Barrie is a city, and manifesting regional centre in Central Ontario, Canada, positioned on the shores of Kempenfelt Bay, the western arm of Lake Simcoe. The city is located in, and is the county seat of Simcoe County, however is considered politically independent. It is part of the historically significant Huronia region of Central Ontario, and is within the northern part of the Greater Golden Horseshoe, a densely populated and industrialized region of Ontario. As of the 2016 census, the city's population was 141,434 making it the 34th largest in Canada in terms of population proper. The Barrie census metropolitan area (CMA) as of the same census had a population of 197,059 residents, making the city the 21st largest CMA in Canada. The city itself has seen significant growth in recent decades due to its emergence as a bedroom community, and its relatively close proximity to the city of Toronto. Barrie is situated approximately 86.6 kilometres (53.8 mi) from the Toronto Pearson International Airport and 166.6 kilometres (103.5 mi) from the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport, representing the city's highly centralized and historically strategic geographical orientation and its ease of access to major centres and airports across the region.
The Barrie area was first settled during the War of 1812 as a key supply depot for British forces. It would be named twenty years later for Sir Robert Barrie, who consistently commanded forces through the region. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Barrie's emergence as a bedroom community for the city of Toronto grew in prominence, and its economy would be wrapped around the education, healthcare, information technology and service sectors. Being located in the climatically deterrent snowbelt region of southern Ontario, Barrie is notorious for its deluging snow squalls in the winter. In the summer, its position within a convergence of breezes originating from the surrounding Great Lakes can provoke intense thunderstorms, some of which defying severe limits. Barrie's climate is fairly seasonal, with average January minimums of −12.4 °C (9.7 °F) and average July highs of 26.3 °C (79.3 °F).
Barrie has emerged as a popular tourist destination in Central Ontario, known as "The Gateway to Cottage Country", and is easily accessed by all forms of transportation. In the winter months, Barrie flocks with skiers and snowboarders as they attempt the slopes at nearby hills Snow Valley, Horseshoe Resort, Mount St. Louis Moonstone and Blue Mountain. Barrie also has several festivals and other events held in the city centre during the same season. Throughout the humid summer months, Barrie transforms into a city of gardens as visitors and locals alike jump to the waterfront to bask on the beaches, swim in the waters and boat in the lake. The city's historic downtown core also comes to life in the warmer months as shops, restaurants and boutiques all flourish with people. Barrie is situated close to several major centres including Toronto, Ontario, located 50 kilometres (31 mi) to the south, Ottawa, located 412 kilometres (256 mi) to the east-northeast, and Buffalo, New York, located 240 kilometres (150 mi) to the south.
|City of Barrie|
Downtown Barrie from Kempenfelt Bay
|Motto(s): The People are the City|
Location of Barrie
|First settled||End of War of 1812|
|Named for||Sir Robert Barrie|
|• Mayor||Jeff Lehman|
|• Council||Barrie City Council|
List of MPPs
List of MPs
|• City (single-tier)||99.04 km2 (38.24 sq mi)|
|• Urban||171.53 km2 (66.23 sq mi)|
|• Metro||898.02 km2 (346.73 sq mi)|
|Elevation||252 m (827 ft)|
|• City (single-tier)||147,284|
|• Density||1,428.0/km2 (3,699/sq mi)|
|• Urban density||918.27/km2 (2,378.3/sq mi)|
|• Metro density||219.4/km2 (568/sq mi)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC−5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC−4)|
|Forward Sortation Area||L4M to L4N, L9J, L9X|
|Area code(s)||705 and 249|
|Highways|| Highway 400
At its inception, Barrie was an establishment of houses and warehouses at the foot of the Nine Mile Portage from Kempenfelt Bay to Fort Willow, an aboriginal transportation route that existed centuries before Europeans arrived in Simcoe County. The portage linked Kempenfelt Bay through Willow Creek, connecting Lake Simcoe to the Nottawasaga River which flows into Georgian Bay off Lake Huron.
Barrie played an integral role in the War of 1812. During the war, the city became a supply depot for British forces, and in addition, the Nine Mile Portage was adopted by the British military as a key piece of their supply line which provided a strategic path for communication, personnel, and vital supplies and equipment to and from Fort Willow and Georgian Bay/Lake Huron. Today, the Nine Mile Portage is marked by signs along roads in Barrie and in Springwater Township. The scenic path from Memorial Square to Fort Willow is accessible to visitors year-round.
