Once a vibrant railway town in Innisfil Township, Allandale was annexed by Barrie in 1896 and has an interesting history, including attempts to secede from Barrie. There’s “old Allandale” and Allandale Heights. Burton Avenue, Cumberland Street and William Street are all part of the older section, while Bayview Drive takes you to up the hill to Allandale Heights.
Allandale Station was the industrial and employment hub of old Allandale. A series of three buildings, the station once saw about 50,000 people go through it each summer on their way to and from cottage country a century ago. The first train pulled into Allandale in October 1853 and sparked the founding of the Grand Trunk Rail yards and passenger station that welcomed travelers looking to escape the heat in the big city of York. The community that grew up there is Allandale, a name honouring Toronto politician and railway advocate William Allan.
Nearby, there’s the first YMCA (now The Farmhouse Restaurant), which opened in 1907 and in the peak of the railway provided lodgings for the rail workers. Now, The Farmhouse Restaurant serves up meals made with local ingredients and the view from the balcony patio is unbeatable on a summer day.
Walk across Lakeshore Drive to the Southshore Community Centre, which used to be the railway’s maintenance building. You can still see the foundations of an old roundhouse to the east of the building. Keep an eye out for the bust of Frederic William Cumberland, the chief engineer and general manager of the Ontario, Simcoe and Huron Railroad.
Allandale put Barrie on the map in May 1985, when a tornado ripped through the area on its way east to the open waters of Lake Simcoe. On some Allandale streets, you will see newer homes interspersed with older ones – the newer ones being built after the tornado that killed eight, injured 155 and destroyed 300 homes. Stop in to Shear Park at the Corner of Innisfil St and Holgate St to see the plaque dedicated to those affected by the tornado.
Shear Park is located in old Allandale and is 10.5-acres surrounded by trailed woodlands. Here you will find an inclusive playground, baseball diamond, basketball half court, tennis courts and a wonderful community garden. Fun fact, the tennis court becomes a volunteer ran ice rink in the winter!
Indulge your tastebuds at Cocina Mexicana an all you can eat Mexican restaurant serving up fresh and hot authentic meals cooked with passion that you can taste in every bite. When you dine in this great little spot you can feel the warm Mexican hospitality. Don’t forget to order the pitcher of Sangria!