. Snowmobile rentals are available.
Georgian Nordic Ski Club is just a 10-minute drive from 40 Bay Street Bed & Breakfast. With 25 km of trails winding through lush forest, Georgian Nordic offers great cross country skiing for the novice through to the expert. The Club offers performance (combined classic and skate), back country and single-track trails plus snowshoe trails. Skis, boots and poles are available for rental at the clubhouse.
Winter Hiking and Camping
White Squall offers a winter program made for nature lovers of all ages and capabilities. Every Sunday starting in November there is the opportunity for either full or half day, guided hikes – either by snowshoe or foot, depending on the weather. All you need to pack are warm clothes, snacks and a camera. If you are up for even more of a challenge, try out some of their winter camping programs. Learn how to camp, cook and travel during the winter months.
They also offer winter equipment rentals of kick-sleds and snowshoes, as well as any other cold-weather gear you might need.
Downtown Parry Sound features a number of small boutiques featuring Canadiana crafts and souvenirs, as well as men and ladies' clothing, home decor and books. Throughout the year, special events are held - in 2013 there will be a muskoka chair auction, sidewalk sales and midnight madness sales.
Every Tuesday morning in the summer, the Parry Sound Summer Market offers patrons the opportunity to purchase smoked meats and fish, local maple syrup, fresh fruits and vegetables and local artisan arts and crafts such as jewelry, stained glass, pottery, hand-made furniture, baked goods, preserves and much more. The market is held at Market Square Park in downtown Parry Sound.
Learn some of Parry Sound’s less savoury history with a guided tour by Terry Boyle, author and host of CTV’s “Creepy Canada” Learn about the rough justice that ruled the earlier days of the area and hear the stories of the ghosts and see the orbs that appear in various locations.
This Artist Collective runs several galleries around the Parry Sound area – both in their studios, in the Spirit Gallery at Lakeland Long Term Care, and at the Museum on Tower Hill. Mediums range from watercolours and acrylics to stained glass and sculpture. You are always encouraged to come and browse – and if you are lucky, speak to a local artist or two about their work and local inspiration.
Not to worry! The Twin Strand Movie Theatres offer the latest releases, while Georgian Lanes offers a fun and inexpensive way to exercise and pass the time with 5-pin bowling. You can rent the special shoes, and everything else required is provided in the lane rental costs.
A former railway bed, this trail walks you along the picturesque Parry Sound shores and allows one to enjoy Georgian Bay in its natural splendour.
From end to end, it measures 5 km. At the northern end, you can pick up the “Rugged Hiking Trail” which takes you along the shores of Georgian Bay for another 2.5 km. This trail is suitable for strollers, wheelchairs and motorized scooters; it is well lit and has many seating areas along the path.
Parry Sound is a member of Ontario By Bike Network and the location for the annual Pedaling for Parkinson's Disease fundraiser. Throughout the district there are paved roads with limited traffic and wide shoulders for safe riding. There are over 19 road routes that range in distance and difficulty.
The Park-to-Park Trail was developed to connect Killbear Provincial Park with Algonquin Provincial Park through utilizing existing multi-use trails in the area. The web site provides a good map of on and off-road trails.
There are a number of provincial parks in the area – The Massassauga Provincial Park, which is a water access only park, Oastler Lake Provincial Park and the most popular - Killbear Provincial Park. Killbear offers an interpretive centre with exhibits, displays and educational events related to the natural, wildlife and cultural resources of the area. Access to the sand beaches, trails and special events are all included in the cost of a day pass.
Canada Day Festivities
The Town of Parry Sound celebrates Canada's birthday every July 1st. A variety of events, entertainers and vendors provide activities for the whole family. The finale is the musical Canada Day Cruise by the Festival of the Sound and a fireworks display that takes place at dusk.
The modern facility retraces the history of the Parry Sound Area with displays on logging, shipping and life as it was in a small northern town. The Museum also features exhibits of lumbering, homesteading and ghostly shipwrecks as well as displays of local art work. The Museum on Tower Hill offers picnic gardens, a lookout tower, a panoramic view of Georgian Bay and a wonderful location for taking photographs.
Located next the museum on Tower Hill, this former fire tower is 96-feet tall. It is an easy climb up the 131 steps to reach the top. The view over the town and Georgian Bay is breathtaking and well worth the climb – any time of year.
The Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts is located on a 3.5-acre waterfront site in the heart of Parry Sound, overlooking beautiful Georgian Bay. It houses a 480-seat Festival Performance Hall and the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame. Performances of all genres are presented in the Performance Hall during the year including music of all types (pop, rock, folk, blues, jazz, country, chamber, classical and world music), theatre, contemporary dance, comedy, literary readings, performances for children, and community events.
Bobby Orr is a former, professional ice hockey player who is acknowledged as one of the best players of the game. Located in his hometown, The Bobby Orr Hall of Fame is an interactive hockey museum with a wide variety of photos, memorabilia and artifacts about Bobby Orr. Exhibits include Orr’s NHL rings, a number of his trophies and awards, some of the jerseys he played in, a pictorial history of his career and a number of interactive games and activities related to hockey. The Bobby Orr Hall of Fame also hosts exhibits about other exceptional athletes with ties to Parry Sound.
The Gift Shop is located in the Lobby and features a unique line of souvenirs from both the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame and the Festival Performance Hall.
For almost four weeks each summer beginning in mid-July, Parry Sound comes to life with the music and special events of the Festival of the Sound established in 1979. Winner of the Lieutenant Governor's Award for the Arts, the Festival of the Sound is one of Canada's most exciting and creative summer music festivals. As well as hearing several daily and evening concerts featuring Canada's finest classical musicians, Festival-goers can choose from sunset cruises on the Island Queen, free family concerts and special events. Each season brings something new, with the opportunity to mix and mingle with the musicians on a personal level.
This annual event features almost 100 local and Canadian artisans. It offers the opportunity to meet the creators in person as they present their handcrafted products. From clothing to jewelry, wooden creations to paintings, and everything in between, you will find it during this annual event.
G’zaagin means “I love you” in the Ojibway language (the language spoken by the local First Nations People). The goal of the G’zaagin Art Gallery is to heighten public awareness about Native art and provide a venue for everyone to witness the insights, skills, and creativity of Native artists. Whether you explore the art with a visit to their store just up the street from 40 Bay Street, sign-up for one of their workshops or check out what’s for sale on-line, you are certain to learn about Parry Sound’s Native peoples.
First Nations Pow-Wows
Pow-wows are events that bring together peoples from a specific tribe or nation to renew thoughts of the old ways and preserve a rich heritage. Celebrations involve singing, dancing and drumming. In this area, there are two pow-wows that invite the public to attend – Wasauksing and Shawanaga. Grand entrances are typically at noon and are the highlight of each Pow-wow.
Biosphere Reserves are internationally recognized areas where communities work together to provide healthy environments, economies, societies and culture within that area. 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 and received it’s designation from UNESCO in 2004.
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.
Through educational tools, presentations and hands-on workshops, residents in the Georgian Bay Biosphere are educated to help protect the species at risk, including the western chorus frog, several varieties of turtles, snakes like the Massassagua Rattlesnake, Monarch butterfly, lampreys, the Eastern Wolf, and 15 types of birds; protect our wetlands and water and encourage the growth of local native plants.
The best way to understand the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve is to get out and experience it – whether on the water, hiking the parks and trails or participating in the many activities and events that take place throughout the year.