Step inside a modern take on Collingwood’s 1873 train station, but don’t let the exterior fool you! The Collingwood Museum’s collection stretches far beyond Collingwood’s transportation history.
Popular curiosities include a razor-sharp bill from a sawtooth shark and a twisted piece of metal recovered from the Halifax Explosion. You’ll also find paintings by local artists who trained under the Group of Seven, as well as a 140-year-old statue carved by Sir Sandford Fleming’s brother.
The sounds of Collingwood’s shipbuilding legacy ring through the gallery as a ship is side launched into the harbour on a loop of vintage film. Try your hand at turning a brass ship’s wheel, and get up close to models of Collingwood’s most famous ships, including the Chi-Cheemaun. Exhibits range from the evolution of local business and industry to the region’s First Nations people who inspired the establishment of the museum’s predecessor, the Huron Institute, in 1904.
The museum also houses an archival collection that is accessed by researchers from around the world. Photographs of Great Lakes vessels, Collingwood’s historic homes, downtown, and early industries are amongst the most popular items. Research may be conducted by appointment.
No visit is complete without browsing the museum’s quaint gift shop. It’s a popular stop for visitors and locals alike. You’re also just steps away from an extensive trail system that runs along the shores of Georgian Bay, so why not pack a picnic lunch and start your day at the museum! Bike parking and accessible washrooms are available.
Admission by donation. Open daily 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM.
Exciting Collingwood Museum events are listed on our Community Calendar.
The Collingwood Museum offers fun and educational programming for children. For information on our PA Day, March Break, and Summer Programming please call 705-444-2500. All other programming inquiries may be directed to 705-445-4811.
May 31, 2019 - Fire Brigade PA Day Program
- Programming Registration Form (fillable PDF).
- Registration is presently being completed directly and entirely by Town Staff at Centennial Pool, 451 Third Street. Registration may be completed in person, or by phone at 705-444-2500.
Service & Rates
The Collingwood Museum offers the following:
- research services (by appointment)
- image reproductions
- a gift shop full of unique gifts, books, clothing and more.
- Summer 2016
- Spring/Summer 2015
- Winter 2015
- Spring 2014
- Winter 2014
- Spring 2013
- Summer 2013
- Fall 2013
- Winter 2013
- January/February 2011
- March/April 2011
- May/June 2011
- July/August 2011
- September/October 2011
- November/December 2011
- January/February 2010
- March/April 2010
- May/June 2010
- July/August 2010
- September/October 2010
- November/December 2010
Not a member yet? Membership to the Collingwood Museum has its privileges.
Become a Member of The Collingwood Museum and help support our efforts. In addition to free admission to the Museum and discounts from the gift shop, Members receive quarterly newsletters letting you know what is happening at the Museum for adults & children.
To become a member, please print out the attached form and submit it to:
The Collingwood Museum
P. O. Box 556
Museum Staff are available to answer any questions you may have in regards to Museum Membership at (705) 445-4811.
- Free Admission to the Museum – all year round!
- 20% discount in our gift shop
- 20% discount on photographic services
- Free access to our Resource Archives and research facilities by appointment
- Invitation to special events and exhibit receptions
- Special Membership Rates on Museum Trips
Museum Membership Form (fillable PDF)
Take a virtual tour of Collingwood's Shipbuilding Heritage
Collingwood was, and still is, directly affected in many ways by the marine history of the community. From the very early years of the 1850s when the harbour was used primarily for boat building, through its era as a vital east-west link across the continent, to its importance as a shipbuilding town, Collingwood maintained strong marine roots.
The Collingwood Museum has made it possible for you to explore the Town's shipbuilding heritage at virtualmuseum.ca with more than 100 photos, detailed text and audio in their virtual exhibit titled "Hulls on Hurontario: Collingwood's Maritime Legacy"
First known as Hen and Chickens Harbour, with Hurontario Mills and the mill pond located at the east side, Collingwood was renamed in 1854 to honour one of Britain's most noted naval heros, Admiral Lord Cuthbert Collingwood, second in command to Admiral Horatio Nelson. By 1843 settlers had arrived and located on the shores of Georgian Bay near to where Collingwood is now situated.
A saw mill and a flour mill were erected on the shores of the bay by 1846 near the mouth of the Pretty River on the east side. The mills were a blessing to the settlers, since previously they had to carry their wheat and grains for grinding on their backs to Barrie, a distance of more than 36 miles.
While the townships around Collingwood were sparsely populated with few immigrant families as early as 1832, the settlements were far apart, with miles of dense woods between them. Although there had been talk for years of connecting Collingwood and Toronto by railway, it wasn't until 1851 that a company was formed and money obtained to begin the actual construction work after Collingwood was chosen as the northern terminus for the Ontario Simcoe and Huron Railway line (later the Northern Railway of Canada) out of Toronto.
It was the arrival of the railroad in 1855 that cemented Collingwood's worth as a centre for shipping and shipbuilding, since the rail line offered the ability to transport goods, materials and people easily and efficiently through the Great Lakes and points west.
Shipping began to gain importance with Collingwood being an early transfer point for emigration to the United States or western Canada. Freight and passenger traffic between American ports and the town was so heavy at one point, that Collingwood boasted a United States consulate. Shipping by water meant that local wooden boat building flourished during the 1850's and 1860's.
Following the completion of the Queen's Dry Dock at the foot of Hurontario Street in 1882, corporate shipbuilding industry prospered. By the turn of the century Collingwood was fast gaining an international reputation for consistent quality work and innovative design under the banner of the Collingwood Shipbuilding Company.
Shipbuilding continued to play an important role in the fabric of the community's economy, with more than 1,000 employed during peak periods. While the closure of the Yard in 1986 dealt a serious economic blow to Collingwood, recovery was swift and stable.