When power collided with Vespra Township (supported by electors, county, law, & OMB), the result was noteworthy.

The law got changed. Unilaterally.

Bayfield McDonaldsF

In 1968, a commercial area was forming on Bayfield Street, just outside Barrie’s city limits in the Township of Vespra. Georgian Mall/Cadillac Fairview, a Towers department and Food City mall (where WalMart is now) , and a McDonald’s restaurant (see above)  were some of the early ones.

The Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, via the Barrie-Vespra Annexation Act, 1984, reallocated 35% of Vespra’s total assessment base (representing 90% of its commercial) to the City of Barrie.

The “Money Pump”.


A charming poem from a delightful book on sale at the Springwater Township offices.

The Mouse that Roared
(or Vespra Revamped)
by Anonymous

Once upon a time on the outskirts of a city,
Sat a pleasant little Township, with a special jewel so pretty;
It had everything one dreamed of, but the purpose of this rhyme,
Is to tell of its transition – to angry from sublime.

For the Township, though idyllic, was plagued with something more
In the form of Barrie City planted right outside its door;
And the city’s sights were lowered on that jewel so rare and plump
That all just bow before it – the Township’s “Money Pump”.

The Money Pump was plazas, with stores of every mode,
And spots to eat, or stoke your car when you are on the road;
But Barrie it was envious and reared upon its stump,
To tell the world it must annex that luscious Money Pump.

So it got the nod from Camelot and with fire in its eyes,
It fought a war before the Board to try to steal this prize;
The war went bad for Barrie; without hope to make it better,
But soon they got from Camelot, a most astonishing letter.

Now Darcy was the author, to the Board he did declare,
That soon this pokey City would be flush with people there,
So great this rush of people that the Policy should be,
To annex Township acreage, in perpetuity.

Foul! Yelled the Township voters who decried this blatant play,
How can words within a letter absolutely rule the day?
One might equally pontificate that Spring shall never come,
As dictate in a letter what size Barrie will become.

So the Township ran to Court Land to the Robed Ones from on high,
Who sit on Mount Olympus in their castles in the sky,
Due process was the winner, for as Zeus was quick to say,
“One can’t accept the Letter till the Township has its day”.

This trek to Mount Olympus took up, oh, so many years,
And a pocketful of pesos, and a truckload full of tears.
One might have thought that Barrie’s case would wither on the vine,
“But not”, said they. “Until that luscious Money Pump is mine!”

So back into the Chamber, to the Board mean Barrie sped,
And huddled in a Motion just to see what could be said.
“So here we are again, it seems we wish to forge ahead”,
But it was not a date they got, but the Money Pump, instead!”

Once more to Mount Olympus, the Township quickly ran,
Surely playing so one-sided just is not within the plan,
The Robed Ones told sad Barrie that the prize they had not won,
“You’re going to have to play against, start back at old square one.”

So back into Chamber, the parties once more flew,
And were equally, as quickly, dispatched as Irish Stew,
You’ll have to end this nonsense, the OMB rightly said,
You have your share, Oh, Barrie, so let’s put this goose to bed.

It was thought such admonition would fair well tie a noose
Around the wretched neck-frame of this legendary goose,
But no one lacked temerity like dangerous George Tayloo,
Who on hearing the decision turned a deeper shade of Blue.

So from Camelot, Fair Camelot, strode mighty George Tayloo
With head raised high up in the sky, he saw just what to do.
“You petty, petulant peasants, how dare you thus defy
The wisdom of the Letter that was dropped from up on high.”

With nary a tear and not a fear, George introduced a Bill
To simply take the Money Pump and send it o’er the hill
Right down into the City, and with extra acres too,
“I’ll teach you guys a lesson”, said the Mighty George Tayloo.

But out from pleasant valley, rose up honest folk galore,
They formed a group whose name was RAVE and drummed on every door.
Soon other voices joined them, and became a hearty roar,
‘Till mighty King Bill shuffled in and said, “I’ll hear no more”.

“This tempest in a teapot is creating quite a froth,
And whoever is the cause of it shall reap my tender wrath”;
But the folks were bRAVE and dug the gRAVE of Mighty George Tayloo,
Who lost his war and treads on more amongst the Chosen Few.

After George was put to pasture, City Councillors bit the dust,
But still the folks kept coming, their minds consumed in lust.
They overran the Kingdom, and crowned a brand new King,
Who decked in Christmas colours said, ‘The Township keeps the thing”.

Thus Peace returned to Camelot, like a raccoon to the dump,
And the pleasant little Township got to keep its Money Pump.
And the moral of the story, – one can say it in a thrice –
“Whatever else you do in life, don’t disturb the mice”.

(circa 1983)

p.s…But, nevertheless, ahead lay annexation…

A History of Vespra Township, The Vespra Township Council, p.130 – 1


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