Place:Owen Sound, Grey, Ontario, Canada

Watchers


NameOwen Sound
TypeCity
Coordinates44.567°N 80.933°W
Located inGrey, Ontario, Canada
Contained Places
Cemetery
Greenwood Cemetery
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names


Owen Sound (Canada 2011 Census population 21,688), the county seat of Grey County, is a city in southwestern Ontario, Canada. Owen Sound is located at the mouths of the Pottawatomi and Sydenham Rivers on an inlet of Georgian Bay named Owen Sound Bay.

The present arrangement of municipalities in Grey County:
Image:Grey townships2.png

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

The area around the upper Great Lakes has been home to the Ojibwe people since prehistory. In 1815, William Fitzwilliam Owen surveyed the area and named the inlet after his older brother Admiral Edward Owen. A settlement called "Sydenham" was established in 1840 or 1841 by Charles Rankin in an area that had been inhabited by First Nations people. John Telfer settled here at that time and others followed. By 1846, the population was 150 and a sawmill and gristmill were operating. The name Sydenham continued even as the community became the seat for Grey County in 1852.

An Ontario historical plaque explains that a First Nations Band, led by Chief Newash had a reserve in the area totalling about . In 1842 they established the village of Newash which initially contained fourteen log houses, a school and a barn; the population was served by Wesleyan Methodist missionaries. In 1857, the government took over the reserve area and moved most of the inhabitants of Newash to Cape Crocker.[1]

Over the years, Owen Sound was a major port best known for its taverns and brothel. The community acquired names as the Chicago of the North, Corkscrew City, and Little Liverpool because of its rowdy reputation. Supporting this reputation was a tavern named "Bucket of Blood", located on the corner of an intersection known as "Damnation Corners", because of taverns on all four corners, but this location was also only a block away from an intersection with four churches called "Salvation Corners".

Sydenham was renamed Owen Sound in 1851; by then, it was served by a direct road to Toronto, the Toronto-Sydenham Road; some of it still exists as a part of Highway 10.[1] The community became an incorporated town in 1857, with a population of nearly 2000.[1] In 1873, the Toronto, Grey and Bruce Railway from Weston arrived and allowed for shipping goods to and from the community.[2]

Louis' Steakhouse, a popular upscale restaurant just outside town, was opened by the Gavaris family in the 1980s in a historic building which changed hands several times before being demolished in 2016. It was originally a home (built in 1881), but became a brothel from 1907-1915, where the madam would stand in its castle-like tower and watch the port for a ship to come in, and she would ready her prostitutes to excite the sailors. This reputation for vice and villainy, and the problems that came with it, caused the city to ban all drinking establishments for several decades. The city was "dry" until 1972.


One of the city's most famous sons was World War I flying ace and Victoria Cross winner, William Avery "Billy" Bishop, born in Owen Sound, and Canada's leading pilot in the war. He flew with the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force. In 1917 and 1918, Bishop was credited with downing 72 enemy aircraft. He was awarded the Victoria Cross, the Distinguished Service Order and the Military Cross.[1] After the war, he was promoted to Air Marshall and worked as director of recruiting for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). Bishop is also one of the few to have tangled with Manfred von Richthofen (the Red Baron) and survived, forcing the German pilot to retreat in a damaged aircraft. Bishop later recalled that it was a "close shave, but a wonderful, soul-stirring flight." Bishop's boyhood home, one of the National Historic Sites of Canada, is a museum with artifacts from his life.[2]

The Billy Bishop Regional Airport in the nearby Municipality of Meaford was named after him. His modest gravesite can be visited in the city's Greenwood Cemetery by those willing to take the time to locate the stone. His boyhood home is now a museum dedicated to his life and to Canada's aviation history. The town was also the home of National Hockey League (NHL) Hall of Fame goaltender Harry Lumley and the artist Tom Thomson (buried in the nearby village of Leith). Surgeon Norman Bethune, an avowed communist and pioneer of public medicine who gained notoriety in his innovative medical work with the Chinese army during the Second Sino-Japanese War, is an alumnus of the Owen Sound Collegiate and Vocational Institute. Legendary hockey broadcaster Bill Hewitt was once sports director of the local AM radio station, CFOS. Thomas William Holmes, another Victoria Cross winner, was also from Owen Sound, and the city's armoury bears his name.

In 2005 Owen Sound became the National Communities in Bloom champion in the cities of 20,001–50,000 category in Canada for its beauty, natural landscape, and strong sense of community. Owen Sound has been recently recognized as a good retirement community due to its cultural, sports and natural amenities.

Research Tips

The primary source for basic documents (vital statistics, land records, wills) for people who lived in the Province of Ontario is the Archives of Ontario, 134 Ian Macdonald Blvd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M7A 2C5.

Early Records

Civil registration did not begin in the province until 1869. Before then there may be church records of baptisms and burials. For the most part these are still held by the denomination who recorded them. Copies of marriage records made pre-1869 had to be sent by individual clergymen to the registrar of the county in which the marriage took place. These marriage records are available through Ontario Archives, on micorfilm through LDS libraries, and on paid and unpaid websites, but because they were copied at the registrars' offices, they cannot be considered a primary source.

Vital Records after 1869

Birth, marriage and death registrations are not open to the public until a specific number of years after the event occurred. Births to 1915 are now available [October 2014]; dates for marriages and deaths are later. Birth and death registration was not universally carried out in the early years after its adoption. Deaths were more apt to be reported than births for several years. The more rural the area, the less likely it would be that these happenings were reported to the authorities.
Images and indexes of civil registrations for the "viewable" years can be found on paid websites, and indexes only on FamilySearch. The FamilySearch Wiki on Ontario Vital Records explains how these records are organized and their availability.
In September 2014 Ancestry.ca announced that its paid website has been subjected to a "houseclean" of its Ontario BMD database, adding data that had been omitted and making many corrections. Its provision now includes

  • Births, with 2,172,124 records covering 1869-1913.
  • Marriages, with 3,393,369 records for 1801-1928 including Ontario county, district and Roman Catholic origins as well as province-wide civil registration.
  • Deaths, with 2,190,030 records comprising Ontario civil registrations of deaths, 1869-1938 and registrations of Ontario overseas deaths for 1939-1947.

Land Records and Wills

Information on how to access land records and wills is best sought on the Archives of Ontario website. An ancestor's land holding might be found on Canadian County Atlas Digital Project if he was in occupancy circa 1878.

Association for the Preservation of Ontario Land Registry Office Documents (APOLROD). A list of Land Registry Offices for all Counties of Ontario.

Censuses

The original censuses are in the hands of Library and Archives Canada, known to Canadians as "LAC". Copies of original microfilms are online at the LAC website for all censuses up to 1921. Each census database is preceded with an explanation of the geographical area covered, the amount of material retained (some census division material has been lost), the questions on the census form, and whether there is a name index. Census divisions were redrawn as the population increased and more land was inhabited.
Other websites, some paid and some free, also provide Canadian census originals and/or indexes online. One can also view censuses on microfilm at the LAC, at the Archives of Ontario (see address above), or at large libraries throughout Canada.

Hard-to-Find Places

E-books, Books and Newspapers

  • The Internet Archive, particularly texts from Canadian universities, can contain interesting material
  • Our Roots is a Canadian website similar to The Internet Archive
  • Global Genealogy is an online bookshop specializing in Ontario material who will ship anywhere in the world.
  • The Ancestor Hunt is a blog listing old Ontario newspapers that are available online, both free and pay websites. This is a very extensive list.

Some websites with more local information on Grey County

source: Family History Library Catalog
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Owen Sound, Ontario. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.