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November 17th, 2022

What is Southern Georgian Bay?


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, What is Southern Georgian Bay?

Southern Georgian Bay lies approximately 90 minutes north of Toronto, and consists of several small towns, each full of natural wonder and charm. The incredible attractions have put the area on the map as the ultimate vacation destination. 

With the largest collection of freshwater islands in the world and two of the largest freshwater marinas in Canada, its reputation is well deserved. But there is so much more to this beautiful area than meets the eye. It’s not just about vacations, sunsets, breathtaking hiking trails or stunning beaches. The communities that make up Southern Georgian Bay have so much to offer, not just as a four-season getaway but as a place to make a permanent home. 


We’ve posted extensively about the town of Collingwood, and for many good reasons. It’s the most well-known area within Southern Georgian Bay and is perfect for people from all walks of life. Whether you’re a single professional on the hunt for your first real career opportunity or ready to settle down with your family, you’ll find everything you need within this friendly, close-knit community. Collingwood is part of Simcoe County and is located right on Nottawasaga Bay.

What to Do in Collingwood

Proximity to the Niagara Escarpment provides a neverending list of outdoor recreational activities. In the winter, you’ll find some of the best skiing and snowboarding opportunities in the province. The rest of the year, you and your family can spend hours exploring nature on the countless hiking trails. 

Beyond the escarpment, you’ll find dozens of fantastic parks and playgrounds that everyone will enjoy. Children will love splashing into the refreshing water off the docks at Millenium Overlook Park. At the same time, grownups can relax and enjoy the beautiful view. What if you’re not the outdoorsy type? Never fear. 

Collingwood offers plenty of restaurants, patios, live entertainment and community events to keep everyone happy.

The list of reasons to love Collingwood is endless! Here are even more ideas for you to explore:

All the Amenities You Could Ask For

Life in Collingwood is fun for all ages, but it’s also convenient. Everything you need is minutes away, from coffee shops to fantastic local and independently owned boutiques. Forget run-of-the-mill retailers and giant big box stores. 

With two community health centres right in Collingwood and six others serving the area, you’ll find premium access to physicians, nurse practitioners, counsellors, dietitians and more. For inpatient care, The Collingwood General & Marine Hospital is an 84-bed facility that serves the entire Southern Georgian Bay community.

Collingwood boasts an impressive public transit system for a small town, with three routes at 30-minute intervals from the downtown terminal.

Interesting Fact We Bet You Never Knew

Some of Collingwood’s most famous residents have included NHL players like Jason Arnott, Claire Alexander, and Bernie Brophy. Olympic champions like equestrian Megan Lane and cyclist Herbert McDonald have also called this beautiful town “home.”

Are you thinking of buying a house in Collingwood? Here are some informative articles that can help you get the results you want:

With easy access to the waterfront, Collingwood has a reputation for luxurious homes that run into the million-dollar range and above. However, you may not realize how many affordable single-family residences and condos Collingwood offers. This range of options makes it the ideal place for young families starting out to those looking for an active lifestyle after retirement. Learn all about Collingwood in our community guide right here.

The Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains is located in Grey County. Of all the towns in Southern Georgian Bay, Blue Mountains is best known for its incredible ski hills and outdoor recreational activities. Although more notable as a tourist destination, the number of people who live here full-time is growing. At the time of the 2016 census, Blue Mountains had 7,025 residents. By 2022, that number had grown to 9,390, an increase of more than 33%. What is it about this gorgeous place that makes it so attractive to newcomers?

What to Do in the Blue Mountains

In the Blue Mountains, you will never experience a dull moment. It is a nature lover’s paradise and the site of outdoor wonders such as the Niagara Escarpment, Beaver River, and Pretty River Provincial Park. Summer, winter, fall, or spring brings an endless list of exciting activities to enjoy. There’s a lot more than downhill or cross-country skiing. The hiking is breathtaking, and the golfing is out of this world. You can also enjoy caving, cycling, and climbing, with pristine views of nature all around. 

Fitness enthusiasts will love the Met Con Blue Race challenge, which takes you up, across, and down Ontario’s largest mountain resort.

If you’re the kind of person who prefers to relax, the Scandinavian Spa is legendary. Luxury services include deep tissue massage, and you can watch the skiers racing down the hill from the soothing warmth of the hot springs. You’ll be hard-pressed to find an equivalent experience where you can immerse yourself in total relaxation.

Everything You Need in the Village

The Blue Mountains may be synonymous with the outdoors and nature, but it also offers all of the conveniences of modern life. In the Village at the Blue Mountains, you’ll find a plethora of shopping and dining experiences to fill your days. There are also beautiful golf courses and chalets within easy walking distance.

Are you thinking of buying a vacation property in the Blue Mountains? Read this first to understand the guidelines and rules you need to know. 

Business Development in the Blue Mountains

Small businesses make up the heart of the Blue Mountains’ economy, and the community invests heavily to promote entrepreneurship, especially among young people. Programs include Futurpreneur, Starter Company Plus, and the Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre (courtesy of Georgian College.)

In addition to the growing population of permanent residents, many people own second homes in the Blue Mountains. Since it’s located only 90 minutes away from the GTA, it’s an ideal destination to get away from it all, even just for a weekend. Your options range from entry-level condos to luxurious waterfront estates and everything in between. Discover more about this fantastic vacation destination in our community guide right here.


Like the Blue Mountains, Craigleith is part of Grey County and is just a 15-minute drive west of Collingwood. Its proximity to both towns makes it a unique and desirable destination for tourists and full-time residents.

Living in Craigleith gives you easy access to all of the amenities and attractions of Collingwood and the Blue Mountains. Plus, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy right in town. 

