In the 1840s, Surveyor Charles Rankin set aside 35 acres for a mill reserve on the Sydenham River. The first dam and a grist mill were built soon after by John Frost. Rainbow trout use the fish ladder in the spring, salmon in the fall, to by-pass the dam on their way up river to spawn. It was the first fish ladder to be built in Ontario.
The Sydenham River rises in marl-bottomed Williams Lake, a kettle lake in the former Holland Township, now part of Chatsworth. It tumbles over the Niagara Escarpment at Inglis Falls. The river is named for Lord Sydenham, Governor-General of Upper Canada in 1841.
The Owen Sound Salmon Tour features gorgeous fall colours, stunning waterfalls, and of course, our mighty Chinook Salmon heading in from Georgian Bay to spawn on the Sydenham River.
You can hike, bike, walk or drive the tour, all at your own pace.
Guided tours are also available; call 519-371-9833 for details.
Join us for the special Salmon Celebration at the Mill Dam and Fish Ladder on October 1st, where you can sample fresh salmon and have guides on hand to answer all your salmon-related questions.
Owen Sound is one of the few places in Ontario where you can watch the salmon spawning in their natural habitat, in streams and rushing rivers, migrating upstream to lay their eggs in the shallows before winter settles in. The salmon run is weather dependent, usually beginning mid-September and lasting until about mid-October.
Set against a backdrop of stunning fall colours, rivers and waterfalls just two hours north of Toronto, the Owen Sound Salmon Tour is a free, fun and educational adventure for all ages.
You can hike the tour, including parts of the Bruce Trail, cycle the tour through Owen Sound and the surrounding countryside, or drive the route, which is car and motorcycle friendly.
You can also take along a canoe or kayak to paddle the route, which follows the Sydenham River from the Owen Sound harbour on Georgian Bay through the city centre and up to spectacular Inglis Falls.
Whatever your mode of travel, the self-guided fall tour brings you up close and personal with the legendary Chinook salmon, prized by fishermen and honoured by many cultures.
The salmon’s journey -- and yours -- starts at the city's historic harbour then continues through downtown Owen Sound, to the Tom Thomson Art Gallery and Owen Sound Farmer’s Market and on to the first fish ladder to be built in Ontario. Here’s you’ll see the salmon leaping and thrashing their way to the top of a steep drop in the river at the mill dam.
Follow the salmon to Harrison Park, Owen Sound’s “jewel in the crown” bursting with fall colours and offering trails, playgrounds, a restaurant, family campground, black history cairn and Weaver’s Creek Falls, part of the Owen Sound Waterfall Tour.
Continue on to the Grey-Sauble Conservation headquarters, where you'll learn more about the salmon migration and observe the fish in shallow, specially created spawning channels.
The tour’s climax is Inglis Falls, right on the Bruce Trail. It’s one of the most popular waterfalls in the region and a fantastic look-out point over Owen Sound and Georgian Bay, particularly in fall with when the sugar maples explode with colour.
Experience the salmon run as a self-guided tour or book one of our knowledgable step-on guides if you're travelling by bus or in a large group. Special guided tours that include the fish hatchery or former water filtration plant are also available. Call 519-371-9833 for more information.
Description from https://www.owensound.ca/play/salmon-tour/owen-sound-salmon-tour