DescriptionOriginally a landing place on the west side of Kempenfelt Bay for aboriginal inhabitants and later for fur traders, Barrie was an important connection along the Nine Mile Portage, a vital supply route during the War of 1812. The site became a community in the 19th century and was named for Robert Barrie, commodore of an inactive squadron in Kingston during the 1830s.
At the first hint of summer water-skiers, swimmers, sailors and golfers converge on Barrie to bask in the sun around Kempenfelt Bay on Lake Simcoe, one of Ontario's largest lakes, with a shoreline of about 161 kilometres (100 mi.).
Activity does not end with the coming of cold weather; skiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers make use of the many trails and winter sports facilities nearby. Anglers are most fortunate, as they can pursue small-mouth bass and lake trout all year. Georgian Downs, west off Hwy. 400 Innisfil Beach Road exit at 7485 Sideroad #5, offers harness racing all year; phone (705) 726-9400.
Note: Policies concerning admittance of children to pari-mutuel betting facilities vary. Phone for information.
Barrie hosts a variety of trade and consumer shows throughout the year. Featured community events include Winterfest in early February and the street performers, midway, food and entertainment of Promenade Days in early summer. Kempenfest Waterfront Festival occurs throughout Civic Holiday weekend, ending the first Monday in August; one of the largest outdoor arts and crafts festivals in North America, it also features live entertainment, an antique show, cooking demonstrations, samples and competitions, and a sports and leisure show.
The Georgian Theatre, off Hwy. 400 Duckworth Street exit, offers major professional productions and concerts year-round; phone (705) 739-4228. Shows, sporting events and concerts are held at Barrie Molson Centre, 555 Bayview Dr.; phone (705) 737-6850. Shows and events also are held at the Fairgrounds Event Centre in nearby Thornton, 7505 10th Line; phone (705) 737-3670.
Springwater Provincial Park, 10 kilometres (6 mi.) northwest on Hwy. 26, has picnic facilities and cross-country ski trails. Several hiking trails, including one geared to children, range in length from 2.5 kilometres (1.5 mi.) to 5 kilometres (3 mi.) and wend through various forest environments.
Visitor InfoTourism Barrie 205 Lakeshore Dr. BARRIE, ON L4N 7Y9. Phone:(705)739-9444 or (800)668-9100
ShoppingBayfield Mall, off Hwy. 400N at 320 Bayfield St., features specialty shops and Winners. Georgian Mall, off Hwy. 400N at 509 Bayfield St., is an enclosed mall featuring Hudson's Bay and Sears. Kozlov Centre, off Hwy. 400N at 400 Bayfield St., offers specialty shops, Metro and Urban Planet.
Things to SeeMidland Tours Inc.
Canadian Forces Base Borden Military Museum
Simcoe County Museum