Settlement and Development
Settlement began in the 1820s, with agriculture and forestry as the first industries. The coming of the railway to nearby Allandale in 1853 aided development so that in 1871 Barrie was incorporated as a town. Another impetus to development was the opening of the Canadian Forces Base Borden in 1917, 25 km to the southwest.
Barrie’s economy is based on diversified manufacturing — principally automotive, plastics, metal fabrication, the food and beverage industry and electronics — and the service industry. The main campus of Georgian College of Applied Arts and Technology is located here.
Cultural institutions include the Gryphon Theatre, the MacLaren Art Centre and a museum depicting the history of Simcoe County. In winter it is a favourite spot for ice fishermen. On 31 May 1985 a tornado caused extensive damage to part of the city and was blamed for eight deaths.