Regional Guide to Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada

Regional Guide to Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada

Parry Sound is a district located in Ontario’s beautiful cottage country on the eastern shore of Georgian Bay. Surrounded by stunning natural beauty, it offers a mix of rugged landscapes, serene lakes, and lush forests. Visitors can enjoy outdoor activities such as boating, fishing, hiking, and exploring the nearby Georgian Bay Islands National Park. If you’re planning a trip, this comprehensive guide to the region will help.

Notable Towns:

Parry Sound

The town of Parry Sound serves as the commercial and cultural hub of the Parry Sound District, and as a gateway to the 30,000 Islands, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It has a rich history, as it was originally inhabited by the Indigenous Anishinaabe people, and then was explored by European fur traders in the 1800s. The town itself was established in 1857 and named after Sir William Edward Parry, a British Arctic explorer, and was a transportation hub and shipping point for timber and other resources with the arrival of the railway in the late 19th century. Today, it has a charming downtown area with shops, restaurants, and a picturesque waterfront. If you are visiting, you might want to check out:

  • The iconic Bobby Orr Hall of Fame, dedicated to the legendary hockey player.Heritage District downtown area is filled with local shops, boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants.
  • The Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts hosts various concerts, performances, and events throughout the year. It also houses the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame, celebrating the legendary hockey player.
  • The Marine Museum showcases the rich maritime history of the area, with historical artifacts and interactive exhibits.
  • The Georgian Bay archipelago with breathtaking views of the bay, surrounding islands, an iconic lighthouse, and fishing for bass, pike, and lake trout. Boats are available for rental or charter.
  • The nearby Killbear and Oastler Lake Provincial Parks which are great for hiking, swimming, picnicking, exploring the trails, and seeing wildlife.
  • The Tower Hill Lookout which has panoramic views of Parry Sound, the harbor, and the surrounding islands.
  • Waubuno Beach and Kiwanis Beach are beautiful sandy beaches for swimming, picnicking, and enjoying the sun.
  • The town hosts festivals, concerts, and community events like the Festival of the Sound and the Annual Regatta.
  • Parry Sound Golf and Country Club, Rocky Crest, and Seguin Valley Golf Club have beautiful scenery and challenging courses.

Read more about the town of Parry Sound.

Rosseau

Rosseau is a popular tourist destination located in the District of Muskoka in Ontario, Canada. Situated on the shores of Lake Rosseau, the town was originally settled by European pioneers as a vital port for steamships that transported passengers, supplies, and lumber. As far back as the late 1800s, Rousseau became a summer vacation destination, with cottages built along the lakeshore, some of which still stand today. Today, the town’s history is on display in the streets lined with heritage buildings, some of which have been converted into galleries, shops, and eateries. With its rich history, natural beauty, and a thriving arts community, there is plenty to do in Rosseau.

  • The beautiful Rosseau Waterfalls, located just outside the village.
  • The scenic Seguin and the Rosseau-Nipissing Road hiking trails, as well as fishing, boating, and swimming on the nearby lakes.
  • The Rosseau Market is held every Friday, and offers a variety of local produce, crafts, baked goods, and live entertainment. Explore the market’s offerings and support local artisans and farmers.
  • The historic Rosseau General Store, which has been serving the community for over a century.
  • The Rosseau Fall Fair and the Rosseau Culture and Arts Project are two of the several events that occur throughout the year.

Read more about the town of Rosseau.

Magnetawan

Magnetawan is a charming village located in the Parry Sound District of Ontario, named as such because the Indigenous word “mattawan” means “swiftly flowing waters,” referring to its location at the convergence of the Magnetawan River and Ahmic Lake. Its history can be traced back to the 19th century when it served as a hub for the logging industry, supplying timber to nearby mills. With its natural beauty, recreational opportunities, and historical significance, Magnetawan is a delightful destination for those seeking a serene getaway and a glimpse into the area’s past.

