The roots of Discovery Harbour date back to 1793, when Sir John Graves Simcoe scouted Penetanguishene Bay as a strategic site for a naval base. The steep-sided, deep water bay would be an ideal spot to protect and maintain ships. The bay could also serve as a vital transport link from York (Toronto) to the northwest.
The War of 1812 between Britain and the United States sparked the construction of an active naval dockyard at Penetanguishene. By 1817, the British Navy, anxious to patrol and protect the Upper Great Lakes against a future attack, began building the Naval Establishment.
The Naval Establishment would soon become a permanent home to the warships: H.M.S Tecumseth and H.M.S. Newash.