Home » Industry & Business » How Barrie Is Balancing Modern Innovation in a Well-Connected Community

Positioned on the shores of Kempenfelt Bay, the City of Barrie boasts the best of a growing vibrant city with the connectedness of a small town.

Barrie’s mayor, Jeff Lehman, was recently placed in the top 100 most creative business people by U.S. business magazine Fast Company. The city is expected to add 70,000 residents to its population of over 150,000 within the next 15 years. With excellent leadership, Barrie is positioned for growth — perhaps due to its proximity to the GTA, or perhaps for its investments in culture, entrepreneurship, and innovation.

“In Barrie you don’t have to compromise, you can have it all, and thats why young families are moving here to settle down and plant their roots,” says Stephannie Schlichter, the Director of Business Development for the City of Barrie. “You get employers who are growing in diverse sectors, creating incredible career opportunities, combined with an affordable and amenity-rich quality of life. The talent that comes here tends to stay here.”

Community connections, big opportunities

Schlichter names initiatives — like the new Georgian College Advanced Technology Centre, which offers collaborative industry-applied research projects, and the Sandbox Centre, Ontario’s first private sector-led innovation hub — as why Barrie’s economic development is thriving: it’s the connectivity. “You can be one degree of separation from any business connections you need,” says Schlichter. “Barrie is the perfect playgound for entrepreneurs. The Sandbox Centre is harnessing that entrepreneurial spirit to help existing companies innovate and grow by tapping emerging technologies and best practices.”

With four seasons of recreation, a bustling music scene, and more restaurants per capita than Toronto, it’s no wonder that more people are choosing to call Barrie home.

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