The city was named in 1833 after Sir Robert Barrie, who was in charge of the naval forces in Canada and frequently commanded forces through the city and along the Nine Mile Portage.
Barrie was also the final destination for a branch of the Underground Railroad. In the mid-19th century, this network of secret routes allowed many American slaves to enter Barrie and the surrounding area. This contributed to the development (and name) of nearby Shanty Bay.
In 1846, the population of Barrie was roughly 500, mostly from England, Ireland and Scotland. A private school, three churches, a brick courthouse and a limestone jail, (built in 1842), were in operation. Local businesses included three taverns, six stores, three tanneries, a wagon maker, a bakery, a cabinet maker and six shoemakers, as well as a bank.
In 1869, Barrie assumed the role as county seat of Simcoe County, flourishing with a population of over 3,000 people. It was a station of the Northern Railway, and was situated on Lake Simcoe's western arm, known as Kempenfelt Bay. Throughout the latter of the 19th century, Steamships ran from Barrie to the Muskoka Territory, Orillia and other communities, and stages were taking passengers to Penetanguishene.
In the midst of World War I, dedicated residents of Barrie helped to hastily construct Canadian Forces Base Borden (CFB Borden) as a means of additional support, and to serve as a major training centre of Canadian Expeditionary Force battalions. The base would open on 11, July 1916, and since then has become the largest Canadian Forces Base in the country, playing a paramount role through the remainder of the war, and throughout history.
On 7, September 1977, a private aircraft dropped to an altitude of 500 feet (152 m) in dense fog, and struck the 1,000-foot (305 m) CKVR-TV tower, killing all five occupants aboard the plane, and destroying the tower and antenna. The station's 225-foot (69 m) auxiliary tower was also destroyed, and damage had been inflicted to the roof of the main studio. CKVR were back on the air in the weeks following using a temporary 400-foot (122 m) tower, and a power reduction of nearly 40,000 watts occurred at 8:55 PM on 19, September, upon their return to the air. The new 1,000-foot tower was rebuilt in 1978.
On 31, May 1985, an F4 tornado struck Barrie, touching down in Essa Township, less than 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) southwest of Highway 400 and the Barrie city limits. At approximately 4:00 PM, all electrical power in Barrie went out, as the Grand Valley/Tottenham tornado took out the main hydro transformers southwest of the city. It then entered the southern part of Barrie shortly before 5:00 PM, causing devastating damage in the subdivisions within its immediate path. The visibility in the general vicinity had been reduced drastically as the tornado was cloaked in heavy rain and dust. It became known as one of the most violent and deadliest tornadoes in Canadian history, claiming the lives of 8 within the city and injuring over 155 people. A state of emergency had been issued for the city that evening, with services from surrounding municipalities being required as the weeks following wore on.
Between 12–13, June 1987, a sculpture called Spirit Catcher by Ron Baird was moved to Barrie from Vancouver, British Columbia, where it had been exhibited as part of Expo '86. The sculpture was erected permanently at the foot of Maple Avenue on the shore of Kempenfelt Bay, and has since become a principal facet in the Barrie city skyline and tourism. However, with the re-development along the waterfront/Lakeshore Drive, the city is considering moving the Spirit Catcher to the gravel outcropping at the foot of Bayfield Street.
On 12, January 2004, the former Molsons plant was found to be home to an illegal marijuana grow-op housing an estimated 30,000 marijuana plants with an estimated street value of $30 million; at the time, it was the largest marijuana grow-op bust in Canada's history. Furthermore, the bust bestowed mass-recognition globally as its prevalence within media-circulation grew.
Barrie's Park Place, (formerly Molson Park), was chosen to host Live 8 Canada on 2, July 2005. The overall success of the concert contributed to a plan to convert the prior Molson Park lands into a commercial district. On 31, October 2006, commercial real estate developers North American Acquisition Inc (NAA), a subsidiary of North American Development Group, LLC (NADG) won an Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) appeal of a rezoning application that had been previously denied by the City of Barrie to rezone the new Park Place lands from general industrial to business park zones, and general commercial or mixed employment. The proposal was followed by several concepts, including: a box store abstraction originally conceived in 2002. The development of the lands were halted temporarily in 2009 due to disputes with the past OMB appeal, and construction of the complex would resume in 2010.
