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Barrie Historical Moment

 Terry Paddison, special to the Examiner

Centennial Park, Barrie

SUBMITTED Centennial Park, Barrie

“People said we’d ruin the natural head of the bay.” Jack Garner and his committee knew better.

What they were looking at in 1964 was Kempenfelt Bay, an uninviting shoreline featuring piles rocks, rumble and the CNR tracks.

Until the early 1950s, the popular Barrie Bathing Beach had been located at the base of Toronto and Mary streets. Sadly, too much water pollution put an end to to swimming there. Now there was no beach, no sand, no road and no condos.

Garner and his committee convinced the council and the community the centennial project in 1967 would be to create a new beach at the end of the bay.

The entire area was infilled with tonnes of sandy soil extracted from the rapid expansion of housing in the eastern part of Barrie.

Clubs, businesses and citizens pitched in with flagpoles, benches and slides.

Almost 50 years later, the waterfront redevelopment plan, with a price tag of more than $28 million, will finally unveil a new look to Centennial Park in the spring.

The above ‘Barrie Historical Moment’ is brought to you by the Barrie Historical Archive ( 

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