Place:Barrie, Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

Coordinates44.367°N 79.7°W
Located inSimcoe, Ontario, Canada
See alsoVespra, Simcoe, Ontario, Canadatownship immediately surrounding the City of Barrie, most if not all, absorbed into the city before 1974
Contained Places
Barrie Union Cemetery ( 1879 - )
St Mary's Cemetery

Image:Simcoe County2.png

the text in this section is based on a section of an article in Wikipedia

Barrie is a city in southern Ontario, Canada, located on Kempenfelt Bay, an inlet on the western shore of Lake Simcoe. Although it is geographically within Simcoe County, the city is politically independent. Barrie is within the northern part of the Greater Golden Horseshoe, a densely populated and industrialized region of Ontario.

The most recent measure of population, the 2011 Census of Canada, indicated that Barrie's population was more that 130,000. Taking its metropolitan area into consideration, the population reaches almost 190,000. It is one of the fastest growing census metropolitan areas in Canada.

The map of Simcoe County circa 1951 from Archives of Ontario identifies the individual cities, towns and villages covered by the sketchmap. There is a facility to enlarge it at the bottom for the page.

Two sketchmaps from Simcoe GenWeb show the whole of Simcoe County and the alterations of boundaries that came with the change from townships to municipalities in the 1990s. The web page also leads to a considerable amount of information about Barrie and Simcoe County and their histories.

History of Barrie

From the website of Tourism Barrie

"Barrie's beginnings can be traced back to First Nations People using the western shores of Kempenfelt Bay as a place of rest before traveling the portage that ran between Lake Simcoe and the Nottawasaga River to Lake Huron. The War of 1812 resulted in increased use allowing for British troops and supplies to bypass the American forces at Detroit. At the war's end, settlers arrived and took up residence at the end of the portage, beginning the traces of Barrie's first community. The British military presence is reflected in many street names, and even in the name of the city itself, in honour of British Admiral Sir Robert Barrie.
As our city grew, it began to export local resources. Trees nearly two hundred feet tall were logged and shipped out, serving as masts for British ships, and railway ties. In the winter months, huge blocks of ice were cut from the frozen waters of Kempenfelt Bay and shipped down to Toronto, Buffalo and New York for refrigeration purposes. Three large storage houses enabled the blocks to be effectively stored for shipment during the summer months."

In 1865, Barrie was joined to Toronto by rail. The railway link improved the speed of transporting both lumber and ice, and also attracted people from Toronto to Barrie and places further to the north and west. Holiday homes and resorts were built on the many lakes in the area including Lake Simcoe itself. Passenger traffic was as important as freight in the Toronto-Barrie corridor.

In 1950 the Ontario Government built the its second expressway, Highway 400, connecting Toronto and Barrie. This improved access to Barrie and the rest of Simcoe County for private cars and commercial vehicles. Not only did its construction allow tourists easy access to their holiday destinations, but it made it possible to commute to Toronto from Barrie on a daily basis. The distance of just under 95km, city centre to city centre, can now be covered in 1 hour 10 minutes.

The logging and ice industries of Barrie are long gone, but have been replaced by employment in the service and banking industries, as well as a soft drinks bottling plant.

Research Tips

The primary source for basic documents (vital statistics, land records, wills) for people who lived in the Province of Ontario is the Archives of Ontario, 134 Ian Macdonald Blvd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M7A 2C5.

Early Records

Civil registration did not begin in the province until 1869. Before then there may be church records of baptisms and burials. For the most part these are still held by the denomination who recorded them. Copies of marriage records made pre-1869 had to be sent by individual clergymen to the registrar of the county in which the marriage took place. These marriage records are available through Ontario Archives, on micorfilm through LDS libraries, and on paid and unpaid websites, but because they were copied at the registrars' offices, they cannot be considered a primary source.

Vital Records after 1869

Birth, marriage and death registrations are not open to the public until a specific number of years after the event occurred. Births to 1915 are now available [October 2014]; dates for marriages and deaths are later. Birth and death registration was not universally carried out in the early years after its adoption. Deaths were more apt to be reported than births for several years. The more rural the area, the less likely it would be that these happenings were reported to the authorities.
Images and indexes of civil registrations for the "viewable" years can be found on paid websites, and indexes only on FamilySearch. The FamilySearch Wiki on Ontario Vital Records explains how these records are organized and their availability.
In September 2014 announced that its paid website has been subjected to a "houseclean" of its Ontario BMD database, adding data that had been omitted and making many corrections. Its provision now includes

  • Births, with 2,172,124 records covering 1869-1913.
  • Marriages, with 3,393,369 records for 1801-1928 including Ontario county, district and Roman Catholic origins as well as province-wide civil registration.
  • Deaths, with 2,190,030 records comprising Ontario civil registrations of deaths, 1869-1938 and registrations of Ontario overseas deaths for 1939-1947.

Land Records and Wills

Information on how to access land records and wills is best sought on the Archives of Ontario website. An ancestor's land holding might be found on Canadian County Atlas Digital Project if he was in occupancy circa 1878.

Association for the Preservation of Ontario Land Registry Office Documents (APOLROD). A list of Land Registry Offices for all Counties of Ontario.


The original censuses are in the hands of Library and Archives Canada, known to Canadians as "LAC". Copies of original microfilms are online at the LAC website for all censuses up to 1921. Each census database is preceded with an explanation of the geographical area covered, the amount of material retained (some census division material has been lost), the questions on the census form, and whether there is a name index. Census divisions were redrawn as the population increased and more land was inhabited.
Other websites, some paid and some free, also provide Canadian census originals and/or indexes online. One can also view censuses on microfilm at the LAC, at the Archives of Ontario (see address above), or at large libraries throughout Canada.

Hard-to-Find Places

E-books, Books and Newspapers

  • The Internet Archive, particularly texts from Canadian universities, can contain interesting material
  • Our Roots is a Canadian website similar to The Internet Archive
  • Global Genealogy is an online bookshop specializing in Ontario material who will ship anywhere in the world.
  • The Ancestor Hunt is a blog listing old Ontario newspapers that are available online, both free and pay websites. This is a very extensive list.

Websites with more local information on Simcoe County

source: Family History Library Catalog
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Barrie, Ontario. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.