Parry Sound
As neighbouring towns on Georgian Bay, Parry Sound and Depot Harbour competed bitterly for the commercial attention of Great Lakes freighters during the early 1900s, and at times it seemed that Parry Sound might blow away in a stiff west wind. Fortunately for Parry Sounders, the allies won the Second World War and in the ensuing VE day celebration, the residents of Depot Harbour burned their town to the ground. Today Depot Harbour is a ghost town, and Parry Sound is the gateway not only to the world’s deepest freshwater harbour but also to eastern Georgian Bay’s 30,000 Islands. It’s those islands that make the bay a worthy challenger to Lake Superior for the title of North America’s greatest inland sea-kayaking destination. The granite archipelago sprawling up and down the shore from Parry Sound creates a buffer between shore and sweetwater sea that offers endless crossings and campsites for adventure-bound kayakers.

Outdoor lowdown

Sea kayaking: Residents can launch right in the harbour downtown and head south out of the sound for the protected channels of Massassauga Provincial Park or north to the Mink and McCoy islands off Snug Harbour.

Diving: A half-hour boat ride brings scuba divers to at least four sunken ships, including the S.S. Atlantic, which foundered in 1903 and still has much of its machinery intact (you can swim through its boiler).

Hiking: Day hikers can explore the pink granite points of Killbear Provincial Park at the northeast end of the sound. Those with longer rambling on their mind can head 150 kilometres north to Killarney Provincial Park.

Biking: The Seguin Trail, a former railway turned pathway,  starts near town and runs through the woods for 75 kilometres (one way).

Skiing: Come winter the Georgian Nordic Ski and Canoe Club opens 25 kilometres of trails just east of town.

About town
Residents in this red-brick town take their entertainment seriously. The 480-seat Charles W. Stockey Centre for Performing Arts hosts the world-renowned Festival of the Sound every summer, and presents concerts year round. There’s also a burgeoning folk music scene, initiated by the kayakheads at the nearby White Squall Paddling Centre, who hold their annual Georgian Bay Kayak and Canoe Festival in May. In fact, with the number of home recording studios being built by staff from White Squall and climbing rope manufacturer Esprit Ropes, Parry Sound is on its way to creating its own signature music scene the way Seattle did with grunge in the 1990s—albeit with even more flannel. On the food front, locals generally hit up Wellington’s Pub or head to the pricier Log Cabin Inn. Half an hour north, The Inn at Manitou boasts an international  reputation for excellent cuisine, thanks to a kitchen staffed by 12 French chefs.
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