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Barrie On information current from 2006

Motto: The People are the City


Location of Barrie

Coordinates: 44°24′48″N 79°40′48″

Barrie is a city in Southern Ontario, Canada, located on the western shore of Lake Simcoe and on the northern edge of the densely populated Greater Golden Horseshoe.  Although geographically near the centre of Simcoe County, the city is politically independent from it.

In 2006 the city’s population was 128,430 residents, making it the 35th largest city in Canada. Data released from the 2006 census indicates that the Barrie metropolitan area, with 177,061 residents, is the 21st largest, and one of the fastest growing census metropolitan areas in the country.


Barrie is situated in Central Ontario,Canada.

At its inception, Barrie was a small group of houses and warehouses at the foot of the Nine Mile Portage from Kempenfelt Bay to Fort Willow. The city was named in 1833 after Sir Robert Barrie, who was in charge of the naval forces in Canada and frequently had to portage from Lake Simcoe to Georgian Bay through the city. The Underground Railroad in the mid-19th century allowed many American slaves to enter Barrie. This contributed to the development (and name) of nearby Shanty Bay. During World War II the Royal Canadian Navy named a Flower class corvette HMCS Barrie.

On September 7, 1977, a private aircraft dropped altitude to 500 feet (150 m) in dense fog, struck the 1,000-foot (300 m) CKVR-TV tower, killing all five on the plane and destroying the tower and antenna. The station’s 225-foot (69 m) auxiliary tower was also destroyed and there was some damage to the main studio. CKVR were as back on the air using a temporary 400′ tower and reduced power of 40,000 watts at 8:55am on the 19th of September. The new 1,000-foot (300 m) tower was rebuilt in 1978.

On 31 May 1985, an F4 tornado struck Barrie. It was one of the most violent and deadliest tornadoes in Canadian history.

On 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. 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.

In January 2004, Barrie made international news when its city police raided the former Molson brewery, and found Canada’s largest illegal cannabis grow operation.

Barrie’s Park Place (formerly Molson Park) was chosen to host Live 8 Canada on 2 July 2005. The success of the concert contributed to the resistance to a plan to convert the concert area to a commercial district. However, the stage, buildings and many of the trees on site have been destroyed since construction of the Park Place commercial district has begun.

An explosion in the Royal Thai restaurant, housed in the landmark Wellington Hotel, at the historic Five Points intersection in Barrie’s downtown core occurred at 11:20 PM on 6 December 2007. The fire quickly spread to several neighboring buildings. Firefighters battled the blaze well into the following morning, requiring assistance from other Simcoe County fire services. Officials estimate the damages to be in the millions. The Wellington Hotel building collapsed. It was over one hundred years old. On 17 February 2008, two people were charged in connection with the fire, after the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office concluded the explosion and fire were the result of arson.[10]


Residential condominiums and houses in Barrie after a snowfall.

Barrie is located in the central portion of Southern Ontario, within the Greater Golden Horseshoe urban agglomeration. It is accessible via Highways 26, 400, 11 and has convenient access to Highway 401, the Highway 407 Express Toll Route and to neighboring Toronto. Pearson International Airport in Toronto is less than a one hour drive from Barrie via Highway 400, a six lane highway that runs directly through Barrie.

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 center. Moving up the valley slopes toward the city’s north and south ends, the terrain can be rather steep in areas.

Over the last few decades, the city has expanded its urban area beyond the confines of the valley, particularly to the south and south-east, into the rural town of Innisfil. The Province of Ontario has enacted legislation that will enable Barrie to annex 2,293 acres (9.28 km2) from Innisfil as of January 1, 2010. The land in question extends south beyond 10th Line west of the 10th Side road, and as far south as Lockhart Road on the east side of the 10th Side road. Innisfil retains the community of Stroud, but the community of St. Pauls will shift to Barrie.

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 a humid continental climate (Koppen climate classification Dfa), with warm, humid summers and cold winters.

In late spring and summer months, the Barrie area is known for heavy thunderstorm activity and the occasional funnel cloud or tornado sighting, due to its location within a convergence of breezes originating from Georgian Bay, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.

