The body of water that gives the town its name was surveyed and named by Captain Henry Bayfield in the 19th century, in honour of the Arctic explorer Sir William Edward Parry. In 1857, the modern townsite was established near the Ojibwa village of Wasaukwasene ("shining shore") at the mouth of the Seguin River. In the late 19th century, rail service was established, making the town an important depot along the rail lines to Western Canada.
In the early 20th century, an explosives and munitions factory was established in the nearby town of Nobel, making Parry Sound an important part of the Second World War effort.
The town is host to an annual sailing regatta and a performing arts festival, The Festival of the Sound. It is the birthplace of hockey legend Bobby Orr. Former Ontario premier Ernie Eves also called the town home for many years.
Although construction on Highway 400 is scheduled to continue, Parry Sound is currently the northern terminus of Highway 400.
External links: Town of Parry Sound