An explosion in the Royal Thai restaurant housed in the landmark Wellington Hotel at the historic Five Points intersection in downtown Barrie occurred at 11:20 PM on 6, December 2007. The fire quickly spread to several other historic neighbouring buildings, and firefighters battled the blaze well into the following morning, requiring assistance from other Simcoe County fire services. Succeeding the fire, officials estimated the damages to be in the millions. The one-hundred-year-old Wellington Hotel building collapsed later in the morning, spilling its remains athwart the nearby road and intersection. On 17, February 2008, two people were charged in connection with the fire after the Ontario Fire Marshal's office concluded the explosion and subsequent fire were the result of arson.
Barrie is located in the central portion of Southern Ontario, approximately 80 km (50 mi) north of Toronto, 303 km (188 mi) south southeast of Sudbury, and 412 km (256 mi) west southwest of Ottawa, within the Greater Golden Horseshoe subregion. It is additionally located approximately 38 km (24 mi) southeast of the sought-after summertime destination, Wasaga Beach, and 112 km (70 mi) south of the Muskoka District Municipality and cottage country, accessible via Highways 26, 400, and 11.
Barrie's historic downtown area is situated in a distinct curved or wrapped valley, surrounding the western edge of Kempenfelt Bay. Terrain is generally flat near the city's centre, with small but relevant hills and valleys being prominent astride the aforementioned. Moving up the valley slopes toward the city's north and south ends, and the terrain can be rather steep in some areas. The earth flattens considerably just outside the city's limits to the south and northeast, especially beyond the airport where vast expanses of vegetation and farmland are most notable. The land surrounding Barrie is rich with agricultural activity. Barrie falls into Plant Hardiness Zone 5b.
The city does not have any major rivers within its limits, but does have numerous creeks and streams, most of which empty into Kempenfelt Bay.
Barrie has been designated an Urban Growth Centre by the Province of Ontario (Places to Grow Simcoe Area, 2009). Its population growth, largely due to its emergence as a bedroom community for Toronto, has given rise to the development of numerous subdivisions on the southern side of the city. Barrie successfully annexed 2,293 hectares (22.93 km2) of land from the neighbouring Town of Innisfil to the south and southeast on 1, January 2010. The annexation comprised lands south beyond McKay Road and west of the 10th Sideroad, and as far south as Lockhart Road on the east side of the 10th Sideroad. The annexation was intended to allow Barrie to meet its growing population demands without having to extend into the lush countryside on the northern, western, and eastern lakeside boundaries of the city's limits.
Barrie has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb), with warm, humid summers, and cold, snowy winters. The city is situated on Lake Simcoe, a climatically insignificant body of water. Barrie is located within close proximity to Georgian Bay, which, along with the Great Lakes, act as a "buffer" of sorts, moderating year-round temperatures to a fair extent, while combined with the lake effect can spawn blinding snow squalls in the winter, and strong thunderstorms in the spring and summer.
The average July maximum in Barrie is 26.3 °C (79 °F), while the average January minimum is −12.4 °C (10 °F). Barrie experiences four distinct seasons, with considerable variance in length. Similar to the city's southern neighbour; Toronto, as a result of the rapid passage of weather systems (such as high- and low-pressure systems), the weather is variable from day to day in all seasons. Barrie does not, however, see the effects of diurnal temperature variation, owing to its northerly location and rural outskirts. The city can be subject of noticeably cooler afternoons in the spring and early summer, due to the influence of a lake breeze since nearby lakes, such as Lake Huron, are cool relative to the air during these seasons. These aforementioned "lake breezes" mostly occur throughout the summer, bringing much-needed relief on hot days. Other low-scale maritime effects on the climate include constant lake-effect snow in the winter, fog, and delaying of spring- and fall-like conditions, known as seasonal lag.
Winters are typically cold with frequent snow. During the winter months, temperatures are usually below 0 °C (32 °F). Barrie winters sometimes feature cold snaps when maximum temperatures remain below −10 °C (14 °F), often made to feel colder by a biting wind chill. Occasionally, temperatures can drop below −25 °C (−13 °F). Snowstorms, sometimes mixed with ice and rain, can disrupt work and travel schedules, while accumulating snow can fall anytime from late-October until mid-April. However, on the contrary, mild bouts also occur in most winters, melting any accumulated snow. The summer months are characterized by very warm temperatures and muggy conditions. Daytime temperatures are normally above 20 °C (68 °F), and often rise above 30 °C (86 °F). However, they can sometimes surpass an ungodly 35 °C (95 °F), accompanied by high humidity. The short transitional seasons of spring and autumn have generally mild or cool temperatures with alternating periods of dry and wet. Daytime temperatures average around 10 to 12 °C (50 to 54 °F) during these seasons.
