Photo: Downtown Thornbury


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With its quaint village feel, elegant heritage homes, and shady tree-lined streets, Thornbury is one of those charming Ontario small towns that visitors seem inexorably drawn to. With a population of just over 3000 souls, the town boasts more eateries and classy retail stores than a community this size could ever hope to support without a steady influx of cottagers, day-trippers, skiers, and boaters.

Located where the Beaver River flows into the Nottawasaga Bay section of that huge expanse of fresh water known as Georgian Bay, Thornbury is one of the best places to visit in The Blue Mountains and Collingwood areas. Whether you add it to your next trip to the Southern Georgian Bay area or come up especially to see all the town has on offer, you won’t be disappointed. Honestly, you may like it so much that you never leave.

To help you get the best out of your trip, we’re pleased to share our list of these fun things to do in Thornbury, Ontario.


Fun Things to Do in Thornbury


Explore Thornbury Harbour
Sailing is one of the top things to do in Thornbury, as this picture shows a boat heading out to Georgian Bay copy
Sailing is one of the top things to do in Thornbury 

A visit to Thornbury should start at the waterside. Leave your car in the public parking by the marina, or lock your bike up at the Municipal Harbour building if you’ve cycled up from Collingwood along the wonderful Georgian Trailsnetwork and head straight for the large breakwater guarding the harbour entrance. You’ll be rewarded with an incredible panoramic view of Georgian Bay that stretches all the way from Collingwood to Tobermory.

Grab a handful of pebbles for an impromptu game of checkers on the heavy blue metal table there, watch the yachts come and go, or just kick back and watch the kids on the other side of the harbour have fun jumping into the deep water along Little River Park and its world-class Blue Flag beach (better still, go join them!).


Spend a Day Fishing and Visit the Fishway  
The Fish Ladder in Thornbury next to dam
The Fishway serves as a “ladder” for fish in spawning season (Photo: Bryan Dearsley / LuxuryOntario)

If you’ve got young fisher-folk with you (kids under 18 don’t need a license), grab a rod and try your hand at catching a lake trout or rainbow trout. According to the Harbour Master, the fish are plentiful. Afterwards, head over to the nearby Thornbury Fishway, a unique fish ladder that helps trout (spring) and salmon (fall) circumvent the town’s dam.

Running under the bridge over the Beaver River, the fish ladder was designed to provide the trout a route from Georgian Bay to their spawning beds upstream. Best viewed from the stairway and platforms accessible from the parking lot next to the Town Hall, the path even has interpretive storyboards to tell the structure’s unique story.


Enjoy a Sweet Treat at Thornbury Bakery Café
Thornbury Bakery Cafe exterior of building
A visit to the Thornbury Bakery Cafe is a must-do (Photo: Bryan Dearsley / LuxuryOntario)

After exploring the harbourfront and fish dam, you’ll be ready for a snack, if not a late breakfast or even lunch. Just follow the crowds (or your nose) to the delightful Thornbury Bakery Café on Brice Street, the town’s main drag. Looking just like you stepped back into the 1940s, the bakery’s rustic charm is only surpassed by the incredible array of baked goods on display.

Once you make it to the front of the line, you’re going to have to choose between the bakery’s famous Chelsea buns (be sure to arrive before 10 am to claim yours), spicy-sweet chop suey buns or cupcakes with delicious inch-high buttercream icing. Everything’s made from scratch, from the delectable breakfast (eggs benedict and French toast) to lunch (steak and feta wraps).

Visit their website at


Cheese Gallery Tray
Order up a charcuterie board at The Cheese Gallery Tray (Photo courtesy The Cheese Gallery)

Across the road is The Cheese Gallery, a unique mix of deli and art gallery and the perfect place for a late afternoon snack. Owned by Casey Thompson, the store boasts more cheeses than you can shake a stick at, and all of them authentic: the Gruyere and the Parmesan are Europe, naturally, and Canadian cheeses are well represented on the ever-changing chalkboard inventory with delicious aged cheddars from Ontario and Quebec.

The store’s bestseller? No sample tray is complete without the exquisite Chateau de Bourgogne, aka the BTS (‘better than sex’) cheese, best paired with one of the gallery’s local wines or ciders.

Check out their website at


Hoist a Pint at Thornbury Craft Co. Cider & Brew House
Thornbury Craft Co. Cider & Brew House is one of the best things to do in Thornbury
A visit to the Thornbury Craft Co. Cider & Brew House is one of the best things to do in town (Photo: Bryan Dearsley / LuxuryOntario(

The Thornbury Craft Co. Cider & Brew House has built up a stellar reputation since it opened in 2015 for the quality of its food and drink offerings. The fact its housed in what was originally an apple storage building certainly adds to its ambiance​​.

Their product lineup boasts an impressive array of ciders, including their flagship Premium Apple Cider, Cranberry Apple Cider, and unique blends like Wild Blueberry Elderflower Apple Cider and Honeycrisp Apple Cider. They’ve also garnered attention with collaborations, such as the notable Thornbury Craft x The Tragically Hip Road Apples Cider​​​​.

This must-visit watering hole has also become a popular community hub where locals and visitors alike relax and unwind or join in fun events such as trivia nights and live music.


Enjoy an Overnight Stay
Thornbury Harbour views from hotel
Stunning Georgian Bay views can be enjoyed at Royal Harbour Resort (Photo: Bryan Dearsley / LuxuryOntario)

If you’re able to extend your visit to include an overnight stay in Thornbury, it’s well worth doing,  if only so you can enjoy breakfast at Thornbury Bakery Café (it’s that good!).

If you do, check into availability at the Royal Harbour Resort. This modest 3-star hotel offers superb views over the harbour (natch!) and Georgian Bay, and is within easy walking distance of all those fun things to do in Thornbury we’ve mentioned above.

Thornbury is also located extremely close to Blue Mountain Village, which is home to some of the best places to stay in The Blue Mountains area. It’s also a short drive from the towns of Collingwood and Meaford, both of which offer a variety of great accommodation options (speaking of which, check out our great article on the best things to do in Meaford).




Bryan Dearsleyis a luxury lifestyle and travel writer  and Co-Founder of Riley and LuxuryOntario and is proud to call Ontario “home.”

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