Wasaga Beach, one of Simcoe—Grey’s most popular destinations, is a 430 km, five-hour drive from Parliament Gill. The riding is easily accessible by car and a number of provincial highways cross through it.
The Niagara Escarpment, which runs through part of the riding, provides the area with a unique geography. The northern border of the riding sits on Georgian Bay, and it also contains the Mad River, the Pine River and the Oxbow. The Minesing Wetlands area also home to a number of rare or endangered flora and fauna.
About 11% of the population are immigrants, with the largest share coming from the United Kingdom and Germany. German, Italian, and Spanish are the most common non-official languages. The average individual income in the riding is $40,827 while the median income is $31,987.
Stretching over 14 km along the southern shores of Georgian Bay, Wasaga Beach is the world’s longest freshwater beach.
With the Niagara Escarpment reaching some of its highest points here, the riding offers some of southern Ontario’s best skiing.
Simcoe—Grey also offers a number of golf courses, Pretty River Valley Provincial Park and a couple of nature reserves.
Sir Frederick Banting, the Nobel laureate who discovered insulin, was born on a farm near Alliston and attended elementary and high school there. Banting would go on to study medicine at the University of Toronto, where he would later team up with Dr. Charles Best and biochemist James Collip on insulin research. The team would become famous for becoming the first people to successfully isolate insulin from the pancreas.
The riding’s unique land formations and long stretches of sandy beaches on Georgian Bay make tourism one of the biggest economic drivers. Manufacturing and construction are also important industries, along with health care and social assistance, and accommodation and food services.
Around 50% of the workforce has a post-secondary education of some kind, and in 2011 the unemployment rate was 7.5%.
The Minesing Wetlands, a large portion of which are found in the riding, have been designated as “a wetland of international significance”, with over 15,000 acres of fens, marshes, swamps and bogs. The area is open to access by the public for activities that include cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, canoeing and kayaking, fishing, bird watching, and hunting.
Collingwood was named after Admiral Lord Cuthbert Collingwood, a key figure in the British navy during the Napoleonic Wars. Its harbour was important in the mid-1800s as a shipping point for goods bound for Chicago and Thunder Bay. The towns shipyards also played a part in building ships for the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War.