Parry Sound Ontario Visited
by Gary McWilliams (aka Festival Nomad)
For a number of years I would drive from Toronto to my parents cottage in Muskoka. Along the way I would pass a sign that said “400 Hwy. to Parry Sound “.
I had often wondered what Parry Sound was like, but never went there.
That was the case until Judi and I decided that we should visit Parry Sound for our Oh Canada Eh! Game.
When Judi was younger, she and her family would visit Parry Sound as part of their summer vacation.
However, that was some time ago, so her memories of Parry Sound were vague.
Parry Sound is located on Georgian Bay and is one of the “Gateways” to the 30,000 Islands.
In fact, Parry Sound is known as the “Jewel of the 30,000 Islands“.
During the summer months Parry Sound is a “bustling” tourist destination.
Downtown Parry Sound “is bustling: vibrant, clean, and secure, a place to showcase local talent, and an environment where residents, cottagers, and visitors alike stroll welcoming streets to visit trendy restaurants and unique retail locations.” (www.parrysound.ca)
Like many Northern Ontario communities, Parry Sound is becoming more of a “four season” destination.
While in Parry Sound, Judi and I explored the downtown area and visited a number of their unique shops.
I hadn’t realized how interesting Parry Sound would be!
The more that we drove through the streets, the more interesting things we discovered!
There was the large mural that covered a wall of the Parry Sound Legion, and then there was the unique Parry Sound Fire Department building.
As we continued our exploring, we found the Parry Sound Railway Station and the tracks leading to it.
I imagined that in earlier days “visitors from the south” would travel by train to enjoy the “magic” of Parry Sound and the 30,000 Islands!
Eventually we passed under the rail trestle bridge and came to the Parry Sound harbour.
As we drove under the trestle, we noticed the Parry Sound Harbour and its Marina.
Across from the harbour were restaurants and a large public building.
The “large public building” turned out to be the Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts.
This is an fabulous Centre that offers visitors and residents amazing architecture…
scenic views of Georgian Bay…
and year round “live performances“.
Here’s what the Charles W. Stockey Centre’s website tells us ~ The Festival Performance Hall is constructed out of the area’s natural stone and indigenous trees. It has stunning acoustics as it was designed as a home for the Festival of the Sound, a world renowned festival of chamber and classical music which runs from mid-July to mid-August each year. Performances of all genres are presented in the Performance Hall during the rest of 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.”
Like many Canadians, I has followed the hockey career of the amazing Bobby Orr, but I hadn’t realized that he was from Parry Sound. The Stockey Centre is the home of the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame, a must see for any “hockey fan“!
Outside the Stockey Centre are a number memorials honouring Canadian War Heroes.
All overlooking beautiful Georgian Bay!
As I mentioned earlier, across the road was the Parry Sound Harbour. We decided to take a closer look.
The “Island Queen Cruise” ship sat at the docks, ready to take “adventure seekers” out “for a relaxing cruise through the narrow channels and shallow waterways of Georgian Bay’s charming inner islands“.
We now had spent the entire day exploring Parry Sound, it we time to head home.
Thanks Parry Sound for a “great” day!
We’ll be back!