How To Get From Toronto To Barrie: Your Transportation Options

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Here’s How To Get From Toronto To Barrie!

Heading up to the cottage or wanting to explore regions north of Toronto on a day trip? Well, then you’re most likely heading through Barrie.

This growing city isn’t far from Toronto – and benefits from a lovely beach area near downtown. In fact, it makes a great Toronto day trip in itself!

So, if you’re done visiting Toronto, you certainly have options to get up there. The routes to get from Toronto to Barrie are pretty straightforward – and you can get there in a bunch of ways: driving yourself, the Ontario Northland bus, Go Train, and more!

They all vary by time spent commuting, cost, distance, etc., and have their own pros and cons.

Eric is actually from the region just south of Barrie in Simcoe County. This means he knows how to get to Barrie using the main routes, back roads, you name it.

Toronto to Barrie Transport Options

  • By Car: 1 hour 30 minutes from downtown (with no traffic!) via Highway 400
  • By Bus: As fast as 1 hour 45 minutes (from downtown) with Ontario Northland
  • By Train: About 1 hour 45 minutes (with stops) with the GoTrain

Toronto to Barrie By Car

The most common way to get between Toronto and Barrie is by car. The (driving) distance from Toronto to Barrie is about 115 km in a relatively straight line. They are basically on top of one another but separated by distance.

Toronto to Barrie Self Drive

rural paved road with green field and hydro poles beside.
Taking 5th Sideroad to Barrie is good when Highway 400 is packed.

Overall, the trip to Barrie should take you about 1 hour and 30 minutes – WITH NO TRAFFIC.

The Highway 400 is notorious for weekend cottage traffic on Friday nights, those coming home on Sunday morning, and then basically every single morning and afternoon during the weekday. That’s no joke.

To drive from Toronto to Barrie, you basically take Highway 400 the whole way. If you do take the 400, it’s a very simple route.

You get on where it begins in Toronto near Black Creek from Highway 401 and take it all the way north. Once you are approaching Barrie, there are a few cut-offs you can take: Mapleview Drive, Essa Road, Dunlop, and Bayfield.

Essa takes you to the Allandale GO Station and the waterfront, while Dunlop and Bayfield Streets take you to the heart of downtown (and also the waterfront).

If you continue past Barrie, you’ll end up heading for cottage country on Highway 11 or Highway 400/69.

However, depending on where you are starting your drive in Toronto, this might change your route north.

If you are in the west end of Toronto you might want to take Highway 27 from Toronto to Barrie. It turns into Essa Road close to Barrie and you are basically there.

If you are in the east end of Toronto, you could take Highway 404 out of the city and then take Green Lane through Newmarket to Highway 11/Yonge Street (through Bradford West Gwillimbury). Follow that all the way to Barrie’s waterfront, basically.

blue water in small harbour with city buildings behind and blue sky above.
Heading for Downtown Barrie is a great idea!

Once you get to downtown/Barrie’s waterfront area, there are lots of paid parking spaces. We parked slightly farther away from the beach area for significantly less than if we had parked right at Centennial Beach/Park.

If you are visiting the province, renting a car is a great way to get this drive done without much hassle. The drive through rural Ontario is quite nice, too!

Toronto to Barrie Rideshare

If you want to arrange a drive between Toronto and Barrie, it’s a popular corridor. You could check out Poparide and/or Kijiji to arrange pick-up and price.

We’d expect a Poparide car-share ride to be about $20.00 or 25.00/way.

Toronto to Barrie Taxi/Shuttle

In the case where you are actually at Toronto Pearson Airport and looking to get to Barrie, Pearson has flat rates for “out of town” locations.

To Barrie, it would be about $140 CAD in a taxi and slightly more in a Toronto Pearson Airport limo taxi. Here’s the official Airport website for prices!

There’s also a local service called Simcoe County Airport Service – which might be cheaper depending on group size. Maybe check them out if you are shopping around, too.

Toronto to Barrie by Bus

tall metal sculpture with wings at barrie waterfront with blue sky behind.
The “Spirit Catcher” is close to the bus station at the water!

