Welcome to Collingwood, Ontario

About Collingwood

Welcome to Collingwood, Ontario, a town with a fascinating history and great entertainment.

If you’re from southern Ontario, chances are you’ve most likely heard “I’m going skiing in Collingwood” and for many decades Collingwood has boasted the best skiing in the province. However, since the introduction of Intrawest into Blue Mountain in 1999, the Collingwood area has become so much more than skiing and is now considered Ontario’s “Best Four Season Playground”. With the Blue Mountain Resort located close by, Collingwood is one of our most urban areas mixing amenities, shopping and recreation.

Collingwood Ontario Harbour

Collingwood Ontario Elvis Festival

Collingwood is also known for having an amazing music scene; with the Collingwood Elvis Festival taking place every July and many artists performing in local restaurants every night of the week.

This is the best place to find local information about the history of the Town of Collingwood, points of interest and landmarks, activities & things to do in the Collingwood area including outdoor recreation and winter activities, Collingwood area businesses & local services, upcoming events in Collingwood, Collingwood Real Estate and Properties For Sale, and so much more!

Things to do in Collingwood

If you’re from southern Ontario, chances are you’ve most likely heard “I’m going skiing in Collingwood” and for many decades Collingwood has boasted the best skiing in the province.  However, since the introduction of Intrawest into Blue Mountain in 1999, the Collingwood area has become so much more than skiing and is now considered Ontario’s “Best Four Season Playground”. With the Blue Mountain Resort located close by, Collingwood is one of our most urban areas mixing amenities, shopping and recreation.

As well, Collingwood is known for its excellent theatre and arts scene.  The Historic Gaytey Theatre has events and shows taking place all of the time and there are many art galleries throughout the town showcases the amazing talent that we have in the area. You can also catch up on all the latest blockbuster hits at the movie theatre in town. Collingwood is also known for having an amazing music scene; with the Collingwood Elvis Festival taking place every July and many artists performing in local restaurants every night of the week.

Collingwood Amenities

Collingwood Ontario HarbourCollingwood has all the amenities you may need such as grocery stores, banks and post offices, and a hospital.  There are plenty of small businesses such as restaurants, cafes and shops located throughout the town.  Collingwood has a great variety of boutiques, department stores, large supermarkets, cinemas, and fine dining. Collingwood is the perfect option if you want to be a short drive away from the mountain or the bay without sacrificing any convenience.

With such a variety of activities and points of interest, from shopping on the main street to dining at amazing restaurants, there is so much to do in Collingwood. Add in the amazing local history and the beautiful waterfront, it is clear to see why Collingwood draws people in from near and far to visit and live in!  And it’s only a 2-hour drive from the GTA and Kitchener/Waterloo.

Property Listings in Collingwood, Ontario

Collingwood Community Profile

What kind of people live in Collingwood Ontario?

Collingwood Amenities

Collingwood Ontario School Info

Local Schools

Collingwood Collegiate Institute – Collingwood
Connaught Public School – Collingwood
Admiral Collingwood Elementary School – Collingwood
Cameron Street Public School – Collingwood
Mountain View Elementary School – Collingwood
Pretty River Academy – Collingwood
St. Mary’s Catholic School – Collingwood
Jean Vanier Catholic High School – Collingwood
Collingwood Learning Centre – Collingwood

Collingwood Ontario Library Info

Local Library

Collingwood Public Library – Collingwood
Collingwood Museum – Collingwood

Collingwood Ontario Health and Medical Services

Nearest Hospital

General & Marine Hospital – Collingwood
Collingwood After Hours Medical Clinic – Collingwood

Local Gems

Explore each section below to see some of our favourite local spots. You can choose from Arts & Culture, Local Businesses that we love, Outdoor Recreational Activities and Natural Treasures!

History of Collingwood, Ontario

Collingwood Ontario Terminals

The town of Collingwood, as it stands today, is a testament to its heritage and small-town charm. The downtown core has many beautiful heritage brick buildings that line its streets with such grace and grandeur. Today, the town is a bustling tourism community with many seasonal residences and with its proximity to ski hills makes it ‘The’ place to be.

