Barrie: Take a Trip on the Wild Side – and explore beyond the GTA!

Barrie: Take a Trip on the Wild Side – and explore beyond the GTA! in Travel Tuesday

Let me start off by being very transparent – I hate the cold, and even more than that, I hate snow. So, in February when my best friend asked me to visit her in Barrie, the city she now called home, I wasn’t too thrilled to oblige. This year, winter dragged on far beyond its usual timeline, ever-present in both March and April, so I politely declined every invitation I received, until I couldn’t anymore. (I was afraid one more refusal may have deeply impacted a solid 20-year friendship!)

Want to know a little bit more about me? I’m VERY much what you would call a “city girl”. Although I grew up in the suburbs, and went to school in Ottawa (which felt more like a highly populated town, rather than a city), city-life has always appealed to me. I like the wide variety of entertainment options, the close proximity of amenities, and ease of access to public transportation. I tell you all of this because it’s yet another reason why I probably declined my friend’s invitation to visit Barrie – it (small town life) just didn’t sound too glamorous.

However, early this spring, I succumbed to my guilt and hopped on the GO Train and travelled the hour-long ride to Barrie from my home in Vaughan. It was a short (I arrived Thursday evening and left Friday afternoon), yet surprisingly good trip and not just because I got to hang out with my best friend. It was surprisingly good because I had the chance to experience Barrie’s charm. I got a better understanding of why people loved the city (other than its close proximity to ski resorts and the advantage of more affordable housing) and visited two small businesses that have instilled a desire for me to return to Barrie soon and on a regular basis. I owe this new-found fondness of Barrie to The Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery and the Lazy Tulip Cafe.

On the Thursday evening, we went to The Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery located in the Downtown Barrie area. I knew we had chosen the right spot for the night, as the place was packed, the music was live (a preference of mine), and there was an awesome sharing menu, which perfectly set us up to over-indulge. The service was great, but the beer was even better. The cherry on top (or should I say foam?) was the Instagram-worthy décor. Take a look!

(P.S. They also offer free tours of their tap room. I’ve taken a mental note to list this as another reason I’ll need to visit again!)

The next morning, before heading back home, I was introduced to the Lazy Tulip Café, a small, eccentric bohemian-styled place known for its conscious (fair trade coffee, free run eggs, variety of vegan and vegetarian options) and fresh menu items. Again, the service was pleasant and friendly, and I became even more impressed with the café once I was told that everything is made in-house. Somehow, I managed to choose one of the few items on the menu on the not-so-health-conscious side – the daily baked French toast – and was quite satisfied with their non-traditional take on the classic breakfast item. My friend’s plate looked just as mouth-watering. I was definitely curious about the other menu items, but of course too full to try. I guess that will have to wait until my next trip to Barrie – in June. Until then, I’ll be patiently waiting for my next exploration of Barrie, disguised under the ruse of a visit to catch up with my best friend.


Kiara Morrissey is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator at CFIB. She holds a Bachelor's degree in communication studies and religion from Carleton University. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, taking in the sights of the city (Toronto), teaching spin classes at Cycle N’ Tone, and of course, avoiding winter.