In Australian Rhyming Slang, a Barry Crocker is known as a shocker and the town of Barrie in Ontario is far from a shocker.
A couple of weekends ago we found ourselves driving North of Toronto in search of snow. With very little research we looked at the map and decided we would head to a town called Barrie. We had no idea exactly how long it would take us or what would greet us in Barrie but packed overnight bags just in case.
Just over 1 hour later we arrived in Barrie! It turned out the overnight bag would not be necessary. We turned off the highway and into the Ontario travel information centre for maps and information on what we could do in the area.
The first surprise was how much snow was in Barrie compared to Toronto only 1 hour down the road. Toronto has had so few days of snow and when it has snowed it hasn’t hung around.
Armed with pamphlets, we headed into downtown Barrie for a late breakfast and family meeting to work out what we would do for the day.
Despite being a blue sky day, it was one of the coldest days we have had since we arrived so after parking the car we went into the first cafe we found. We stumbled across a grocery store/cafe called Local Foods Mart
My breakfast included Home Fries, I have heard of home fries before and just presumed that they are french fries but made on the premises but no, I learnt they are actually just potatoes chunks and then fried up in a skillet or fry pan.
After a home style cooked breakfast and delicious coffee we walked across the road and over to the park on the lake foreshore.
Barrie is located on Lake Simcoe and it’s the fourth largest lake in Ontario. Ontario (like much of Canada) has an extremely large amount of lakes. The lakes area of Ontario is also known as cottage country as many Ontarians will own a second cottage home or will rent and vacation in a cottage on a lake especially once the weather warms up.
Judging by the walls of brochures at the Tourism office it’s an area with heaps of things to do in both summer and winter. It also has several ski resorts within an easy drive. We decided we would go snow tubing at the Snow Valley Ski Resort
Snow Valley Ski Resort is only a 15-minute drive from downtown Barrie and offers downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, tubing and snowshoeing.
Last year when we were in Whistler we went tubing for the first time ever and it was so much fun (In a screaming and laughing at the same time whilst almost wetting your pants way). When we went tubing in Whistler you purchased a tag that you attached to your parka and was for a designated amount of time. I presumed it would be the same at Snow Valley but it wasn’t you could purchase tickets for the amount of rides you wanted. I purchased 15 tickets ($60.00) and then we went outside to select a tube.
What I loved about the tubing at Snow Valley compared to Whistler is you sit in your tube and you get attached to a tow up the hill, at Whistler you need to stand up on a magic carpet and hang on tight and pull the tube up the hill (exhausting and isn’t tubing supposed to be something you do on your ass). At Snow Valley, they have a couple of the tow ropes so most of the time we didn’t have to wait in any lines especially once you move away from the one closest to the ticket hut.
The bonus of Snow Valley is that it’s just over an hour door to door from our place in Toronto so we can go skiing for the day when the conditions are great. Living in Australia and so far from the snow fields in both Australia and overseas, it would take a great deal of planning and usually in advance before the ski season had started so it was always hit and miss if you would get good snow conditions for your trip.
After a couple of hours tubing, we went for a drive around the area and headed back into downtown Barrie to go skating at the outdoor rink. I donned my new blades of glory and hit the ice (after The Canadian ties my laces like I’m a 2-year-old).
As comfortable as my blades of glory are sadly my skating is still crap!
The sun began to set on Barrie and we decided we wouldn’t stay the night this time but would drive back to Toronto, but first dinner.
We stopped in at a restaurant we had driven past on our way into Barrie called The Farmhouse
I didn’t like our chances of getting a table because the carpark was full and it was only 5pm. Sadly this was the case but the hostess offered us a place at the bar … eek … on bar stools … remembering the nightmare that was Deportation the last time I took the offer of bar seating I broke into a sweat and accepted the offer, vowing only to drink white wine and I am so glad we did because this place was great, I could see why the place was so busy.
We look forward to heading back to Barrie and spending more time exploring in both summer and winter.