In the winter months, the proximity to the Great Lakes moderates winter temperatures but also results in significant snowfall in the general area. Barrie is located along the southern edge of Ontario’s snow belt region, where lake-effect snow, primarily from Georgian Bay, falls throughout the winter. An average of 238 centimeters (95 inches) of snow falls annually, with at least 50% due to the lake effect. Since the snowfall gradient is tight, snowfall totals tend to be significantly higher just north of the city as compared with the south end.

AVERAGE LOW °C (°F) −12.8
RECORD LOW °C (°F) −35
Source: Environment Canada


The following are some of the city’s major employers:

  • Royal Victoria Hospital
  • Georgian Collegeand University Partnership Centre
  • City of Barrie
  • Simcoe County
  • Simcoe County District School Board
  • TD Bankand TD Waterhouse Regional Centre
  • Scotia BankRegional Centre
  • BMOData Centre
  • The SourceDistribution Centre
  • Coca-ColaBottling Company

Notwithstanding these major employers, Barrie has increasingly been perceived as a bedroom community for those commuting to Toronto, which is approximately 90 km south of Barrie. However, only 32% of the resident-employed labour force (17,040 persons/53,400 persons) actually commute out of Barrie for employment purposes. In addition to this, 28% of the resident-employed labour force (14,880 persons/53,400 persons) actually 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 waterfront is at the heart of its tourism industry, with events like the Kempenfest arts and crafts festival attracting more than 300,000 people. Recreational activities include skiing at nearby Horseshoe Resort, Snow Valley, Mount St. Louis Moonstone, and Blue Mountain as well as boating in Kempenfelt Bay. The city also boasts several beaches including Minet’s Point Beach, Johnsons Beach, The Gables, Tyndale Beach, and Centennial Beach. Barrie’s waterfront is currently under heavy construction, with the relocation of several roadways to provide more green space 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.



Barrie is served by highways 400 and 26 (the latter known as Bayfield Street within Barrie). Highway 400 goes right through the city on a roughly north-south basis, and Highway 26 starts at the 400 interchange with Bayfield St. and runs to the north-west. Barrie was once served by Ontario Highways 90, 27, 131 and 11 but after the province downgraded many highways in the late 1990s, these are now known as Simcoe County Road 90 (Dunlop Street), Simcoe County Road 27, Simcoe County Road 30, and the portion of Highway 11 through Barrie is Yonge Street.

Arterial roads within the city include Mapleview Drive, Ferndale Drive, 10th Line, Big Bay Point Road, Huronia Road and Penatanguishene Road (formerly Highway 11/400A Simcoe Road 93).


Public transport is provided by Barrie Transit, which operates numerous bus routes within the city.

Accessible transit

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.

Interurban / Commuter rail

GO Transit connects the city to the Greater Toronto Area through bus and train service, with trains operating from the Barrie South GO Station. This is primarily a commuter rail service to the GTA, with southbound trips in the morning rush hour, and northbound trips in the evening rush hour. In November 2009, studies began in support of a second GO train station to be located closer to the city centre (Allandale Station). Construction began in winter 2011 and the grand opening is expected in summer 2011.


Barrie was once served by scheduled passenger rail service. Allandale Station was a stop for the Grand Trunk Railway, Canadian National Railway and Via Rail. Ontario Northland’s Northlander used the station as a stop, as did CN Rail/Via Rail (namely The Canadian), and GO Transit’s formerBradford line routes. Regular passenger rail service to the station ended in the 1980s. From 1990 to 1993 GO Transit rail service stopped at Allandale, but all rails on the line were removed in 1996 and the station was finally abandoned. Only the station building and freight shed remain on the site. The coaling tower, Simcoe Co-op tower and roundhouse were demolished once the CN yard closed. Rail lines now run south of the station and GO’s Barrie layover yard is located nearby.


In addition to GO Transit buses, Barrie is served by private interurban bus lines. Penetang-Midland Coach Lines and parent Greyhound Canada 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 in Northern Ontario to and from Barrie. All inter-urban buses operate from the Barrie Transit Terminal at 24 Maple Street.


