For anyone seeking beautiful sunsets over Georgian Bay mixed with outdoor adventure and water sports, Parry Sound, Ontario is a perfect fit.
With a year-round population of 18,000, Parry Sound is home-base to more than 60,000 people during the summer cottage season. A quaint tourist town, the locals are great hosts to cottagers, fishermen, boaters and divers who descend upon Parry Sound each summer, just two hours north of Toronto.
Not just a haven for water and outdoor lovers, Parry Sound is the hometown of hockey legend Bobby Orr. The Bobby Orr Hall of Fame, located in the Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts, is more than a tribute to a local boy “done good”. The Hall of Fame honors other area athletes and many who committed their lives to the betterment of Parry Sound.
Several locally owned businesses can provide anything a tourist needs. Parry Sound offers small motels for those just passing through such as Trappers Choice Inn and Restaurant (with MUCH better coffee than Tim Horton’s) and the Town & Country Motel. Richmond Lake Park offers camping just minutes from Parry Sound’s shopping areas. To satisfy a craving for fresh fish and chips, Seguin Fish & Chips at 26 Seguin Street in the downtown area offers a variety of fish including whitefish and pickerel. I experienced a desperate craving for vegetables during our most recent visit and was directed to The Country Gourmet at 65 James Street. My order of Spanakopita with a Greek Salad and a bowl of Corn & Bacon Chowder was more than filling. The man was happy with his Reuben and Potato Salad and inhaled his Chowder. I did think $33 for lunch for two (including milk to drink) was a bit pricey, but the food was delicious.
Guided tours through Georgian Bay are available at many locations. For complete relaxation, the Island Queen offers two- and three-hour tours departing from the Parry Sound town docks every day. An on-board snack bar and café will keep the munchies at bay during a cruise through the 30,000 Island area of the United Nations Biosphere Reserve. The shorter cruise offers views of many of the summer cottages closer to Parry Sound.
Another way to see Georgian Bay is from the air. Georgian Bay Airways offers air tours, Fly & Dine trips to Henry’s Fish Restaurant (only accessible by boat or floatplane) and other restaurants and fly-in fishing trips as well as air charter services.
Fishing and diving charters are available at Diver’s Nook, 55 Bowes Street. We spent an afternoon with owner Tony Agnello catching bass in some of the smaller coves not far from Parry Sound. Diver’s Nook also offers a full line of fishing gear and live bait, along with diving equipment rentals.
There are several unique shops in the downtown Parry Sound area and we always make a point to stop into the The Wolf Den at 35 James Street. Featuring native Indian arts and crafts from throughout Canada, I always find something unique to drool over at The Wolf Den.
Summer cottagers and outdoor enthusiasts can find everything they need for a visit to the Georgian Bay area in Parry Sound, Ontario.
Resources: Personal Visits, Richmond Lake Park ; Trapper’s Choice ; Island Queen ; Bobby Orr Hall of Fame ; Georgian Bay Airways ; The Wolf Den ; Parry Sound official website