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Ontario Unveils Growth Vision For Simcoe Area

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Ontario Unveils Growth Vision For Simcoe Area

McGuinty Government Plan Focuses on Sustainability and Job Creation

Ministry of Infrastructure

The McGuinty government today laid out a bold vision for the Simcoe area that will help create jobs, curb urban sprawl and protect its environment over the long-term.

Simcoe Area: A Strategic Vision for Growth outlines key priorities for ensuring sustainable long-term growth in the area - these include:

  • Curbing urban sprawl by focusing new development into existing cities and towns that already contain a mix of uses and services and can accommodate growth through intensification.
  • Building on Simcoe's diverse economic base to create new jobs along the Highway 400 and Highway 11 corridors.
  • Protecting greenspaces and agricultural areas, and creating a cleaner Lake Simcoe by minimizing urban expansions and the impacts of urban development.
  • Outlining a clear future for the City of Barrie as the area's largest urban centre and its role in fulfilling the Simcoe area vision.

Opportunities to comment on the proposed plan will ensure that today's Simcoe area residents have a chance for their voices to be heard as the strategy for the future of their region is finalized.

Along with the release of the Simcoe area strategic vision, the Ontario government today introduced legislation that would, if passed, expand Barrie's municipal boundary by approximately 2,293 hectares (5,666 acres) effective January 1, 2010, ending a longstanding boundary dispute.

Quick Facts

  • The Simcoe area will grow to a population of 667,000 by the year 2031. This represents realistic and manageable growth compared to the total population levels being proposed in speculative development applications throughout the area.
  • To accommodate this growth, Barrie is designated as the area's anchor urban centre, with additional urban growth principally targeted in Orillia, Collingwood, Alliston and Bradford.
  • 73,000 new jobs are forecast for the Simcoe area between today and 2031. The province's strategy includes the proposed identification of key strategic employment areas to take advantage of access to Highway 400 and Highway 11.
  • The Simcoe area has a diverse economic base that includes agriculture, resource-based industries, manufacturing, research and creative industries and a strong service sector.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“This strategic vision for the Simcoe area will ensure that its future growth is managed in a way that simultaneously enhances job creation and quality of life, offering residents new opportunities within sustainable communities while protecting the region's prized environmental treasures.”

Hon. George Smitherman

Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure

“Resolving the Barrie and Innisfil boundary issue will allow all the municipalities in the Simcoe area to be better poised to meet the needs of their residents and businesses.”

Hon. Jim Watson

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

“The time is now for the province to show leadership in the Simcoe area. If we don't act now, we will see ever more farmland paved over, more congestion, more sprawl, declining water quality, and the destruction of important natural environments - none of us can afford that. The Province has it right.”

Joe Berridge

Partner, Urban Strategies Inc.

“This is the right thing to do. The province has clarified the rules of the game to ensure that the right kind of development starts to take place. Business as usual is simply not an option.”

Paul Bedford

Planning Expert

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