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The history of Innisfil, spans a period in excess of 170 years. The Township was hewn from almost unbroken virgin forests which had been home to the Huron Indians, and was first surveyed in 1820. The area encompassed 68,653 acres (278 km²), including the villages of Allandale, Tollendal, Painswick, Minets Point, and Holly at the time.
The first settlers were the Hewson family who came by way of the East Holland River and Lake Simcoe to settle at what they called Hewson’s Point (later named Big Bay Point) on March 30, 1820. The first sawmill in the Township was built at Tollendal by George McMullen in 1823.
John and George Warnica completed the clearing of the bush between Barrie and Churchill and assisted John Clayton to complete his contract between Churchill and Bradford. This opened the land route, known as Penetanguishene Road, which later became Highway 11 and is now Yonge Street. This route between York (now Toronto) and Barrie was completed in 1827.
Along this road the settlers came, and spread out along the concession lines to clear the lands and develop their farms. There had been those who came ahead by way of the river and the lake; many settled near the shores of Lake Simcoe and Kempenfelt Bay. The only channels of communication were the public roads, and these were scant and poor.
The pioneer farms cut from the forest were mostly self-sustaining. What few products there were for sale found a market in nearby Barrie, which was then little more than a village. Distant York was reached in the winter when the ice and snow made for better roads.
During this period, post offices, churches, and stores were established, also a form of local government performed by commissioners was appointed under a provincial act. The first post office, then called Innisfil, was located at what is now called Barclay’s Corners. The first school was located at Victoria (now the community of Stroud). The first church was also at Victoria, and was of Methodist denomination.
Milling in Innisfil was first done at Tollendal in 1835. The need for a grist mill to grind wheat is an indication of the progress toward an agricultural community.
The earliest official record of a census shows that by 1842 the population of Innisfil was 762.
Establishment of Innisfil
The year 1850 marked the end of the old commissioners rule. The population had increased to 1,807 nearly tripling in under a decade. The first municipal council was established, replacing the government of appointed commissioners. The Corporation of the Township of Innisfil was born.
The settlement of Allandale became more prominent with the construction of the Ontario, Simcoe and Huron Railway (later the Northern Railway) from Toronto to Collingwood. The first train from Toronto arrived in Allandale on October 11, 1853.
The continued building of public roads, together with the railroad and the lake navigation, resulted in the establishment of more flourishing hamlet settlements.
Bell Ewart was formed in 1854. Henry’s Corners, now Thornton, was formed in 1833. Perry’s Corners, now Cookstown, was formed around 1859. Hamlet settlement also resulted in a burgeoning resort development along the entire shoreline.
In 1891, 500 acres (2 km²) of Innisfil became incorporated as the Village of Allandale, now part of the City of Barrie. Barrie annexed a further 500 acres (2 km²) in 1897.
Innisfil flourished over the years and by 1950, had a population of 3500. However, paved roads, the automobile (the first recorded in the town was 1912), the price of fuel, and the cost of housing outside Toronto encouraged commuter residents. This in turn gradually changed the nature of our shoreline development. Seasonal housing evolved to permanent residential. Now, about 90% of the shoreline is permanent residences.
Cookstown, at the south-west extremity of the township, became an incorporated village in 1962, with 100 acres (400,000 m²) of Innisfil becoming part of Cookstown.
In 1967, 597 acres (2.4 km²) were annexed from Innisfil by the City of Barrie to accommodate the establishment of the Formosa Spring Brewery. This facility was purchased by Molson’s and has since been closed and sub-let to other businesses.
On January 1, 1982, 8623 acres (35 km²) were annexed to the City of Barrie, with a further 737 acres (3 km²) to be annexed January 1, 1987. As a result of the annexations, Innisfil’s population was reduced by approximately 26.7% to 12 153 permanent residents, and its total assessment was reduced by 20.4%.
On January 1, 1991, by virtue of the South Simcoe Act, the Township of Innsifil, a north section of the Township of West Gwillimbury, and the Village of Cookstown were amalgamated and incorporated as the Town of Innisfil.