You can also get to Barrie from Toronto by bus. There are actually two options: Ontario Northland or the GO Bus.

Taking the bus with Northland is simple because you get on a bus and get into Barrie.

Taking the GO Bus can be tricky because you MIGHT have to change buses before Barrie OR take a combination of the GO Bus and GO Train to Barrie. We’ll talk more about that combination when we talk about “trains to Barrie” down below.

Toronto to Barrie Ontario Northland Bus

As we mentioned above, you can take the Ontario Northland bus from Toronto to Barrie. We have never done this route but know friends that have taken the Northland Bus many times – taking it all the way to North Bay.

Leaving Toronto on the Ontario Northland Bus

There are two Northland buses that leave Toronto for Barrie. They continue to North Bay and Sudbury. However, both these locations are way past Barrie so you don’t need to worry about which one you take.

From what we can tell, there are a few daily departures from the Toronto Bus Terminal (downtown beside Union Station). You can see all the Toronto to Barrie PDF schedules here.

In general, there are a few trips that leave form Union on select days of the week. Trips take around 1 hour 45 minutes (with no transfers and a few stops).

Navigation Address of Bus Terminal Downtown: 81 Bay St, Toronto, ON (this is the new Union Station Bus Terminal at the corner of Bay St & Lakeshore Blvd).

You can also get on the Northland bus to Barrie from Yorkdale Mall (in the north end of the city).

In fact, if you check the link to the above bus schedule, more buses leave from Yorkdale on the daily than compared to Union Station. However, downtown Toronto is much more likely/central for someone visiting Toronto.

Arriving at Barrie Bus Depot

Once you arrive in Barrie, you are very close to downtown. You can walk to the water, grab a Barrie Transit bus, or even a Barrie taxi to get elsewhere.

There isn’t a ton of information on the terminal itself. Don’t expect anything fancy. You can learn more about Barrie Transit here.

Navigation Address Barrie Bus Terminal/Depot: 24 Maple Avenue Barrie ON L4N 7W4

Toronto to Barrie Greyhound Bus

Since Greyhound shutdown its routes in Canada in 2021, there is, unfortunately, no Greyhound bus option between these two cities.

Toronto to Barrie Go Bus

The last bus option has you taking the bus from Toronto Union Station GO Bus Terminal to Barrie GO Bus Terminal.

If you’re heading from Toronto to Barrie on the GO Bus, you’ll be looking for the Barrie Line buses: #65, #68, or #68B (depending on if you change in East Gwillimbury, Newmarket, or Aurora on the way).

Officially, the Toronto to Newmarket bus is the 65 and the Newmarket to Barrie is the 68. If you aren’t grabbing the GO Train in Aurora (and making your trip a bus/train combo), this above route is likely the easiest to go as a buses-only option.

Leaving Toronto on the GO Bus

The GO Bus station at Union Station (called the Union Station Bus Terminal) is outside and right beside the main Union Station building to the east. You’ll see a number of platforms, green buses, and people waiting.

These buses that run the GO Bus Barrie line usually leave from Platform #46. You can always ask a driver – they are generally really friendly.

Also, you can buy a ticket at the machines OR use your Presto Card (the Toronto transit fare card) to “tap” onto the bus (which is a simple way, too).

Fares are slightly more expensive if you just buy a ticket and slightly less if you use Presto.

Navigation Address of Union Station Bus Terminal: 81 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario

Arriving in Barrie on the GO Bus

The GO buses in Barrie do not end in the same place as the GO Train in Barrie. GO Buses end in the same terminal as above for the Ontario Northland buses.

Navigation Address Barrie GO Bus Terminal: 24 Maple Avenue Barrie ON L4N 7W4

Toronto to Barrie by Train

yellow and red train station with green grass and fence in front.
The old Allandale Waterfront Station building (the train platform is behind).

If you want to take the train from Toronto to Barrie, you have one option: the Go Train. The Go Train goes from Toronto to Barrie – and if you are on a direct train it’s actually really convenient.

The ride doesn’t take that long (1 hour and 45 minutes on a direct train). We’ll tell you the schedule how that works.

