The River District is a bright, artistic, eclectic, and vibrant area in the heart of Owen Sound. The River District is a vital economic component of Owen Sound for both residents and the surrounding communities and is a large draw for tourists. The vision is to create a strong core and both the River District Board of Management, and the City of Owen Sound are motivated to work together to bring the vision to fruition.

In 2019 the City of Owen Sound began the first phase of the Downtown River Precinct Plan that saw the revitalization of 1st Ave East between 8th and 9th Street. This phase included some key infrastructure upgrades and the building of the Farmers’ Market Pavilion. With respect to the heritage of the area, accessibility and inclusion were all considered in the spectacular design. Phase 2 will begin in the summer of 2022 and will see 1st Ave East between 9th and 10th Street. There are 4 Phases in the revitalization of the riverbank, scheduled for full completion in fall 2026. 

The Owen Sound Downtown Improvement Area (OSDIA) was formed by downtown merchants in 1973 and renamed the River District Board of Management (RDBOM) in 2021 to reflect the renewed vision of the River District. The revitalization includes the renaming, rebranding, prioritized action plan. 

Owen Sound is steeped in history, from the underground railroad to war heroes to the rum runners of prohibition times and The River District has been a part of it all. Its revitalization will ensure that it will continue to be a big part of Owen Sounds history for many years to come.