Owen Sound in 1920: The Birth of Ontario’s 24th City



by Richard Thomas

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One hundred years ago, Owen Sound was incorporated as a City. Owen Sound in 1920 describes events leading up to and celebrating the event which saw over 20,000 people arrive by train, boat and automobile; as well, Billy Bishop flew the first airplane to the area with the incorporation papers. Owen Sound was growing at a rapid pace in 1920 in spite of the ravages of both the Great War and the Spanish Flu. The combined death toll from these two events exceeded several hundred in Grey County; most were young men whose lives were cut short in their prime.

Reflecting on the comparison between 1920 and now, author Richard Thomas writes, “This book was written during the 2020 Coronavirus quarantine…if you need any proof of the old adage of history repeating itself, this is just one example. We’ve been there, we’ve done that, and now we’re doing it again.”

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