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North Shore Trail

The North Shore Trail is a unique multi-use recreational trail running the entire length of Barrie's north shore of Kempenfelt Bay. This former rail corridor provides visitors with direct views of the bay from a wide pathway. Hats are recommended as the adjacent vegetation allows for both sun and shade.

The North Shore Trail is accessible by wheelchair from Heritage Park at 5 Lakeshore Drive and from the Johnson Beach parking lot at 2 Johnson Street. The trail is approximately 3 kilometres from Heritage Park to Penetanguishene Road. At Penetanguishene Road, the rail trail ends. At this point, visitors can follow Shanty Bay Road into the Township of Oro-Medonte past various residential properties until the rail trail is continued again. A map of the Oro-Medonte Rail Trail  illustrates this in better detail. The trail continues along the north shore of Kempenfelt Bay all the way to Orilla. A great trail for biking.

At a Glance

North Shore Trail
  • Distance: 3km
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Surface: Granular/crushed stone, considered accessible by Barrie's Accessiblity Advisory Commmitte.
  • Terrain: Level
  • Width: 4 metres
  • Suitablility: Walking, strollers, snowshoeing, skiing, biking and wheelchairs.
  • Seasonal Use: Not maintained during the winter months.
  • Parking: Parking at Heritage Park, on street along the trail and Johnson Beach Parking Lot
  • Washrooms:  Johnson Beach during the summer months. Heritage Park from May through until October.
  • Ammenities: Swimming at Johnson Beach during the summer months.  Spray Pad and Gardens at Heritage Park.
  • Refreshements: Restaurants available in the downtown area .
  • Trail Rules: No motorized vehicles permitted on the trail, such as snowmobiles.  Dogs must be on leash, please visit Barrie's Dog Off Leash Recreation Area for off-leash activity, please stoop n'scoop.
  • Hours of Operation: Trail is open from 5 am to 10 pm.
  • Trail Hazards: Poison ivy occuring along trail edges, steep side slopes - please stay on trail. Please note that both cyclists and pedestrians are using the trail. Trail is not lit after dark.
  • Trails in Area: Waterfront Trail, Nine Mile Portage Trail, Trans Canada Trail. Kempenfelt Drive has a paved recreational pathway popular with roller bladers.
  • Trail Features: Johnson Beach Bridge has a high view overlooking Johnson Beach and Kempenfelt Bay.

History of The North Shore Trail

1999 - City of Barrie obtained a licence from the Allandale Community Development Corporation (ACDC) to develop a public trail on the former Canadian National Railway lands extending from Mulcaster Street east to the City of Barrie limits at Penetanguishene Road.

2000 - Existing rail ballast capped from Kempenfelt Park east to the City limits.

2002 - Barrier wall along the shoreline between Berzcy Street and Duckworth Street is excavated and undergoes environmental remediation to remove contaminents from the former Barrie Gas Company once located there. Restoration of the barrier wall permits the remaining trail to be completed. Works completed include general site clean up, tree pruning, installation of garbage barrels, signage and barriers to restrict motor vehicle access. The trail is now on a routine parks maintenance schedule and will be monitored and maintained as required. A Master Plan is undertaken to determine the long-term development of the trail and is approved by Council (see below for North Shore Trail Master Plan details).

North Shore Trail Master Plan

In the spring of 2002, the City of Barrie retained E.S.G. International to develop a Master Plan for the North Shore Trail.  Three preliminary trail concepts were prepared and presented to a focus group consisting of neighbouring residents and trail users. Feedback from this meeting was consolidated into a fourth concept. The four concepts were presented at a Public Meeting on March 20, 2002. The results from the public meeting were tallied and later presented to Council during the presentation of the Final Concept.

In April of 2002, staff met with several advisory committees of Council to review the four concepts. The committees consulted included the Waterfront Advisory Committee and The Trans Canada Trail Committee, the Accessibility Advisory Committee and the Transportation Advisory Committee. Comments from these committees were incorporated into a Final Concept.  The North Shore Trail Final Concept - Multi-Use Trail was presented to Council in June 2002 and was approved.  

Please click here to view a .pdf version of the Master Plan map.

Please click here to view a .pdf version of the PowerPoint presentation to Barrie City Council.

Final Concept Features 

  1. Multi-use trail, minimum 3.5 metres wide. Asphalt trail surface from Heritage Park to Kempenfelt Park, stonedust surface for the remainder of the trail.
  2. Trailhead Kiosks and interpretive signage at trail nodes to guide users. Trail signage along trail.
  3. Accessible trail connection into Kempenfelt Park and Kempenfelt Drive
  4. Upgrade Kempenfelt Park
  5. Connection to St. Vincent Park, Nelson Square, Cook Street, Rodney Street, Vancouver Street, Puget Street, Johnson's Beach Parking and Penetanguishene Road.
  6. Improvements to existing Kempenfelt Drive recreational walkway
  7. Boardwalk alongside water's edge from St.Vincent Park to Vancouver Street.
  8. Vegetation Management Plan to enhance slope stability, create wildlife habitat, remove invasive plant species and augment native species.
  9. Upgrade Johnson Beach Parking Lot and provide stair access from trail to Johnson Beach.
  10. Trail barriers to prevent motorized vehicles from using the trail.
  11. On-road signed route to assist connection to Oro-Medonte Rail Trail.
  12. Lighting only at trail nodes.

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