Beautiful Barrie: The City and Its People --  An Illustrated History of Barrie, Ontario

Beautiful Barrie

Hardcover: 440 pages
Publisher: DBS Heritage Consulting & Communications (January 2005)
Language: English
Product Dimensions: 25 x 30 cm
Shipping Weight: 2.3 kg
Price: $75.00 CAD

Front Flap Notes:

“Neither his guide crossing Kempenfelt Bay in September 1832, nor Henry Byam Martin, the Royal Navy officer who sketched him, could know that a city would one day rise on these shores.” 

This book will take you on an exciting journey into that future… 

With over 780 illustrations, numerous maps, side bars, and a timeline of events running along each page, this book tells the story of Barrie’s rise from the terminus of an ancient portage to a vibrant, beautiful city on the shores of Kempenfelt Bay. 

Years in the making, this illustrated history, Beautiful Barrie: The City and Its People, will enchant you with its broad canvass of the people and events that shaped this city.

Back Flap Notes: 

Beautiful Barrie: The City and Its People, An Illustrated History of Barrie, Ontario, chronicles Barrie’s development from earliest times to its incorporation as a city in 1959. The period from then to its 150th anniversary in 2003 is overviewed in text and images, including a dramatic collection of aerial photographs. 

Ever a gateway, this horseshoe of land around the head of Kempenfelt Bay, on Lake Simcoe, in Central Ontario, has been transformed from a forested wilderness at the southeastern terminus of a nine-mile portage, into a vibrant city of over 120,000 people. 

Barrie’s story is one of successive generations of citizens who took the quality of their community to heart and continued to flourish on the strong foundations upon which it was built. 

Researched and written by Su Murdoch and B.E.S. Rudachyk, and presented in a design crafted by Kurt H. Schick, Beautiful Barrie: the City and Its People, is a tribute to the history and life of this beautiful city.

Inside This Book 
Chapter 1

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

Murdoch, Su
Beautiful Barrie : the city and its people : an illustrated history of
Barrie, Ontario / Su Murdoch, B.E.S. Rudachyk ; K.H. Schick, design
and photography.

Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-9683733-2-1

1. Barrie (Ont.)--History. 2. Barrie (Ont.)--History--Pictorial
works. I. Rudachyk, B. E. S. (Bradley E. S.) II. Schick, Kurt
Harding III. Title.
FC3099.B376M87 2005     971.3'17     C2005-904452-7


This history of Barrie is indeed an exceptional volume – lavishly illustrated, meticulously researched, amazingly comprehensive, beautifully designed and delightfully readable. No local history we have encountered is more intriguing in its design. A banner along the bottom of each page chronicles the history year by year, often month by month and sometimes day by day. The text has many headings incorporated into each chapter with boxed period quotations or brief sidebar stories. Splendid archival images, some panoramic, are followed by modern colour photos, many aerial. Describing and picturing the book’s corporate and individual sponsors required some 25 pages! There are also source notes, a full bibliography and a name index. Stunning!    

“From the Bookshelf”  
Chris and Pat Raible, Editors 
OHS Bulletin, February 2006, p. 7.  

Beautiful Barrie: the City and Its People is another illustrated history. But its range is much greater, running from "earliest times" to 1959 when Barrie was incorporated as a city. This span of time is underscored by an interesting device: a succession of date-notes listed at the foot of each page throughout the full nineteen chapters. For example, on page 14 we read that in 1649 "Five Nations attack Ouendat villages in Huronia." One of the notes on page 343 records that on December 31st "Barrie’s Sesquicentennial ends with the Downtown Countdown at City Hall." Of course, there is a lot of detail in between as befits a community that has encountered the geo-politics of the early nineteenth century, and subsequent agricultural settlement, transport economics, and urban growth. 

Since the opening years of Beautiful Barrie predated cameras its illustrations arc a rich array of surveys, maps, and military topographic art and sketches that arc replete with details of peoples and places. Indeed, such is the comprehensive scope of this project that it will serve as a template for other local histories The authors identify and draw on such diverse sources as De­partment of Lands and Forests surveys, land registry records, travellers' accounts and diaries, family correspondence, early chronicles and local newspapers. The text is studded with images of self-assured founding fathers and, as in other exam­ples of the genre, prominent attention is given to their places of work and resi­dence. These views seem to underscore an edifice complex that bespoke of pride and progress in the transformation from wilderness to urbanity. But urbanity re­quires more than elegant homes prosperous enterprises, and inspirational ecclesiastical architecture. The warp and woof of a developing society needs institutions and cultural activities too, and in Beautiful Barrie these are also to the fore. A bicy­cle club, a Kazoo band, a Girls' Hockey Club, a St. George's Society, an Oddfel­lows' fraternity, and a Kiwanis club all speak to an emerging public culture. The authors sweep us through decades of war-depression war into an age when the city's boosters claimed it could be an "in­dustrial Utopia" and even "Ontario's most progressive city.” Although the authors decided to close with the founding of the City of Barrie on the first of January in 1959, another three chapters and ninety pages bring the story into the 21st cen­tury. Coloured collages of community ac­tivities, three superb fold-out waterfront views (from 1853, I87fi, and 2003), and dozens of oblique air-photographs effect a comprehensive rendering of the Bar-tie urban area. I really think I know this place. 

Brian S. Osborne
Queens University, Kingston 


2006 Fred Landon Award

Beautiful Barrie, The City and Its People: An Illustrated History of Barrie, Ontario received the Ontario Historical Society's Fred Landon Award at the Society's annual meeting held Saturday Jun 23rd, 2007 in St. Catharines. The Fred Landon Award honours the best book on regional history published in the Province of Ontario over the past three years.