The first settlers at Kincardine arrived in 1848 by ship, landing at the mouth of the Penetangore River. The unincorporated village of Penetangore, as originally surveyed, had as its northerly limit the range of lots lying on the north side of Durham Street. Williamsburg was later added by a subdivision of lots 12 to 15 of the Lake Range in the township of Kincardine. Being unincorporated, these communities formed part of the Township of Kincardine.
The Village of Kincardine was incorporated on January 1, 1858, thereby dropping the names of Penetangore and Williamsburg.
In 1875, Kincardine incorporated as a town.
The Town of Kincardine, the Township of Kincardine, and the Township of Bruce amalgamated to form the Township of Kincardine-Bruce-Tiverton on January 1, 1999. After the first election of the new municipal council, the name changed to the Municipality of Kincardine.