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Festivals & Events

Information about municipally-run events and links to annual independent events are available on this website. If you're organizing a community event, please submit your event to the City's community events calendar for promotion.

Special events and festivals add to the quality of life that we enjoy in Barrie - celebrating our community, showcasing our heritage and culture, activating our beautiful waterfront and downtown, encouraging recreation and tourism, and providing economic benefits to local businesses, artists, tourism operators, and community organizations. 

Santa Tour & Tree Lighting Celebration ​

Santa Claus is coming to town on Saturday, November 20! 

Start the holiday season with a special visit from Santa while staying distanced and safe. With help from Barrie Fire & Emergency Services, Barrie Police Service, and Barrie Transit, Santa will be touring the community ​starting at 12:30pm - check out Santa's route on Barrie Transit's MyRide map​ and follow along live for his location and timing​. To learn more about the Barrie Santa Tour, visit and share your experience on social media using #barriesantatour.

Kick-off the Noella Festival in downtown Barrie with a special holiday version of Open Air Dunlop - Dunlop St will be closed from Mulcaster St to Maple Ave to enjoy the sights and sounds of the season. From 12:00-8:00pm, enjoy a hot chocolate as you explore the decorated window displays in downtown shops, live music on the Meridian Place stage, and buskers roaming the street. After the Santa Tour, Santa will make his way downtown for photos from 4:00pm to 8:00pm. From 6:00-6:30pm, the annual Tree Lighting Celebration takes place ending with the lighting of the 35' holiday tree in Meridian Place and the Rotary Club of Barrie's Festival of Trees in Heritage Park.  For more information about the Noella Festival and Tree Lighting Celebration ​in downtown Barrie, visit​.

​**While gathering to enjoy the seasonal festivities, masks must be worn when physical distancing is not possible.

​Annual Independent E​vents

In addition to municipally-run events detailed on this website, Barrie is home to a variety of events operated by other organizers. For more information, download the Barrie Events & Culture Guide* or use the links to major independent events.​

*A guide was not published for the 2020/2021 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The previous guide remains available for information about the many great events that happen here in Barrie.

The following events may not be taking place due the pandemic. Please reference individual websites linked below to confirm.

Barrie Waterfront FestivalMay
Outdoor Film SeriesJune - August
Barrie Jazz & Blues FestivalJune
Kids Fishing DayJune
Promenade DaysJune/July (Canada Day weekend)
Craft Beer & BBQ FestivalJuly
KempenfestAugust (Civic holiday weekend)
Barrie Dragon Boat FestivalAugust
​Barrie Fair (Essa Agriplex)​August
Troubadour Festival​September
Barrie Film FestivalOctober​
Tree Lighting CelebrationNovember
Santa Claus ParadeNovember

Special Event Permits​

All public events held on municipal property are required to have a Special Event Permit and meet City requirements to ensure a safe and successful event for all involved. Organizers who would like to plan a public event must first contact the City's Special Events Office at 705-739-4285 or Staff are happy to provide information about the permit process and what may be required to host an event on municipal property.

Event proposals are vetted by Barrie's Event Action Team (BEAT), which includes members of Recreation & Culture Services, Operations (Parks & Roads), Parks Planning, Enforcement Services, and the Barrie Police Service. Events are considered on a case-by-case basis and are permitted upon approval from BEAT and completion of all permit requirements.​

Event Application Timelines

Due to the complex nature of Special Events and Festivals, Special Event Permits require a minimum of three (3) months to process. New events must submit a detailed proposal to the Special Events Office a minimim of seven (7) months in advance of the event date. Major events that anticipate large crowds, road or parking lot closures, licensed areas, and/or take place over multiple days may take longer to review, approve, and process and could require approval from the City's Executive Management Team or Council. Organizers are asked to factor this in to their timelines in order to plan a safe and successful event and have enough time to meet all permit requirements.

Due to COVID-19, timelines may vary to ensure public safety requirements are met.

Meridian Place & Memorial Square

Since its grand opening in 2018, Meridian Place has drawn thousands of visitors and is one of the most exciting outdoor event spaces in the city. Meridian Place is the home of Promenade Days and Canada Day celebrations, the Downtown Barrie Craft Beer & BBQ Festival, and Lawnchair Luminata Outdoor Movie Series. The Horn and The Heart, a public art project honouring Bob Hunter, was unveiled in September 2020.

Organizers who would like to host an event at Meridian Place must submit a proposal to the Special Events Office and go through the Special Event Permit process (see 'Special Event Permits' above).

Tents and Stages

Events with tents and/or stages (temporary structures) will require a Building Permit and must submit an application through the City of Barrie's Building Services Department. Guidelines on this process and online application portal can be found on the Temporary Structures page of the City's website.​

Film Permits

Barrie has been the backdrop of many film projects, from feature films to television shows, commercials, music videos, and student projects. Anyone planning to film in Barrie should first contact the City's Special Events Office at 705-739-4285 or Staff are happy to provide more information about potential locations, permits, and other requirements for your project.​​


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