PenetanguishenePenetanguishene, Ont, incorporated as a town in 1882, population 9111 (2011c), 9354 (2006c). The Town of Penetanguishene is located at the head of Penetanguishene Bay, an inlet of southern GEORGIAN BAY. It is approximately 150 km north of Toronto by road. Its name is derived from the Ojibwa word that means "place of the white rolling sands" because of the area's beaches.
The earliest European visitors were Étienne BRÛLÉ and Samuel de CHAMPLAIN, developing links between New France and the HURON. The bay's strategic potential was recognized by Lieutenant-Governor John SIMCOE in 1793 and Penetanguishene was developed as an Upper Lakes naval base in 1817, with a naval and military presence until 1856. Many military pensioners stayed on in the community. The settlement of fur traders and voyageurs from Drummond Island (1828), and farm settlers from Québec (1840s) established Penetanguishene as a bilingual community. Its bilingual character remains today with some 15% of the population still French-speaking.
Discovery Harbour with its feature 19 reconstructed buildings and structures, and full-scale replicas of the HMS Bee and HMS Tecumseth, is one of the major tourist attractions in HURONIA today. The 19th-century logging industry yielded to an economy based on tourism and light manufacturing.