Craigleith is home to one of the most enviable ski resorts in the province, featuring six ski lifts, three base lodges, and 33 km of pristine trails just waiting to be explored by enthusiasts of all levels!

What to Do in Craigleith

Skiing might be Craigleith’s number one claim to fame, but it offers plenty of activities to enjoy all year round. The community centre is a longstanding heritage building, a beautiful stone structure constructed in 1862. Today, the centre offers multiple children’s activities, including music and art programs and summer camps.

In the summer, Craigleith Provincial Park is the go-to destination for swimming, hiking, paddle boarding, and camping.

Exploring Craigleith’s Heritage

The Craigleith Heritage Depot Museum highlights the fascinating history, culture, and heritage of the town and is a great place to visit on rainy or cloudy days. It’s the last remaining station on Canada’s first long-line railroad. The museum now has an adjoined public library, giving residents a quiet place to relax, read, or study.

Craigleith is the perfect town for anyone interested in scenic surroundings and an active outdoor lifestyle. Property values range anywhere from the low $400,000s to multi-million dollar homes on the waterfront. No matter where you live, you’ll gasp in delight at the natural beauty all around you. Find out more in our community guide right here.


Keep going west, and you’ll soon come to the stunning town of Thornbury, situated right on the shores of the Georgian Bay. Thornbury is part of Grey County and the primary population centre for the Blue Mountains.

What to Do in Thornbury

Culinary lovers rejoice! Thornbury is a mini-hub of pubs, diners, and restaurants, all vying to outdo each other to delight your taste buds. The Mill Cafe, Bruce Wine Bar, Misfits Hospitality, and Corner Cafe and Grill are just a few fantastic places to satisfy your hunger.

Being just 20 minutes from Collingwood and four minutes from Blue Mountains, you’ll have access to the best Southern Georgian Bay has to offer every day of the week.

Shopaholics will appreciate the many boutique stores that line the streets of Thornbury. Whether you’re looking for gourmet food items, stylish women’s clothing and accessories, fitness equipment, or the latest and greatest in electronics, it’s all around the corner in this charming little town.

The Thornbury real estate market consists mainly of single-family homes, but you’ll find condos in some of the newest buildings as well. Discover even more about this fascinating town in our community guide right here.

, What is Southern Georgian Bay?


Creemore, part of Simcoe County, sits on the eastern boundary of the Niagara Escarpment, 20 minutes south of Collingwood and Georgian Bay. History buffs will take great pleasure in exploring Creemore’s heritage, with several old churches and a school constructed well before the 20th century. Plus, the old bridge at the south end of Collingwood Street is a sight to behold! The Victorian-style architecture further enhances the welcoming, small village feel of the town.

Interesting fact: Creemore may or may not be the location of the smallest jail in North America. Town officials say they’ve got the top contender, but other towns like Cococonk and Tweed amicably disagree!

What to Do in Creemore

Though the population of Creemore is small, with just under 1200 residents as of the last census, it has a dynamic independent business community. Enjoy a leisurely drive along the main streets, where dozens of restaurants, pubs, and cafes let you socialize while satisfying your hunger. Plus, you’ll find many unique little shops and independent boutiques, such as gourmet food shops, furniture stores, flower shops and gift stores.

The Copper Kettle Festival happens every year, offering great beer, irresistible food, and toe-tapping music. There are fun-filled events for your whole family to enjoy, including a farmer’s market, a classic car show, and a variety of kids’ activities.

The safe, quiet community of Creemore is the perfect place for retirees or to raise a family. Housing options are primarily made up of spacious, single-family residences. Want to learn more? Check out our community guide right here.


16 minutes west of Blue Mountains, you’ll find the charming town of Meaford, also part of Grey County. Close proximity to the Blue Mountains and Collingwood gives you access to the wonders and conveniences of all three towns, often without the accompanying crowd of tourists.

It is located just minutes from the waterfront, where you’ll discover the beautiful harbour, a sandy beach, and a campsite right along the shore. Much of the town is rural, with acres of scenic countryside views.

In town, Meaford is also known for its vibrant entertainment scene, with a newly-renovated concert venue and all kinds of eateries and unique shops to visit.

Like most places in Southern Georgian Bay, Meaford is an outdoor lover’s paradise and an oasis of unspoilt nature. However, it is also an up-and-coming business hub that is just beginning to bloom. Trade areas include the nearby towns of Collingwood and Owen Sound, and entrepreneurs are starting to take notice. Meaford has become a launchpad for business startups and investments, and this trend is showing no signs of slowing down.

For real estate investors, Meaford is an ideal place to buy properties for short-term rentals since its rules and regulations are much more relaxed than in the Blue Mountains.

Permanent residents comprise primarily of families and married couples. Most residences are single-family detached homes, but some newer condos are currently in development. It’s a good thing, too. As Meaford’s business community grows, more young professionals are sure to be attracted to the area. Find out more in our community guide right here.

Grey Highlands

The scenic, rural community of Grey Highlands is tucked away in the southeast corner of Grey County. Right in the heart of Beaver Valley, you’ll discover some of the most breathtaking parks, trails, and lakes you’ll ever see. If you visit, the Flesherton & District Farmer’s Market is a must-see attraction. It runs every Saturday morning from mid-May until Thanksgiving and showcases the finest that farmers, growers, bakers, and craftspeople have to offer. 

The Heritage Grey Highlands sites provide a fascinating glimpse into the region’s history. You could spend hours exploring the historic Armstrong/Hickling House, Haskett House, and Kerr’s Bridge.

The two best words to describe the area are peacefulness and tranquillity. Residential real estate options consist primarily of single-family homes on large lots. With easy access to everything in Southern Georgian Bay, life in Grey Highlands brings together the best of all worlds. Discover more in our community guide right here.

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