Simcoe County

Not to be confused with Simcoe, Ontario.
Simcoe County
County (upper-tier)
County of Simcoe
Motto: For the Greater Good.

Location of Simcoe County
Coordinates: 44°35′N 79°44′W / 44.583°N 79.733°W / 44.583; -79.733Coordinates: 44°35′N 79°44′W / 44.583°N 79.733°W / 44.583; -79.733
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
Established 1843 (as Simcoe District)
County seat Midhurst
  Type Upper Tier Municipality
  Warden Gerry Marshall
  Council Simcoe County Council
  Land 4,690.24 km2 (1,810.91 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
  Total 446,063
  Density 59.2/km2 (153/sq mi)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
  Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Area code(s) 705 and 249

Simcoe County is located in central portion of Southern Ontario, Canada. The County is situated just north of the Greater Toronto Area stretching from the shores of Lake Simcoe in the east to Georgian Bay in the west. Simcoe County forms part of the Greater Golden Horseshoe area, a densely populated and industrialized region centred on the Greater Toronto Area.

The land area of the county is 4,690.24 square kilometres (1,810.91 sq mi). The elevated Niagara Escarpment runs through sections of the western part of the county and the Minesing Wetlands, a Ramsar Convention Wetland Of International Importance, is located in the central area of the County.

The county administrative centre is located on highway 26 in Midhurst, outside of Barrie.


Although not politically recognized, Simcoe County is informally split into two subregions, “South Simcoe” and “North Simcoe”. The dividing line between these two areas is Simcoe County Road 90 (Mill St.).

South Simcoe municipalities are situated at the northern boundary of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and therefore generally have a closer socio-economic association with the GTA. South Simcoe is also within the Toronto commuter-belt as it is home to a relatively high proportion of people commuting to the GTA. South Simcoe is home to five municipalities, including: the Town of Innisfil, the Township of Adjala-Tosorontio, the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury, the Township of Essa and the Town of New Tecumseth (which includes: Alliston, Beeton and Tottenham).

North Simcoe is less connected to the GTA due to its more removed geographic location, is generally less industrial than South Simcoe and generally has a closer socio-economic association with the Muskoka area, located immediately north. However, North Simcoe hosts two GO Train Stations which provide daily commuter rail service to Toronto. North Simcoe includes: the City of Barrie, the City of Orillia (although politically separate), the Township of Clearview, the Township of Oro-Medonte, the Township of Ramara, the Township of Severn, the Township of Springwater, the Township of Tay and the Township of Tiny, the Town of Collingwood, the Town of Midland, the Town of Penetanguishene and the Town of Wasaga Beach.


Simcoe County, in particular the former Wendake area near Nottawasaga Bay, was the site of the earliest French exploration and settlement of Ontario; they were the first Europeans in the area. Several historic sites, including Carhagouha and Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, mark the earliest known contacts between the area's traditional Huron population and French missionaries. The Huron capital, Ossossané, was at one time the largest aboriginal settlement in all of North America outside of Mexico.

The area was established by British Army officer and Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada John Graves Simcoe as "Simcoe District", in honour of his father Captain John Simcoe, in 1843 by the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada. Its original 19 townships at that time were: Adjala, Essa, Flos, West Gwillimbury, Innisfil, Mara, Matchedash, Medonte, Nottawasaga, Orillia (North Division), Orillia (South Division), Oro, Rama, Sunnidale, Tay, Tecumseth, Tiny, Tosorontio and Vespra.

The District was restructured in 1845, changing its composition to the following 24 townships (Source: Statutory Chronology of Canada): Adjala, Artemesia, Collingwood, Essa, Flos, West Gwillimbury, Innisfil, Medonte, Matchedash, Mulmur, Mono, Nottawasaga, Osprey, Oro, North Orillia, South Orillia, Saint Vincent, Sunnidale, Tay, Tecumseth, Tosorontio, Tiny, Uphrasia (sic) and Vespra.

Effective January 1, 1850, An Act for abolishing the Territorial Divisions of Upper Canada into Districts abolished Simcoe "District" in favour of the Simcoe "County", still composed of the Townships noted in the Act of 1845.

The most recent restructuring took place in 1994 which resulted in the current 16 local municipalities.


Simcoe County's 16 local municipalities are:

The cities of Barrie and Orillia are within the Simcoe census division, but are separated from the county administration, as are three Indian reserves:


The figues below are for the Simcoe census division, which includes the separated cities of Barrie and Orillia, as well as the three Indian reserves.

