Owen Sound: Rare Vintage Photographs

January 18, 2018 | David

Comments (2)

Owen Sound title page

Toronto Public Library's Digital Archive gives you instant access to bits of history from across Ontario — not just Toronto. Hot off our scanners are 50+ historic photographs of Owen Sound. They are from a rare book, "Souvenir of Owen Sound, Canada" (open as a PDF). Published around 1900, the small book contains at least one photo from as far back as 1875. The book was printed by Grip Printing & Publishing Co. and published by Miss S.F. Conlin, a bookseller in Owen Sound.

For anyone unfamiliar with Owen Sound, here is a bit of its history (from the city's website):

Located in the upper Great Lakes, the region of Owen Sound was first surveyed in 1815 by William Fitzwilliam Owen and Lieutenant Henry W. Bayfield. The area was named 'Owen's Sound' in honour of Admiral Sir Captain Owen Edward William Campbell Rich Owen (Fitzwilliam's older brother).

Originally known as Sydenham, it was first settled in 1841 by Charles Rankin. Prior to that, the area had been inhabited by the Ojibway people. The city gained its current name in 1851 and was incorporated in 1857.

Throughout much of its history, Owen Sound was a major port known by such names as the 'Chicago of the North', 'Corkscrew City', and 'Little Liverpool'. The notoriety of taverns, booze and a brothel led to a rowdy reputation for the city.

Below are a few digitized photos from the book (see all the photos from the book or all of the historic material of Owen Sound in the Digital Archive):

Poulett Street  Looking South

  McLauchlan & Sons Co.  Limited storefront

St George's Church

La Marchand Place

Town Hall and Market

Bathing at Balmy Beach

Cannons in The Battery  Owen Sound

Geogian Bay Portland Cement Works

G T R Station and Yards

C P R Station and Yards  from Elevator


Want to learn more? Check out this history of Owen Sound available at Toronto Public Library:

Owen Sound Port City cover page

Owen Sound: The Port City by Paul White (2000)

Print book |  eBook