  • The Magnetawan River Route is a scenic pathway that winds through the village, with views of the river and its surroundings.
  • The Magnetawan Farmers’ Market is on Saturday. You can sample and purchase local produce, homemade goods, and artisanal crafts.
  • Sand Lake Beach is a family-friendly spot, with crystal-clear water for swimming and activities.
  • The Magnetawan Locks are part of the historic waterway that connected Georgian Bay to the Ottawa River. They were crucial for trade during the 19th century. Take a stroll along the locks and learn about the area’s rich history.
  • For more history, the Magnetawan Heritage Centre showcases exhibits on the area’s past, including its logging and pioneer heritage.
  • Both Ahmic Lake and Magnetawan River are great for boating, fishing, and exploring its bays and islands. Fishing charters are available for those looking for a guided experience.
  • During the winter, some popular activities are ice fishing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling

Read more about the town of Magnetawan.

 

Notable Lakes:

Georgian Bay

Georgian Bay is the part of Lake Huron that feeds Parry Sound. It is separated from the rest of the lake by the Tobermory peninsula of the mainland and Manitoulin Island, the largest lake island in the world. It is one of the most beautiful well-known bodies of water in Ontario with 30,000 islands, hidden coves, and a plethora of sandy beaches. Boating, kayaking, and sailing are fun activities enjoyed on the pristine waters with the untamed shoreline as a stunning backdrop.

Lake Rosseau

Lake Rosseau, just south of Parry Sound, is one of the three major lakes in the Muskoka region. Known for its pristine waters and upscale resorts, enjoy swimming, fishing, paddleboarding, or cycling or walking along its picturesque shoreline. On the northern tip is the village of Rosseau, and it is connected to Lake Joseph and Lake Muskoka.

Lake Joseph

Lake Joseph is another gem of the Muskoka region, with crystal-clear waters and stunning vistas, great fishing for bass, pike, and trout, and water sports like jet skiing, wakeboarding, and tubing. It is connected to Lake Rosseau through Joseph River by Port Sandfield, a man-made canal created in 1870. Due to the average property size being large compared to other nearby lakes, Lake Joseph has attracted numerous celebrities and wealthy individuals, especially on its north tip, colloquially dubbed Billionaire’s Row.

Lake Muskoka

Lake Muskoka is known for its clear turquoise water, lush forest, and luxurious cottages. It offers natural beauty and recreational opportunities, such as boating, swimming, fishing, hiking, and relaxing by the beach. It is located between Gravenhurst and Port Carling, is the heart and namesake of Muskoka cottage country. Furthermore, the town of Bala is on the southwest shore of the lake, by Moon River, and Bracebridge is nearby.

Lake Manitouwabing

Lake Manitouwabing, just west of Parry Sound, is a popular destination for boating and fishing for bass, pike, trout, and walleye. Explore the many inlets and islands in a boat, canoe, kayak, or paddleboard, or just relax on a sandy beach. Located on the North Branch of the Seguin River, it features a dam that was originally for the timber industry, but is now used to generate electricity. The hamlet of Hurdville is nearby, and a public boat launch in the village of McKellar. Not only is it a tranquil setting with beautiful clear waters, but its name is decidedly very fun to say.

Ahmic Lake

Ahmic Lake has a calm atmosphere, natural beauty, and crystal-clear waters, perfect setting for swimming, canoeing, and kayaking. Furthermore, it is well stocked with fish, including bass, pike, walleye, and muskie, perfect for catching your dinner. It is located near the town of Magnetawan, and the drive there through dense forests is beautiful.

Top Activities:

Parry Sound offers a wide range of activities for adventure, families, couples and groups. You can hike scenic trails, boat on the pristine lakes, fish for trophy-sized fish, golf on championship courses, and explore charming towns with unique shops and galleries. Additionally, you can indulge in spa treatments, savor local cuisine, and immerse yourself in the region’s rich arts and cultural scene.

