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Historic Neighbourhood Strategy (HNS)

The Historic Neighbourhood Strategy is a unique community-planning initiative. Driven by residents of different neighbourhoods, the Strategy addresses the livability and sustainability of Barrie’s historical City Centre, identified in the Province’s Places to Grow plan as an area for residential and employment intensification. Learn about HNS and how you can get involved!

Tree-Carving Initiative: Roots Spirit of the City

This initiative was aligned with one of Council's Strategic Priorities, Enhancing Public Spaces. It was decided that up to six trees would be carved; all plans and locations were reviewed/approved by the Communities in Bloom Committee, in consultation with the RPF Department and the Department of Culture.


Below are some carvings that have enhanced our public spaces.  The Department of Culture encourages all City residents to view these works of arts.

  • Colin Partridge was selected to carve a tree located at the corner of Hurst Drive and Tollendal Mill Road, close to the Gables property, and he chose an interesting pattern of creative faces.
  • Colin also carved a remarkable likeness of Sir Robert Barrie on one of the trees in the north end of Queen's Park across from Victoria Village.
  • Bob Jenkins, another local carver, completed a tree at 35 St. Vincent Street of a mother bear and her tiny cubs nestled into the tree trunk.

Barrie's Waterfront Historic Locations Plaques

Tour the delightful waterfront and discover part of Barrie's History!  Please click here for a map.  There are six interpretive plaques for viewing, all sponsored by the Barrie Historical Association in cooperation with the The City of Barrie. 

    In 1853, the Ontario, Simcoe and Huron Union Railway line opened between Toronto and Allandale.  In 1905, the Grand Trunk Railway built a flagship station in a shape that imitated the curve of the shoreline.
    Commercial ice harvesting on the bay began in the 1870s.  In 1889, five large American ice companies united and formed The Ice Union to supply major American cities with Lake Simcoe ice.
    The Barrie Carriage Company was incorporated in 1903 and opened a factory at the northeast corner of Ellen & John Streets.  In 1916, Vice-President Simon Dyment agreed to assemble the lightweight Bell automobile that came to be known as the Barrie Bell.
    In 1850, Andrew Graham opened a tannery at the waterfront in the east end of Barrie.  In 1901, Barrie Tanning Company built a modern plant on the east side of Bradford Street at the end of High Street.
    Memorial Square is located at the southeastern end of the Nine Mile Portage and was the site of the Barrie Railroad Station and the Post Office. In 1922, a cenotaph was dedicated to those who had lost their lives in World War I.  Today, the site remains a focal point of the downtown.
    In 1878, Barrie Town Council sanctioned the establishment of the Barrie Gas Company. The plant was located on the water side of Kempenfelt Drive, and soon gas became the preferred method for cooking and lighting.

Heritage Barrie Walking Tours

View the online walking tours app or pick up one of the following pamphlets from the Planning Services Department at City Hall, 70 Collier Street, 1st Floor: 

  • Grand Homes Tour
  • Downtown East Walking Tour
  • Downtown West Walking Tour
  • Rodney and Blake Streets Walking Tour
  • Allandale Walking Tour
  • H-Block and Court House Hill Walking Tour
  • Discovering the Waterfront Tour

Free walking tours of the city are also provided by Barrie's Official Town Crier, for more information click here.

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