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In 1999 the Provincial Government mandated that smaller municipalities be merged. The purpose of the amalgamation was to improve efficiency and reduce municipal spending and to decrease the number of politicians without reducing services or accessibility to local elected officials.

The County of Bruce, in which Saugeen Shores is located, went from 27 municipalities to 8 municipalities.

As a result the former municipalities of the Town of Port Elgin, Town of Southampton and Township of Saugeen, all nestled along the shores of Lake Huron, were amalgamated by a Minister's Restructuring Order on January 30, 1998 to form the Corporation of the Town of Port Elgin-Saugeen-Southampton.

A Committee was then formed by the Transition Board governing the newly created municipality to complete a process to name the new municipality. On December 17, 1998 an amending Minister's Restructuring Order was passed naming the new municipality The Corporation of the Town of Saugeen Shores.

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

Agriculture, small business, tourism and the Bruce Power Site (formerly the Bruce Nuclear Power Development) are the four pillars of the economy of the Town of Saugeen Shores.

Agriculture is a historic tradition. Livestock operations include beef, dairy cattle and hogs. Other agricultural sectors include market gardening and landscaping. Commercial fishing is also a rich historic chapter in the history of Saugeen Shores.  Fishing remains a vibrant part of the community.

Two urban cores have historically supported a wide range of retail outlets and service industries. The shopping districts offer retail stores, gift shops, restaurants, grocery stores, crafts, boutiques and novelty shops. Varieties of smaller light industrial establishments are located throughout the municipality including a number of construction companies and local homebuilders.  

Tourism has always had one of the greatest impacts on the Saugeen Shores economy throughout the years. The Lake Huron shoreline has attracted summer residents for generations resulting in vibrant cottage communities. All along the Bruce Coast, people from across Ontario, Canada, the United States and Europe have taken advantage of the beautiful beaches and rural living to make the area their summer home or holiday retreat. The population doubles in the summer months. Local businesses flourish because of the influx of tourists.