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Iconic bell tower slowly disappearing from the downtown landscape. The Toronto Street address wasn't the first location of the former Central United Church building, but it was its last. Just over 2 years ago, the sanctuary which has stood at the corner of Ross and Toronto Streets, virtually unchanged since it was erected in 1957, was deconsecrated as a church on June 25th 2017. That was the final service for a congregation that has been [...]

Mary Harris tells the history of buildings in Barrie's downtown core. Exposed to the stiff fall breeze, a large group of warmly dressed people looked south from Homestead Bakery and Artisan Cafe and took in a view of Kempenfelt Bay that didn’t exist 60 years earlier.  The group huddled around our own Mary Harris, ready to embark on the organization’s second annual Places in Time walking tour on Saturday.  Harris directed everyone’s attention [...]

This is the second instalment in a new blog series for the Barrie Historical Archive, courtesy of archive supporter Diana Strachan. Catch the first instalment here. After settling in Barrie with her sister, auntie and uncle, we see a snapshot of 16-year-old Peggy Newman finding her way in a new town. In these letters, Peggy details friendships she’s made since enrolling at Barrie Central Collegiate, many of which, according to her daughter Diana, would last [...]

This piece marks the first in a new series for the Barrie Historical Archive, courtesy of archive supporter Diana Strachan. Strachan’s mother, Peggy Newman, was just 16 years old in July 1940 when she, along with her younger sister Joan, set sail from the United Kingdom to join her Aunt Rhona in North America. Peggy’s parents had sent the children to live safely, with their father’s sister and her husband, Alan Childs, as war broke [...]

You remember the ‘Don’t Pay A Cent Event’, don’t you? Perhaps you piled the kids into the back of your sedan to drive them down to the cavernous Leon’s showroom to pick out a new bedroom set. Or maybe you were one of the kids, chasing your siblings around seven-seater sofas or testing coil-spring mattresses for the sake of quality assurance. Whatever your reality, one thing was undoubtedly true about the grand furniture sale at [...]

Local realtor and music collector, Mike Montague, bought his first album sometime in the late seventies. As his passion for all things rock, jazz and blues grew, the record collection kept pace - expanding to over 1,700 vinyl treasures stored in 18 plastic milk cartons. Now that collection, which Montague says sat untouched in his garage for about 16 years, will bring joy to a whole new generation of music lovers and history lovers in Barrie. [...]

If These Walls Could Talk … by Mary Harris When this farm girl arrived in the big city to attend college, the population of Barrie was around 45,000 people. I was excited to be living in an urban area for the first time in my life, eager to spread my wings, make new friends and have a bit of fun. I was given bits of advice from those who had lived in Barrie longer than [...]

A CBC Radio Ontario Morning interview with Travis Doucette, brought content donors from London, Ontario with loads of rare images of the Roxy and Capitol theaters, old Barrie and much more. A listener in London was encouraged to reach out to the Barrie Historical Archive after hearing this recent interview on CBC's Ontario Morning. The gentleman's father had been a projectionist at the Roxy theater and had preserved many never-seen-before images and some wonderful artifacts [...]