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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, Greyhound or 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.
Once you get to Barrie, check out these other posts for trip planning!
- 25 Things to Do in Barrie
- Exploring Scanlon Creek Conservation Area (south of Barrie)
- Our Guide to Renting a Cottage in Ontario
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
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.
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!
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
You can also get to Barrie from Toronto by bus. There are actually three options: Ontario Northland, Greyhound, or the GO Bus.
Taking the bus with Northland and Greyhound is simple because you get on a bus and get into Barrie. It’s also important to note here that Greyhound and Ontario Northland originate from the same Toronto Bus Terminal (610 Bay Street) and end at the same Barrie Bus Terminal (24 Maple Avenue).
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
This terminal can be hard to find even if you are looking straight at it. It is close to the corner of Bay and Dundas Street West. Just walk north towards Edward Street and the terminal entrance will be apparent on the left.
There are two buses that leave Toronto for Barrie – they continue to North Bay and Sudbury – which is WAY past Barrie so you don’t need to worry about that. From what we can tell, there are about 7 daily departures from the Toronto Bus Terminal. You can see all the Toronto to Barrie PDF schedules here.
In general, there are multiple trips per day. Trips take 1 hour 30 minutes up to 1 hour 45 minutes (depending on stops like Yorkdale) with no transfers and it’s about $25.00 one-way.
Address of Toronto Coach/Northland Terminal Downtown: 610 Bay St, Toronto, ON
You can also get on the Northland bus from Yorkdale Mall (in the north end of the city) but 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 cab to get elsewhere. There isn’t a ton of information on the terminal itself. Don’t expect anything fancy. You can learn more here.
Address Barrie Bus Terminal/Depot: 24 Maple Avenue Barrie ON L4N 7W4
Toronto to Barrie Greyhound Bus
Once again, we have never done this route but we have been to the Toronto Coach Terminal so expect a safe ride from Toronto with a known brand. You can check out the Greyhound website to start trip planning.
Leaving Toronto on the Greyhound Bus
Again, this terminal can be hard to find even if you are looking straight at it. It is close to the corner of Bay and Dundas Street West. Just walk north towards Edward Street and the terminal entrance will be apparent on the left.
The Greyhound bus with a stop in Barrie leaves Toronto once or twice a day, usually in the afternoon – with a noon departure on Saturday. It makes a stop at Yorkdale Mall just off the 401 in the north end of Toronto. So, not a ton of options if you are looking to head up in the morning. Fares are cheap though – as little as 11.90 for a “web fare” that is non-refundable.
Address of Toronto Coach/Greyhound Terminal Downtown: 610 Bay St, Toronto, ON
The Greyhound ALSO runs from Toronto Pearson Airport to Barrie which is handy. This route runs once a day in the afternoon around 1:30 pm and twice on Saturdays – at least that’s what we see when we check the schedule.
You actually end up transferring through the Toronto Downtown Bus Terminal. So, in theory, if you can just make it downtown from the Airport (using the UP Express and the subway) then you can just take the simple Greyhound to Barrie. You can check that schedule here.
Arriving at Barrie Bus Depot
Address Barrie Bus Terminal/Depot: 24 Maple Avenue Barrie ON L4N 7W4
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, 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 going buses-only.
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 $15.80 (one way) if you just buy a ticket and slightly less ($13.29) if you use Presto.
Address of Union Station Bus Terminal: 141 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 Greyhound and Ontario Northland buses.
Address Barrie GO Bus Terminal: 24 Maple Avenue Barrie ON L4N 7W4
Toronto to Barrie by Train
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 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 less (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.
Address of Union Station: 65 Front St W, Toronto, ON
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.
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. You can learn more about that connection here.
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.
Having said that, we would not suggest flying unless its an emergency or you have a super tight schedule to make. It’s a little over the top and you’d be killing the environment.
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?
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