History explored: Discover a small museum in BruceGreySimcoe

Jun 26, 2019
Summer has arrived in BruceGreySimcoe and while many of your plans may include the great outdoors, we’ve got ideas for what to do when the odd rainy day intrudes. BruceGreySimcoe is home to some amazing museums—and aside from the big 3—Grey Roots Museum and Archives, The Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre and the Simcoe County Museum—there are eclectic and unique museums spread across all three counties. We’ve put together this handy list of off-the-beaten path museums that will fill your "indoor activity" days while delighting you with tales of the history of our region. Read on to find a small museum near you.
Note:  check ahead for seasonal hours

Bruce County Museums


Treasure Chest Museum
Paisley, Ontario

This small community museum is home to some amazing local history from Paisley and the surrounding rural areas. Located at 407 Queen Street in Paisley, visitors are always welcome to tour the exhibits and learn about life in the village throughout history. Find out more at https://www.facebook.com/paisleytreasurechestmuseum/

St. Edmund’s Township Museum
Tobermory, Ontario

Located in the former St. Edmunds Settlement School, the building dates back to 1898. The museum houses much of the history of the Bruce Peninsula – from land deeds and registers to historic photographs. The upper floor is dedicated to marine history and an 1875 log cabin sits on the grounds—furnished in the style of the 19th century. For more information visit their Facebook page, the Explore the Bruce website  or the Tobermory website.

Grey County Museums

South Grey Museum
Flesherton, Ontario

Located on Highway 10 in the village of Flesherton, the South Grey Museum hosts a community history collection representing the settlement and development of Southern Grey County. With rotating exhibits and a large collection of family genealogical records, you can easily spend an afternoon here. Find out more on their website

Sheffield Park Black History Museum
Clarksburg, Ontario

Tucked away in the tiny village of Clarksburg, a short drive from Thornbury, the Sheffield Park Black History Museum is a hidden gem where the history of the early Black pioneers and settlers in Simcoe and Grey Counties can be explored and experienced. Before visiting, head to their website or their Facebook page to find out more.

Craigleith Heritage Depot
The Blue Mountains, Ontario

Located in an old train station at the base of the Niagara Escarpment, the Craigleith Heritage Depot houses plenty of local history, including lots of information about the development of the ski industry nearby. The Georgian Trail runs right past the museum, and the path is surrounded by lilacs in the spring. Be sure to check for opening hours on their website before planning your visit.

Billy Bishop Home & Museum
Owen Sound, Ontario

Located in the childhood home of WW1 flying ace Billy Bishop, this spot is definitely worth a visit. On hand are much of the original furniture from the home as well as various artifacts from throughout Bishop’s career. See a model of Bishop’s second plane, an SE 5A. Be sure to head to their website before visiting.

Community Waterfront Heritage Centre
Owen Sound, Ontario

Located along the harbour wall in Owen Sound, near the MS Chi-Cheemaun ferry's off-season home, is the Community Waterfront Heritage Centre. Located in the former CN Rail Station, there’s a caboose and CN rail car on site to explore as well. The centre houses some very interesting history of Owen Sound’s marine and rail development. Be sure to visit their website before heading out.

Meaford Museum
Meaford, Ontario

Originally built in 1895 as the town of Meaford’s pumping house, the Meaford Museum now houses some rich history of the town’s apple growing industry and military roots. With both permanent exhibits and access to local online genealogy, there’s plenty here to keep you busy! Find out what’s happening on their website.

Simcoe County Museums

Creemore Jail
Creemore, Ontario

Yes, that’s right, not only does the village of Creemore have a fantastic brewery (Creemore Springs) and a quaint downtown, it’s also home to North America’s Smallest Jail! Built in 1892 at a cost of $425.20, this 3-cell lockup housed law breakers for half a century. Now you can swing by and lock yourself up for fun and photos. Right next door is a resorted log cabin with a history host on hand during the summer on Saturdays. Sound intriguing? Find out more here.

Camp Borden Military Museum
Angus, Ontario

For those interested in military history, a stop at Camp Borden in Angus is a must. The Military Museum here is one of the largest in Canada and holds a sizeable collection of WWI, WWII and post-war armoured vehicles, trucks and aircraft. Outside the museum there is a tank park—with armoire vehicles and artillery pieces on display you can get a closer look at. There’s also an Air Force Annex home to the AVRO 504K—the oldest flyable airplane in Canada. Learn more on their website.

The African Methodist Episcopal Church of Oro
Oro, Ontario

Operated in partnership with the Simcoe County Museum, the African Methodist Episcopal Church of Oro offers free tours of the church on Saturdays from the May long weekend until Thanksgiving. This important piece of history has been lovingly preserved by volunteers, reopening to the public back in 2016. Visit their website or watch the video below to get an idea of what a tour of the church includes.


Nancy Island Historic Site
Wasaga Beach, Ontario

In the heart of Wasaga Beach, the Nancy Island Historic Site is rich with the history of the War of 1812 in Simcoe County and the Georgian Bay region. The HMS Nancy’s battle against three rival American schooners on August 14, 1814 was a pivotal moment in Canadian history and Nancy Island houses the charred hull and artifacts from this historic day. Visitors can join a heritage costumed staff member to discover the history of the Nancy and her crew. Also climb a replica 19th Century Great Lakes lighthouse for an amazing view of Wasaga Beach. Get all the details on their website.  

Collingwood Museum
Collingwood, Ontario

This reproduction of an 1873 train station houses some serious history of the town and surrounding area. From Collingwood’s shipbuilding history to an amazing archival collection about Great Lakes shipping, there’s plenty to discover. The museum also has many hands-on activities, ride a penny farthing and turn a brass ship’s wheel. Find out more on the museum’s website.

S.S. Keewatin
Port McNicoll, Ontario

The only floating museum on this list, a visit to the S.S. Keewatin is like going back in time. Not only is the S.S. Keewatin the last remaining Great Lakes Passenger Liner, she’s the last of the Edwardian built passenger liner steamships in the world. The tour guides at the S.S. Keewatin are well-versed in the history of the ship and the rooms—ranging from staff quarters to luxurious passenger accommodations—are staged with period clothing and artifacts. If you’re in the Midland/Penetanguishene area, the S.S. Keewatin is a must-see! Those with mobility issues should call ahead to discuss access. Find out more on the S.S Keewatin website.

Huronia Museum
Midland, Ontario

This small museum packs a big punch. Outdoors, the museum grounds feature a replica of a pre-contact Huron/Ouendat village with a lookout tower, wigwam and a full-size longhouse. Inside, the museum houses thousands of historic artifacts including photographs, marine heritage items and art by the Group of Seven. Be sure to check out the hours on their website and plan your visit this summer.

Penetanguishene Centennial Museum & Archives
Penetanguishene, Ontario

Located just a short walk from the Penetanguishene harbour, this little museum has lots to offer. Visit the 1875 Lumber Office and General Store owned by the late lumber baron and past mayor of Penetanguishene, Mr Charles Beck. As one of Ontario’s oldest communities, there’s lots to learn about the region and the town. Visit the museum’s website for more info.

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