1841 500
1871 3,398
1881 4,854
1891 5,550
1901 5,949
1911 6,420
1921 6,936
1931 7,776
1941 9,559
1951 12,514
1961 21,169
1971 27,676
1981 38,423
1991 62,728
2001 103,710
2006 128,430

References: 2006

The 2006 census metropolitan area found that Barrie and surrounding area has 177,061 residents, which included the City of Barrie (128,430 residents) and its surrounding communities. With the surrounding communities’ urban area, the city has 157,501 residents. The City is attracting people from all over Ontario, Canada and internationally. It is the fastest growing Census Metropolitan Area and one of Canada’s fastest growing cities.

From 1996 to 2001, Barrie saw phenomenal growth. According to Statistics Canada, the city grew by 31.0 per cent, the second fastest growing city in the province of Ontario. This is due to both the young population profile, and a growing number of Canadians moving into the city for economic and technological opportunities. The city grew by an average 4.8% per year from 2001 to 2006 (Census).

According to 2006 census data from Statistics Canada, 5.8% of residents in the Barrie CMA are visible minorities.

English 65,160 37.2%
Canadian 58,510 33.4%
Scottish 45,300 25.8%
Irish 41,390 23.6%
French 23,050 13.1%


Total visible minority population 10,130 5.8%
Black 2,310 1.3%
South Asian 1,900 1.1%
Chinese 1,180 0.7%
Latin American 1,165 0.7%
Filipino 1,075 0.6%
Southeast Asian 535 0.4%
Korean 410 0.3%
Japanese 350 0.2%
West Asian 310 0.2%
Arab 300 0.2%
Visible minority n.i.e. 310 0.2%
Multiple visible minority 495 0.3%
Not a visible minority 165,205 94.2%


Religious Affiliations[16]
Catholic 28,385
Protestant 46,840
Christian Orthodox 865
Christian, n.i.e. 2,815
Muslim 445
Jewish 340
Buddhist 205
Hindu 250
Sikh 95
Eastern religions 105
Other religions 75
No religious affiliation 21,930


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 de district du Centre-Sud-Ouest. There are also several private schools both for K-8 and K-12.


Georgian College’s main campus, with 9,000 full-time students and over 28,000 part-time students, is located in Barrie. Georgian College is also home to the University Partnership Centre (UPC), which offers various university degree programs through Laurentian University, York University,Nipissing University, Embry-Riddle University and Central Michigan University.



Main article: List of mayors of Barrie, Ontario

The city hall of Barrie, Ontario.

The current mayor of Barrie is Jeffrey Robert Lehman, who was elected in November 2010, succeeding Dave Aspden.

Federal representation
Conservative Patrick Brown January 23, 2006 present Barrie


Provincial representation
Liberal Aileen Carroll October 10, 2007 present Barrie


Fireworks over Kempenfelt Bay during Barrie’s Canada Day celebrations.

In 2008 Barrie city council started electing an exemplary citizen as an honorary Mayor. This occurs on the first day of summer as a symbolic start to the lucrative tourist season in the City. Michael Barnes has been recognized as the first recipient for this award.[citation needed]

Barrie is home to 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. Barrie is home to many galleries and studios. 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.

Ron Baird’s The Spirit Catcher (1986) is an example of the large sculptures installed along the waterfront in Barrie, OntarioCanada

Barrie is also home to the MacLaren Art Centre, an innovative art gallery that supports the visual arts in Simcoe County. It 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 slowly 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. This gallery contributes overall to a vibrant arts community in the Barrie area with it leading edge arts. An August Rodin sculpture in bronze called “The Thinker” is housed permanently on the front gardens of the gallery. On Lakeshore Mews two galleries have opened recently: Gary Owen Gallery and Awkward Gallery. The Gary Owen Gallery specializes in local original art and Awkward Gallery opens its doors to all types of contemporary Canadian art. Lakeshore mews is quickly becoming a hub of galleries and studios in the downtown area.

Barrie’s Downtown Community Theatre is located at the site of the former Scotiabank site at Five Points in downtown Barrie. The Downtown Theatre was renovated in Fall 2008 for interim use by community groups. Currently the Theatre is under construction and will be open in May 2011 with seating for up to 210 people. The Downtown Theatre will be the main venue for Theatre by the Bay and the Talk Is Free Theatre Company among all other community arts groups.

