Growth Management

Barrie has been one of Canada’s fastest growing municipalities for several decades now. To manage this growth and to ensure that services and facilities keep pace, the City has set out a vision and strategy for growth management, which includes intensification in the existing built-up area and new greenfield development.

The vision for growth management is being implemented through collaboration and partnership with City departments and outside agencies. The City has established Secondary Plans to guide greenfield development and Master Plans to coordinate infrastructure delivery.

Financial Incentives Available

The Community Improvement Plan provides financial incentives for eligible projects that target key planning and growth management objectives for development within Barrie.

2023 Growth Report

The 2023 Growth Report summarizes city-wide development and community building activities throughout the year. Key metrics were captured at four stages through the development process:

  1. Land Use 
    Planning for the future, changes to land use designations to support growth through re-zoning and Official Plan amendments.
  2. Development Approvals
    Units/infrastructure approved for development through subdivisions and site plans.
  3. Construction
    Shovels in the ground, new infrastructure and units being built.
  4. Complete Communities
    New houses and new residents. It is at this time the City is providing new services.

Read the 2023 Growth Report

Barrie's Population

199162,728Statistics Canada data
2017147,000Statistics Canada data
2031210,000Growth Plan Projection
2041253,000Growth Plan Projection
2051298,000Growth Plan Projection

Ensuring that this level of growth is managed in a sustainable, efficient, and financially responsible manner will be central to the long-term health, prosperity, and well-being of Barrie and its residents. Working within the policy framework provided by the Growth Plan, the City has been preparing an updated Growth Management Strategy. Planning staff have also developed policies and strategies to foster higher-density, mixed-use development in the Urban Growth Centre as well as within important Intensification Nodes and Corridors.

Urban Growth Centre

The Downtown Barrie Urban Growth Centre (as defined by the Province of Ontario in the Growth Plan) consists of the traditional downtown area as well as a significant portion of the historic Allandale neighbourhood. Moving forward, this area will serve as the focal point for higher-density growth and intensification in Barrie.

Urban Growth Centre



When it comes to planning and development, “density" refers to the number of people who live and/or work within a given area. The Growth Plan has set a density target for the Downtown Barrie Urban Growth Centre of 150 residents and jobs per hectare, to be achieved by 2031. For an area of approximately 156 hectares, this translates to around 23,408 people living and/or working within the Urban Growth Centre. Growth of this magnitude needs to be managed in a way that:

  • remains sensitive to existing neighbourhoods
  • responds appropriately to the community's vision and concerns
  • ensures that services and infrastructure are provided in an efficient and sustainable manner.


Intensification is the process of increasing the density of an already built-up area. Intensification can involve developing or redeveloping individual properties, extending or adding on to existing buildings, adapting existing buildings for different uses, or creating new buildings and uses on land that isn't currently being used to its full potential (referred to as “infilling"). Intensification can help foster a more active urban environment by making places more “walkable," increase the viability of public transit, and create vibrant public spaces that enhance a feeling of community belonging.

Mixed-Use Zoning

The City has established new Mixed-Use zoning categories in order to support the combination of various residential and commercial uses within a higher-density urban environment. Mixed-use zoning will help us achieve the density targets set by the Province and will contribute towards a more pedestrian-friendly public realm where residents can take advantage of living, working, shopping, and leisure opportunities within their own neighbourhoods.

Secondary Plan Areas

The Barrie-Innisfil Boundary Adjustment Act, which came into effect in 2010, extended the City's southern boundary to incorporate 2,293 hectares of land that had previously been located within the Town of Innisfil. This expansion led to the creation of the Salem Secondary Plan and Hewitt’s Seco​​​​ndary Plan, which were completed in December 2016 and incorporated entirely into the new City of Barrie Official Plan: "One City, One Vision, One Plan." 

As the city continues to grow, many new and existing residents are opting to buy homes in new subdivisions. If you’ve just bought a home in a subdivision, learn about who manages what in the Homeowners and Residents: New Residential Subdivision FAQs (PDF). ​