Uncovering A Few Facts About Barrie’s Core
This Saturday marked the first of four straight weekends that the downtown roadways will be pedestrianized. This will give everyone a chance to take in the newly redesigned streetscapes, in a project called Open Air Dunlop.
While you are taking in the coffee shops, breweries and other cool locations along Barrie’s main street, have a deeper look at the buildings and streets. There are quite a few stories this part of Barrie has tell from the past few centuries.
What You Might Not Know About Downtown Barrie
It Predates Confederation
What is now Downtown Barrie was the beginning of the Nine Mile Portage, over two centuries ago. This was a vital link on the journey from Lake Ontario to Huron, and offered 1st Nations people a much needed peaceful shore to camp on before undergoing the rest of the long trip.
During the war of 1812, the British army used the area around downtown to sneak supplies and troops around American forces on their way to Upper Canada’s military posts.
There Used to Be A Hockey Arena Here
Long time local hockey fans will know all about The Barrie Arena, better known as the Dunlop Arena. It was was a 3,000 seat arena housed at the intersection of Dunlop Street West and Eccles Avenue.
Built in 1932, it served as the main hockey venue in the city until the Barrie Molson Centre opened in 1995. The arena hosted the Barrie Flyers of the OHL, and the Colts for a short while as the BMC was under construction. The Barrie Fire station sits where the arena once was, after being demolished in 2008.
There’s (Allegedly) A Haunted Building
The Simcoe Hotel, rebuilt as Bourbon, was home to a grisly murder over 100 years ago that resulted in a haunting that according to some, continues to this day.
In 1872, a woman named Elizabeth Meyer visited the hotel, which in those days was a tavern catering to the town’s rough and tumble residents. After consuming a generous amount of liquor, she ventured out to the street. It was late in the evening and the streets were all but deserted. But one person had spotted her, and leaped out of the darkness to attack her. She was beaten and then strangled to death, and her body left in the street.
When her body was discovered, the coroner strangely insisted on conducting the examination in the hotel. Ruled an accident, although it was clearly a murder, her ghost allegedly has remained trapped in the place of her death. Residents and workers have over the years reported eerie sights and sounds, and even ghostly encounters.
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