The lively and historic downtown area of Barrie is the pulsating heart of the city, as well as being Barrie’s main hub for arts and culture. From the local art galleries to the specialty boutiques to the exciting nightlife scene, these are some of Downtown Barrie’s most thrilling highlights.
Art and Culture
For those hoping to soak up some art and culture, the MacLaren Art Centre is the first place to visit, as their permanent collection of over 27,000 pieces is considered to be the best in the county. The Mady Centre for Performing Arts is also worth visiting if you want to catch a live performance, whether this may be comedy, dance or a theatre production. The Grey and Simcoe Foresters Regimental Museum can also be found in Downtown Barrie, and provides visitors with a deeper insight into the history of the region.
Food and Drink
The food scene in Downtown Barrie is definitely picking up, and there are a number of exciting establishments that have now opened their doors in the city. The Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery and Tap Room is an independent local brewery that has earned themselves numerous international awards, while the Crazy Fox Bistro marries together classic and contemporary influences. Pie is Simcoe County’s very first pizza restaurant that has its own wood burning oven, while Boon is the very first all-vegan burger café in all of Canada.
Downtown Barrie is one of the city’s prime shopping spots, and is where you will find a diverse range of stores. The ZuZu Fashion Boutique and Janet Kemp Ladies Fashions each stock an eclectic range of styles, with a strong focus on pieces by local designers. Barrie is also known for its outdoor sport opportunities, and there are a number of shops in Downtown Barrie where you can find everything that you may need for this, from the Bait Bucket fishing store to Angie’s Outdoor store. For those seeking speciality food shops, there are a couple here worth stopping off at, such as the Barrie Olive Oil Co. for an educational olive oil tasting, and J’adore Fine Cheese and Chocolate for artisan chocolates that have been made in-house, as well as exclusive cheeses that have been sourced from all over the globe.
There are numerous annual festivals that are hosted in Downtown Barrie, and some of these are well worth planning your trip around. Currently, the Barrielicious Festival is being hosted, in which local restaurants provide an exciting, multicultural culinary journey, while those visiting the city in October can look forward to the Barrie Film Festival, which features films from Canada as well as the rest of the world.
Barrie is a destination that has so much to offer, and its downtown area is where you will find some of the best aspects of the city. From historical architecture and local art galleries to numerous shopping opportunities and delicious food, Downtown Barrie is always fascinating to explore, no matter when in the year you choose to visit.