Barrie acts as a gateway between northern and southern Ontario. A straight line from Innisfil to Parliament Hill runs 332 km. The drive takes about five hours. Innisfil is located approximately 18 km south of Barrie, and 80 km north of Toronto.
Located in the smallest of ecozones in Canada – the Mixedwood Plains – this area is prone to highly changeable weather and is on one of North America’s major storm tracks. The Mixedwood Plains ecozone can be found along the stretch of the Quebec City-Windsor corridor.
The riding is surrounded by three bodies of water on two sides: Kempenfelt Bay in the north, and Lake Simcoe and Cook’s Bay in the east.
About 15% of the riding’s population are immigrants, with some of the largest populations born in the United Kingdom, Italy, and Portugal.
Italian, Spanish, and Portugese are the most common non-official mother tongues in the riding.
Approximately 3% of the riding’s population identify as Aboriginal.
Average individual income is $47, 174.
Kempenfelt Bay, connecting Barrie to Lake Simcoe, has two main claims to fame. The first is Kempenfest, an outdoor arts and crafts festival. The other is the legend of Kempenfelt Kelly, a Loch Ness monster-type prehistoric creature which local folklore claims can be found in the depths of the bay.
Lake Simcoe is a popular fishing spot in the summer and winter.
Barrie hosted the 2008 global world poverty awareness concert series “Live 8”, featuring acts such as Céline Dion, the Barenaked Ladies, Mötley Crüe, Our Lady Peace, and The Tragically Hip.
Innisfil’s name has Irish origins; “Inis Fáil” is the ancient mythological name for Ireland. Barrie gets its name from Sir Robert Barrie, a famed British officer of the Royal Navy who fought in the War of 1812.
Retail trade, manufacturing, and health care and social assistance are the top industries in the riding. Almost 13% of the riding’s labour force has a job in the retail trade industry.
The Lake Simcoe tourism industry generates more than $200 million per year for the region.
The unemployment rate was 8% in 2010.
About 50% of the labour force has some sort of post-secondary education.
Over 400 trees were planted in Barrie’s Lover’s Creek to revitalize the watershed.
Lake Simcoe has had problems with eutrophication, a process where a body of water loses oxygen due to the increase of algae and plant growth, and with invasive species. Native fish are on the decline due to the decrease in oxygen in the water levels and the increased competition from invasive species like the zebra mussel and rainbow smelt.
Lake Simcoe is the largest inland lake in southern Ontario outside the Great Lakes system. More than 400,000 people depend on the lake for drinking water.
Barrie is the birthplace of Dr. Joseph B. MacInnis, an author, poet, explorer, and leader of the dive to find the RMS Titanic wreckage. MacInnis was also the first person to dive under the North Pole. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 1976.
An outbreak of tornadoes struck Barrie and other part of southern Ontario on May 31, 1985. About 14 tornadoes were counted. The Barrie tornado was rated an F4 on the Fujita scale, a marker that measure the strength of tornadoes; F5 is the highest rating.