The town was settled approximately around 1840, and the Town Proper was first settled in 1854. Collingwood was the first township of Grey County laid out by a surveyor. The town was named in honour of Lord Collingwood who distinguished himself during the 1800s in battle.

As a port, Collingwood was an instant success. Shippers provided passage of goods and passengers to Owen Sound, Milwaukee, Sault Ste. Marie, and Lake Superior…

In 1853, the Simcoe & Lake Huron Railway chose Collingwood to be their Georgian Bay port and the first train to arrive in Collingwood was on New Year’s Day in 1855.

In the beginning, Collingwood was a treacherous, impassable mess of cedar swamp with no roads into or out of it. The surrounding country was very sparsely settled, except by the Indigenous Peoples; Tionontati. A river and portage trail was developed from Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay through Lake Simcoe. Due to a larger harbour that was surrounded by smaller islands, the town of Collingwood was originally named ‘Hens and Chickens Harbour.’ The town was settled circa 1840, and the Town Proper was settled in 1854. Collingwood was the first township of Grey County laid out by a surveyor.

Town Development

By 1854, the village had built a sawmill, grist mill, a couple of stores, a tavern, and a blacksmith. The town was named in honour of Lord Collingwood who distinguished himself during the 1800s in battle. In 1855, the town of Collingwood started to grow rapidly and it was in this year that the town’s lake traffic was laid. As a port, Collingwood was an instant success. Shippers provided passage of goods and passengers to Owen Sound, Milwaukee, Sault Ste. Marie, and Lake Superior. In 1853, the Simcoe & Lake Huron Railway chose Collingwood to be their Georgian Bay port and the first train to arrive in Collingwood was on New Year’s Day in 1855. The railway company also built a dock, freight shed, and a grain elevator at the harbour, as well as chartered steamships to connect to Chicago and Green Bay.

Incorporation

The Bill of Incorporation was passed in Parliament in the fall of 1857, and Collingwood came into existence as an incorporated town on January 1, 1858. It was approximately 1859-1860 that a Grammar School was built in Collingwood. By 1867, the town of Collingwood had a population of 1532 residents. Within a year, that town had grown to have 1920 residents. In 1871, the town purchased a steam fire engine that was christened the ‘Georgian’ and was heralded as one of the finest most efficient steam fire engines in the country for its time.

In September of 1881, a destructive fire swept out the existence of the largest portion of the business street. This did not slow the town down and the business section of the town was rebuilt in a short period of time with brick commercial buildings that are still standing along Hurontario Street today. In 1887, the town set to improve the harbour as they built immense piers, docks and a channel that was deep enough to accommodate any size vessel. There was once an American consulate installed in the town due to the large number of American shipping that passed through the Collingwood Port. Collingwood was the prime supplier of skiffs, fishing boats, yachts, and wooden steamships in the 1800s to all the Great Lakes.

In 1901, the first steel hull ship in Canada was launched in Collingwood the 321-foot ‘Huronic.’ During the early 1900s, Collingwood’s great population growth and development slowed considerably with the last historic buildings being built in 1918. As the Transcontinental Railroad began to flourish, the town started to lose its population and declined between the years 1911-1921 and scarcely grew for another 20 years.

Tourist Hotspot

The arrival of ski hills that opened along the Escarpment in the 1930s and 1940s breathed new life into the Town of Collingwood and so began the four-season tourism that is still prevalent today. The Collingwood Ski Club was formed in 1936 by Collingwood Businessmen, and in 1941 the ski-club land was leased to Blue Mountain Resorts Ltd., who hired Jozo Weider to operate the facility.

After 103 years of existence and surviving through two world wars, building vessels and munitions, the shipyards were closed on September 12th 1986. The 1980s brought a change to the downtown core of Collingwood and saw the removal of many historical two-storey buildings which were replaced by modern one-storey buildings.

The Town of Collingwood continues to thrive as a tourist hub which showcases its historical roots and classy nature. Collingwood is a gem in the landscape of the area with its sparkling Georgian Bay and the majestic Blue Mountains.