South Bruce Peninsula is a waterfront municipality that features Sauble Beach (Canada’s #1 freshwater beach), the Wiarton Willie Festival (the most famous groundhog in Canada), and Spirit Rock Conservation Area along the Bruce Trail.
Located along the shores of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, South Bruce Peninsula connects Northern Bruce Peninsula (Lion’s Head, Tobermory) to southern Ontario.
Tourism (particularly cottage rentals) is the primary industry in the region. Area attractions including fishing locations on Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, beaches, boat launches and docks, camping, festivals and events, history and heritage, museums, parks, trails including the Bruce Trail, and winter activities.
The municipality hosts many annual festivals, such as the William Wilfred Campbell Poetry & Arts Festival (June), the Wiarton Rotary Village Fair (August Civic Holiday weekend), the Oliphant Regatta (summer), Sauble Sandfest (August), and the Wiarton Fall Fair (September).
Wiarton and Sauble Beach are the largest towns in South Bruce Peninsula. Some of the smaller communities include the villages of Allenford, Clavering, Colpoys Bay, Elsinore, Hepworth, Hope Bay, Howdenvale, Oliphant, Park Head, Purple Valley, and Red Bay. Read more about each of these communities below.
Allenford is located on the banks of the Sauble River, halfway between Owen Sound and Southhampton. Originally known as Driftwood Crossing, the present name recognizes its first settler, James Allen, and the ease with which the river could be forded.
This small hamlet has many amenities and is home to the Allenford Curling Club, which hosts a number of events throughout the year.
Clavering is a small hamlet halfway between Wiarton and Hepworth.
Two-thirds of Clavering is located on the east side of the highway in the Township of Georgian Bluffs, Grey County. The other one-third is in the former Township of Amabel in South Bruce Peninsula.
The settlement of Colpoy’s Bay was named for Sir John Colpoy, an admiral in the British Navy. The first settlers to this area took land north of Colpoy’s Bay in Albemarle in 1857. Trading was a prominent industry for this settlement, leading to saw and grist mills and wharf facilities.
Today, visitors can enjoy a public dock, tennis courts, and the Bruce Ski Club trails.
In 1865, Mr. Sweetman, a post office inspector at the time, suggested this community be named Elsinore after some members of the British royal family visited the historic site of Elsinore in Denmark, an important transport point during World War II.
Today, the Elsinore Community Centre hosts a number of community activities and is available for rent for family reunions and social gatherings.
Hepworth is named after Methodist Church co-founder John Wesley’s birthplace in Epworth, England. The “H” was added to the spelling of Epworth to match the way the name was pronounced by William Spencer and other English settlers in this part of Ontario.
Hepworth has many amenities, including a Visitor Information Centre that is strategically located at the crossroads leading to Sauble Beach and the Bruce Peninsula. Visitors can play a round of golf at Northern Dunes, ski on the Sawmill Cross-Country Ski Trails, camp at Whispering Pines, or snowmobile on the area’s vast trail network.
The Wilbur J. Cunningham Memorial Park is home to a community ball diamond and a playground.
Hope Bay is located on the shores of Georgian Bay, 17 km north of Wiarton. This community has a natural sand beach, access to the Bruce Trail, and a large snowmobile trail network. Visitors can view outcroppings of natural bedrock and subsurface karst pavement at Hope Bay Forest Provincial Nature Reserve.
Located on the shores of Lake Huron, Howdenvale is a great place to swim, sail, bird, stargaze, bike, admire wildflowers at Petrel Point, canoe, snowshoe, cross-country ski, and launch a boat from the small dock.
Oliphant is where Treaty 72 was signed on October 13, 1854, between First Nations residing on the “Saugeen Peninsula” and representatives of the Crown. The Treaty area covers most of what is now known as the Bruce Peninsula. At the time of signing, the peninsula was known as the Saugeen Peninsula, and today the treaty is sometimes referred to as the Bruce Peninsula Treaty.
Oliphant is an adventure destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Located along the shores of Lake Huron and just north of Sauble Beach, Oliphant has become a popular location for kiteboarding and is home to the Oliphant Fen Boardwalk. Community facilities include a marina, dock, playground equipment, dog park, and swimming areas.
Park Head is located along the Sauble River and is 4 kilometres south of Hepworth. The community was first settled in 1855. The Park Head Community Centre is available for rent for family events or community dinners.
This small village is located close to Colpoy’s Bay.
A popular attraction is the Purple Valley Maple Syrup Festival, held Easter weekend at the Purple Valley Community Centre. The festivities include live music, local vendors, a community bake table, and a turkey shoot. Kids can play on hay bales, participate in outdoor games, and eat hot pancakes with locally produced syrup and Sullivan’s breakfast sausage. The Festival runs a free shuttle bus from downtown Wiarton to and from the site all day.
For more information on this festival and other events in the region, visit the South Bruce Peninsula Calendar of Events.
Located on the shores of Lake Huron, Red Bay is north of Oliphant. The village has a park beside the lake, and there is a public dock.