Precipitation is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, but summer is usually the wettest season, the bulk falling during thunderstorms. Barrie is known for heavy thunderstorm activity in the late spring and summer months, all due to its location within a convergence of breezes originating from Georgian Bay, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. There can be short periods of dry weather, but drought-like conditions are rare. The average yearly precipitation is about 932 millimetres (37 in), with an average annual snowfall of about 223 centimetres (88 in).
|Climate data for Barrie (Lake Simcoe Regional Airport) 1981−2010 normals, extremes 1866−present[a]|
|Record high °C (°F)||15.0
|Average high °C (°F)||−2.9
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−7.7
|Average low °C (°F)||−12.4
|Record low °C (°F)||−38.9
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||82.5
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||16.6
|Average snowfall cm (inches)||65.9
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm)||14.9||12.3||11.6||12.2||12.9||11.4||11.1||11.8||13.3||15.6||15.4||13.8||156.1|
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm)||2.8||3.0||5.4||11.3||12.9||11.4||11.1||11.8||13.3||15.5||11.3||4.6||114.4|
|Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm)||12.4||10.0||6.8||1.5||0.04||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.54||4.5||9.6||45.5|
|Source: Environment Canada|
Barrie has suffered through the wrath of two severe tornadoes; an F4 during the Barrie outbreak of 1985 which caused devastating damage to the then south end of Barrie, and an EF2 during the June 16–18, 2014 tornado outbreak which caused minimal damage to southern Barrie, but affected the nearby town of Angus to a greater extent.
As the most infamous supercell spawned on the Canadian side of the border during the 1985 United States-Canada tornado outbreak, the tornado's inception was in southern Simcoe County (Essa Township), less than 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) southwest of Highway 400 and the Barrie city limits.
At approximately 4:00 PM, all electrical power in Barrie went out as the Grand Valley/Tottenham tornado took out the main hydro transformers southwest of the city. Few residents had any idea of what was looming over the horizon, but many people were let off work 30-45 minutes before the storm hit due to these power outages. Had this not have happened, the death toll would have undoubtedly been much higher. The intensifying tornado first obliterated a pine tree forest plantation. Some 10-metre (33 ft) high trees were snapped at the 2-metre (6 ft 7 in) level. At this point the damage path was about 600 metres (2,000 ft) wide, moving steadily towards the east northeast. It then entered the southern part of Barrie shortly before 5:00 PM. Visibility was very low as the tornado was cloaked in heavy rain and dust, thus making it very difficult to see. Extensive F3 (although some localized F4) damage occurred to an entire square block of homes in the Crawford Street and Patterson Road subdivision. Five people were killed in the area as some homes there were not well-built, and therefore collapsed after being pushed of their foundations. Two of these five deaths included a mother and son, killed when their Crawford Street home was completely levelled. Most of the fatalities occurred in homes with no basements, where head and chest trauma resulted from an increased exposure to flying debris.
Next, the tornado hit an industrial complex (known then as Molson Park). One person died at a tire retreading facility, while at least fifteen other businesses were damaged or destroyed. Steel I-beams were twisted horribly out of shape, and splinters of wood were found embedded into nearby concrete walls. The tornado then proceeded to cross Highway 400 at Essa Road (former Highway 27) interchange, just missing the Barrie Racetrack to the south. The grandstand was heavily damaged and several barns nearby were destroyed. A man was killed after he was sucked out of his parked car in an adjacent lot. Several vehicles travelling on Highway 400 were tossed into the ditch, their drivers escaping with only minor injuries. Highway guard rails were found wrapped around telephone poles close by. Many cars were also found with puncture holes in their frames, owing to the flying debris. As it crossed the highway, it moved into the Allandale subdivision.
