If you are planning on moving to Barrie, you will undoubtedly be pleased with your choice. You’ll find plenty of amenities paired with somewhat of a small-town feel, giving you the best of both worlds. Before making your move, let’s take a look at what you can expect when moving to Barrie.
You’ll find Barrie roughly 80 kilometres north of Toronto, putting you a fairly short drive away from the city. Barrie sits on the shores of Lake Simcoe, the namesake for its county. The city has just over 140,000 residents and has grown into a bit of a regional resort town.
Thus, you will likely not be surprised to find that tourism is a vital industry for Barrie with its waterfront district serving as a primary location. The city is quite service oriented with plenty of shops and restaurants angling for tourist dollars, which benefits residents wanting greater choice as well. Other major industries in Barrie include healthcare, education, and government.
Barrie’s current median home price is $951,000, representing a 31.3% increase from a year ago. The housing market is truly booming in this area as many people have begun viewing it as an ideal bedroom community for commuting to the Greater Toronto Area. Those wanting to purchase a condo will find it quite a bit more affordable with a median price of $528,600. Condos are appreciating less slowly than homes as this figure represents an annual increase of 14%.
For those planning to rent, you can get a one-bedroom apartment in Barrie for an average of $1,600 per month while a two-bedroom apartment will cost roughly $2,000 monthly. These prices are increasing at rates of under 10% per year. However, apartments can be found upwards of $3,000 per month depending upon the amenities and location that you are seeking. There appears to be a fairly wide variety of rentals for a town this size.
Barrie also has relatively good public transportation within the town and connecting it to other locations. A train ride to Toronto’s Union Station operates multiple times per day with a trip time of roughly an hour and a half. The community has a breadth of quality education options available from public to private schools including French language learning and religious teaching.
Culture & Recreation
While Barrie is a smaller city, its status as a getaway destination has helped it cultivate a strong arts scene. The city has two major centres for performing arts, The Georgian Theatre and Five Points Theatre, the former of which is operated by Georgian College. The city itself hosts a number of arts organizations including the Huronia Symphony Orchestra, theatre By the Bay, Barrie Concert Band, and a number of choirs and dance troupes.
In terms of visual arts, you will find a wide range of sculptures located throughout the city. Additionally, the MacLaren Art Centre doubles as a gallery and museum that hosts a wide range of community events aimed at promoting the arts. You’ll also find a variety of independent galleries particularly near the waterfront.
Barrie’s most popular festival is Kempenfest, which bills itself as one of the largest outdoor arts, crafts, and music festivals in North America. It has over 400 vendors, live music, carnival rides, craft competitions, and food vendors. It spans over two kilometres of waterfront with two stages setup for music.
You’ll find a wide range of recreation opportunities as well. The city itself offers drop-in classes for yoga, Pilates, cycling, aqua fit, and other types of group fitness. There are over three dozen small parks in the city in addition to six different hiking and biking trails. During summer months, people flock to public beaches to play volleyball and enjoy watersports with Centennial Park & Beach being the most popular.
Things to Do
As you begin to get settled in Barrie, you’ll certainly want to get out and begin to explore. As you make your way around this town, here are some of our top picks for things to see and do.
SplashON Wibit Water Park. If you have children, this will be the hit of the summer for them. While there are many great water activities to checkout in Barrie, SplashON is certainly a favourite. This is an inflatable waterpark with plenty of things to climb and jump on. It is a great way to spend a few hours on a hot day.
Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery. The kids can’t have all the fun. For a more adult afternoon, try a pint at Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery, the premiere location for small batch brews in Barrie. They proclaim that “weird is normal,” something that you will agree with when you see their beer list which includes favourites like “Fireworks & Karate” and “The Mutants are Revolting.”
Rounds Ranch. Located in nearby Elmvale, this is another great family friendly activity that will give you something to do in the fall. Here you can find beautiful sunflower fields, a corn maze, zip lines, pony rides, a petting zoo, and much more. This is a great place to visit with young children and can quickly become a family tradition.
Lawnchair Luminata. A free event put on in downtown Barrie, Lawnchair Luminata has evening events throughout the summer that highlight music, art, and film including screenings during the Barrie Film Festival. Bring your own lawn chair and take part in the festivities.
Sailing. When living on the waterfront, be sure to take advantage of the many options at your fingertips. There are several companies that provide sailing excursions including beautiful sunset cruises. You can also rent boats yourself to explore Kempenfelt Bay.
Final Thoughts Barrie is an increasingly popular area that is primed for rapid growth. As a popular vacation destination in the area, it provides all the amenities that you would only expect in much larger cities with the vibe of a smaller town. If you are ready to make Barrie your next home, get an estimate for your move with Rent-a-Son.