Explore Owen Sound's history on foot, discovering "Salvation Corners" and "Damnation Corners," a former U.S. Embassy, the province's first fish ladder and the birthplace of the Women's Christian Temperance Union.

Four walking tours, plus dozens of historic plaques, offer insights about the city's colourful past. Tour the Mill Dam area, the downtown, the east side or west side. Many sites are designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, others form part of the city's Freedom Trail, marking our black history.

The City's Historic Walking Tour brochure offers more information as you explore this great City!

Street Numbering System

In 1909, Owen Sound's street names were changed to numbers by Mayor F.W. Harrison (See West Side Tour, #5), who had lived in New York City and favoured the system. The Sydenham River divides the City into east and west sides, avenues run north-south, streets east-west.  Addresses are even numbered on the west sides of avenues and on the north sides of streets; each block represents an increase of 100 in the numbering system. The original street names are in parentheses on the maps.

Owen Sound Bay

Owen Sound Bay is a broad valley that cuts through the Niagara Escarpment. The valley preceded the last great Ice Age, but was broadened by the action of glacial ice, then by the erosive forces of the Sydenham and Pottawatomi rivers. During his preliminary survey of Lake Huron in 1815, Captain William Fitzwilliam Owen named it 'Owen's Sound' for his brother, Admiral Sir Edward William Campbell Rich Owen.