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Downtown Countdown

Ring in the New Year in downtown Barrie! Traveling from near and far, thousands join together to celebrate with a free evening of fun and entertainment at one of Central Ontario's largest New Year's Eve celebrations.

Update as Dec. 31 at 1:15 p.m.:

Due to the colder than anticipated temperatures forecast for this evening, and out of concern for the safety of the public, bands and staff, the City of Barrie has made the difficult decision to modify our Downtown Countdown activities for New Year’s Eve celebrations.  The main Family activities have been moved indoors, and will take place at the Centre for Performing Arts downtown, starting at 6:00 pm.  All this evening’s fireworks will take place 8:00 pm, at Heritage Park.   All other outdoor and later evening activities have been cancelled, including the concerts and the fireworks at midnight.

Family Fun – the activities and concert for families with children will be held indoors at the Centre for the Performing Arts, starting at 6:00 pm.  There will be face painting, demonstrations from Speaking of Wildlife, Brant the FireGuy, and the Chris McKhool New Year’s Hoedown concert.  Enjoy the New Year’s entertainment in the warmth of the Theatre.  Afterwards, walk or drive over the waterfront for the Fireworks show at 8:00 pm.  You can watch the fireworks from the warmth of your car from anywhere along the waterfront, either downtown or from South Shore.   The City Hall rotunda will be open until 11:00 pm as a warming station.

Please note:  the horse-drawn wagon rides, Snow Valley’s mini tube slides, and roaming street performers are cancelled due to the extreme cold.

Evening Entertainment – The concerts scheduled to begin at 8:00 pm this evening have been cancelled, due to the concerns for the safety of the attendees, the performers and their crews.  The fireworks originally scheduled to be launched at midnight will be held at 8:00 pm instead.   

Activities, 6pm–Midnight
  • Skating at the Circle at the Centre rink. Bring your skates!
  • Horse-drawn wagon rides
  • Snow Valley's mini tube slide
  • Roaming street performers
  • Family fun: Clarabella the Clown, face painting, hockey shootout, and more!
  • Bonfire warming zone
  • Food vendors
  • Fireworks presented by Telus - Canada's Largest and Fastest Network
    There will be two shows each set off from Heritage Park and the rooftop of City Hall - the first following the family celebration and the second at midnight to ring in 2018!


The City of Barrie is excited to host an awesome evening of live entertainment featuring a special performance and early countdown for families, a local band, a Canadian headliner, a midnight countdown, fireworks, and more.

7:00 pm Chris McKhool's New Year's Eve Kids Hoedown
7:45pm Family Countdown & Fireworks presented by Telus
8:00 pm Rue Bella
9:00pm Practically Hip
10:30pm Kim Mitchell
11:55pm New Year's greetings
midnight Countdown to 2018 & Fireworks presented by Telus

Kim Mitchell
In partnership with Rock 95 and 107.5 Kool FM, the City of Barrie is excited to welcome Canadian rock icon Kim Mitchell to headline the Downtown Countdown. Kim Mitchell has won three JUNO Awards and achieved gold and multi-platinum status over his career, from his time as lead of Canadian rock band Max Webster in the 70s to a long and successful solo career. Mitchell continues to perform with creative energy and enthusiasm, and his show in Barrie on New Year’s Eve will have us all singing along to his greatest hits such as 'Go for Soda', 'Patio Lanterns', and Rock 'n Roll Duty'.

Practically Hip
This year's celebration will include a very special tribute to The Tragically Hip from leading tribute act, Practically Hip.  Since 1997, Practically Hip has been wowing audiences with a passionate and high energy show featuring The Hip's beloved hits. They are one of the most sought-after tribute acts in Ontario and the U.S., and we look forward to welcoming them to the Downtown Countdown stage!

Rue Bella
Every year, the City of Barrie invites bands from Barrie and area to submit for the opportunity to perform on the Downtown Countdown stage. From over 40 submissions, Rue Bella was selected to perform their genre-bending alternative rock. Rue Bella won Rock 95's Local & Loud 2016 competition, going on to play legendary venues like The Horseshoe Tavern and Lee's Palace, and opening for arena acts such as The Trews and Finger Eleven. They just released their first full-length album ‘Flirt with the Dirt’, produced by John-Angus MacDonald of The Trews.

Chris McKhool's New Year's Eve Hoedown
The line-up will also feature entertainment for the younger crowd with Juno Award nominee and Canadian Folk Music Award winner, Chris McKhool! Hailed as a “Children’s musical star” (National Post) and “Canada’s greatest eco-troubadour for young people” (Mississauga Living Arts Centre), Chris will get kids singing and dancing. He has been delighting audiences with infectious songs and exotic world instruments for over two decades and has appeared on Mr. Dressup, Treehouse, TVOKids, and CBC Television and Radio. Joining Chris on stage at the Downtown Countdown will be members of multi-award-winning Sultans of String!

Getting Around & Parking

On New Year's Eve, Barrie Transit service is free from 5pm–3am to help you get to and from your celebrations safely. If you plan to drive to the event, there is plenty of free downtown parking available within close walking distance. Road closures for the event included:

  • Collier Street from Owen Street to Mulcaster Street
    6am December 30 – noon January 1
  • Collier Street from Mulcaster Street to Berczy Street
    3pm December 31 – 2am January 1
  • Mulcaster Street from Dunlop Street to Worsley Street
    3pm December 31 – 2am January 1

Downtown Countdown 2018 is Generously Supported by





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