Owen Sound has a vast amount of green space, including waterfront playgrounds, public gardens, leafy, shaded cemeteries, numerous downtown parks and our treasured Harrison Park, featuring over 40 hectares of streams, trails, gardens, forest and a large, fully accessible playground. Here are some of our most popular destinations:
KELSO BEACH PARK
At the mouth of the Pottawatomi River on the western shore you’ll find Kelso Beach Park, which has a sheltered picnic area, playground, splash pad (courtesy of the Scenic City Order of Good Cheer), washrooms, paths, playing fields and an amphitheatre.
The site was originally a settlement of the Anishinaabe First Nations people, whose territory extended from what is now Collingwood to Goderich. The shores of the bay have been filled over the years to make the land more usable for shipping and industrial purposes, and to create Kelso Beach Park, named after Henry Kelso, a former municipal employee. The park is used for many city festivals and events, including Canada Day celebrations, the Summerfolk Music & Crafts Festival, the Salmon Spectacular Fishing Derby and as of this year, the Emancipation Festival.
SARAWAK FAMILY PARK
North of Kelso on County Road 1 you’ll find Sarawak Family Park, across from the Legacy Ridge Golf Club. It has a sheltered, rocky beach, a playground, washrooms and picnic areas.
HARRY LUMLEY BAYSHORE COMMUNITY CENTRE
On the east side of the harbor you’ll find the Bayshore Community Centre, home of the Owen Sound Junior “A” Attack hockey team in the winter and site of a boat launch, sheltered pier, beautiful community gardens and an accessible playground in summer. A three-kilometre multi-use harbour walkway stretches from the Bayshore to Kelso Beach Park. This area is also the jumping off point for the Tom Thomson Trail, which extends to Meaford. Request a copy of our new trails map at the Visitor Information Centre.
Owen Sound boasts four natural cascades within a short drive of the downtown: Weaver’s Creek Falls in Harrison Park; Inglis Falls just south of the park; Jones Falls at the top of the 10th Street West hill; and Indian Falls, off County Road 1 near Balmy Beach, north of the downtown. Pack a lunch, wear comfortable footwear, and make a day of it! These waterfalls are included in the Grey County Waterfall Tour. Request a copy from the Owen Sound Visitor’s Centre, or download it from our web site at www.owensoundtourism.ca
If you’re looking for a romantic retreat, family fun or simply a place to stretch your legs and breathe in clean, invigorating fresh air, head to Harrison Park, off 2nd Ave. East, where you can enjoy a swim, feed the swans, or float along the river in a rented paddleboat or canoe.
Often called our “jewel in the crown,” the park features dining and recreation facilities, a full-service campground, boat rentals, a bird sanctuary, swans, mini-putt, basketball courts, pools, and an open-air ice rink. Its trail system leads to Inglis Falls, and connects with the Bruce Trail.
Depending on the time of year, you can enjoy an ice cream cone or hot chocolate at the Harrison Park Inn Restaurant, watch trout and salmon swim upstream to spawn, or visit the Black History Cairn, part of the city’s Freedom Trail commemorating its first black settlers. In winter, lace up your skates at the open-air ice rink, go tobogganing, cross-country ski or snowshoe and delight in the annual Festival of Northern Lights.
Pick up a free Harrison Park guide and map from the Owen Sound Visitor Information Centre.