While fishing and tourism eventually became the main industries, it was the majestic pine and oak forests of the area that led to the actual founding of the village of Grand Bend. Grand Bend derived its name from a hairpin turn in the Ausable (Aux Sables) River a short distance inland from Lake Huron where sand dunes blocked the river's outlet to the lake. Frequent flooding hampered farming in the region; never-the-less, a small milling community developed at the "Grand Bend" in the 1830's, when a group of English and Scottish settlers bought lots from the Canada Company, a land development firm. One of the original settlers, Benjamin Brewster, secured rights to dam the Ausable River and started a sawmill in 1832. The villagers were mainly the families of the millhands and fisherman. Their homesteads were situated on the south side of the present village.
Grand Bend comes alive in the summer months and is one of the most popular resorts on Lake Huron. National Geographic described it as having one of the “Top Ten Best Sunsets” in the world. The Pinery Provincial Park is Southern Ontario’s largest forested area with rare Carolinian and internationally significant oak savanna regions. This 6,257 acre park offers canoeing on a slow moving river and 10 kms or 6 miles of sandy beach on Lake Huron.