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Barrie is a city located on Kempenfelt Baymarker, an arm of Lake Simcoemarker in the central portion of Southern Ontario, Canadamarker.

Although geographically within Simcoe County, the municipality is politically separate.

The city's north and south ends are separated by a deep valley which contains the downtown area along Kempenfelt Bay (Lake Simcoe).

It has a population of 128,430 residents, making it the 35th largest municipality in Canadamarker. Data released from the 2006 census indicates that Barrie and its immediate area, with 177,061 residents, is the fastest growing Census Metropolitan Area in Canada.

Barrie is located within the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the most densely populated area of 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 Baymarker through the city. The Underground Railroad in the mid 1800s allowed many American slaves to enter Barrie. This contributed to the development (and the name) of nearby Shanty Bay.During World War II the Royal Canadian Navy named a Flower class corvette HMCS Barrie.

On 27 September 1977, in dense fog, a small plane hit the 68 meter tall CKVR Television Tower, knocking CHAY FM and CKVRmarker-TV off the air. All passengers on the aircraft were killed, and the tower was destroyed. A new 304 metre tower was erected and operational within a year.

On 31 May 1985, an F4 tornado struck Barrie, during the The "Barrie" Tornado Outbreak of 1985.

On 12 June - 13 June 1987, a sculpture called Spirit Catcher by Ron Baird was moved to Barrie from Vancouvermarker, British Columbiamarker, 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 neighbouring 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.


Residential condominiums and houses in Barrie after a snowfall.
Barrie is located in the central portion of Southern Ontario, known as Central Ontario and in the urban agglomeration, the Greater Golden Horseshoe. It is accessible via Highways 26, 400, 11 and has convenient access to Highway 401, the Highway 407 Express Toll Route and to neighbouring Toronto. Pearson International Airportmarker in Toronto is a one hour drive from Barrie via Highway 400, a six lane highway that runs directly through Barrie.

The Province of Ontario has enacted legislation that will enable Barrie to annex 2,293 acres from the town of Innisfilmarker as of January 1 2010. The land in question extends south beyond 10th line west of the 10th Sideroad, and as far south as Lockhart Road on the east side of the 10th Sideroad. Innisfil retains the community of Stroud, but the community of St. Pauls will shift to Barrie.


The City of Barrie consists of 23 communities: Allandale, Allandale Heights, Ardagh, Bayfield, Bayshore, Bayshore Estates, Codrington, East Bayfield, Grove East, Holly, Letita Heights, Lakeshore, Mapleview West Business Park, Northwest, Painswick North, Painswick South, Queens Park, Sanford, South Barrie Business Park, South Barrie Industrial Park, Sunnidale, and Welham Industrial Park.


Barrie's downtown 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. Moving away from the downtown and up the valleys, 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.

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 warm, humid summers and snowy winters. The proximity to the Great Lakes moderates winter temperatures, but also results in significant snowfall in the general area. Barrie is located in Ontario's snowbeltmarker region, where lake-effect snow, primarily from Georgian Bay, falls throughout the winter. An average of 238 centimetres (95 inches) of snow falls annually, the snowfall gradient is tight therefore snowfall totals tend to be significantly higher just north of the city, as compared with the south end. As a result, there are numerous winter recreation activities and facilities in the surrounding area, including skiing, snow tubing and snowboarding resorts, snowmobile trails and ice fishing. The Barrie area and Simcoe County are well known for heavy thunderstorm activity in late spring and summer, and infrequently a funnel cloud or tornado.


Barrie in relation to other North American cities
are several manufacturers located in Barrie and Canadian Forces Base Bordenmarker is nearby. The perception of Barrie is that it is a bedroom community for people who commute to Torontomarker, 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 Valley, Snow Valley, Mount St.Louis Moonstone, and Blue Mountainmarker 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 greenspace and parkland along the lakeshore. Being strategically situated between Toronto and Muskoka on Highway 400, Barrie is also considered the gateway to cottage country resort destinations.


Barrie is served by highways 400 and 26 (which is 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 St.), Simcoe County Road 27, Simcoe County Road 30, and the portion of Highway 11 through Barrie is Yonge Street.

Public transit is provided by Barrie Transit, which operates numerous bus routes. GO Transit connects the City to the GTA through bus and train service. Barrie currently has the Barrie South GO Stationmarker and a central bus terminal.

As of November, 2009, studies are underway in support of a second Barrie GO train station to be located in the city centre (Allandale Station).


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 StatCan, 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.

Ethnic origin Population Percentage
English 65,160 37.2%
Canadianmarker 58,510 33.4%
Scottish 45,300 25.8%
Irish 41,390 23.6%
French 23,050 13.1%

Racial Groups Population Percentage
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
Religious Affiliation Total
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 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.

Georgian College

Georgian Collegemarker's main campus, with 9,000 full-time students and over 28,000 part-time students, is located in Barrie. As a result, many of the bars and clubs in downtown Barrie are filled with students during the school year. Georgian College also offers various university degree programs in conjunction with Laurentian Universitymarker, York Universitymarker, Nipissing Universitymarker, Embry-Riddle University and Central Michigan Universitymarker.



The city hall of Barrie, Ontario.
The current mayor of Barrie is Dave Aspden, who was elected in November, 2006, succeeding Rob Hamilton.

Federal representation
Party Member of Parliament From To District
Conservative Patrick Brown January 23, 2006 present Barrie

Provincial representation
Party Member of Provincial Parliament From To District
Liberal Aileen Carroll October 10, 2007 present Barrie


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.

Barrie is home to a number of live performance companies. The Georgian College is the home of the Gryphon Theatre, which is a professional company and the Huronia Symphony. The Maclaren Art Centre is the home of Theatre by the Bay. Grove Park Home is the practice hall for On Stage Performance Group which performs in Cookstownmarker. Talk is Free Theatre, 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.

The Spiritcatcher is an example of the large sculptures installed along the waterfront.
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 a "black box" type theatre with risers and seating for 120 people. In spring 2009, the tender process will begin for the multi-million dollar final renovation of the site. The Downtown Theatre is currently the main venue for the Talk Is Free Theatre Company.



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 6 days a week (Monday to Saturday) to paid subscribers and is also delivered to the remainder of the market each Thursday. It features coverage of local and national news, entertainment, weather, sports and local community events. It also sponsors charity golf events and local high school football.

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.



The area is also served by Torontomarker radio stations.


Club League Venue Established Championships
Barrie Colts OHL Hockey Barrie Molson Centremarker 1995 1
Barrie Baycats IBL Baseball Barrie Metals Stadium 2001 1
Barrie Lakeshores MSL Lacrosse Barrie Molson Centremarker 2004 N/A

N/A = Information not available at this time

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.

Recreational facilities

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.

  • 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


Notable people and residents

See also


  1. Ontario Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure: Places to Grow
  2. | Barrie, Ont. to host Canadian edition of Live 8
  3. CANOE - CNEWS - Canada: Cops: Pair charged in Barrie fire had ties to destroyed restaurant
  4. Barrie-Innisfil Adjustment Act 2009
  5. Innisfil Lands Proposed to be Annexed
  6. 2001 Community Profile
  7. in Barrie Examiner
  8. Fight Finder - Gary "Big Daddy" Goodridge's Mixed Martial Arts Statistics
  9. Jackman shares Stanley Cup with his neighbours

External links

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