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Wasaga Beach, Ontario

Wasaga Beach, Ontario

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Wasaga Beach is a town
A town is a human settlement larger than a village but smaller than a city. The size a settlement must be in order to be called a "town" varies considerably in different parts of the world, so that, for example, many American "small towns" seem to British people to be no more than villages, while...

 in Simcoe County
Simcoe County, Ontario
Simcoe County is located in central portion of Southern Ontario. The County is situated just north of the Greater Toronto Area stretching from the shores of Lake Simcoe in the east to Georgian Bay in the west...

, Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. It is a popular four-season tourist destination situated on Nottawasaga Bay
Nottawasaga Bay
Nottawasaga Bay is a bay of Lake Huron in Ontario, at the southernmost end of Georgian Bay. Communities on Nottawasaga Bay include Meaford, Collingwood and Wasaga Beach....

 at the southern end of Georgian Bay
Georgian Bay
Georgian Bay is a large bay of Lake Huron, located entirely within Ontario, Canada...

 approximately two hours north of Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

, and abuts, to the west, the town of Collingwood
Collingwood, Ontario
Collingwood is a town in Simcoe County, Ontario, Canada. Geographically, it is situated on Nottawasaga Bay at the southern point of Georgian Bay.-History:...

. Wasaga Beach is situated in and around 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) of white sandy beach on Nottawasaga Bay
Nottawasaga Bay
Nottawasaga Bay is a bay of Lake Huron in Ontario, at the southernmost end of Georgian Bay. Communities on Nottawasaga Bay include Meaford, Collingwood and Wasaga Beach....

 and the winding Nottawasaga River
Nottawasaga River
The Nottawasaga River is a river in southern Ontario, Canada. Its headwaters are located on the Niagara Escarpment and Oak Ridges Moraine. It flows through the Minesing Swamp, recognized as a wetland of international significance , and empties into Nottawasaga Bay, an inlet of Georgian Bay, at...



The town of Wasaga Beach has the longest freshwater beach in the world as well as history dating back to the fur trade days when it was the main route to the Great North West. The Town evolved into a strategic location in the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

 when the schooner HMS Nancy was sunk at her moorings in an effort by the Americans to cut the supply line to Fort Michilimackinac
Fort Michilimackinac
Fort Michilimackinac was an 18th century French, and later British, fort and trading post in the Great Lakes of North America. Built around 1715, it was located along the southern shore of the strategic Straits of Mackinac connecting Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, at the northern tip of the lower...

 and points to the north and west. Lumbering was the main industry for the remainder of the 19th century. Logs crowded the river and the bay floating down to feed local saw mills.

Wasaga's unsuitable sandy soil contributed to the late settlement of the area, as the lack of suitable farming land made it unattractive to settlers. In the 1820s the first sign of settlement in the area began as John Goessman surveyed Flos Township. In 1826, land was being sold for four shillings an acre. Though unsuitable for farming, the Wasaga area had an abundance of trees. In the late 1830s and throughout the rest of the century the logging industry would play an important role in the development of the area.

Little by little, in the 1900s, families began to discover the beauty of the area. Gradually it became a place for family picnics and holidays. During the 1940s, while stationed at a nearby military base, servicemen from across Canada visited Wasaga's amusement park. They made Wasaga Beach known across the country. After the war, Wasaga Beach continued to be a popular place for cottages and day trips. A century old tradition of city dwellers coming to the Beach in the summer had begun.

Wasaga Beach entered history's headlines in 1934 when the first overseas flight from mainland Canada, across the Atlantic to England and in a plane called the "Trail of the Caribou", used Wasaga's long flat sandy beach as a take off strip.

The town was originally referred to as "the northern border of Flos Sunnidale and Nottawasaga Townships". The first municipal reference occurred when a designation of Local Improvement District emerged in 1947. In 1949, Wasaga Beach progressed to the status of a Police Village in the Township of Sunnidale, and the Police Village graduated to Incorporated Village status in 1951.

