Owen Sound was originally known as Sydenham when it was first surveyed in 1840. European settlers began arriving the next year. Prior to that time, the area had been inhabited by the Ojibway First Nations. The community gained its current name in 1851, was incorporated as a town in 1857 and as a city in 1920. In 2017, Owen Sound marks 160 years since incorporation with Celebration 2017.
For much of its history, Owen Sound was a major port, known as the Chicago of the North. Its location on Georgian Bay gave it access to the upper Great Lakes, and major rail lines moved cargo south from there. The Gateway to the West, Owen Sound saw thousands of settlers move through on their way to the prairies. At one time, industries lined both sides of the bay.
Today, most of the old port-based industries are gone. But new industries have sprung up on the outskirts of the city. Provincial and federal services, regional shopping and entertainment districts all provide services to the population of Grey and Bruce counties. Tourism also plays a big part in our economy.
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