Kincardine

Ontario's Scottish Destination on Lake Huron.

Idyllic surroundings, captivating lifestyle, festive events, live theatre, and much more, have all amused and beguiled residents and visitors for generations. Whether a casual stroll on our beach and scenic boardwalk, an enchanting evening of fine dining in one of our many restaurants, or a relaxed, care free stay in one of our quaint Bed & Breakfasts or motels, the Municipality of Kincardine is a place of endless opportunity.

History

First called Penetangore, Kincardine, with its strong Scottish heritage, was named after Governor General James Bruce, as was the former Kincardine Township.  The first Bruce County post office opened its doors here.

The first county settlers arrived at the mouth of the Penetangore River in 1848 transported by the ship, "The Fly".  Allan Cameron built and ran a hotel, while his brother-in-law, William Withers, built a dam and opened a sawmill. The Village of Kincardine was incorporated in 1858.

Around Town

Kincardine is unique in that its history is a living, breathing part of the community.  From its architecture to its lighthouse to the historic Walker House, it is visible everywhere. 

Built in 1850 as an inn, the Walker House is an example of Loyalist/Georgian architecture.  The building suffered serious damage in a 1995 fire, and the local Paddy Walker Society has been diligently restoring the building since then.  Once completed, the Walker House will showcase Kincardine's history with two permanent galleries, one will focus on the community's marine history, the other will focus on the artifacts of Kincardine's world-famous pipe band.  The building will also serve as a gathering place for school and group functions.

Across the street, Kincardine's wooden lighthouse is only steps away from the downtown core and overlooks the busy harbour, full of pleasure watercraft and not the ships of old ferrying goods and passengers from port to port.  Built in 1881, the lighthouse sits 74 feet tall, on top of the two-story keeper's home.  Kincardine's thriving fishing and salt shipping industries necessitated its construction.  In-season tours are available.  On summer evenings, the haunting tunes of the Phantom Piper waft from the top of the lighthouse.

In 1883, the Erie Belle sank off the shore of Kincardine after its boiler exploded, killing and maiming crew members.  The boiler is visible at Boiler Beach, and a cairn acts as a marker for the Erie Belle and her crew.  At Station Beach, the wreck of the Ann Maria, which sank in 1902, can be seen beneath the water's surface.

Victoria Park is home to two cannons, majestically resting in the centre of town.  Two versions exist explaining their origins.  One is that they are relics of the Crimean War.  The other is that the cannon were brought to Kincardine during the Fenian Raid of 1866 as added protection and simply never removed. 

A treasure trove of unique photos chronicles a period of Kincardine's history at the Scougall Gallery in the Kincardine Arts Centre.  John H. Scougall took the photos of the area and its residents at the turn of the 19th century.  The glass negatives were developed courtesy of the Bruce County Museum & Archives.

The history of Kincardine's homes is chronicled each August in the historical walking tour.  During the tour, guides give a verbal history of the buildings and the community.  Scottish history comes alive during the summer months in the form of weekly pipe band parades, a Scottish Festival and a mass gathering of the bands.

In 1999, Kincardine became a part of a larger, amalgamated community known as the Municipality of Kincardine, encompassing the former Town of Kincardine, Tiverton, Underwood, Inverhuron, Armow, Glammis, Bervie and Millarton. 

For more information on The Municipality of Kincardine, contact the Kincardine  Visitor Information Centre on Hwy 21 at 1-866-546-2736 or 519-396-2731 or by email at tourism@kincardine.net