Many homes sustained severe damage there, with much of their upper floors missing. By this time, the tornado's path had narrowed to about 300 metres (980 ft). The track moved from Debra Crescent to Joanne Court with more extensive damage. Near Tower Crescent, the path narrowed to a comparatively small fifty metres. On Briar Road, homes sustained only minor damage, indicating that the tornado had weakened somewhat. But the next road east, Trillium Crescent had sustained heavy damage, indicating once more that it had strengthened again. Four warehouses near Highway 11 were ripped apart. It then hit the Tollendal Woods and Minets Point area, taking out the Brentwood Marina and a nearby subdivision. A boy was killed in this area while trying to bicycle home. Over thirty boats, accompanied by their concrete moorings, were tossed into Lake Simcoe and never to be recovered. The tornado then moved out over Kempenfelt Bay where it became a waterspout for a brief time before weakening out completely. It came very close to the opposite shore, but no damage was reported there. Large quantities of debris from the city were later found floating in the bay. Despite the tornado's relatively short path length (under 10 kilometres (6.2 mi)), eight died in Barrie with 155 injured, and as many as 300 homes were damaged or destroyed.
Shortly before 5:00 PM on 17, June 2014, an EF2 tornado would touch down in Angus, where many homes would have their roofs torn off, and one would lose its entire second story. A van would be flipped, and a mobile home park near Essa would have considerable damage inflicted. The tornado would steadily track to the northeast into the south side of Barrie, where several trees would be snapped, and power poles completely dismantled, some landing on nearby homes homes, causing localized power outages. Steel shipping containers weighing up to 9,800 lbs. were blown more than 20 feet from where they originated before the gradual dissipation of the tornado. More than 100 residences were damaged along its path, including 30 to 40 with significant damage. Hundreds of trees within Angus and Barrie were downed throughout the tornado's duration.
|Note: 2011 census population
corrected by Statistics Canada
|Canada census – Barrie community profile|
|Population:||141,434 (3.9% from 2011)||136,063 (5.9% from 2006)|
|Land area:||99.04 km2 (38.24 sq mi)||77.39 km2 (29.88 sq mi)|
|Population density:||1,428.0/km2 (3,699/sq mi)||1,758.1/km2 (4,553/sq mi)|
|Median age:||38.5 (M: 36.9, F: 40.0)||37.2 (M: 36.0, F: 38.3)|
|Total private dwellings:||54,227||50,075|
|Median household income:||$113,575||$80,928|
|References: 2016 2011 earlier|
Barrie is one of the most populous municipalities and census metropolitan areas in the Greater Golden Horseshoe subregion. In the 2016 census, the city's population swelled to 141,434, a growth of 3.9 per cent over the 2011 population of 136,063. The median age is 38.5 years, somewhat lower than the provincial average of 39.0 years. The census metropolitan area of Barrie is 197,059, and consists of the city proper; the town of Innisfil directly to the south, west of Lake Simcoe's southern arm (population 36,566); and the township of Springwater in the agricultural north (population 19,059). Barrie has a total land area of 898.02 square kilometres (346.73 sq mi) in its metropolitan area, with a significant portion of the precinct being farmland or grassland. Roughly 40% of the Barrie census metropolitan area is developed land.
In the 2016 census, Barrie's "bedroom community" for that of the city of Toronto distinction would be represented once again in another census by its demography. Barrie's median household income was $113,575, far higher than Ontario's median of $74,287, potentially depicting the higher-paying occupations available in the Greater Toronto Area as opposed to those offered within city limits. Barrie's economic stature is not lacking however, several jobs are offered across different fields locally. Barrie's average commute time is the third highest in Ontario at 59 minutes, also possibly displaying the populous' tendency to work abroad in the more desirable and opportunity-oriented south. Barrie's average dwelling value was $395,994, demonstrating a lower household cost than the provincial mean of about $517,000 and national average of roughly $496,500.
Barrie is home to primarily European Canadians. The city's bilingualism is rather distinguished with a fair francophone population of about 9,660 people (or 6.8% of the total population). With this census figure, the seemingly miniscule francophone population still finds itself higher than the Ontario average of 2.4%. Some 92.2% of the population speak mostly English at home. According to the 2011 National Household Survey, the residents of Barrie are predominantly Christian. Around 67% of the population claims adherence to Christian denominations with a Catholic, United Church and Anglican majority, accounting for 41.2%, 14.2% and 13.7% respectively of the total separate Christian statistical figure. Those with no religious affiliation accounted for 31% of the population, and other religions such as Muslim, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism and other religions all constitute around one per cent of the population. The few visible minorities Barrie boasts display a figure of 7.4%, far less when compared to the Canadian average of 19.1%.
