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All About The City of Barrie

Population: 141,434 as of 2016

Population in 2011: 136,063

Change in population: 3.9% (2011-2016)

Average Age of Population: 38.9 years 

% of population aged 15+: 81.9%

Barrie is a City in Southern Ontario, Canada, on the western shore of Lake Simcoe. Although located in Simcoe County, the city is politically independent. Barrie is within the northern part of the Greater Golden Horseshoe, a densely populated and industrialized region of Ontario.

History of Barrie

At its inception, Barrie was an establishment of houses and warehouses at the foot of the Nine Mile Portage from Kempenfelt Bay to Fort Willow. The Nine Mile Portage is an aboriginal transportation route that existed centuries before Europeans came to Simcoe County. The portage linked Kempenfelt Bay through Willow Creek, connecting Lake Simcoe to the Nottawasaga River which flows into Georgian Bay off Lake Huron.

</h2>Barrie Ontario HistoryBarrie played an integral role in the War of 1812. During the War, the city became a supply depot for British forces, and in addition, the Nine Mile Portage was adopted by the British Military as a key piece of their supply line which provided a strategic path for communication, personnel, and vital supplies and equipment to and from Fort Willow and Georgian Bay / Lake Huron. Today, the Nine Mile Portage is marked by signs along roads in Barrie and in Springwater Township. You can follow the scenic path from Memorial Square all the way 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 commanded forces through the city and along the Nine Mile Portage.

Barrie was also the final destination for one branch of the The Underground Railroad. In the mid-19th century, this network of secret routes allowed many American slaves to enter Barrie and the surrounding area. This contributed to the development (and name) of nearby Shanty Bay.

On 31 May 1985, an F4 tornado struck Barrie. It was one of the most violent and deadliest tornadoes in Canadian history.

Barrie's Spirit Catcher

On 12–13 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 ofBarrie Spirit Catcher 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 flourished into many successful stores. 

Barrie is located in the central portion of Southern Ontario, approximately 90 km (56 mi) north of Toronto within the Greater Golden Horseshoe subregion. It is accessible via Highways 26, 400, 11.

Barrie's historic downtown area 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 up the valley slopes toward the city's north and south ends, the terrain can be rather steep in some areas.

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.

Growth and population expansion

The City of Barrie is one of Canada's fastest growing cities. In 2011, the Barrie metropolitan area had 187,013 residents including 135,711 in the City of Barrie's. The city's population was subsequently revised to 136,063. This population expansion is largely due to the young population profile and a growing number of Canadians moving into the city for economic and technological opportunities.  Barrie has been designated an Urban Growth Centre by the Province of Ontario (Places to Grow Simcoe Area, 2009).Barrie construction home building

Due to Barrie's extensive population growth, the city has expanded its urban area beyond the confines of the valley, particularly to the south and south-east, into the rural town of Innisfil, Ontario

To account for this growth, the Province of Ontario enacted legislation that enabled Barrie to annex 2,293 acres (9.28 km2) from the neighbouring Town of Innisfil on 1 January 2010.  The land in question extends south beyond McKay Road west of the 10th Sideroad, and as far south as Lockhart Road on the east side of the 10th Sideroad. This annexation will allow Barrie to meet its growing population demands


Barrie has two major English 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. It also has two French school boards, Le Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud and Le Conseil scolaire de district du Centre-Sud-Ouest. There are also several private schools both for K-8 and K-12

Elementary schools

  • Andrew Hunter
  • Ardagh BLuffs
  • Assikinack
  • Algonquin Ridge
  • Allandale Heights
  • Codrington
  • Cundles Heights
  • Emma King
  • École élémentaire La Source
  • Ferndale Woods
  • Frère André
  • Hewitt's Creek
  • Hillcrest
  • Holly Meadows
  • Johnson Street
  • Kempenfelt bay school (Barrie's only independent school)
  • Maple Grove
  • Mapleview Heights
  • Monsignor Clair Catholic School
  • Oakley Park
  • Pope John Paul
  • Portage View
  • Sister Catherine Donnelly Catholic School
  • St. Bernadette
  • St. Catherine of Siena
  • Saint Gabriel the Archangel Catholic School
  • St. John Vianney Catholic School
  • Steele Street
  • St. Marguerite d’Youville Catholic School
  • St. Mary’s Catholic School
  • St. Michael the Archangel Catholic School
  • St. Monica’s Catholic School
  • St. Nicholas
  • Terry Fox
  • Timothy Christian
  • The Good Shepherd Catholic School
  • Trillium Woods
  • W.C. Little
  • Warnica
  • West Bayfield
  • Willow Landing

High Schools

  • Barrie North
  • Bear Creek
  • Eastview
  • École Secondaire Catholique Nouvelle Alliance
  • Innisdale
  • Saint Joseph's
  • Saint Joan of Arc
  • Saint Peter's
  • École secondaire Roméo Dallaire

Georgian College

Georgian College's main campus, with over 10,000 full-time students and approximately 25,000 part-time students, is located in Barrie. Georgian College offers a wide varietey of diplomas and is well known in Canada and abroad for many quality programs, an exceptionally high graduate employment rate (94% and the highest in Ontario), and student and employer satisfaction rates.

Georgian College is home to the University Partnership Centre (UPC), which offers numerous Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from various universities including York University, Nipissing University, Embry-Riddle University and Central Michigan University. The construction of the Centre for Health and Wellness will ensure Georgian has the capacity to expand its University Partnership Centre to offer even more degree and advanced-degree level studies.

Georgian College is also home to the "Sadlon Centre for Health and Wellness". Opened in 2011, this $65 million, 165,000-square-foot (15,300 m2) facility has allowed Georgian to double the number of health program students to 3,000 and allows students to pursue health and wellness related certificates, diplomas and degrees, including advanced degree programs. It is also home to a variety of health care services teaching clinics open to the public, as well as leading-edge laboratories and technology-enhanced classrooms.

The recently constructed "Centre for Sustainable Technologies" is also located in Georgian College's Barrie Campus. This new $8 million, 18,000-square-foot (1,700 m2) facility opened in 2009 and is home to construction and energy-related programming and skills training. The Centre serves as a learning lab with technology and systems that demonstrate where the future of the industry is headed on all building projects.

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