Barrie Time Warp


Wanting to escape the pressures of your day? A journey back in time might just be the cure – and Barrie has a few options to help you leave today’s worries behind.

No, there’s no DeLorean DMC-12 time machine or standing stones to walk though, Barrie has a few spots that can help you explore the adventures of times past. Let’s do the time warp!

1980s: Last Level Lounge

Last Level Lounge

The Last Level Lounge is Barrie’s first retro arcade bar and the ticket price is also affordable, even in 1980s dollars: $5 will get you in and all games are on free play! And those who lived through the decade of big hair, big shoulder pads and leg warmers, would remember the 2-for-1 nights; the arcade offers this value as the price of admission drops to $2.50 each, if you bring along a friend, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

The beloved 1980s hit games – Pac Man and Frogger – join more recent and even trendy arcade games, including Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam (Yeah Raptors!). Last Level also includes pinball games, including KISS, Indiana Jones and Ghostbusters, real 1980s experiences, as well as console game and board games.

Kids can accompany an adult until 8 p.m. An adult – parent, aunt or uncle, or simply a family friend – can show the kids the fun that games like Clue, Scrabble, Sorry and Operation can uncover. Adults and kids alike can join in the strategy games like Monopoly and Risk.

The trip back to the 80s opens at 5 p.m. Tuesdays to Fridays and on weekends, at 2 p.m., and departs at 72 Dunlop St. E., across from Memorial Square. Explore more at https://www.lastlevellounge.com/.

The Cenotaph Project

The Cenotaph Project

Speaking of Memorial Square, one of Barrie’s theatre companies explores the community’s contribution to the Second World War. Theatre by the Bay’s The Cenotaph Project tells the stories of soldiers whose names are remembered forever on the cenotaph.

Keeping history alive by sharing more about the young men who fought and died, the theatre artists worked with local high school drama students to explore how to tell the engaging stories of the young people of a few generations ago who will never grow old as we grow old.

The play runs from July 17 to 29 at The Five Points Theatre. Adult tickets are $39 and for students and Armed Forces, the cost is $33 (including fees). Tickets can be purchased online at https://theatrebythebay.com/shows/cenotaph.

Back to the 1920s

SpeakCheasy at J'adore

 Not far away but a few more decades back is the 1920s-inspired SpeakCheasy. The hidden door attached to J’adore Fine Cheese and Chocolate leads you down an old (but very safe) staircase into the 1920s, the decade of the flappers, fast cars and jazz.

The decade began with Prohibition – with all alcohol production, transport and sale being banned. Today in the nostalgically decorated cellar of 123 Dunlop St. E., with notes from Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra, guests will enjoy their gin-based cocktails served in tea cups! The journey into that era takes place Wednesdays and Thursdays 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Weekly specials include live jazz and blues every Thursday and scotch flights paired with cheese on Saturdays. For more information, visit http://speakcheasy.com/.

Join the Army now

Forester Museum

The Grey and Simcoe Foresters Regimental Museum is located in a historic building at 36 Mulcaster St., just around the corner from the SpeakCheasy. The militia drill hall dates to 1888 and was home to the regiment after its original drill shed burned down in 1885. Filled with wood buildings, fires ravaged Barrie’s city core in the late 19th century. 

The museum’s displays share the story of the regiment, which was formed in 1885 with soldiers from York and Simcoe counties to go to the Northwest Territories to fight against Louis Riel.

Artifacts in the museum help visitors envision and better understand the Riel Rebellion, the Boer War, both world wars, the Korean War, Bosnia and Afghanistan.

The museum is open May through November, on Wednesdays to Fridays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Visit the museum virtually here.

And explore the War of 1812

Fort Willow

For those who want to explore the War of 1812, Fort Willow opens the doors into a tactical and supply depot. Located on the end of the Nine Mile Portage (which begins at Kempenfelt Bay on the shores of downtown and winds up through Queen’s Park and up through the north and west of Barrie), Fort Willow kept British troops supplied and well equipped to fight the Americans on the shores of Georgian Bay.

During 1814, the fort was home to the Royal Newfoundlanders, who constructed 29 batteaux, flat-bottomed cargo boats that conveyed 30 tones of supplies down the Nottawasaga River to Wasaga Beach and across Georgian By to British posts in the North West, including Fort Michilmackinac. At the fort, there is a virtual augmented reality tour accessible by the Fort Willow channel of the LAYAR app.

Fort Willow is located at 2714 Grenfel Rd., Minesing, which is approximately 15 minutes northwest of downtown Barrie, via Sunnidale Road. More information is online at http://fortwillow.nvca.on.ca/Visit.html.

Wrapping our stories up at the Simcoe County Museum

Simcoe County Museum

The Simcoe County Museum preserves and shares the stories of those who settled in Simcoe County. Indoors and out, the museum offers visitors an up-close look at artifacts from the county’s diverse past and stories about its people.

One exhibit is Barrie’s main street, which takes visitors back to the turn of the 20th century. Via a wooden boardwalk, visitors can see and experience an array of local stores that served Barrie between 1890 and 1910 – including Simmons Hat and Furs, the George Monkman Apothecary and H.H. Otton Hardware.

Another exhibit explores the way of life of the area’s Indigenous people, the Ouendat, while outside the museum building, there are 10 heritage buildings that have been relocated to the museum and a farm and construction equipment collection. For more information, visit https://museum.simcoe.ca/exhibits.

 

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