As of 2011, the population of Barrie finds itself educationally superior to that of the average, with 41.2% of the population holding a university degree (compared to 23.3% nationally) and 14.1% with no certificate, diploma or degree (compared to 17.3% nationally).
|Visible minority and Aboriginal population
(2011 National Household Survey)
|Population group||Population||Per cent|
|Visible minority group
|Visible minority, n.i.e.||515||0.4%|
|Multiple visible minority||490||0.4%|
|Total visible minority population||10,095||7.6%|
|Total Aboriginal population||6,600||5%|
Religious affiliations, 2011
|Traditional (Aboriginal) Spirituality||35|
|No religious affiliation||41,275|
The following are some of the city's major employers:
Notwithstanding these major employers, Barrie has increasingly been perceived as a bedroom community for those commuting to Toronto, which is approximately 90 km (56 mi) south of Barrie. Approximately 32% of the resident-employed labour force (17,040 persons/53,400 persons) commute out of Barrie for employment purposes, however, approximately 28% of the resident-employed labour force (14,880 persons/53,400 persons) commute into Barrie for employment for a net out-commuting figure of only 4.26% (17,040 persons –14,880 persons)/(50,665 persons employed in Barrie)). Source: 2001 Census and City of Barrie Economic Development.
Tourism plays an important role in the local economy. Barrie's historic downtown and waterfront are at the heart of its tourism industry. Downtown Barrie hosts many older buildings that have been kept up over the years or given new facades that exemplify their historical importance. Many specialty shops, boutiques, pubs and restaurants are located throughout downtown Barrie, most notably along Dunlop Street East. Downtown Barrie is becoming well known for its fashion boutiques, local art, live theatre, indie-music and nightlife scenes.
In addition, downtown Barrie is home to numerous annual festivals and events such as The Barrie Waterfront Festival, Barrielicious, Winterfest, Celebrate Barrie, Ecofest, Jazz & Blues Festival, Promenade Days, Ribfest and Craft Beer Show, Caribfest, Lawnchair Luminata, Kempenfest, The New Music Festival, Barrie Film Festival, Santa Claus Parade and the New Year’s Countdown.
In the summer months, the city boasts several beaches including Minet's Point Beach, Johnsons Beach, The Gables, Tyndale Beach, and Centennial Beach. Boating in also very popular in Kempenfelt Bay and Lake Simcoe as it connects to the Trent Severn Waterway. In 2011, Barrie's waterfront was under redevelopment, with the relocation of several roadways to provide more greenspace and parkland along the lakeshore.
There are numerous winter recreation activities and facilities in the surrounding area, including skiing, snow tubing and snowboarding resorts, snowmobile trails and ice fishing. Recreational activities include skiing at nearby Horseshoe Resort, Snow Valley, Mount St. Louis Moonstone and Blue Mountain.
Barrie is home to vibrant performing and fine arts scenes. There are a number of live performance companies including Theatre by the Bay, Talk Is Free Theatre and the Huronia Symphony. Grove Park Home is the practice hall for On Stage Performance Group which performs in Cookstown. The Strolling Youth Players, and the Kempenfelt Community Players also all perform in Barrie. In addition, an annual live concert series is hosted by Georgian College.
There are two main performing arts venues in the city: the Mady Centre For The Performing Arts, and the Georgian Theatre. The Mady Centre For The Performing Arts is located in Barrie’s downtown at the Five Points intersection and was completed in 2011. This modern facility is home to many professional and amateur cultural productions, film screenings, theatrical plays, concerts, dance recitals and other performances. It is also the main venue for Theatre by the Bay and the Talk Is Free Theatre Companies. The venue features a flexible stage area with lighting and sound for professional theatre, music, dance, and other presentations, an automated riser/seating system with capacity for 120 to 200 seats and a sprung performance floor.
The Georgian Theatre is a professional performing arts facility located in Barrie’s north end on the campus of Georgian College. The theatre features a proscenium stage, sound, lights, fly gallery, and seating for 427 on the main level with 3 pods which can be used to increase the seating capacity to 690. The Theatre is used for both theatrical and non-theatrical activity including conferences and seminars.
