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    GTA Community Profile: Innisfil

    Occupying the region that separates Bradford West Gwillimbury from Barrie, Innisfil is a beautiful town and an ideal place to raise a family. The municipality has a dynamic economy, which encourages entrepreneurship, especially tech start-ups.  

    This article will give you a break-down of some reasons why people choose to call Innisfil home.

    History

    Early Settlement of Innisfil

    In 1820, George Lount was employed by the Government of Ontario to survey the area that would become Innisfil. He was made registrar of the region soon after and opened the area up for European settlers. The earliest settlers established homesteads in the unbroken wilderness of Big Bay Point. 

    By 1842, industry had taken root in Innisfil Township. There were many mills operating throughout the township.  Lumber production was handled by two saw mills. Flour was produced at a grist mill. Fabric manufacturing was important in the area, with a carding machine and fulling mill producing woollen textiles. Beer was made at a local brewery.

    A historical map of Innisfil county, intended to show off the area's history for an Innisfil community profile which covers what it's like to live in Innisfil
    A historical map of Innisfil County before Alcona was even settled. Image courtesy of McGill Digital Library (CC).

    Ice Industry

    The Northern Railway arrived in the township in the 1850s. The railway spurred the growth of the ice harvesting industry. Throughout the winter, workers would cut blocks of ice out of the frozen surface of Lake Simcoe. These blocks could weigh up to 300 pounds. There was a storage facility at Belle Ewart, which could store ice throughout the year. Ice from Innisfil was shipped throughout Ontario, and even to the United States. The ice from Lake Simcoe was thought to be more pure than ice sourced closer to Toronto.

    Modern Development

    In 1881, the town of Innisfil was a post-town with a population of 150, while the surrounding township was home to hundreds of people. Over 100 years later, in 1991, the Town of Innisfil was formed. The modern town consists of an amalgamation of the township of Innisfil, the village of Cooksville, and parts of the townships of Tecumseh and West Gwillimbury. 

    Overview

    Innisfil is a community situated on the shores of Lake Simcoe. The Town of Innisfil stretches from Big Bay Point in the east, to beyond Highway 400 to the west. The town contains several significant communities. These include Alcona, Stroud, and Cookstown. Innisfil is bordered by Barrie to the north and Bradford West Gwillimbury to the south. The northern border of the town is defined by Kempenfelt Bay, while the eastern edge of the town is formed by Cook’s Bay.

    The two large bays of Lake Simcoe give Innisfil the atmosphere of a peaceful, lakeside community. The picturesque shores of Lake Simcoe, along with the numerous recreational uses of the lake, encourage tourism in the town.

    Innisfil’s population totals 36,566 people. The population of the town is also diverse. There are sizeable communities of people from Latin America, China, and South Asia.

    Real Estate in Innisfil

    Innisfil has an exciting and up and coming real estate market. 

    Families looking to leave behind the high-density residential real estate communities within the GTA will be happy to find that spacious, detached homes are the norm in Innisfil.

    Detached homes dominate the market, with thousands of houses having been built since 2000. The housing in Innisfil is also ideal for families, as most of the homes in the town have more than three bedrooms. 

    There are smaller numbers of row houses, semi-detached homes, and condos available in the Alcona area.

    Are you looking to enter the real estate market? Consult our listings, or contact one of our expert representatives in order to learn more.

    Shopping

    For shopaholics, there are some exciting shopping venues available in Innisfil.

    In Alcona, there is an abundance of businesses offering goods and services along Innisfil Beach Road, between the intersections of 20th Side Road and 25th Side Road.

    Main street shopping in Innisfil, intended to show off the shopping experience for an Innisfil Community profile.
    Shopping in Innisfil offers both big box stores and main street-type experiences like this street in Cookstown.

    Similar to Alcona, many of the other villages in Innisfil also feature local shops in the centre of the town. 

    One of the strongest shopping draws in Innisfil is the Tanger Outlets. Located near Cooksville, along Highway 400, the Tanger Outlets shopping centre features many vendors selling name brand goods at discounted prices.

    If you’re in the market for antiques or collectables, then there are a couple of places for you to shop. Along Highway 400, Roadshow Antiques offers many vintage items and collectables. There is another antiques market in Innisfil located in Cookstown. The Cookstown Antique Market is located in a 6,000 square foot barn and features 35 antique dealers.

