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The town is located on the southern end of Georgian Bay, and has a long sandy beach. The Nottawasaga River winds through the town to Georgian Bay. The Wasaga Beach area was first settled by Europeans in 1833 when land was granted to settlers for farming purposes. In 1856, a sawmill opened at what would become the western edge of Wasaga Beach; it closed after two years due to lack of business opportunities and lumber quality issues with pine trees in that area (the forests were later harvested). A second mill opened near where Main Street East meets Ontario Highway 400 but also failed within four years because there were no roads leading out from this isolated location; it burned down before being rebuilt further south along Lake Huron Road (Highway 21) towards Collingwood as an industrial complex called "Brocklehurst Mills". In 1860, John Boyd Dunlop established his veterinary practice here after moving from Guelph following his invention of pneumatic tires for bicycles which he patented on October 20 that year.