Find your luck at the top of the Greater Golden Horseshoe
Known as a Toronto bedroom community, Barrie has long been underappreciated in its own right. Even without its proximity to the city, though, it has a lot to offer! In the summer, locals and tourist alike hit the Kempenfelt Bay beaches. In the winter, everyone heads to the Snow Valley Ski Resort to swoosh down the slopes. And with the summer and winter activities, the town has a thriving, year-round tourist trade! That makes Barrie the perfect place if you plan on doing any kind of short-term subletting. The tourist trade has also encouraged the city to put a great deal of money into its landscaping, leading to the development of beautiful gardens. Plus, quaint little shops can not just survive, but thrive! The only downside? You better have a great set of cold weather gear because the winters can be long, cold, and harsh. But with the right prep, you’ll be able to brave the cold – and beat the winter blues on the slopes!
The Golden Horseshoe’s one of the most densely populated areas in the country – and the population in Barrie is booming. While this can be great for local businesses, it does make it challenging to find rental units. Studios are practically impossible to find, while one-bedrooms are expensive. Weirdly, if you’re looking for a deal, you might want to check out larger units, which tend to have more availabilities… and lower prices. Then, if you have a cool landlord, you can always use an extra room for short-term rentals!
Typical housing type:
Quaint, detached homes.
Barrie is a booming community, so don’t wait to move here – or you might just find you can’t get in! Already having problems finding a place in your price range? Open up the size of apartment you’re looking for and stay on the hunt. Places do come up… just less and less often.
Avg. rent by housing size:
Avg. rent compared to other Canadian cities
Barrie is 18% higher than the Canadian average
Barrie used to be the place to go for cheap apartments and houses, but not anymore! Now that the city is a bedroom community for Toronto, prices are sky-high. While you’ll be paying a chunk and have pretty much no shot at getting utilities included, though, you’ll find a wide selection of new condos and apartments, most of which have great amenities, like pools and fitness rooms.
Prefer something lower to the ground? Go for a house and score a yard and a dishwasher. Many rentals have laundry onsite and are pet friendly.
Barrie locals share a love of the outdoors. They tend to enjoy the beach, sun and slopes, taking part in the area’s many activities. Because of that, the health and fitness level in the city is higher, even amongst older residents. The population isn’t the most diverse – especially compared to Toronto, but there are growing South Asian and Indigenous communities. Barrie’s population is also way younger than most people think. While the area’s still seen as an unofficial, city-wide retirement home, young families actually now make up the bulk of locals, having moved out of Toronto in order to afford a house. Don’t think Barrie is the most affordable option in the area though. It’s still on the higher end in terms of incomes – and home prices.
Perfect for: Young families seeking a quaint, quiet community.
Not-so-perfect for: Anyone who hates tourists. Seriously, Barrie is tourist central.
Life & Style
Barrie is all about the outdoors. Skiing is huge in the winter, with many locals taking weekend long skiing stay-cations. In the summer, families flood the beach and the Splash On Water Park. Locals stay fit and active – and often do so without having to try too much because so many of the activities in the area are active. The beach-y, tourist-y vibe gives Barrie the feeling of being a permanent vacation spot, even for locals. It’s easy to find those summer-y, beach type foods, including great ice cream! Plus there’s just a laid back pace to life.
Barrie has a good set of schools, which are only getting better and better as more young families enter the area. Georgian Mall is the biggest shopping centre, but there are also a great variety of little shops and restaurants. The summer is a great time to enjoy the many parks, as well as the beach, which sit on Kempenfelt Bay – part of Lake Simcoe. There are also ski resorts and a several scenic caves just outside Barrie. Those who like local produce should check out the farms in and around the city. There are also a number of family-friendly play centres.
Simcoe County Museum
Mount St. Louis Moonstone
Barrie Hill Farms
Sunnidale Park Arboretum
Barrie Centennial Park
Maclaren Art Centre