The Barrie Historical Archive shares a complicated relationship with reality.
It’s an archive that exists outside the bounds of a physical world. A digital database of visual history. A place unfathomable in the realities of most people just decades ago.
But the archive exists to celebrate a very real, physical space. A space that begins somewhere above Innisfil, ending somewhere below Springwater. A space that welcomed many into the world and sheltered many more in their final hours. For some that came just in passing, it provided a backdrop for just a few minutes, or a few hours, or a couple of days. For others who have woken up many times within its confines, it’s a very real home.
With each day of maturity, most of us become less receptive to, or perceptive of, change. As we grow, our memories occupy more and more of our reality. We refuse to concede the past to the present and often treat the future like an uninvited guest. Even though our environment—in this case, our city—is changing, we cannot discard the snapshot we’ve taken, developed and pasted into the scrapbook in our mind. A permanent mental image. A reality we won’t let escape, even if it’s already gone.
This Was There Then blends memories of yesterday with the realities of today. We invite you to look through our lens into another time, and watch as old and new Barrie become one.
Photographed at Owen Street, Barrie, looking south toward Memorial Square, the former site of federal offices and the city's post office.
Photographed at Dunlop Street East, Barrie, looking west across Mulcaster Street, where residents travelled by horse and carriage on dirt roads.
Photographed at Barrie's famous (or infamous!) Five Points, looking northeast at a building long since ravaged by fire.
Photographed at Dunlop Street East, Barrie, looking southeast as a parade walks by, more than a half-century ago.