Barrie has so much going for it. This mid-size city of approximately 150,000 people sits on Kempenfelt Bay, which is the western arm of Lake Simcoe. Its lakefront locale is not only scenic but means that there are plenty of opportunities to get out on the water. Boating, swimming, and fishing are all popular activities in Barrie. In terms of recreation, the city has plenty of outdoor activities to be enjoyed year-round, such as skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, ice skating, hiking, camping, and kayaking. Snow Valley Ski Resort and Horseshoe Valley Ski Resort are only a short distance from the city. Then there is Bear Creek Eco Park, Lovers Creek Ravine, and Simcoe County Forest Dyer Tract where locals can also get out in nature. Beyond the area’s natural scenery and outdoor appeal, the city of Barrie also has a vibrant downtown core, with plenty of restaurants, shops, bars, cafes, bakeries, and other attractions. Some of the area’s top attractions include Georgian Mall, Escape Room Barrie, Bowlerama Barrie, and Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery. The city also hosts several festivals throughout the year, such as Winterfest, Kempenfest, Celebrate Barrie, and the Barrie Waterfront Festival. As you can see, Barrie has many of the same big city amenities as major cities like Toronto, just on a smaller scale. Given that it’s only just over an hour from Toronto and even has a GO Train station, residents can easily work in the city but enjoy the laid-back vibe and lower cost of living that Barrie has to offer. There tend to be more affordable housing opportunities in Barrie, as well as a great school and healthcare system and a low crime rate. All of these reasons attract people of all ages and backgrounds to Barrie.
Quality and diversity of education in Barrie
The Simcoe County District School Board operates the wide array of public schools in Barrie, such as Innisdale Secondary School, the largest school in the district, as well as Assikinack Public School, Steele Street Public School, and Johnson Street Public School. As for private schools, Barrie is home to Urban Village Academy, Sevenoaks Academy, IBI Private Academy, Simcoe Alternative High School, and Woodland Montessori School. Meanwhile, there is no shortage of post-secondary options in and around Barrie either. Georgian College is the main post-secondary institution in Barrie. However, there are several others nearby since Barrie is so close to the Greater Toronto Area. This means that residents can take advantage of the top-ranked colleges and universities in Toronto, like the University of Toronto, George Brown College, York University, Seneca College, Ontario Tech University, Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University), Humber College, Sheridan College, Toronto Film School, and the Ontario College of Art & Design University (OCAD).
Most populous cities in Barrie
Some of the top neighbourhoods in Barrie include Letitia Heights, Allandale, Mapleview, Holly, Bayfield, Ardagh Bluffs, Painswick, Tollendal, East End, and Downtown Barrie.
Quality of infrastructure for Barrie
Barrie Transit Bus Service is responsible for providing local public transportation to the people of Barrie. They operate an extensive network of buses within the city. For travel outside of the city, Metrolinx’s GO Transit operates a route to and from Barrie, allowing residents to quickly and conveniently travel between Barrie and Toronto Union Station. From there, passengers can continue on to other GTA cities, like Whitby, Oshawa, Mississauga, Brampton, Burlington, Hamilton, and beyond. For international travel, the nearest major airport to Barrie is Toronto Pearson International Airport, which takes roughly 50 minutes to drive to. Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport also offers some domestic and international flights and operates out of downtown Toronto. If your preferred method of transportation is driving, there are a number of highways that make Barrie very accessible. Highway 400 is the main highway, but you're also not far from Highway 404, both of which can connect you with Highway 401, Highway 407, and Highway 47. Barrie’s main hospital is Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre. However, Toronto’s many hospitals are also available, like Toronto General Hospital, North York General Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital, St. Michael’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Health Centre, Humber River Hospital, and the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids).
Safety and security for Barrie
The Barrie Police operate in the city and are tasked with combating crime. That said, Barrie has long enjoyed extremely low crime rates across the board, including violent crime. The area is also not prone to natural disasters. Emergency services can be reached by calling 9-1-1 at any time.
Barrie property market
While the cost of housing has gone up in recent years, Barrie still remains a relatively affordable option near Toronto, especially when compared to the City of Toronto itself or other cities in the Greater Toronto Area. Due to Barrie’s rapid growth, you can also find more housing opportunities than ever before. The market here is largely dominated by townhomes, detached homes, semi-detached homes, cottages, and condos.
Standard of living in Barrie
Barrie offers a high standard of living to residents. Between the city’s arts and culture scene, plethora of recreational activities, excellent public transit access, affordable housing, and top-tier education and healthcare systems, who wouldn’t want to call Barrie home?
Something wonderful about Barrie
Barrie boasts a surprisingly fascinating history. First, the city played a major role in the War of 1812. It was during this war that the city ended up becoming a supply depot for British Forces, who also used the Nine Mile Portage trail as part of their supply line. Along this trail, all sorts of critical supplies, equipment, and troops were transported. Today, the Nine Mile Portage still exists and is a walkable trail that runs between Kempenfelt Bay and Willow Creek. Further, the name Barrie was a nod to Sir Robert Barrie, a naval officer who was in charge of the naval forces in Canada during this war. He frequently organized transportation along the Nine Mile Portage. Barrie officially got its name in 1833. Finally, the city served as a financial destination for one branch of the Underground Railroad, which was active in the middle of the nineteenth century. For those who don’t know, the Underground Railroad was a secret route that enabled many American slaves to gain their freedom.