Barrie is a city in central Ontario, Canada, on the western shore of Lake Simcoe. Although located in Simcoe County, the city is politically independent. Barrie is within the northern part of the Greater Golden Horseshoe, a densely populated and industrialized region of Ontario.
In 2011 census, the city's population was 285,733, making it the 34th largest in Canada. The Barrie census metropolitan area (CMA) had a population of 392,727 residents, making it the 21st largest CMA in Canada.
Barrie is located in the central portion of Southern Ontario, approximately 90 km (56 mi) north of Toronto within the Greater Golden Horseshoe subregion. It is accessible via Highways 26, 400, 11.
Barrie's historic downtown area is situated in a distinct curved or wrapped valley, surrounding the western edge of Kempenfelt Bay (part of Lake Simcoe. Terrain is generally flat near the city's centre. Moving up the valley slopes toward the city's north and south ends, the terrain can be rather steep in some areas.
The city does not have any major rivers within its limits, but does have numerous creeks and streams, most of which empty into Kempenfelt Bay.
Like the rest of southern Ontario, Barrie has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb), with warm, humid summers and cold winters.
In late spring and summer months, the Barrie area is known for heavy thunderstorm activity, due to its location within a convergence of breezes originating from Georgian Bay, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.
In the winter months, the proximity to the Great Lakes moderates winter temperatures but also results in significant snowfall in the general area. Barrie is on the southern edge of Ontario's snowbelt region, where lake-effect snow, primarily from Georgian Bay, falls throughout the winter. An average of 238 centimetres (95 inches) of snow falls annually, with at least 50% due to the lake effect. Since the snowfall gradient is tight, snowfall totals tend to be significantly higher just north of the city as compared with the south end.
Barrie experienced tornadoes during the Barrie tornado outbreak of 1985 and the June 16–18, 2014 tornado outbreak during which an EF2 tornado spawned and caused minimal damage to southern Barrie but affected the nearby town of Angus to a greater extent.