Aside from all the major national newspapers, there are both a daily and a semi-weekly newspapers in the City of Barrie.

The Barrie Examiner, established in 1864, is one of Canada’s oldest daily newspapers. It is distributed 5 days a week (Tuesday to Saturday) to paid subscribers and is also delivered to the remainder of the market each Thursday. It features coverage of local, regional and national news, entertainment, opinion, weather, sports and local community events.

The Barrie Advance is a free newspaper established in 1983, delivered twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) to every residence in the city, 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, it seeks to highlight and support Barrie’s local business community.


  • Channel 3, 5: CKVR- A
  • Channel 10: Rogers TV, community channel


  • FM 93.1 – CHAY(FM 93), adult contemporary
  • FM 95.7 – CFJB(“Rock 95”), active rock
  • FM 100.3 – CJLF(“Life 100.3”), christian radio
  • FM 101.1 – CIQB(“B101”), hot adult contemporary/CHR
  • FM 107.5 – CKMB(“1075 Kool FM”), hot adult contemporary

The area is also served by Toronto radio stations.


BARRIE COLTS OHL Hockey Barrie Molson Centre 1995 1
Barrie Baycats IBL Baseball Barrie Metals Stadium 2001 1

Barrie is also home to the Mariposa School of Skating which has trained many world-class figure skaters, including Brian Orser, Elvis Stojko and Jeff Buttle.


Barrie has many community centres throughout the city. There are a total of nine facilities in Barrie open to the public. Barrie had eleven community facilities until March 2008 when City Council announced it would tear down Barrie’s Oldest arena and replace it with a new fire hall.[17]

  • Allandale Recreation Centre
  • Barrie Sports Complex
  • Dorian Parker Centre
  • East Bayfield Community Centre
  • Eastview Arena
  • Holly Community Centre
  • Lampman Lane Community Centre
  • Parkview Community Centre
  • Southshore Community Centre
  • Victoria Village


  • CKVR Television Tower
  • Simcoe Hotel
  • The Queens Hotel
  • Allandale Station
  • Barrie City Hall
  • Nautica Condominium
  • MacLaren Art Gallery

Notable people and residents

See also: Category:People from Barrie

  • Perry Anderson, retired NHL hockey player
  • Jeff Buttle, Canadian figure skating champion
  • Stevie Cameron, investigative journalist
  • Ken Carson, retired Athletic Trainer for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Toronto Blue Jays; retired General Manager of the Dunedin Blue Jays
  • Shayne Corson, retired NHL hockey player
  • Stockwell Day, Member of Parliament and former leader of the Canadian Alliance
  • Joe DiPenta, NHL hockey player
  • Hap Emms, former NHL player and NHL general manager
  • Kevin Frankish, Citytvnews anchor
  • Brent Franklin, professional golfer
  • Ray Gariepy, retired NHL hockey player
  • Mike Gartner, retired NHL hockey player
  • Gary Goodridge, UFC fighter[18]
  • Barry Harris, Alias – Kon Kan, OuttaControl, Thunderpuss – Musician
  • Ed Harper, former Member of Parliament and only MP from the Reform Party of Canadato be elected east of Manitoba
  • Ron Hoggarth, retired NHL referee
  • Ric Jackman, NHL hockey player [19]
  • Greg Johnston, retired NHL hockey player
  • Tuğba Karademir, figure skater
  • Doug Keans, retired NHL player
  • Doug Leigh, Canadian figure skating coach
  • Christopher Mabee, figure skater
  • John Madden, NHL hockey player
  • Dan Maloney, retired NHL player
  • Richard Porritt, mining industry executive and inductee in Canadian Mining Hall of Fame
  • Jennifer Robinson, 6 time Canadian female figure skating champion
  • Darren Rumble, retired NHL hockey player
  • Darryl Shannon, retired NHL hockey player
  • Red Storey, retired CFL player and NHL referee
  • Doug Shedden, retired NHL player
  • Kate Todd, Canadian Actress
  • Barbara Tyson, Canadian Actress
  • Voices In PublicPop group V.I.P.,Genie award winners, Marty Beecroft,Glenn Coulson and Joe Heslip
  • Dave Wright, retired broadcaster



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