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Leith, Ontario: Wikis


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The unincorporated village of Leith, named after Leith, Scotland, is located at 44° 37' 31" N 80° 52' 35" W on the eastern shore of the Owen Sound, an inlet (sound) on the south shore of Georgian Bay on Lake Huron, about 9 km northeast of the city of Owen Sound, Ontario in Canada. Leith was established on the Telfer Creek where it empties into the sound. At one time a pier capable of serving sailing ships existed on the northeast side of the mouth of the river. However, exposure to the open Georgian Bay to the north-northeast eventually caused the destruction of the pier. All that remains are a collection of old wooden pilings, serving principally as an obstacle to pleasure boaters.

A superior harbour in the city of Owen Sound eventually led to the total demise of Leith as a commercial port. Today it is partly a suburb of Owen Sound for year-round residents and partly a center for summer cottagers.

The old Leith Church is the site of the grave of Tom Thomson, a noted Canadian landscape painter who died in mysterious circumstances at Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park in 1917. Thomson was a friend of the Group of Seven, famous landscape painters many of whose works are on permanent display at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario. He grew up in Leith.

Tom Thomson Plaque)

A plan to incorporate Leith was created in the 19th century but was never executed.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s there were two small general stores in the village and a post office. By 2004 only one of the stores remained and the post office had closed.

Leith is well known for sport fishing. In 1921 sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) invaded the Great Lakes through the Welland Canal, though, significantly reducing the numbers of lake trout and whitefish. While the lake trout have largely vanished from Lake Huron, rainbow trout and salmon still exist in the lake. Since 1988 a species native to Asia, zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha), have invaded the Great Lakes and the Owen Sound has not been spared. Swimmers at Leith have received cuts to their bare feet from the very sharp shells of these molluscs.

An area on the Georgian Bay water between Owen Sound and Leith, simply marked with a green buoy, is known by local salmon and trout fisherman as "Thomson's Hole". The fishing hole has garnered some of the area's best fishing and is a popular fishing stop during the Owen Sound Salmon Spectacular Derby. The fishing hole is known for its extreme depth and its plentiful fishing but is also a popular sailing area.

The old Leith Church closed in 1969, as did the old Leith Golf Course in the 1970s. However, since 1992 the church has been maintained by volunteers and is occasionally opened for special events.

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