The Town of Saugeen Shores was formed through amalgamation in 1998, but the settlement of the Town's former municipalities dates back to the early 1800s. From its earliest days, the area was a central marine port with a strong agricultural, industrial and commercial economy.

The Town is actively involved in identifying the heritage properties that are central to our history. We work continuously to preserve and share our heritage through programs such as the Heritage Award.

The former municipalities

The former municipalities of Port Elgin, Southampton and Saugeen have their own unique heritage. Learn more about each municipality's history:

Explore the historic sites and landmarks of the three former municipalities on our self-guided Walking Tours.


In the late 1990s, the provincial government passed legislation to merge small municipalities. The purpose of amalgamation was to improve efficiency and reduce municipal spending. It was also intended to decrease the number of politicians, without reducing services or accessibility to local elected officials.

As a result of a Minister's Restructuring Order on January 30, 1998, the former municipalities of the Town of Port Elgin, Town of Southampton and Township of Saugeen were amalgamated. An amending Minister's Restructuring Order was later passed to name the new municipality The Corporation of the Town of Saugeen Shores.

Economic roots

Combining the three communities has created a diverse economic base, with rich rural landscapes, bustling urban centres and connection to the Lake Huron and Saugeen River shorelines.

Agriculture, small business, tourism and industry have been the four pillars of the Town's economy, both historically and today.