The County of Simcoe Act provided for further restructuring of Simcoe County on January 1, 1994 when the Village of Thornton was amalgamated with the Township of Essa and a small section of the Township of Essa, adjacent to Cookstown, was amalgamated with Innisfil.
As of 2006, Innisfil had a total permanent population of 31,175 and an estimated seasonal population of 4,000 people. Having begun as a community of seasonal homes for people living in Toronto, it is now a popular place for permanent residents, mostly families and empty nesters, and, indeed, most of the “cottages” along the lake shore have since been converted into year-long homes.
Georgian Downs Harness racetrack and casino is located on the 5th Sideroad near the Highway 400 interchange at Innisfil Beach Road.
Building and Permit Information
Why are Building Permits Required?
# Building permits are necessary to ensure that zoning requirements, fire and structural safety standards and other building standards are met
# Zoning requirements are contained in the Zoning By-law.
# The building standards are contained in the Ontario Building Code, which is a provincial regulation administered by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs
# Under the Building Code Act, local governments are given authority for the enforcement of the Ontario Building Code within the municipality
# The Ministry of Municipal Affairs maintain a web site which contains useful information under Ministry of Municipal Affairs.
Projects That Require a Building Permit
# Building Bylaw 069-03 Under the Ontario Building Code Act, a building permit is required for the construction or alteration of any structure over 10m2 (108 sq. ft.) in area or any structure attached to an existing structure.
# An example of this would be a structure with outside dimensions greater that 3.16m x 3.16m (10.37 ft. x 10.37 ft.)
# Typical projects that require a permit are:
* new home construction
* commercial, industrial, institutional buildings, including change of use
* farm buildings: pole barn, silo, underground storage and manure tanks etc
* boat houses
* one or two storey additions or additions of any size that increase the total building area to 10 m2
* attached or detached garages and carports
* second dwelling units
* conversion of a garage to living space
* relocation of an existing structure
* demolition of existing structures
* new, replacement or repair of private sewage systems
* plumbing located on the property: including water pipe, storm and sanitary drainage piping, and backflow prevention devices etc.
* adding or removing walls
* decks (see exceptions in projects that do not require a building permit)
* porches (covered /uncovered and sunrooms)
* basement or main floor walkouts
* new or structural alterations to windows, doors or roofs
* swimming pools, above-ground and in-ground (as per the Swimming pool Fence By-law)Swimming Pool By-Law
* retaining walls exceeding 1m (3 ft 3in)
* new gas or wood burning fireplace
* completion of roughed-in fireplaces
* floor layouts for commercial / industrial units
* new fire sprinkler systems
* new fire alarm systems
* suppression systems
* signs as per OBC
* tents as per OBC
* spray booths
* installation of magnetic locking devices
* satellite dishes attached to a building
* communication towers
* pedestrian bridge appurtenant to a building
* a crane runway
* exterior storage tank and it’s supporting structure
Projects That Do Not Require a Building Permit
# Although you may not require a building permit, you are still required to meet the requirements for zoning.
# A building permit is not required for a detached accessory structure which measures less than 10m2 (108 sq. ft) that does not have plumbing installed (an accessory structure is any building or structure other than the house)
# The following are sample projects which do not require a permit:, however they may be subject to zoning requirements:
* pool heaters
* painting and decorating
* landscaping (except retaining walls may require)
* fences (except around pools)Swimming Pool By-Law
* eaves troughs
* small sheds under 10m2 (108sqft)
* kitchen or bathroom cupboards without plumbing
* free-standing satellite dishes less than 5 m2
* uncovered decks not attached to a building that are 600 mm or less above the adjacent ground level
* roofing materials,
* exterior wall cladding, (except on zero lot lines and veneer requiring structural support. E.g. brick )
* storm windows, storm doors,
* masonry repair, (non-structural)
* all such work as occurs in or on a previously existing building that does not include structural changes or effect the life safety systems of the building
Always check with your local building department if in doubt about obtaining a building permit.