175 essa road barrie

Futuristic megaproject could become new gateway for an Ontario city

The drive into Barrie, Ontario, via Highway 400 could soon look a whole lot different, with a plan now in motion to redevelop the former Barrie Fairgrounds and Racetrack site with a futuristic community that would form an impressive gateway to the city.

A recent development application tabled with officials in Barrie outlines ambitious plans to redevelop the site at 175-199 Essa Rd. and 50 Wood St. with a massive new community containing thousands of condominium units and hundreds of townhomes.

The team of Greenworld Development and Digram Developments have high hopes for the site, proposing a dense cluster that would include nine, mixed-use, high-rise buildings with heights of up to 35 storeys containing condominium residences, retail and commercial space.

A total of 2,407 residential condominium units are proposed with a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Just under half of the units, or 1,152 suites, would be incorporated into purely residential high-rise buildings, while the remaining 1,255 would be built into high-rise mixed-use buildings with retail and commercial bases.

175 essa road barrie

Another 421 units are planned as townhomes spread across the site, which would include 106 towns in the traditional freehold tenure, and another 315 towns with condominium tenure.

175 essa road barrie

Concept renderings show designs by Kirkor Architects of an ultramodern district with new roads and public spaces interwoven into the mass of new buildings.

175 essa road barrie

The subject site has sat vacant for decades, but was once home to the Barrie Agricultural Society and later the Barrie Fair, which has since relocated to a rural setting roughly nine kilometres to the southwest of the old fairgrounds site.

175 essa road barrie

At one point in its history, the fairgrounds hosted the Barrie Raceway, which opened in 1971 and was destroyed by a tornado in 1985. It has remained abandoned ever since.

Several plans have been floated in the decades since the Barrie Fair vacated the site, with ill-fated attempts to bring residential, commercial, and institutional projects to the site.

None would ever materialize, and the fairgrounds remain vacant to this day.

Photos by

Kirkor Architects


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