Known for sprawling ski resorts and sandy beaches, Barrie sits on the west shore of Lake Simcoe, an hour or so north of Toronto. Here are some things to do in Barrie to make the most of your time.
You can hit up Barrie any season of the year and still have a long list of fun and exciting things to do. A city engulfed in the natural wonders of Ontario, Barrie is the ideal destination for fulfilling your cravings for the outdoors. Be it canoeing and hiking during warmer weather or hitting up one of the many ski resorts during winter, Barrie’s got you covered.
To Do List
The waterfront is a popular year-round gathering spot, filled with bustling restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques, and bars. In summer, check out classic car shows at Barrie Centennial Park, rent a kayak for a peaceful paddle on the lake, or pay a visit to the Spirit Catcher, a permanent birdlike sculpture that was commissioned for Vancouver Expo ’86 and donated to the city by the artist. History buffs will particularly enjoy the tribute to firefighters of yore at the Fire Station 1 heritage museum, or the armoured vehicles that date back to the First World War at the Major-General Worthington Memorial Park. If spectator sports are more to your liking, catch a Barrie Baycats Game at Coates Stadium or cheer on OHL team Barrie Colts at the Barrie Molson Centre.
Shops and Eats
Barrie has a number of unique shops and boutiques you can explore. If you’re into antiques, there are a few local markets you can hit up. And if you get hungry from all the shopping, try some of the many restaurant options in the city. From local barbecue and grill joints to fine dining, Barrie has something to satisfy everyone’s appetite. Diners are a common sight to see and the service will leave you feeling like you’re a welcome addition to the family. If craft beer is more your cup of tea, check out the birthplace of one of Canada’s more popular choices, The Flying Monkeys Brewery. And because this is a town in Ontario, you’ll have no trouble finding more international options such as Greek, Japanese, or Indian cuisine.
In the winter, Barrie transforms into a paradise for skiers, thanks to the myriad runs and more than 100 inches of snow a year. Enjoy alpine and Nordic skiing conditions all winter long at Hardwood Ski and Bike, Horseshoe Resort, Mount St. Louis, and Snow Valley Resort. If you’re looking to stay active but fear the slopes, try one of the many alternative winter activities. Snowshoeing, ice fishing, cross-country skiing, and even a relaxing sleigh ride through a snowy forest are only a few of the many options you’ll have to choose from. Afterward, take the kids to admire the holiday lights in the winter wonderland of Heritage Park. Every February, Barrie also hosts Winterfest; a festival of ice sculptures, maple taffy, and tons of fun events for both adults and kids.
Amongst the many winter activities listed above, there’s even more to do with your entire family. The Hardwood Ski and Bike, as the name suggests, is not only for skiing. Whether there is snow or not, rent some bikes for you and your kids and take a guided tour or an adventurous bike ride through the many trails. To beat the summer heat, head over to Centennial Beach to cool off in the clear waters. Looking for something more active? The waterfront offers kayaking, wake surfing, canoeing, paddle boarding and more. If you still haven’t got enough nature in you, take your kids to one of the many farms that regularly host seasonal festivals and holiday events. Snow Valley Resort offers many activities for kids such as skiing, snowboarding and tubing. But on top of that, they have an Outdoor Adventure Camp where your kids can spend all day playing sports, making art, and taking in nature while you and your significant other can relax at the spa.