Travel the Bruce Peninsula: Owen Sound to Wiarton

Travel the Bruce Peninsula from Owen Sound to Wiarton provides you with a leisurely, scenic trip. The panorama that awaits you on this leg of the journey is at times breathtaking. The rest of the time it is merely awesome.


Leaving Owen Sound

As you drive from Owen Sound, take your time to stop at various vantage points to enjoy the view of sparkling waters of Georgian Bay on your right. Before entering the village of Balmy Beach, you will see Legacy Ridge Golf Club, which was originally the Owen Sound Golf & Country Club on your left.


Travel the Bruce Peninsula: the Scenic Route

After 15 minutes of driving, with the panorama of Georgian Bay looming out your passenger-side windows, you will reach the village of Kemble.

Here, ignore the signs directing you towards Wiarton. Instead, at the four-way stop sign (The only stop sign in the village) drive straight ahead. You are now headed to Kemble “Mountain”. But don't worry, you are still on a path to travel the Bruce Peninsula.

As you climb the “mountain”, go slowly, because the view to the right, as well as out of your rear window is awesome!

Once you reach the top, continue on to the first intersection and turn left on Concession Road #24.

Turn right at the next side road, which is called the Big Bay Side Road.

Count to ten.  Stop the car.

The view will definitely take your breath away! 

Before you, the deep blue of Georgian Bay is dazzling. In one direction lies the entrance to Owen Sound. Straight ahead, there is nothing but deep blue water. To left lies the entrance to Colpoys Bay, protected from the wind and heavy Georgian Bay surf by its three sentinels, Griffith, Hay and White Cloud Islands. Beyond the entrance to Colpoys Bay, the cliffs of the Bruce Peninsula shoreline loom majestically.

Once you have caught your breath, proceed down the “mountain” to the village of Big Bay. If you go straight ahead at the stop sign you will enter a short road that in 30 seconds (or less) brings you to the shoreline of Georgian Bay. The view is awesome!

You can take a stroll on the government dock as the waves crash against the pilings. In the 1870s and 1880s this dock was an important fueling stop for the many coastal steamers that plied the waters along the Georgian Bay shoreline between Owen Sound and Tobermory. For many years maritime traffic was the only reliable transportation route on the Bruce Peninsula.

The beach to the right of the dock is very rocky. But, if you don’t mind the hard walking, or you have swimming shoes take time for an invigorating swim in the fresh Georgian Bay water.

Returning to the main road after your visit to the dock, turn right (north) at the stop sign and make your way towards Wiarton as you continue to travel the Bruce Peninsula. How long it takes you to reach Wiarton depends on how many times you stop to take in the incredible scenery of the cliffs and water of Colpoys Bay.

Along the way there are some great lookout spots with picnic facilities. You will never eat your lunch with a better view!

If you are a golfer, make sure that you check out the Wiarton golf course. It is located on the left side of the road. You will reach the golf course about ten minutes after you leave Big Bay. (The golf course is interesting, but the view is incredible!)

After passing through the hamlet of Oxenden, you will pass the entrance to the Wiarton airport, which is the major government airport facility in the region.


Wiarton: Points of Interest

When you arrive in Wiarton, take time to turn right at almost any intersection before you come to the main highway and you will find yourself at the great municipal park, which offers a stunning view of Colpoys Bay.

Ironically, although the area around the present-day community had for centuries been a staging area for an important portage route (known as the Rankin Portage route) for native and non-native travelers, Wiarton was the last community to be settled on Colpoys Bay.

In Wiarton, turn right (north) on Highway #6, which if you don't stop in town will will continue your route to travel the Bruce Peninsula taking you directly to Tobermory, and the tip of the Bruce Peninsula.

The downtown features some great little shops and unique places to grab a cup of coffee or a light lunch.

A right turn at any intersection on Highway 6 in downtown will take you to the town’s waterfront. The main attraction is a large park that features the community’s most famous citizen, Wiarton Willie. There is a restaurant, a swimming pool and lots of space with playground equipment to allow the younger travelers to burn off some pent-up energy.

The Wiarton Marina and dock offer the opportunity to see a wide variety of sailing vessels.

The local tourist association has a visitor center located in the old train station just a short distance from the shoreline of Colpoys Bay. 

Don’t forget, that Wiarton is also a great place to visit in the winter. This is especially true around the weekend of February 2 (Groundhog Day) when the whole world turns to Wiarton and its most famous citizen Wiarton Willie, to find out how long winter will maintain its icy grip.

It is time to move on to the next stage of your trip and travel the Bruce Peninsula, Hold your Breath! There are move incredible views on the horizon!


Discover More About the Bruce Peninsula

Getting to the Bruce Peninsula is a relatively easy driving trip. Here are driving directions from three regions to the peninsula.

Barrow Bay Ontario a Picturesque Georgian Bay Community owes its origin to the once-thriving Bruce Peninsula lumbering industry. Today it is a quiet summer get-away!

