Barrie Things to Do

  • Marina off of Kempenfelt Bay
    Marina off of Kempenfelt Bay
    by mikey_e
  • The river boat
    The river boat
    by mikey_e
  • View near the Dream Catcher
    View near the Dream Catcher
    by mikey_e

Best Rated Things to Do in Barrie

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    Kempenfest

    by Copy-6 Written Sep 6, 2005

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    The largest outside (in North America) show features over 370 artisans and craftspeople who are carefully selected to ensure the Festival meets the high standards set for over 35 years. This takes place on the civic holiday (july 31 / August 1) with an annual attendance of 200,000.

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    Kempenfest

    by Copy-6 Written Sep 6, 2005

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Spirit Catcher

    The largest outside (in North America) show features over 370 artisans and craftspeople who are carefully selected to ensure the Festival meets the high standards set for over 35 years. This takes place on the civic holiday (july 31 / August 1) with an annual attendance of 200,000.

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    • Arts and Culture
    • Music
    • Festivals

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    Kempenfelt Bay

    by mikey_e Written Sep 20, 2007
    Marina off of Kempenfelt Bay
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    Kempenfelt Bay is a finger of water that comes off of Lake Simcoe, the largest lake directly north of the city of Toronto. I decided to put it as a separate tip from Heritage Park because the two are so beautiful in the late summer temperatures. The Bay is a large body of water in which there are plenty of fish and on whose calm waters the sun and clouds are mirrored almost perfectly. This is one of the largest cities in or near cottage country, so it shouldn't surprise the visitor that there are lots of private motorboats and fishermen (and fisherwomen) who come here to enjoy mild summer weekends. If you've come here without a boat, its possible to take a cruise on the large river boat (pictured below) that leaves from the southernmost edge of Heritage Park.

    As a small point of interest, Richard Kempenfelt was an 18th century British rear-admiral who saw many battles in the West and East Indies.

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    • Fishing
    • Arts and Culture
    • Adventure Travel

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    Heritage Park

    by mikey_e Written Sep 20, 2007
    Duck Pond
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    Heritage Park is an obvious example of great urban redevelopment. It is quite obvious that this area is still under construction at the edges, but this hardly affects your enjoyment of the park and its large numbers of sculpted gardens and benches. There are a few vendors for snacks here, but for the most part it is meant to be a place where you find your own entertainment, preferably with the friends or family you've come to. Don't mind the large numbers of ducks and geese here, they tend not to bother you if you don't bother them.

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    Spirit Catcher

    by mikey_e Updated Sep 20, 2007
    The Wish Catcher
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    Those familiar with Native Canadian handicrafts will definitely know what a dream catcher is. Its a small circle with a sort of net inside that is supposed to capture people's dreams. The spirit catcher in Barrie is obviously inspired by the arts of the Native Canadians, but it is actually a work of art by a local artist. This is a massive structure that stands out along the shore of Kempenfelt Bay. The plaque says that you can make a wish and the Wish Catcher will catch it.

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    • Arts and Culture

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    Memorial Square

    by mikey_e Written Sep 20, 2007
    Monument to the Fallen
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    I mentioned in my introduction to Barrie that towns and cities like this were profoundly changed by the World Wars. It should be unsurprising, then that there is a fairly large and promonent monument to those who fought and died for King and Country over there. The masonry and design are quite impressive, especially the white granite (?). The park itself is not all that impressive, and it seems to be a hang out for lots of local folk who simply sit around and chat. There is also a small artillery piece nearby, although far enough from the memorial to be considered a separate exhibit.

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    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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    MacLaren Art Centre

    by mikey_e Written Sep 20, 2007
    Fake Rodin at the MacLaren Art Gallery
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    The MacLaren Art Centre is housed in a beautiful modern building in what is otherwise an uninteresting and sometimes ugly part of Barrie. If you are coming along Collier street you're sure to notice the fake Rodin piece at the corner. There is a large shop attached to the gallery, which specializes in both European art and local art (from Georgian college and other local institutes). I wasn't able to go inside, as I visited Barrie on Sunday before Sunday openings. Nevertheless, the Gallery appears to have a focus on modern art and photography, and a specific interest in East European artists.

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    • Museum Visits
    • Arts and Culture

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    Collier United Church

    by mikey_e Written Sep 20, 2007
    Collier United Church
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    The sign by this church was quite new, but it was very obvious to me, just from looking down the street, that this was quite an old structure, probably dating from the first expansion of the town. I wasn't let down. Although much of the church has been restored, its look is quite typical of southern Ontario town churches and originally dates from 1864, when it was a Wesleyan (Methodist) church.

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    • Religious Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

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    Town Hall

    by mikey_e Written Sep 20, 2007
    Barrie Town Hall
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    There isn't anything all that spectacular about Barrie town hall. Its a modern building with little charm, but it is somewhere that you might visit in the summer, for the farmers' market, or in the winter for the skating rink in the pond in the centre of the courtyard.

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    • Architecture
    • Arts and Culture

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    Municipal Library

    by mikey_e Written Sep 20, 2007
    The Municipal Library
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    I don't really know why I photographed this... I think its because the library is in the style that you so often find in York Region, a sort of bureaucratic architectural style in which all new monoliths are constructed. I like to think of it as "ugly monstruism". You be the judge....

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    Rinaldo Spa

    by mikey_e Written Sep 20, 2007
    Rinaldo Spa
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    Collier Street, when I visited Barrie, was largely under construction (repaving) so I can tell exactly what it is like when normal life return. Nevertheless, I was quite interested by the rather unique (in Barrie) architecture of the building housing the Rinaldo Spa. It was a beautiful white wood structure with a pretty stone courtyard out back. As for their services, I have no idea...

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    Dunlop Street

    by mikey_e Written Sep 20, 2007
    Collier Street
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    Dunlop Street is sort of the main shopping and entertainment drag in Barrie (downtown Barrie that is) and, unlike Collier Street, it isn't under construction. There aren't many upscale, name brand boutiques here, but there is a considerable number of speciality stores. Lots of alcohol-related establishments and knick-knack shops. It interesting to walk along for a bit, but unless you're into paraphenelia its unlikely to retain your interest for long.

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    St. Andrews Presbyterian Church

    by mikey_e Written Sep 20, 2007
    St. Andrews Church
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    I don't know much about St. Andrews, although it seemed considerably more modern than the Collier United Church. It is conveniently located just off of Collier Street and doesn't really present any remarkable features compared to other churches in small Ontario towns.

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    • Religious Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

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    Spirit Catcher

    by MissAntarctica2002 Written Jan 29, 2005
    Spirit Catcher in Barrie, Ontario

    The Spirit Catcher has become emblematic of the city of Barrie. This sculpture was originally commissioned for Expo 86 in Vancouver. It was purchased on behalf of the City of Barrie at the conclusion of the exposition, transported and re-erected in its current location near the shore of Kempenfelt Bay. I remember it was very controversial when it first arrived. Now it seems that everyone has grown to love it and couldn't not imagine the city without it.

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    • Architecture
    • Arts and Culture

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  • Heritage Downtown Barrie Walking Tour

    by RuskaM Updated Feb 19, 2007

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Hotel Simcoe, 2007
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    Built to replace a hotel destroyed in the Bayfield Street fire of 1876, the Simcoe Hotel is designed to fit its wedge-shaped lot between Clapperton and Bayfield streets.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

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Barrie Things to Do

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