In 1998 Owen Sound began its Interpretive Plaque Program with the installation of five plaques placed around the Inner Harbour. Since then more than 40 plaques have been located throughout the City with the general themes of Historic Owen Sound, Local Heroes, Marine History, and Black History. The plaques, positioned along urban walkways, are designed to celebrate the rich heritage of our community. These interesting and attractive plaques create awareness and foster excitement about local history for residents and visitors alike.
The City of Owen Sound Strategic Plan, “Cultural Strategic Initiatives” section, states:
"The City should advocate preservation of significant buildings, structures and natural heritage, preserving and celebrating its unique history through architectural preservation and historical interpretation."
Suggested actions to meet this initiative include:
- Develop a systematic and comprehensive “storytelling” experience as part of the City’s interpretive programs (e.g., tours, etc.).
- Celebrate Marine and Rail heritage (e.g., Marine Rail Museum, tours, etc.)
- Continue the development of the Black Heritage Theme in Owen Sound and area.
- Support and promote local military/aviation history.
The Interpretive Plaque Program helps to implement many of these actions in order to meet the goals set out in the Strategic Plan.
Tour Our Interpretive Plaques
Direction and supervision for the plaque program comes from the Community Services Department in conjunction with the Community Planning and Heritage Advisory Committee (CPHAC) (formerly the Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee (LACAC)). Local historian Andrew Armitage played a key role by researching and writing the text for the first 30 plaques; subsequent plaques’ text were prepared by writer and videographer Richard Thomas and City staff. Design work for the plaques has been completed by Austin Graphics and other local designers. Production of the signs has been undertaken by a number of local companies including Concept Signs, Rutherford Signs, and most recently, Miller Photoplaques & Nameplates.