On the Run in…
Trails have cut through what is known today as Barrie for thousands of years. Before the War of 1812, the well-beaten aboriginal portage routes in the area connected Lake Simcoe to a nearby river that f lows into the Georgian Bay.
During the War of 1812, these same trails were trudged by British soldiers, as the area coalesced as a supply depot. Eventually, the Central Ontario stopping point became a town, and an important destination during the underground railroad. Today, these same routes can still be walked, or run in Barrie, a bustling and vibrant city of 200,000 residents.
There are hundreds of kilometres of trails ranging from f lat, easy casual running to gnarly advanced singletrack. The variety of trails and easy access from anywhere in Barrie make it an ideal training area from the grizzled ultrarunner to someone tackling a mec 5k trail race for the first time.
There are also lots of informal group runs (year-round) throughout the week, including Tuesday nights at the board of education building in Springwater, Wednesday nights from the local mec and Thursdays from Copeland forest.
The most popular trails in Barrie are through SIMCOE COUNTY FOREST a (Hwy. 26 in Springwater), in COPELAND FOREST b, the GANARASKA TRAIL SYSTEM and the BARRIE TO ORILLIA RAIL TRAIL c, which follows the old Northern Railroad corridor. Local trail runner Catherine Harding recommends the network around the ARDAGH BLUFFS d as well, which add up to about 20k of picturesque serenity right in the city, with many access points.