Wiarton

  Wiarton, Ont, urban area, population 2291 (2011c), 2322 (2006c). Wiarton was a town (1894-1998) until it was merged into the new town of South Bruce Peninsula (incorporated 1999) along with the townships of Albemarle and Amabel and the village of Hepworth. Wiarton lies at the head of Colpoys Bay on GEORGIAN BAY, 225 km northwest of Toronto. Located at the narrowing of the BRUCE PENINSULA, the site was a landing stage for natives and voyageurs who would portage across the peninsula to Lake HURON. The site of 17th-century French missions, it was first settled in 1866 and was named for Wiarton Place, near Maidstone, Eng, birthplace of Sir Edmund HEAD, governor general when the area was surveyed. Logging predominated until World War I. Nestled at the base of the ruggedly picturesque Bruce Peninsula, it is now a service centre for the tourist industry and the site of major airport facilities. The administrative functions of South Bruce Peninsula are centered in Wiarton.