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Raising a Tent

Thinking of raising a tent on your property? Before you start, here is a guide to help you through the project.

Planning Your Project

Before you begin, contact Service Barrie at 705-739-4242 or to ensure your project:

  • Complies with Zoning By-law section 5.3.5 for set-backs and lot coverage (a tent is considered a ‘structure’ under the by-law and is subject to its regulations, which are the same as detached garages and sheds)
  • Doesn’t require a permit from a local conservation authority
  • Doesn’t infringe on your property’s zoned land use

Call Before You Dig! Always contact Ontario One Call before you dig, even if it’s just with a shovel, to locate any underground cables or lines below the surface.


If your property is a corner lot, be sure plans comply with sight triangle Zoning By-law standards: All corner lots shall provide a sight triangle consisting of an unobstructed triangular area where the front lot line and the exterior side lot line intersect. Sight triangles provide increased visibility at intersections for the safety of pedestrians and motorists. By-law standards:
Location Minimum Distance from Lot Line
Arterial or Collector Roads 5m (16.4ft) x 5m (16.4ft)
Local Roads 3m (9.8ft) x 3m (9.8ft)
Arterial or Collector Road abutting Local Road 5m (16.4ft) x 3m (9.8ft)
Sight triangles shall be measured from the point of intersection of the lot lines. Planting is not permitted in the area of a sight triangle as plants can grow to become sight barriers.

Completing Your Project


Apply for a building permit prior to starting any work. Please ensure that you complete the Special Events Form and submit along with application. When the permit is issued, construction can commence. This project requires:    

  • Tent permit (if terms below aren’t met)
  • No permit if the tent is:
    • Less than or equal to 60m2 (646ft2) individually or aggregate (the combined area of tents within 3m (10ft) of each other is ‘aggregate’)
    • Not attached to a building
    • At least 3m (10ft) away from any structure


Below are the commonly required inspections based on permit type. There may be additional inspections required on a case-by-case basis. Contact 705-739-4231 anytime (24/7) to request an inspection.  

Building Inspection When to call
Barrier free When tent is installed and pinned down, wires and cables are covered with mats or buried underground, and tables and chairs are set up with a clear travel path is provided within the tent .
Fire extinguishers When fire extinguishers have been installed
Occupancy When all barrier free and fire extinguishers are completed, and tent has been securely fastened down

After Project Completion

Fire Prevention

Once your tent is raised, please adhere to the following Special Events Fire Prevention Measures. A copy of these measures must be maintained on-site.

  • All exits, aisles, exit signs, emergency lighting units, fire alarm pull stations, fire extinguishers, hose cabinets, sprinklers, Fire Department access routes, pumper connections and hydrants must be unobstructed at all times
  • Drapes, curtains and other decorative textiles must meet NFP 701 for flame resistance (provide documentation to Barrie Fire & Emergency Service)
  • No open flames are permitted
  • No combustibles such as hay, straw, shavings, wood chips etc. are permitted
  • Barbecues must be 3m (10ft) from structures (valid propane certificate required)
  • Music or theatrical performances to be shut down in the event of an emergency
  • Phone to be provided on-site for emergency notification of 911
  • Maximum occupant load sign required if more than 60 people
  • Install ‘NO SMOKING’ signs throughout tent
  • Mount 10lb ABC fire extinguishers at all required exits
  • Fire-watch to be implemented if more than 150 persons. A person employed for fire-watch must:

    • Patrol the area and ensure all fire prevention measures are enforced
    • If windowless or after dark hours, have flashlights on-scene to assist with exiting in the event of a power failure
    • Have a system to notify occupants of an emergency if no fire alarm is present (such as a PA system or bull horn)
    • Call 911 to report an emergency – give address, name and call-back number

​Visit our fire prevention page for more information on general fire prevention measures.

Disclaimer: The information on this page is meant for guiding purposes only. Individual home renovation projects vary in scope and may require additional steps to ensure proper completion. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure work conforms to any restrictive covenants, caveats or other restrictions that are registered on the land title. The information above has no legal status and cannot be used as an official interpretation of the various bylaws, codes and regulations currently in effect. The City of Barrie accepts no responsibility to persons relying solely on this information. Web pages are updated periodically.

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