The only problem with the Go Train is that generally they run from Toronto to Barrie in the mornings since people commute from Barrie to Toronto in the morning and then back again in the afternoon.

So if you want to go to Barrie in the morning, you only have a handful of train-only time slots.

What usually ends up happening – if you are not travelling during commuter hours when many trains run – is that you will take a combination of the GO Bus and GO Train (which is also just fine).

Also, the weekday schedule has more trains than the weekend – although they have only semi-recently (like early 2019?) announced MORE weekend trains along the route. In any case, here’s what that looks like in a schedule:

  • During the weekdays, there are about 19 total departures northbound from Toronto to Barrie. Some are just trains, some are two buses, some are a mix of bus and train. You can find the mini schedule for these routes and times here.
  • On the weekend, there are slightly fewer (16) total trips northbound – again they vary by train, bus, or a mix. You can search for the weekend/summer schedule here. Type in “Union Station” to “Allandale Waterfront”.
  • Barrie Tourism also made their own GO schedules here which may help make sense of this mess (sort of).

To take the Go Train from Union Station, first head down to Union Station which is on Front Street. Once inside – they have built new halls and concourses – you need to head UP to the tracks.

The train tracks are above you so find a TV screen, look for the platform number, and take the appropriate stairs. It’s easy if you’re in the newly opened York Concourse (at the west end of Union Station). You can always ask a staff member if you are lost – they are super friendly!

You can buy a ticket at the machines (pretty simple to use) OR use your Presto Card (the Toronto transit fare card) to “tap” onto the train before you head up to the platform. Fares are $15.80 (one way) if you just buy a ticket and slightly less ($13.29) if you use Presto.

Navigation Address of Union Station: 65 Front St W, Toronto, ON

train station entrance with sign at street corner and buildings behind.
Allandale Waterfront station is across from… the water!

You’ll ride the Barrie GO Line the entire length from Union to Barrie Allandale. You’ll pass York University, Aurora, Newmarket, Bradford, and others we didn’t mention.

When you get up to Barrie, there are actually two GO stations: Barrie South (close to Mapleview Drive) and then Allandale Waterfront Station.

Allandale GO is much closer to downtown – Barrie South is only useful if you have someone picking you up.

In case you use a Presto Card to tap on, you also need to tap off the train in Barrie on the platform if you’re just visiting and Barrie is not your “home station”.

You don’t usually have to “close your loop” when taking the Toronto subway, for example, but you do if you take the GO Train.

Navigation Address for Allandale GO Station: 24 Essa Road, Barrie, Ontario

That said, Allandale GO isn’t right downtown but it is pretty close. You can choose to walk – basically along Barrie’s waterfront of Kempenfelt Bay – or grab the Barrie Bus or a taxi.

Luckily, Barrie city buses are included in your fare if you just got off the GO Train and travel within 30 minutes of getting into Barrie.

Toronto to Barrie by Plane

Any local would laugh if you suggested you wanted to fly from Toronto to Barrie. That said, you could technically fly with FlyGTA Airlines.

You’d be flying from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and into Lake Simcoe Regional Airport (which is located north of Barrie in Oro Medonte).

Having said that, we would not suggest flying unless it’s an emergency or you have a super, super tight schedule to make and a little extra cash to burn. It’s a little over the top and you’d be killing the environment.

Related Articles

If you are planning on visiting Barrie (or other areas of Simcoe County), also have a look at these articles:

And there you have it – basically all of the ways possible to get from Toronto to Barrie. This isn’t as tough of a route as other guides we have on this site, but it’s still good to know all the transportation options!

Just choose the way that works best for you. Enjoy Barrie and beyond when you arrive!

As always, Keep Exploring, eh?
– E&L

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Eric Wychopen is a Canadian content writer who loves to share his passion for Ontario. Originally from a small town in Simcoe County, he has almost 50 countries under his belt - but Ontario will always be home. Having travelled thousands of kilometres across the province for work and play, Eric has a wealth of knowledge about the province and is always looking for new experiences in Ontario.