The prominent MacLaren Art Centre is located in Barrie. This is an innovative art gallery that inspired the "Art City" project, which has had many different large sculptures installed around the city. These can be found in parks and along the scenic waterfront. The MacLaren Art Centre is a large and beautiful building on Mulcaster Street in downtown Barrie. International and Canadian artists display in the three main galleries. A permanent collection of art is growing, the Radio Cafe, a gift shop, film nights, speakers, theatre and many children's programs and community art projects are just a small part of the gallery's mandate. The gallery contributes overall to a vibrant arts community in the Barrie area with it leading edge arts.
Barrie is also home to many independent galleries and studios. A concentration of independent galleries, studios and boutiques is located in Lakeshore Mews. This area is located behind the downtown's Dunlop Street, and provides a location where one-of-a-kind items can be purchased. Lakeshore Mews artists also organize the annual “Arts ce Soir”; an all-night contemporary art event in celebration of visual, musical, theatrical and literary art. In addition, a studio tour in the Barrie/Orillia area takes place on the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend every year. It is called the Images Studio Tour and has over 25 artists on average. The self-guided tour allows people to visit artists in their working studio and see how the art is created while enjoying the beautiful fall colours driving through the two cities and the countryside. Potters, jewellers, painters, textile artists and fashion designers make up a few of the disciplines of the talents on display.
Barrie is also home to Kempenfest; one of the largest outdoor arts and crafts celebrations in Ontario. This festival occurs annually over the August long weekend and features over 300 artisans, an antique show, food demonstrations, children’s activities and live entertainment, including an indie-music stage.
Some of the main arts and culture groups in the city include:
Barrie has numerous recreational venues and community centres throughout the city.
|Barrie Colts||OHL Hockey||Barrie Molson Centre||1995||1|
|Barrie Baycats||IBL Baseball||Coates Stadium||2001||3|
|Party||Member of Provincial Parliament||From||To||Riding|
|Liberal||Ann Hoggarth||June 12, 2014||present||Barrie|
|Party||Members of Parliament||From||To||Riding|
|Conservative||John Brassard||October 19, 2015||present||Barrie—Innisfil|
|Conservative||Alex Nuttall||October 19, 2015||present||Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte|
Barrie has a long military history dating back to at least the Nine Mile Portage of the War of 1812. By the time of the 1837 Rebellion, Simcoe County had a sufficient population to form a battalion of Sedentary Militia of almost 600 strong. This battalion was involved in marching suspected rebels down Yonge Street to Toronto in order to face justice. By 1855, Barrie was home to an independent company of Rifle Company of militia, followed in 1863 by a company of Infantry. These companies served during the Fenian Raids.
With the Militia Act of 1866, the companies in Barrie were respectively organized as Number 1 and Number 5 companies, in the newly formed 35th Battalion of Infantry (Simcoe Foresters), gazetted on September 14, 1866. In 1885, four companies the 35th Simcoe Foresters, including those from Barrie, formed with four companies from the 12th York Battalion to form the York-Simcoe Battalion. This specially raised battalion served in Western Canada during the Northwest Rebellion, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel W.E. O'Brien of Shanty Bay, Ontario. For its efforts, The Simcoe Foresters received its first Battle Honour "Northwest Canada 1885."
Citizens of Barrie would next volunteer for military service during the Boer War in South Africa 1899-1902. It was during this conflict that at the Battle of Paardeberg the citizens of Barrie and The Simcoe Foresters suffered their first fatal casualty, Private James Halkett Findlay. Private Findlay was killed-in-action on February 18, 1900, while serving with C Company of the 2nd Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry.
In 1914, the First World War broke out and many citizens of Barrie were quick to volunteer for service overseas with The Simcoe Foresters. Late the following year, the Regiment was tasked with raising two overseas battalions, the 157th Battalion (Simcoe Foresters), CEF and the 177th Battalion (Simcoe Foresters), CEF. In the spring of 1916, the Barrie and Collingwood companies of the 157th Battalion began clearing the land and construction of the new military camp on the Simcoe Pines Plain — Camp Borden (now CFB Borden). This began Barrie's long friendship with the Base.
With a re-organization of the Canadian Militia between the two world wars, The Simcoe Foresters, headquartered in Barrie, were amalgamated in 1936 with the Grey Regiment, headquartered at Owen Sound, Ontario. This event created the present-day regiment of The Grey and Simcoe Foresters, which is headquartered at the Armoury in Queen's Park, downtown Barrie.
