Barrie Fair

It being the 'lean season' for Central Ontario urban exploring as I had mentioned in the last post, I stayed close to home on this one. With deep snow and a frigid minus 30 degree Celcius, who can blame me.

I had decided to drop in for a quick scout which produced an unanticipated Point-Of-Entry in short time. This turned into one of those rushed running photo shoots as I was sketched out with an event that was occurring in the building.

On an autumn day in 1853, the crowds gathered from corners of central Ontario and beyond to Barrie for the very first Barrie Fair and Horse Show. Area farmers took this opportunity to show their produce and livestock, while ladies brought their preserves, baking and sewing. It was a time to gather and exchange ideas, practices, renew friendships and agressive recruiting tactics by the militant local 4-H Club.

In this image above, circa 1890's, a parade of new ploughshares and other agricultural implements pose in front of the City Hall & Market building. This provides evidence of early Barrie's strong agricultural roots.

In the early days, the fair did not have permanent home. Even until the 1940's, the fair was held at Barrie's Market Square and the plowing match held on a nearby farm field. In the early 1950's, the Board of Directors of the Barrie Agricultural Society decided to purchase property just outside town. This property would soon hold an enviable location at the intersection of the newly built Highway 400 and Essa Road.

On January 24, 2007, Paul Timpano, president of the Barrie Agricultural Society announced the sale of the 38-acre property to a Toronto-based real estate investment firm, Osmington Inc for $33 million cash. The property is to be developed into a large retail complex sometime after the 2008 fair.

Given this, I decided to make tracks down to the fairground and check out some of the fugly-a$$ buildings before it met the business end of a wrecking ball.

Here, one can see that krazy korn mascot, 'Huskeroo' madly dancing his sweet niblets off on top of the racetrack's grandstand roof.

. . . go Huskeroo !

Not a creature was stirring,
not even a cow.
Yippie yi Ohhhhh
Yippie yi yaaaaay
Ghost Riders in the barns.

Empty seats watch the atomic explosion outside.

The grandstand is divided into two; steerage, and LLBO licensed.

This is the 'other side' of the glass, where beer flowed freely and thick clouds of tobacco filled the space.

I remember when I first moved to barrie, I dropped a few bucks on a lame horse. I drowned my sorrow in a domestic beer here.

The wall-to-wall in the licensed section is highly adorned with a fantabulously designed fabric.

Upon closer inspection, one could see the stained evidence that Mr. Spilly-Pants frequented this track. It also smelled like an ashtray.

There also was evidence of a rushed meal, most likely taken by the catering staff before an event. The sour cream on the potatoe was . . well, sour.

A large portion of the second floor is now home to 'The Barrie Victory Centre' church which, according to their website are "restoring the fire of God".
I would like to know whether the landlord and the local fire marshall know about this.

I have until some time until after next year's fair to revisit and do a proper exploration of this place. One objective is to find my way up to the announcer's booth, fire-up the P/A system and be a human boombox.

Huskeroo scared generations of kids at the Barrie fair. Why? Because he looks like the radiated afterbirth of a Martian grudge-fvck.

Please provide comments as to what you think happened to this mascot.


Anonymous said...

Ah the Barrie fair….

I have many a childhood memory of attending the Barrie fair. My parents are farmers in the area, and though they didn’t enter any of their spoils into ‘fair’ competitions, they did take the opportunity to educate the crowd about the wonders of beef. The ‘Beef Builds Better Bodies’ booth wasn’t the most fancy or well funded, but I thought it was pretty nifty. They gave out pencils and sweatshirts to people who showed interest. Among the gems that my parents passed on to the uneducated urban folks was that beef products are found in; crayons, marshmallows and Jello. These products were wonderfully displayed through the medium of glue and bristle board.

While my parents manned their booth, myself and my friend would wander the fair. We weren’t given much money so we had to be creative, the midway was definitely not an option. We would often frequent the ‘Good News Story House’ because they would give out a free balloon animal, a colouring sheet (crayons back at the booth remember) and a bible story in a small child friendly pamphlet. Watching the horseshow was also a highlight, along with the tractor pull and checking out all the freaky looking chickens (which my mom now has a bunch of). Food at the fair wasn’t tough to come by. The dear dairy farmers were always good for free samples of ice cream and cheese. Also the fries were quite lovely.

~ Laura

Anonymous said...

My fondest memory of the Barrie Fair happened when I was about 15 years old. (August 1988?) A girl down the hall from me, who's name was Jenny and a Georgian College student and the coolest girl I knew, asked if I wanted to go see The Spoons (remember them? "Romantic Traffic", "Tell No Lies", "Nova Heart", etc.) play at the fair. So we went down there and the concert was great and I got the singer and the drummer's autograph. Which for a 15 year old girl was the coolest thing ever. ;)

Then Jenny and I went on the rides. Jenny was really pretty, and when
we climbed onto the "Monster" - that black octopus-like ride - the carny totally checked out Jenny's a$$ and she gave him dirty look. So he SPUN us really, really hard - I swear the ride was over before we stopped spinning - and we both felt so sick that we had to leave and we ended up walking all the way home to Kozlov Street!

Another fond memory happened the previous year when I was 14 (August
1987) - I went to the fair with my "older brother" and we went on the
Rock 'n' Roll Express (the ride that goes really fast backwards).
I couldn't hold on any more and slammed into the side of my brother. He didn't complain, but after a few minutes all I heard was: "F*CK you got bony hips, man!"