This article originally appeared in the 2018 Invest In Style Cottage Life Issue. You can see the original article here.
Imagine a town that has it all – a destination with natural beauty, a multitude of year-round activities, and a history that goes back to before Canada was a country. Tucked into the small Nottawasaga Bay, on the southern point of Georgian Bay, the town of Collingwood boasts a rich history, a vibrant community and an amazing atmosphere that will make visitors want to return again and again.
To understand the town and what it has to offer, it is necessary to take a step into the past. As early as 1832 settlers were arriving into the area, and some years later, in 1846, a saw and flour mill was established and named Hurontario Mills. With the mill located on the eastern side, a small township was built along the lakeshore and named Hen and Chickens Harbour. The name was derived from the number of small islands visible when sailing into the harbour, which resemble a big hen followed by a number of smaller chickens. In 1854, just four years before official incorporation, the town was renamed Collingwood, after Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood. With the arrival of the Simcoe & Huron Railway (Northern Railway) in 1855, the boom started.
The town flourished as a base for shipping and shipbuilding and created easy access to American ports for both freight and passengers. This created such a wave of travellers that there was a necessity to have an American consulate located there.
The industry grew, and expansion of the town included businesses along Hurontario Street (named so because?it runs from Lake Huron south to Lake Ontario). After?a devastating fire in 1881 that wiped out most of the enterprises along the street, a different class of business places were built, many of which still stand, showcasing the determination and pride of their owners.
The town still maintains its pride as the first municipality in Canada to have a Heritage Conservation District. A town with more than 50 historical buildings, Collingwood holds important reminders of the lives and businesses that grew with only the drive of the people that settled here, and visitors have been flocking here since the 1940’s to enjoy the atmosphere and activities in the area.
Today, the community is a destination for those who want the experience of the past mixed with incredible activities that can be found here. Located just 2 hours north-west of Toronto, and a short drive from the borders of New York State and Michigan, this is a getaway that is easily reached by car. There is something for everyone: from 70 kilometres of walking trails to the world’s longest freshwater beach; to sailing and skiing; to culinary delights and local breweries; to the more than 100 events and festivals that the town hosts each year. As well, Collingwood is included in the Apple Pie Trail, a culinary adventure trail inspired by the apple growing history in the South Georgian Bay area.
A place to experience life, Collingwood calls to the heart of visitors and holds them in a spell.
Source: Chestnut Park Blog