Anne Street South

Anyone noticed how Anne Street South has turned around in recent years? 

Anne Street South was Main Street of Barrie’s early post-war industrial area.  Over the years, as newer industrial areas to the south started to attract more modern industries, and as Ontario manufacturing was hammered through the 1980s and 1990s, many of the larger plants actually on Anne Street started to close.  Some of the anchor businesses are still there, such as Barrie Welding, a leading-edge shop producing everything from heavy equipment for mining to robots for auto plants.  But several of the other industries closed, such as Risdon.

The condition of the industrial sector in the area was matched by the condition of the road.  By the middle part of last decade, Anne Street was often on the CAA’s list of the top 10 worst roads in Ontario.  A “Barrie Special” – varying from four lanes, to sort of three and a half lanes, Anne was pockmarked and past it’s shelf life.

After lengthy negotiations to buy the needed property strips on each side of Anne to make it a consistent width, it was finally rebuilt and reopened as a proper 4 /5 lane arterial road in 2010.  It’s interesting to see what’s happened since.  A number of new businesses have moved onto Anne – it is continuing to shift to being a commercial street rather than a purely industrial area. 

The types of businesses that have moved into the area mirror changes in Barrie’s economy.  An office building near Tiffin.   A new big box outdoor living store.  An expanded garage.  The new Kawartha Dairy ice cream shop and store.  Just off of Anne Street, there are three recycling businesses, including Habitat for Humanity’s expanded ReStore.  But most encouragingly – Barrie Welding is expanding.  Their new building is under construction right now.  It is extremely encouraging to see industrial uses expanding in Barrie, particularly in older areas such as this one.

About jefflehman
Jeff Lehman is the 46th Mayor of the City of Barrie. The Ward 2 Councillor for the City of Barrie from 2006 to 2010, he was the Chairman of the Finance Committee of Council, chaired the City’s Growth Management Working Group, and created the Historic Neighbourhoods project, a new initiative to protect and revitalize Barrie’s oldest neighbourhoods. Jeff has lived in Barrie for most of his life, having grown up in Allandale and attended Barrie Central Collegiate. Jeff holds a B.A. from Queen’s University, and a Master’s Degree with first class honours from the UK’s prestigious London School of Economics. He was hired to teach at the LSE following his graduation, and lived and worked in London for two years as an academic. Since that time, as an economist, he has worked with cities across Canada to manage redevelopment and invest in their urban infrastructure. In 2005, he established the Growing By Degrees Task Force to assist in expanding university education opportunities in Barrie, and has volunteered his time with many organizations in the City. Jeff lives near Downtown Barrie with his wife, Jennifer, a part-time professor of political science, and their young daughter Cassie, who is already smarter than her father.

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