On the Run in…

Bar­rie, Ont.

Canadian Running - - DEPARTMENTS - By Steve Elliot

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.

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