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Owen Sound (Rural Stream)

The City of Owen Sound is located on the southern shores of Georgian Bay.  Owen Sound family physicians provide inpatient and emergency care at the Grey Bruce Health Services, which is a regional referral centre.  They work closely with internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, general, orthopedic, urological and ENT surgery.

Community website:  City of Owen Sound

Academic hub is in the ROMP Offices, located at 459 Hume Street, Collingwood.

Key Stats

  • CMG CaRMS Positions: 2
  • Preceptors: 23
  • 160 bed hospital with catchment area of 160,000.
  • 700 births per year and 36,000 ER visits per year.


Dr. Cam Tweedie
Site Lead



Resident Perspective

Regional referral center: Although the town itself is only 22,000 people, Owen Sound is a regional referral center covering a catchment area of 160,000 people. This means you get the amazing rural lifestyle, but the volume and acuity found in a larger center. We have access to an MRI, CT scanner and many specialists with a collegial working environment. We have a level 2 nursery, psychiatric intensive care, ICU, CCU and refer out for neurosurgery and cardiac surgery.

Full-Scope Family Practice: Most of our family practice preceptors follow their own inpatients and have other specific areas of interest including maternity care, nursing homes, house visits, addictions medicine etc. Preceptors are very open to you spending time with other physicians to increase your diversity of experiences.

Family Health Team: We have a beautiful new waterfront clinic, few minutes from downtown. Each physician has their own nurse, and we have access to many allied health professionals such as pharmacists, nurse practitioners, diabetes educators, social workers etc. We have an ECG machine, procedure room, pharmacy, and radiology department in the building, and a great European Bakery!

Staff to learner ratio: The 4 FM residents are the only full-time residents in a large hospital. Therefore you are usually 1:1 with preceptors, have first dibs on procedures, interesting cases, and extra learning experiences with specialists. However, this is also a downside of the program, that you miss out on the team-based learning and teaching opportunities.

Educational Activities: There is extensive bedside teaching, but little formal/didactic sessions on rotations. You can attend interdisciplinary grand rounds in the hospital every Friday. Additionally, all rural residents take turns presenting at video-conferenced peer rounds, and in MHBS.

Mental Health and Behavioural Science: You will attend MHBS sessions in Collingwood in place of a core psychiatry rotation. These sessions are with residents from both years every Wednesday afternoon. The commute takes about an hour, and is a great time to catch up with other residents. If roads are dangerous in winter months, sessions can be video-conferenced to Owen Sound.

Education – Based Learning: While staff are genuinely excited to have learners around, they do not rely on us to keep things running. Therefore every experience is based around your learning. You will do very little ‘scut’ work.

Home call: For most rotations you will have home call. You may be on call more days than your urban counter-parts, but typically you are less busy, and this allows you to get enough volume. One down side to this is that you don’t typically get a post-call day, but in general, things even out, and this system is more representative of how you will practice as a rural physician when you finish.

Flexible schedule: In ER you choose your own shifts and on internal medicine and surgery you choose your own call shifts. On other rotations you will be on call when your primary preceptor is. Unlike larger programs where they require you to take vacation in 4 week, or week-long blocks, in the rural programs you can take individual days off. Therefore, you will often have to work hard to use all of your vacation days!

Home base for R1: Since Owen Sound is a regional hospital, it has enough volume for all core rotations to be completed on site!

Self-Design R2: Your R2 is essentially choose-your-own adventure, with 2 blocks electives, 2 blocks selectives (local electives), 2 blocks rural/remote FM, 1 block care of the elderly, 4 blocks FM, 1 Academic block, and a mandatory block of general surgery (unique to Owen Sound, for better or worse). In general, R2s appreciate the flexible year to fill in gaps in learning and pursue specific interests. The administrative staff are great at facilitating scheduling and advocating for your learning opportunities. There are some downsides to only having 8 weeks of electives though, and not having any during R1.

Longitudinal learning experiences: You must do the equivalent of a half-day back per week in FM while on other rotations, and a half day of ER while on FM rotations. This allows for great continuity of learning in both areas that are key for rural family physicians. You are also able to set up other horizontal electives, including in smaller surrounding communities.

Rural Lifestyle: Owen Sound is located on Georgian Bay, at the base of the beautiful Bruce Peninsula with endless recreation opportunities such as: sailing, kayaking, kite boarding, rock climbing, camping, skiing, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, hiking, hockey, dragon boating, rowing, and multiple festivals and cultural events.


    • McMaster University Department of Family Medicine
    • David Braley Health Sciences Centre
    • 100 Main Street West, 6th Floor
    • Hamilton, ON L8P 1H6
    • Map / Directions