Adventure:

Explore the rugged beauty of the region by hiking in Killbear Provincial Park or the Massasauga Provincial Park. For thrill-seekers, try ziplining or rock climbing at one of the local adventure parks. For those that love the water, snorkel or scuba dive the diverse underwater ecosystem of Georgian Bay, home to shipwrecks, colorful fish, and even underwater caves.

For Families:

For Couples:

  • Enjoy a romantic sunset cruise on one of the lakes, followed by a candlelit dinner at a waterfront restaurant.
  • Tower Hill Lookout is a panoramic viewpoint and the surrounding islands and great family hike and picnic.
  • Treat yourselves to relaxing massages, facials, and other rejuvenating treatments with a couples’ spa retreat at one of the local spas or wellness centers, like Perfectly Pampered.
  • Enjoy a wine tasting of local vintages, and savor a romantic ambiance with a stroll through Georgian Hills Vineyards.
  • Paddle in the calm Georgian Bay with a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard, find a secluded spot, and enjoy the tranquility of the surroundings.
  • Waubuno Beach or Terrace Bay Beach are great for a long walk with the peacefulness of the waves and waterfront.

For Groups:

  • Rent kayaks or canoes to explore the stunning waters of Georgian Bay
  • A group boat tour of Georgian Bay offers scenic cruises that showcase the rugged coastline, islands, and lighthouses.
  • Take a hike in Killbear Provincial Park, the Rose Point Trail, or the Tower Hill Lookout and enjoy sandy beaches, diverse wildlife, and views of the bay.
  • Parry Sound is known for its excellent fishing opportunities, and local charter companies can take groups angling for lake trout, pike, or bass.

Shopping:

Notable Stores:

Explore the unique boutiques, art galleries, and craft shops in downtown Parry Sound and Rosseau. You’ll find a variety of handmade goods, artwork, clothing, and souvenirs to take home.

  • The Kala House of Colour offers trendy and fashionable collections of women’s clothing, accessories, and home decor items.
  • Moose Lake Trading Company specialize in Canadian-made adventure and outdoor products such as clothing, footwear, and camping and hiking gear.
  • The Wolf Den has been a fixture in downtown Parry Sound since 1967, with a wide selection of native art and crafts – porcupine quill and birch bark baskets, native made leather moccasins, hand crafted pottery and jewellery, clothing, leather goods, carvings and so much more.

Groceries:

Parry Sound has big chain grocery stores such as No Frills, Foodland, and Walmart, as well as some smaller, local markets.

  • Foley’s, Your Independent Grocer, is a community-minded, locally-owned and operated grocery store with a wide selection of products including fresh produce, meats, dairy, and pantry staples.
  • Harshaw’s Freshmart is a family-owned grocery store that has been serving Parry Sound for over 100 years, with a friendly atmosphere and commitment to quality.
  • Hillside Market is a popular grocery store with fresh and local products, offering a variety of organic and gourmet items, locally sourced produce, baked goods, and artisanal products, as well as a café with seating.
  • Gourley’s Variety and Health Food Store cater to those with dietary restrictions and food sensitivities, with a range of gluten-free, organic, and specialty products, natural supplements, and personal care items.

Recommended Restaurants in Parry Sound

Welcome to our curated list of restaurants in Parry Sound, showcasing the vibrant culinary scene in the area. From cozy cafes to elegant fine dining establishments, these handpicked eateries offer an array of delectable dishes, each with its own unique flair and flavor.