Canada census – Simcoe County community profile
2011 2006 2001
Population: 446,063 (5.7% from 2006) 422,204 (12.0% from 2001) 377,050 (14.3% from 1996)
Land area: 4,859.16 km2 (1,876.13 sq mi) 4,840.56 km2 (1,868.95 sq mi) 4,840.54 km2 (1,868.94 sq mi)
Population density: 91.8/km2 (238/sq mi) 87.2/km2 (226/sq mi) 77.9/km2 (202/sq mi)
Median age: 39.8 (M: 39.0, F: 40.5) 37.3 (M: 36.7, F: 37.9)
Total private dwellings: 195,388 180,071 162,520
Median household income: $62,328 $53,813
Notes: Includes separated municipalities of Barrie and Orillia. – References: 2011[1] 2006[2] 2001[3]


County of Simcoe logo

The Corporation of the County of Simcoe comprises 16 local municipalities. As an "upper tier" municipality, the County of Simcoe is responsible for municipal services which include social housing, land ambulance and emergency planning, environmental services (solid waste management), a County road system, Ontario Works, children's services, homes for the aged, a library co-operative, museum, archives, County forest management, tourism, a Geographic Information System (computer mapping) and land use policy planning.

The local, or "lower tier" municipalities are responsible for water and sewer services, local roads, public libraries, recreation services, fire and police services, land use development control and licensing and permitting services.

The cities of Barrie and Orillia, although separate politically and administratively from the County, are geographically and economically part of the County and send elected representatives to serve on County committees which provide services to the residents of the cities, including paramedic services, long term care facilities, social services, social housing, archives and Museum. They are counted within the census division.

County Council is composed of the mayors and deputy mayors of each of the sixteen towns and townships which comprise the County of Simcoe. The head of County Council is called the Warden, who is elected for a one-year term by the council members at the Inaugural Meeting, held each December. The Warden for the 2014 - 2015 term is Gerry Marshall, Mayor of Penetanguishene.

Though once a consideration according to the Wasaga Sun,[4] Simcoe County has elected not to restructure itself as a regional municipality.[5]

Federal and provincial representation

At both the federal and provincial levels, Simcoe County encompasses all or part of the electoral districts of Barrie--Springwater--Oro-Medonte, Barrie--Innisfil, York—Simcoe, Simcoe—Grey and Simcoe North.


The economy of Simcoe County is diverse and includes a full range of businesses from agricultural, industrial to high-tech.

Honda of Canada Manufacturing has been established in Simcoe County since 1986 and continues to be one of the County's largest single employers. In addition to the automotive industry, other industries include plastics, glass manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, aggregate resources. The County is also home to internationally known institutions like Casino Rama, Georgian College, Canadian Forces Base Borden, Lakehead University and the Ontario Provincial Police Headquarters.

Agri-business is a diverse multi-faceted industry and farmland in the region is among the best in all of Canada including a section of the Holland Marsh in Bradford.

Tourism is a vital industry in Simcoe County, providing a diversity of jobs and economic impact in a variety of sectors including accommodation, restaurants, destinations, events and retail. Simcoe County plays host to over eight million visitors annually that contributes more than 570 million dollars in spending to our economy.



The road network in Simcoe County is based on a grid pattern, with most roads running north-south or east-west. The topography of the land has permitted roads to be set in predominantly straight lines.

Simcoe County is traversed by many Provincial Highways; Ontario Highway 400 being the most significant. Other provincial highways in Simcoe County include: Highway 11, Highway 12, Highway 26, Highway 89 and Highway 93.

Simcoe County also maintains an extensive series of County Roads, see List of numbered roads in Simcoe County.


GO Transit operates commuter rail services from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to South Simcoe. In South Simcoe, GO Stations are located in Barrie as well as Bradford.

There are three main rail freight operators in Simcoe County, namely, Canadian National Railway (CN), Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and Barrie Collingwood Railway.


The Lake Simcoe Regional Airport is a registered airport located almost midway between Barrie and Orillia, in the township of Oro-Medonte. The airport is operated by both the City of Barrie and the Township of Oro-Medonte. The airport is equipped to accommodate propeller and jet aircraft, and is classified as an airport of entry by Nav Canada and is staffed by the Canada Border Services Agency.

Public transit

Some of the County's larger urban centres have public transit operations consisting of bus services. There are local bus services in Barrie, Orillia, Midland, Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, and Bradford starting 2014. These transit services are run by the local municipalities as well as private bus operators with regularly scheduled services and charter services throughout the County.


Post-secondary education is offered by Georgian College in Barrie, Midland, Orillia and Collingwood and by Lakehead University and Laurentian University in Orillia. A number of additional universities offer programs through the University Partnership Centre (UPC) in Georgian College.

See also


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