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City Drafts Recommendations for Harrison Park Master Plan

At the April 17 Community Services Committee meeting, City Staff presented draft recommendations for the Harrison Park Master Plan.  

The new draft Master Plan was developed using public feedback together with parks best management practices, alignment with capital and operating budgets, the cultural heritage assets, and expert advice respecting the waterfowl and avian area.  The Harrison Park Master Plan is 10-year plan that will guide the development, renewal and operational management of the Park’s vast natural resources, recreational amenities, buildings and structures, and other infrastructure.  

The City’s new Master Plan vision is as follows: 

“Inspired by a rich cultural heritage and diverse natural environment, we envision a vibrant space that fosters community connections and environmental stewardship and celebrates and maintains the rich cultural and natural history. Committed to sustainable practices, we strive to cultivate a place of beauty, learning, community, and recreation for all, ensuring a legacy of inspiration, memories, and wonder for generations to come.” 

A major theme that emerged from community engagement is that the park is great the way it is. As a result, the Master Plan’s actions prioritize revitalizing existing features and amenities, as opposed to creating new assets. 

Through the public survey, there was strong support for repopulating the bird and waterfowl area.  With the advice and recommendation of a Population Management Biologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, the plan recommends that the avian and waterfowl area be repopulated with native species without captive birds.  This approach will significantly reduce the likelihood of a future outbreak of Avian Influenza that would require a depopulation.  This will keep the birds and waterfowl safe and allow residents and visitors to interact with nature.   

Following input from the Community Services Committee, the draft will be finalized and the plan will be submitted for approval by the Community Services Committee with a recommendation to Council. 

City Staff will continue to work to ensure that Harrison Park remains a special place for everyone in the community. View the Staff Report presented to Committee, the Summary of Public Feedback, and the Draft Master Plan here

For more information, please contact Pam Coulter, Director of Community Services, at 519-376-4440 ext. 1252 or email 

Quick Facts: 

  • The Harrison Park Master Plan was last completed in 2002. 
  • In 2023, the City invited citizens and visitors to complete a survey about the Master Plan using the online engagement platform “OurCity” and hosted in-person feedback sessions at Harrison Park. Nearly 1,000 people responded to the online survey, the highest level of engagement and feedback to date. 
  • In 1912, the City acquired that Park from the Harrison family for $5,000. Harrison Park is the largest park in the City of Owen Sound, consisting of 45 hectares of land, equaling almost 2 per cent of the City’s total land area.  
  • Harrison Park was designated as a Cultural Heritage Landscape in 2013. 
  • As a year-round destination, Harrison Park is one of Owen Sound’s most popular attractions, averaging more than 156,000 vehicle and 225,000 pedestrian visits each year. 


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808 2nd Avenue East,
Owen Sound, ON
N4K 2H4
Phone: 519-376-1440
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