The BruceGreySimcoe Walk of Fame

Jul 05, 2019
Did you know that BruceGreySimcoe has been home to many famous Canadians over the years? From history makers in medicine to authors and artists, some truly influential individuals have hailed from our neck of the woods. Today, you can visit several historic sites to learn more about these BGS ground-breakers. Here’s a look at a few of our famous residents and the spots you can stop along your travels to discover their stories.


Stephen Leacock – Author—Orillia

This renowned Canadian humourist and author hailed from Orillia, Ontario. His most notable work—Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town—is well known in Canadian literature. Leacock’s Brewery Bay home was built in 1928 and is now an historic site and museum. From the historic boathouse to the elaborate gardens and beautifully landscaped waterfront property, this Orillia heritage site hosts events and exhibits year-round. Visit their website here to plan your visit.

Tom Thomson – Painter—Leith and Owen Sound

The iconic famous Canadian landscape painter, Tom Thomson, was born and later buried in Leith, Ontario. Although he died before the Group of Seven was formed, he was friends with the artists and was instrumental in depicting Canada in a truly Canadian way through his paintings. There are two unique ways to connect with the history of Tom Thomson while visiting the Owen Sound area. You can visit the Tom Thomson Art Gallery in downtown Owen Sound to view their permanent and rotating exhibits and check out their events. Find out more about their hours and programs on their website here.
You can also visit Tom Thomson’s gravesite at the Historic Leith Church, just a short drive out of Owen Sound. There’s much mystery surrounding the death of Thomson in Algonquin Park. His gravesite is decorated with paintbrushes and Canadian memorabilia left by visitors.

John Diefenbaker—13th Prime Minister of Canada—Neustadt

The 13th Prime Minister of Canada, John Diefenbaker’s home still stands in Neustadt, Ontario. The home located on Barbara Street is where Diefenbaker was born on September 18, 1895. The family later moved to Saskatchewan in 1903. The home houses a small museum, which is currently closed, but if you’re passing through the area you can still view this historic home from the outside. Find out more about John Diefenbaker right here.

Billy Bishop—WW1 flying ace—Owen Sound

World War 1 flying ace Air Marshal William Avery ‘Billy’ Bishop was originally from Owen Sound. His boyhood home in Owen Sound is open to the public as the Billy Bishop Home and Museum. Bishop flew in the first World War from 1914 to 1918 and the museum celebrates his accomplishments and career as well as giving visitors insight into his childhood in Owen Sound. Find out more on the museum’s website right here.

Frederick Banting—Discovered insulin—Essa Township

Born in Essa Township in 1891, Frederick Banting discovered insulin along with his assistant Charles Best back in 1921. Banting was the first Canadian to win a Nobel Prize and was the youngest winner ever at 32 years old. Banting’s home is now open to the public as the Banting Homestead Heritage Park. Visitors can explore the farmhouse and octagonal drive shed. Find out more about visiting the site on The Banting Legacy website.

Agnes MacPhail—First woman in parliament—Proton Township

Born on a farm in Proton Township in 1890, Agnes MacPhail was Canada’s first female Member of Parliament. First elected to the House of Commons in 1921, she served as an MP until 1940. You can visit a historical plaque that celebrates MacPhail’s accomplishments in Proton Township today. Find out more about the plaque right here.

Want to learn more about BruceGreySimcoe's history? Check out the blog, "History explored:  Discover a small museum this summer".