Barrie is located in central Ontario,situatated on the western shore of Lake Simcoe. Barrie is part of Simcoe County, however the city is politically independent. Barrie is located in the central portion of Southern Ontario, approximately 90 km (56 mi) north of Toronto within the Greater Golden Horseshoe sub-region. It is accessible via Highways 26, 400, 11.
Barrie originated as an establishment of houses and warehouses at the foot of an aboriginal Portage from Kempenfelt Bay to Fort Willow, a transportation route which existed centuries before Europeans came to Simcoe County.
Barrie played an important role in the War of 1812. During the War, the city became a supply depot for British forces, and the Nine Mile Portage was adopted by the British Military as a key piece of their supply line which provided a strategic path for communication, personnel, and vital supplies and equipment to and from Fort Willow and Georgian Bay / Lake Huron.
Barrie was named in 1833 after Sir Robert Barrie, who was in charge of the naval forces in Canada and frequently commanded forces through the city and along the Nine Mile Portage.
Barrie was also the final destination for one branch of the Underground Railroad. In the mid-19th century, which was a network of secret routes allowing many American slaves to enter Barrie and the surrounding area.
By 1869, Barrie was the county seat of Simcoe with a population 3,000. It was a station of the Northern Railway, situated on Kempenfelt Bay, Lake Simcoe.
On 31 May 1985, an F4 tornado struck Barrie. It was one of the most violent and deadliest tornadoes in Canadian history.