The special exhibit “Made In Owen Sound” will be in the galleries of the Community Waterfront Heritage Centre from May 20th to October 8th from 10 to 4 daily.
The Beginnings of Industry
Early industries in the village of Sydenham tended to reflect settlers’ needs. The first industry may have been shipping, with the arrival of W.C. Boyd in 1841 aboard his schooner Fly. After setting up a store at 8th Street and 3rd Avenue East, he immediately began importing flour, sugar, butter and other staples.
By the mid 1840s, lumber and furs were the primary exports from the region, but it wasn’t long before tanneries, brickyards and mills began popping up in and around the bustling village. In 1858, George Corbet started the Grey Foundry. That same year, a Scottish immigrant, William Kennedy – who came to Owen Sound to install machinery at the Harrison Mill – liked what he saw and opened a planing mill, sash and wood door factory. By 1864, he had discontinued woodworking altogether, focusing instead on steel at the Sydenham Foundry (which later became Kennedy and Sons).
An 1866 guide to local industry listed 20 businesses:
Harrison’s Flour Mill
Harrison’s Saw Mill
Harrison’s Carding and Fulling Mill
Chatwin’s Cabinet Factory
Riddell and Secord Brewery
Rossiter’s Fanning Mill
Lenfesty’s Pearlash Factory
Owen Sound Iron Works
Sloane’s Melodeon Factory
Frost Potash Works
Spencer’s Cabinet Factory
Dowsley Carriage Works
Miller’s Carriage Factory
Arrival of Train Service
The arrival of the Toronto, Grey and Bruce Railway in 1873 did much to increase the scope of local industries: for the first time the lucrative markets to the south were accessible. Ten years later, the CPR took possession of the rail line and determined Owen Sound would be the terminus for its Great Lakes fleet. That’s when things really took off and products manufactured in Owen Sound began shipping world wide.
The above text is from panel two.
Check out the artefacts highlighting industry in Owen Sound.