    Shoppers who are looking for big box retailers will find that there are extensive choices available for them at the intersection of Highway 400 and Mapleview Drive. There are many outdoor shopping centres at the intersection. The most important of these is Park Place, which is home to many stores and restaurants.

    Recreation

    Recreational Facilities

    A source of trepidation for people thinking of moving to a smaller, more rural community, like Innisfil, is that the municipality might not have recreation amenities available to them. However, you’ll be pleased to know that Innisfil has several recreation facilities available to its residents.

    The three main indoor facilities in the town are the Innisfil Recreational Complex, the Stroud Arena, and the South Innisfil Community Centre.

    There are also several recreation centres and facilities in nearby communities. These include the Holly Community Centre, the BWG Leisure Centre, and the New Tecumseth Recreation Centre. 

    Parks and Trails

    In Innisfil it is easy to enjoy outdoor activities in public spaces. The town administers many parks, sports fields, ball diamonds, ice rinks, trails, and skate parks.

    A beach on Lake Simcoe, showing off the recreational opportunities in the area for a community profile of Innisfil.
    Innisfil offers plenty of opportunity for leisure and recreation, like this beach on Lake Simcoe.

    Some of the biggest parks in the town are Innisfil Beach Park, Centennial Park, and Cookstown Community Park. These parks contain many amenities, allowing residents to enjoy a wide variety of outdoor recreation.

    Another venue for outdoor fun is the Thornton-Cookstown Trans Canada Trail. The trail is a 14 km trail between the village of Thornton and Cookstown. As a shared use trail, it’s perfect for walking, cycling, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.

    Casinos/Racetracks

    Beyond public recreation options that are provided by the municipality, there are many private venues to enjoy.

    One of the venues that stands out is the Sunset Speedway. This is a NASCAR sanctioned short track motor racing oval.

    The racetrack features many different styles of car races. It is the prefect place to spend the day for car enthusiasts and their families.

    If you are looking for a night out in Innisfil, the Gateway Casino Innisfil should pique your interest. 

    With hundreds of slot and table games, along with an excellent restaurant on site, the casino is a great way to have some fun. 

    Another exciting place to spend some free time is at the Georgian Downs. At the Downs you can take in a Standardbred horse race, either for free, or you can place a bet on the race.

    Schools

    The largest school boards in the municipality are the Simcoe County District School Board and the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board

    As their names imply, one board is secular, while the other provides education oriented from a Catholic perspective. The secular school board administers 3 schools in the town, while the Catholic board runs 2 schools.

    The school boards manage enough schools in Innisfil for the municipality to live up to its reputation of having everything within a 10-minute drive of your home. Families do not have to worry about their children having a long commute to school.

    Transportation

    Despite the rural nature of the township, there are many options for transportation. 

    Whether you want to drive your own car or want to take public transportation, there are choices available for you in Innisfil. 

    Travelling By Car

    Highway 400 is the most important roadway in the Innisfil area. The highway passes through the Township and provides the most direct route between Innisfil and Toronto. Highway 400 also is the largest road link between Innisfil and Barrie. The highway also connects Innisfil to Huronia and Northern Ontario beyond Barrie.

    The administrative heart of the municipality is located at the intersection of Yonge St. (Simcoe County Road 4) and Innisfil Beach Rd. (Simcoe County Road 23). These roads are important thoroughfares in the town. 

    Yonge Street connects Innisfil with Barrie to the north. Meanwhile, Innisfil Beach Road is the main connection between the Alcona area and Highway 400. 

    Public Transit

    Innisfil prides itself as a place where entrepreneurship and technological innovation flourish. Because of this, the municipality came up with a novel solution to the issue of public transit. 

    The small population, which is spread out over a large rural area, called for a different kind of public transit. Innisfil’s partnership with Uber replaced a traditional transit infrastructure in order to ensure that its residents have access to transit.

    Innisfil residents enjoy a reduced Uber fare when they are travelling to key destinations such as the Barrie South GO train station, GO bus stops within Innisfil, or the Innisfil municipal administration hub on Yonge Street. 

    Travelling By Rail

    The Barrie Line of GO transit provides Innisfil with access to rail transit.

    By catching the GO train at nearby Barrie South, riders can commute into larger communities to the south. These communities include Newmarket, Vaughan, and Toronto.

    Have Questions About Real Estate in Innisfil?

    Our extensive experience buying and selling real estate in the GTA has provided us with the skills and know-how that will ensure that you achieve your real estate goals. So get in touch with us!