Depot Harbour - Ontario, Canada

Depot Harbour is one of Canada's largest Ghost Towns.

Depot Harbour is Located just west of Parry Sound, Ontario in Wasauksing Ojibway First Nation's Territory on Parry Island.

Created by lumber baron J.R. Booth, the town of Depot Harbour thrived as a deep fresh water port on Georgian Bay and as short rail route to Ottawa.

Today, only building foundations and sidewalks remain in Depot Harbour.

In the 1890's, J.R. Booth decided to build a railway to move his lumber from what is now Algonquin Park, to his mill in Ottawa. To accompany the railway, a town was also needed. Rather than purchase land from the people of Parry Sound, which Booth considered too expensive, Booth built his own town, Depot Harbour. The railway provided excellent access to eastern Canada and the harbour provided easy access to ships to export goods.

By 1898 the town had two large grain elevators, a hotel, boarding houses, homes, stores and three churches and tree lined streets.

Depot Harbour was dry (no alcohol), citizens would have to travel to the nearby town of Parry Sound for a drink.

Lower Depot Harbour

The railway was eventually sold to Grand Trunk Railway and in 1918, the CNR took over. To reduce costs, the roundhouse in Depot Harbour was closed.

Round House in Depot Harbour

In 1933, a spring ice flow damaged the railway bridge in Algonquin Park and was not repaired. The damaged bridge would not allow trains to travel from Depot Harbour to Ottawa. No longer a grain route, steamers became a rare sight until 1941 when they stopped arriving altogether.

The explosives plant in Nobel, ten kilometers north of Parry Sound, used one of the nearby warehouses to store cordite (used in the production of explosives). Four years after the ships stopped arriving, in 1945, it was decided to tear down the old grain elevators. While tearing down the elevators, they caught fire. Sparks from the fire made their way to the cordite warehouse and exploded into a fireball. Rumor has it you could read a newspaper from the light of the fire, some 7 kilometres away.

Fire in Depot Harbour

By the 1950's the coal dock has closed, the railway bridge covered with wood and the townsite fell into a state of disrepair. Homes were sold for $25 and the townsite was completely abandoned by 1964.


The railroad tracks at Depot Harbour were lifted in 1989.