The Blue Mountains, Ontario: A Blend of History and Recreation

The Blue Mountains, a picturesque town in Grey County, southwestern Ontario, Canada, is nestled where the Beaver River flows into Nottawasaga Bay. Named after the Blue Mountain, the town's economy thrives on tourism, particularly the Blue Mountain ski resort and the private Georgian Peaks, Osler, Craigleith, and Alpine Ski Clubs. The town was established on January 1, 2001, following the amalgamation of the Town of Thornbury with the Township of Collingwood.

The Blue Mountains, Ontario: A Recreation Paradise

The Blue Mountains offers a plethora of recreational activities for all seasons. Winter sports enthusiasts can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. Summer activities include hiking, downhill/cross-country biking, mini-golf, the Ridge Runner, and events like Met Con Blue.

For those seeking a more relaxed experience, The Village at Blue Mountain offers a variety of boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, and chalets, as well as golf courses within walking distance. The Scandinave Spa, nestled on 25 acres of natural Ontario birch, and the Scenic Caves are less than a 5-minute drive away. Craigleith Provincial Park is conveniently located along Highway 26 near the Blue Mountain resort.

The Bruce Trail passes through sections of the town, and the Kolapore area is popular for mountain biking and cross-country skiing. Metcalfe Rock and the Duncan Crevice Caves Nature Reserve are also notable attractions in the area.

Communities in The Blue Mountains, Ontario

The primary population centres in The Blue Mountains are Thornbury and the modern resort-style communities clustered around the foot of the escarpment near the ski resorts. The town's territory also includes the rural communities of Banks, Camperdown, Castle Glen Estates, Christie Beach, Clarksburg, Craigleith, Duncan, Gibraltar, Swiss Meadows, Heathcote, Kolapore, Little Germany, Lora Bay, Loree, Ravenna, Red Wing, Slabtown, and Victoria Corners.

Thornbury in The Blue Mountains, Ontario

Thornbury, first incorporated in 1831, was a separate administration from Collingwood Township until 2001 when it merged to form The Blue Mountains municipality. The town was a shipping and processing centre for local agricultural produce, especially apples, through its harbour on Georgian Bay, Lake Huron.

Rail service reached Thornbury on September 2, 1872, with the Northern Railway of Canada's North Grey Railway. The railway was later part of the Grand Trunk Railway and Canadian National Railways (CNR) systems, known as the CN Meaford Subdivision. Regular passenger service ceased in 1960, and the line was abandoned in 1985.

Thornbury is home to the architecturally unique L.E. Shore Memorial Library, built in 1995 and named after the founding partner of the architectural practice of Shore Tilbe Irwin + Partners who designed it. In recent years, Thornbury has become a popular winter and summer destination for vacationers from across Ontario. The town also holds an annual Canada Day celebration on the main street.

The Blue Mountains, Ontario: Demographics

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, The Blue Mountains had a population of 9,390 living in 4,348 of its 7,396 total private dwellings, a change of 33.7% from its 2016 population of 7,025. With a land area of 284.65 km2 (109.90 sq mi), it had a population density of 33.0/km2 (85.4/sq mi) in 2021.

Population trend:

  • Population total in 1996: 5667
  • Collingwood (township): 3904
  • Thornbury (town): 1763
  • Population in 1991:
  • Collingwood (township): 3390
  • Thornbury (town): 1646