Barrie didn’t grow much in the late 1880s but it burned really well

The population grew at less than 1.4% per year from 1881-91.

The low point must have been February 1873 when the fire house burned down.

(Apr. 22, 1892.)

By His Honor Judge Ardagh

Barrie was uncorporated up to the 1st of January, 1854. Its population in 1850, was 686; in 1851 about 800; in 1852, 1007 Its population by the last census (1891) was 5,550, an increase of only 700 in 10 years… p.30


It used to be said that Barrie was one of the BEST BURNT towns in Canada. Certainly we had some very extensive fires, though SOME good has come of them, as a better class of house, generally brick, succeeded the old ones.

On the 24th June, 1871, the GLEBE block, as it was then called  – the block south of Dunlop street and west of the post office, was completely “wiped out.”

On the 31st of January, 1873, “Boys brick block,” that south of Dunlop and west of Market (or Mulcaster) street, was pretty well destroyed.

On February 8th of the same year, Morrow’s block, to the west of the Engine House, and the Engine House itself, went up in smoke and ashes.

On the 18th of June, the north side of Dunlop street, from Owen street westward, was the scene of one of our worst fires.

On the 27th July, 1876, the Wellington Hotel block, and on the 1 8th of April, 1880, Crompton’s block (north of Dunlop and west of Owen), were destroyed. p. 37

Pioneer Papers – No. 3, Simcoe County Pioneer and Historical Society, Barrie, 1908. or here.


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