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Barrie is a city of 128,430 residents, the 35th largest municipality in Canada. It is located on Kempenfelt Bay, an arm of Lake Simcoe in Central Ontario, Canada. Although geographically a part of 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.
At the north end of Barrie is the Highway 11 and Highway 400 interchange. Many consider this the gateway to northern Ontario resort destinations (referred to as cottage country).
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.
Historic Barrie Events
Barrie at its inception was a small group of houses and warehouses at the foot of the Nine Mile Portage from Kempenfeldt 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 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 CKVR-TV off the air. All 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 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.
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.
According to the Canada 2006 Census:
• Population: 128,430 (23.8% from 2001)
• Land area: 76.99 km² (29.73 sq mi)
• Population density: 1,668.1 inhabitants per square kilometre (4,320 /sq mi)
• National population rank (Out of 5,008): Ranked 35th
• Total private dwellings: 48,196
• Dwellings occupied by permanent residents: 46,533
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).
In 2001, some 46 per cent of the population is under 14, while 10.9 per cent of the population is of retirement age.
According to 2006 census data from Statistics Canada released, only one out of every 17 people in the Barrie region are visible minorities
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 0.5%
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
Ethnic origin Population Percentage
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%
Religious Affiliations Religious Affiliation Total
Christian Orthodox 865
Christian, n.i.e. 2,815
Eastern religions 105
Other religions 75
No religious affiliation 21,930
Remember to always consult your local building department prior to starting construction or a renovation project. When buying a home it is sometimes adviseable to check that a building permit has been taken out on any renovations that were completed by the home owner. This will protect you as a consumer and ensure that the proper inspections have taken place prior to covering up electrical, structural or plumbing systems
The following consolidations are an electronic reproduction made available for information only. They are not an official version of the By-law. The format may be different, and plans, pictures, other graphics or text may be missing or altered. The City of Barrie does not warrant the accuracy of these electronic versions.
The consolidations can not be distributed or used for commercial purposes. They may be used for other purposes, only if you repeat this disclaimer and the notice of copyright. Official versions of all By-laws can be obtained from the City Clerk’s Office by calling (705) 739-4204.