Bruce Peninsula Lumber History details the impact of the forest products industry on the development of the region.

Bruce Peninsula Lumbering provided the stimulus to develop and grow the pioneer economy on the newly settled Bruce Peninsula. 

Bruce Peninsula Municipal Politics: No matter what the venue, or the issue, seldom is a popular decision made that suits everyone. 

Bruce Peninsula Travel Routes were often a matter of debate because in the early years, land travel was virtually unattainable for settlers and lumbermen alike.

Aboriginal History: Bruce Peninsula has a long indigenous heritage not just for the native nation living there today, but for other native groups as well.

Aboriginal History: the 1836 Treaty made promises to the native peoples of the Bruce Peninsula which did not last long before everything changed again.

Aboriginal land history continues the story of aboriginal land issues on the Bruce Peninsula. How it happened is a point for discussion by everyone.

Settler Impact on Bruce Peninsula Natives was not only from the imposition of treaties, but also from British military plans.

"Half Mile-Strip" Treaty made it possible for a relatively smooth overland connection to be built between Owen Sound and the Lake Huron shoreline.

Catherine Sutton: aka Nahneebahweequay was a hero, fighting for her Indigenous rights and those of her family.

Allenford United Church history details not only some important information about that community's church, but also about one of the founders of this Ontario community.

Colpoys Bay Vista - Awesome! A short drive from either Wiarton or Owen Sound is one of the most magnificent views to be found in the province of Ontario!

Dyer's Bay Ontario: Began as a Lumbering Settlement and today it is a wonderful vacation retreat.

Elsinore Ontario is the southern-most point on the Bruce Peninsula, located about half-way between Owen Sound and the Lake Huron shoreline.

Forest Products on the Bruce Peninsula contributed greatly to the growth and development of that region of the province of Ontario.

Gillies Lake: aka Ghost Lake has a mysterious past as its original name, Ghost Lake, implies.

Great Grey Owls on the Bruce Peninsula was a surprise discovery for ornithologists and others. Sadly, the story of their visit had an unfortunate conclusion.

Pioneer Campers: Hope Bay mostly considered the peninsula untamed wilderness and some of the locals were not about to disappoint them!

A Pioneer Community: Driftwood Crossing, at the southern-most part of the Saugeen/Bruce Peninsula was at the midpoint between the Georgian Bay and Lake Huron coasts.

Pioneer Missionary James Atkey arrived on Colpoys Bay to minister to the native community near Oxenden until a treaty uprooted his parishioners.

Pioneer tourists first visited the Bruce Peninsula in the 1800s and the region continues as a great recreational and tourism destination today!

Pioneer Vacations on the Bruce Peninsula got an eerie start in the Hope Bay region of the peninsula.

Lighthouses  Lighthouses were vital to Georgian Bay Sailing.

Sauble Beach Ontario has seen it all. A fishing outport; a sawmilling centre; and an internationally acclaimed tourist resort area!

Sauble Beach  This popular beach is known as Canada's Daytona Beach.

Lion's Head  Sailors often sought refuge from the stormy Georgian Bay waters in its well-protected harbour.

Park Head  Grand Trunk Railway in Park Head Ontario was an important railway depot on the Bruce Peninsula when in 1894 the first train chugged through Park Head.

Stokes Bay  Welcomed fishermen as their first non-native visitors. Today, if you are a fisherman, you will also probably want to try your luck landing a walleye, lake trout or any of the other game fish that live in the coastal waters of Lake Huron.

Tobermory Ontario has a rich history and, is the northern- most destination point for travellers visiting the world famous Bruce Peninsula.

Tobermory Ontario Tourism is focused on shipwreck diving which has become so popular that tourism has become an important part of that community's economy. 

Tobermory pioneers experienced a life in a community that was anything but the tourism hive of activity that it is today.

A Flowerpot Island cruise is not only entertaining, but it is also very educational as you will see things that you have never viewed before!

Wiarton Ontario  This historic community was a great place to live in the early settlement days and still is a busy tourist stop on your way up the Bruce Peninsula.

Wiarton  had ambitions to Succeed but while success brought them a railroad and other ventures did not have a sweet ending for many in the town.

Wiarton Ontario’s First Newspaper  A catalyst in supporting road construction and bringing the railway to Wiarton in hopes of making the town the economic leader of the area. But disappointment looms...

Wiarton news: 1890s, as seen in the pages of the local newspaper revealed problems typical of today's communities 

Wiarton Beet Industry was to be a great boost to the town's economy. Instead, it left most people with a bad taste in their mouths.

Travel the Bruce: Owen Sound to Wiarton  A wonderful journey from Owen Sound to Wiarton.

Travel the Bruce: Wiarton to Tobermory  Relaxing and historic journey.

Bruce Peninsula  The Bruce Peninsula is a compelling place, with a rich history, to visit. Once you have traveled there, we guarantee that you will return, again and again!

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