The incorporation of the Town of Wasaga Beach became effective January 1, 1974. The permanent population stood at 4,034, a dramatic increase from 1965, when only 500 people called Wasaga Beach home. Today, 17,000 full time residents and 16,000 seasonal and part time residents reside at Wasaga Beach.

Wasaga Beach Fire of 2007

On November 30, 2007, a major fire destroyed between 50 to 70% of the main street pedestrian mall, including 17 businesses and 5 apartments. Plans to rebuild the beach front included a modern style with shopping, an indoor/outdoor theme park and monorail service. Controversy also arose over whether or not the fire was deliberately set in order to allow unobstructed progression with the planned development or whether it was simply an accident. A report issued on February 13, 2009 suggests that the fire was deliberately set by two young men (one from Barrie, 21 years of age, and the other from Midhurst, 18 years of age) suggesting that although the fire was deliberate it was not related to the planned development. The accused arsonists have been arrested and charged. The fire originated at around 1:00 a.m. on November 30, 2007, and was originally small; moments later, it was fuelled by very strong winds, eventually turning it into one of the biggest and most disastrous fires ever in Wasaga Beach history. Despite the major fire, the beach and the remaining businesses reopened the following summer, and the residents of Wasaga Beach say that the old arcade and various dingy shops will be thoroughly missed.

Geography, popularity and statistics

Over two million people visit the town every summer to stroll the shores of the Wasaga's freshwater
Fresh water is naturally occurring water on the Earth's surface in ice sheets, ice caps, glaciers, bogs, ponds, lakes, rivers and streams, and underground as groundwater in aquifers and underground streams. Fresh water is generally characterized by having low concentrations of dissolved salts and...

A beach is a geological landform along the shoreline of an ocean, sea, lake or river. It usually consists of loose particles which are often composed of rock, such as sand, gravel, shingle, pebbles or cobblestones...

 (stretching 14 kilometres (8.7 mi)), swim in warm clean waters and enjoy the panoramic mountain views across the bay. There are many recreational trails that are used for hiking, cycling, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. The Nottawasaga River offers game fishing and canoe routes to explore.

The beach is divided into smaller beaches with the public beaches numbered 1 to 6 sequentially from east to west. Its position on the waters of Nottawasaga Bay
Nottawasaga Bay
Nottawasaga Bay is a bay of Lake Huron in Ontario, at the southernmost end of Georgian Bay. Communities on Nottawasaga Bay include Meaford, Collingwood and Wasaga Beach....

 means its summer temperature
Temperature is a physical property of matter that quantitatively expresses the common notions of hot and cold. Objects of low temperature are cold, while various degrees of higher temperatures are referred to as warm or hot...

s are moderated somewhat by the water, so summer days are much more comfortable than days that are hot in Toronto, but the same winds off the water trigger very heavy and intense snow squalls in the winter. As such, snowmobiling, skiing
Skiing is a recreational activity using skis as equipment for traveling over snow. Skis are used in conjunction with boots that connect to the ski with use of a binding....

, and other winter sports are popular along the beach.

The 2006 Canadian census indicated a population of 15,029 residents. When compared to its 2001 population of 12,419, Wasaga Beach is one of the fastest growing communities in Canada based on population growth percentage (21.0% over 5 years). Wasaga Beach is in the midst of a building boom including a major development for the beach planned with the goal of making Wasaga Beach a year-round tourist destination. Because of its proximity to Toronto, there is a heavy outflow of money from Toronto and surrounding towns and cities into cottage or weekend properties located in the Beach.
Census Population
1971 1,923
1981 4,705
1991 6,224
2001 12,419
2006 15,029

Also located in the town of Wasaga Beach is Wasaga Beach Provincial Park. In the summer months it is a very popular place for beach volleyball
Beach volleyball
Beach volleyball, or sand volleyball, is an Olympic team sport played by two teams of two players on a sand court divided by a net.Like volleyball, the object of the game is to send the ball over the net in order to ground it on the opponent’s court, and to prevent the same effort by the opponent....

