History of Parry Sound District

Parry Sound has been known by several nicknames both privately and commercially. Two of the most common are "Gateway to Rainbow Country" and "Gateway to the Thirty Thousand Islands". The District of Parry Sound is bordered by Georgian Bay on the west, Sudbury and Nipissing District on the north and Muskoka to the south and east

From circa 1615 to 1650, French explorers and Indians occupied this area, The Huron’s were allied with the Algonquin's and both frequented eastern Georgian Bay. When the Iroquois dispersed the French settlements near Midland, Ontario they fled north and any who escaped paddled up the French River toward Ottawa and on to Quebec.

A more permanent interest developed circa 1636 as American lumberjacks move north lured by the tall white pine that covered the area. After this, other lumbermen and companies from Simcoe and York Counties moved into the area, especially after 1855 when the railroad was completed to Collingwood. Barge and steamers then began to ply there wares across the "Bay", Some of these lumbermen and transient sailors became farmers when free land was given in 1868.

The Town of Parry Sound was incorporated in April of 1887 and has passed from being a lumber and railroad centre to a commercial centre for the many tourists who visit and tour the scenic spots to a third and fourth generation island owners who fly up from the United States.

by Marion Field Belanger

This article first appeared in the November 1985 newsletter, Volume 1 - Number 2