Penetanguishene: A Hidden Gem in Ontario

Penetanguishene is a small town located in Simcoe County, Ontario, Canada. It is situated on the southern tip of Georgian Bay, and it is known for its rich history, beautiful natural scenery, and vibrant community. Whether you are looking for outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply a relaxing getaway, Penetanguishene has something to offer for everyone.


  • Discovery Harbour: This historic site is a recreated 19th-century British naval and military base. Visitors can explore the fortifications, barracks, and ships, and learn about the life of sailors and soldiers during the War of 1812.
  • Sainte-Marie among the Hurons: This living history museum is a reconstruction of the 17th-century French Jesuit mission to the Huron-Wendat people. Visitors can see the original buildings, artifacts, and gardens, and learn about the interactions between the Europeans and the Indigenous peoples.
  • Penetanguishene Centennial Museum & Archives: This museum showcases the history and culture of Penetanguishene and the surrounding area. Visitors can see exhibits on the First Nations, the French explorers, the British settlers, and the modern-day community.
  • Rotary Champlain Wendat Park: This waterfront park offers a playground, a beach, a picnic area, and a boardwalk. Visitors can enjoy the views of Georgian Bay and the nearby islands, and watch the boats and birds.
  • Awenda Provincial Park: This wilderness park covers over 2,900 hectares of forests, lakes, and beaches. Visitors can hike, bike, swim, fish, camp, and observe wildlife. The park also has a visitor centre and interpretive programs.

Natural Wonders

  • Georgian Bay Islands National Park: This national park consists of 63 islands and islets in Georgian Bay. Visitors can explore the rugged landscapes, the clear waters, and the diverse flora and fauna. The park also offers camping, boating, and hiking opportunities.
  • Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre: This wetland conservation area is home to over 25 species of mammals, 200 species of birds, and 20 species of reptiles and amphibians. Visitors can walk on the boardwalks, canoe on the waterways, and learn about the ecology and history of the marsh.
  • Tiny Marsh Provincial Wildlife Area: This wetland complex is one of the largest in southern Ontario. Visitors can hike, birdwatch, and hunt (with a permit) in the area. The marsh is also a stopover for migratory birds and a breeding ground for waterfowl.


  • Penetanguishene Winterama: This annual winter festival takes place in February and features ice sculptures, snowmobile races, curling tournaments, and live music. The festival also includes a polar bear dip and a pancake breakfast.
  • Penetanguishene Rotary Ribfest: This annual summer festival takes place in July and features BBQ ribs, live entertainment, and family activities. The festival also includes a car show and a beer garden.
  • Penetanguishene Canada Day: This annual celebration takes place on July 1st and features a parade, a flag-raising ceremony, a cake-cutting, and fireworks. The celebration also includes live music and food vendors.


Penetanguishene was founded in 1793 by the French explorer Jean-Baptiste Rousseau, who established a trading post on the site. The name "Penetanguishene" comes from the Wendat word "pentangouiche," which means "place of the white rolling sands." The community grew as a hub for the fur trade and the shipping industry, and it became a strategic location for the British military during the War of 1812. In 1882, Penetanguishene was incorporated as a village, and in 1908, it became a town. Today, Penetanguishene is a thriving community with a population of over 8,000 people.


Penetanguishene is a hidden gem in Ontario that offers a unique blend of history, nature, and culture. Whether you are a history buff, a nature lover, or a festival-goer, you will find something to enjoy in this charming town. So why not plan a trip to Penetanguishene and discover its treasures for yourself?


  • Discovery Harbour. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  • Sainte-Marie among the Hurons. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  • Penetanguishene Centennial Museum & Archives. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  • Rotary Champlain Wendat Park. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  • Awenda Provincial Park. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  • Georgian Bay Islands National Park. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  • Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  • Tiny Marsh Provincial Wildlife Area. (n.d.). Retrieved from