 and sunbathing. A boardwalk
A boardwalk, in the conventional sense, is a wooden walkway for pedestrians and sometimes vehicles, often found along beaches, but they are also common as paths through wetlands, coastal dunes, and other sensitive environments....

 runs most of the way along Beach 1 and 2. Beach 1 draws the largest crowds, with the popularity quality of the beaches decreasing the further west. East of the main beaches are another large beach (New Wasaga) and Allenwood Beach that abuts up to many houses and cottages.

In the winter, there are many miles of fresh groomed trails for snowmobiling thanks to the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs and in part to the purchasers of the trail passes. The town built an addition to the community center known locally as the "Rec-Plex", which added an auditorium, an amphitheater and a YMCA
The Young Men's Christian Association is a worldwide organization of more than 45 million members from 125 national federations affiliated through the World Alliance of YMCAs...


Land area, geology and topography

The Town of Wasaga Beach covers an area of 61.13 square kilometres (23.6 sq mi) comprised predominately of sand and loamy sand that exhibit excessive to good drainage and irregular to moderately sloping topography. The poor soil quality has frequently been cited as a major problem for Wasagans, who list constant lawn tending among the annoyances it causes. The Canada Land Inventory for Agriculture rates the lands as predominately Class Six and Seven with primary restrictions of adverse topography, erosion damage and low natural fertility.


There are several elementary schools, but no high schools in Wasaga Beach. There are bus services that transport students to surrounding high schools of their choice (either Collingwood Collegiate Institute, Stayner Collegiate Institute, Jean Vanier Catholic High School
Jean Vanier Catholic High School (Collingwood)
Jean Vanier Catholic High School is a high school in Collingwood, Ontario, Canada administered by the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board.The school is located at 160 Collins St. In Collingwood ON....

 or Elmvale District High School).

Wasaga Beach Transit

Transit service in Wasaga Beach is operated by Georgian Coach Lines, using town-owned buses, under the name Wasaga Beach Transit
Wasaga Beach Transit
Wasaga Beach Transit is a public transportation system for the resort town of Wasaga Beach, Ontario, Canada. It is operated by Georgian Coach Lines, using municipally-owned buses...

. They expanded from one route which was started in July, 2008 to two in the summer of 2009, because the bus system grew faster than anyone expected. Services for Wasaga Beach Transit occur in a loop from the Wasaga Stars Arena to the Real Canadian Superstore every hour from 7 AM to 7 PM. Buses serve the loop eastbound and westbound.

Notable residents

  • Rock musician Kim Mitchell
    Kim Mitchell
    Joseph Kim Mitchell is a Canadian guitarist. He was the lead singer and guitarist for the band Max Webster before going on to lead a solo career. He is currently a radio show host for CILQ-FM in Toronto....

     has been a long-time resident of Wasaga Beach.
  • NHL Hockey Player, Jason Arnott
    Jason Arnott
    Jason William Arnott is a professional ice hockey centre for the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League. He began his NHL career with the Edmonton Oilers in 1993–94 after being selected seventh overall in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft and was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team...

     was born and raised in Wasaga Beach and in the summer of 2000, Jason Arnott
    Jason Arnott
    Jason William Arnott is a professional ice hockey centre for the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League. He began his NHL career with the Edmonton Oilers in 1993–94 after being selected seventh overall in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft and was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team...

     Day was declared in Wasaga Beach to celebrate his Stanley-Cup-winning goal scored in double overtime.
  • WWE stars Adam Copeland and Jason Reso, better known as Edge and Christian
    Edge and Christian
    Edge and Christian was a tag team made of real life best friends Edge and Christian , who performed in WWE and the Canadian independent circuit. They won the WWF Tag Team Championship on seven occasions...

    , lived together in Wasaga Beach throughout their time in college and early training.

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