With the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, citizens of Barrie volunteered for service overseas with The Grey and Simcoe Foresters, the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force. The City of Barrie sponsored a ship in the Royal Canadian Navy, HMCS Barrie, a Flower-class corvette.
There are no major airports with scheduled flights near Barrie. There are a few airports that are used for light aviation aircraft:
Barrie is served by Provincial Highway Highway 400, which acts as the primary route between Barrie and Toronto. Highway 400 bisects the city on a roughly north-south basis. Highway 26, also located in the city, is the main route to the Collingwood area and is known as Bayfield Street within the city limits.
Barrie was once served by Highway 27, Highway 90, Highway 93, Highway 131 and Highway 11. However, the province downgraded many highways in 1997 and 1998; these highways are now known as Simcoe County Road 27, Simcoe County Road 90 (Dunlop Street), Simcoe County Road 93 and Simcoe County Road 30. The portion of Highway 11 through Barrie is known as Yonge Street, though it is actually part of the Penetanguishene Road
Major arterial roads within the city include Mapleview Drive, Ferndale Drive, 10th Line, Big Bay Point Road, Essa Road, Huronia Road and Bayfield Street.
Public transport is provided by Barrie Transit, which operates numerous bus routes within the city. Accessible transit is offered by booking with city run Barrie Accessible Community Transportation Service. Most regular bus routes operated by Barrie Transit are accessible using low floor vehicles. Barrie also has GO Trains and Buses.
GO Transit connects the city to the Greater Toronto Area through daily train service along the Barrie line, with trains operating from the Allandale Waterfront GO Station and the Barrie South GO Station. This is primarily a commuter rail service to the GTA, with southbound trips to Toronto's Union Station in the morning rush hour and northbound trips in the evening rush hour. Limited weekend service to and from Toronto is also operated.
In addition to train service, GO Transit offers daily commuter-oriented bus service to the Greater Toronto Area. Barrie is served by various private interurban bus lines such as Penetang-Midland Coach Lines and parent Greyhound Canada, which run buses between Barrie and Toronto's Yorkdale Bus Terminal. Greyhound operates QuickLink commuter service from Barrie to Toronto seven days a week. In the past Gray Coach offered service from Toronto to Barrie; the route was later acquired by Greyhound. Ontario Northland operates bus routes from various locations to and from Barrie. All inter-urban buses operate from the Barrie Transit Terminal at 24 Maple Street.
Historically, Barrie was served by scheduled passenger rail service. Allandale Station was a stop for the Grand Trunk Railway, Canadian National Railway and Via Rail. In addition, Ontario Northland's Northlander used the station as a stop, as did CN Rail/Via Rail (namely The Canadian). Regular passenger rail service to the station ended in the 1980s and has largely been replaced by interurban / commuter rail service.
Barrie has two major English school boards that operate inside the city at a public level. The Simcoe County District School Board administers a Public education in Barrie and Simcoe County, while the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board administers to the Catholic population and serves the Simcoe and Muskoka areas. It also has two French school boards, Le Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud and Le Conseil scolaire Viamonde. There are also several private schools both for K-8 and K-12.
Georgian College's main campus, with over 10,000 full-time students and approximately 25,000 part-time students, is located in Barrie.
Village Media operates BarrieToday.com.
There are both semi-weekly and monthly newspapers serving the City of Barrie.
The Barrie Advance, published by Metroland Media Group, is a free newspaper established in 1983 delivered weekly (Thursdays) to every residence in the city as well as residents of Springwater Township and parts of Oro-Medonte. The newspaper contains local news, classifieds, advertisements and flyers.
Barrie Business is a free newsprint publication covering local and regional business news. Published monthly, and distributed to every business in the City of Barrie through Canada Post, it seeks to highlight and support Barrie's local business community and events.
The Barrie Examiner, established in 1864, was one of Canada's oldest daily newspapers. It was distributed five days a week (Tuesday to Saturday) to paid subscribers and also delivered to the remainder of the market free on Thursdays. The Examiner was one of several Postmedia Network newspapers purchased by Torstar in a transaction between the two companies in 2017. Following the acquisition, Torstar subsidiary Metroland Media Group announced the closure of the paper effective November 27, 2017.
Local radio stations serving Barrie and area include:
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The closure of the newspapers, which is effective immediately, will affect 46 full-time and part-time employees