Parry Sound

  • The Bay Street Cafe offers a diverse menu featuring Canadian and international cuisine, including fresh seafood and mouth watering steaks.
  • Wellington’s Pub & Grill has a vibrant atmosphere with delicious pub fare like signature burgers, sandwiches, and a wide selection of craft beers.
  • The Log Cabin Inn Steakhouse is a rustic dining experience with juicy steaks, prime rib, and other delectable dishes in a cozy log cabin setting.
  • The Bistro by 40 Bay Street is a charming establishment that offers gourmet dining with an ever-changing menu featuring locally sourced ingredients and creative dishes.
  • The Country Gourmet Cafe has hearty breakfasts, sandwiches, soups, and a variety of delicious homemade meals and baked goods.
  • The Ridge at Manitou is fine dining with stunning lake views at The Ridge at Manitou. Their elegant restaurant offers a seasonal menu highlighting regional flavors and culinary expertise.
  • North of 6ix is a contemporary fusion restaurant that features an innovative menu inspired by international cuisines, and they offer vegetarian and vegan options too.
  • Dock Lunch is a casual and delicious meal, with fresh seafood, gourmet sandwiches, and comforting soups in a cozy waterfront setting.
  • Boston Pizza offers a variety of pizzas, pasta dishes, burgers, and more, along with a family-friendly atmosphere.
  • Trapper’s Choice Restaurant offers traditional Canadian fare and hearty dishes like poutine, burgers, and roasted chicken in a cozy log cabin-inspired setting.

Rosseau:

  • Crossroads Restaurant offers a diverse menu featuring farm-to-table cuisine with a focus on fresh, local ingredients and creative flavors.
  • The Rosseau Pub and Grill has delicious pub fare and a cozy atmosphere with signature burgers, sandwiches, and a selection of craft beers while taking in the beautiful surroundings.
  • 3 Guys And A Stove is a charming restaurant that offers a fusion of flavors and dishes inspired by global cuisines, with an emphasis on using seasonal, locally sourced ingredients.
  • Cottage Law Canteen offers a lakeside view for casual dining with tasty sandwiches, wraps, salads, and refreshing beverages while taking in the scenic beauty of Rosseau.
  • The Rock Grill & Patio is located at The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa, and offers a menu featuring locally inspired dishes, including grilled specialties and artisanal cocktails.
  • The Waubic Restaurant is a waterfront dining establishment that offers a range of culinary delights, from fresh seafood and prime cuts of meat to vegetarian options and decadent desserts.
  • Paola’s Fine Cheeses offers a variety of artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, and gourmet pantry items, perfect for putting together a picnic or enjoying a cheese tasting experience.
  • Windermere Pub & Patio is located at Windermere House, and offers classic pub fare, refreshing beverages, and stunning views of Lake Rosseau

FAQs

Where can I find information about outdoor activities and trails in Parry Sound?

For information on hiking trails, cycling routes, and other outdoor activities, visit the Parry Sound Tourism website. They provide details on popular trails like the Parry Sound Rotary Algonquin Regiment Fitness Trail.

How can I access the Georgian Bay Islands National Park?

The Parks Canada website provides information on accessing the Georgian Bay Islands National Park, including ferry schedules, camping options, and permits.

Are there any public beaches in Parry Sound?

Yes, Parry Sound has a public beach known as Waubuno Beach, located near the Parry Sound Town Dock. It’s a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing during the summer months.

Where can I find information about upcoming events and festivals in Parry Sound?

The Parry Sound Tourism website provides information on upcoming events and festivals happening in Parry Sound, including music festivals, art shows, and community celebrations.

How do I get to Parry Sound from Toronto?

From Toronto drive north on Highway 400 for about 2.5 to 3 hours depending on traffic and road conditions. Alternatively, you can take a bus or train from Toronto to Parry Sound. Ontario Northland operates bus services, and Via Rail offers train services connecting the two cities. The travel time by bus or train varies, so it’s recommended to check schedules and plan accordingly.

How do I get around Parry Sound without a car?

Whether you’re seeking adventure, quality family time, a romantic getaway, or group fun, the Parry Sound region has something to offer everyone. Embrace the natural beauty, immerse yourself in the local culture, and create lasting memories in this picturesque part of Ontario.

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