Tuesday, October 13, 2009

PDP #115: Brazen Bayfield

The city of Barrie has always had delusions of grandeur. If there's one thing its government doesn't want to face, it's that the city is steadily forsaking any identity it might have had in favor of annexing great chunks of Innisfil to build more housing developments from which property tax revenue can be extracted. Because, obviously, if there's one thing Barrie doesn't have enough of already, it's sprawling subdivisions.

This is also the case along its main shopping drag, Bayfield Street north of Highway 400. The signs call it the "Golden Mile," and with a name like that, you'd expect attractions, draws, and excitement, wouldn't you? In actuality, it's anchored by Barrie's three major malls - Bayfield Mall in the south, Georgian Mall in the north, and the centrally-located Kozlov Centre - and otherwise dominated by the same sort of low-rise commercial development you'd find in any GTA bedroom city. I mostly remember it for the truly incredible traffic jams it produced - because, obviously, dropping three shopping centres within spitting distance of each other on one four-lane road is a very good idea.

In this photo, you're looking south along Bayfield Street from Cundles Avenue, next to Kozlov Centre. The forested valley on the far side of Kempenfelt Bay, visible where Bayfield Street drops off into nothingness, really underscores the difference.

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