Located on Kempenfelt Bay with a population of 182,041, Barrie is currently one of Canada's fastest growing cities, growing at approximately five percent a year. Barrie's population growth has been driven largely by a strong net migration of young families from the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, who have been attracted to the City for several reasons including regional employment opportunities. Although not administratively a part of the Simcoe Region, Barrie is strongly connected to Simcoe Region and the two areas economically support each other. The manufacturing, retail trade, and business service industries are all strong employers for jobs in Barrie. Because of its accessibility and its location, tourism is one of the strongest industries for jobs in Barrie. Between 1991 and 2010, jobs in Barrie have gradually shifted towards the institutional and commercial/population-related sector from the industrial sector. Barrie's economy is highly oriented towards service-providing sectors including retail trade, accommodation and food services, education, and health and social services. However, jobs in Barrie are not growing as fast as its labour force and an increasing number of residents are pursuing employment opportunities outside of Barrie.
As the largest urban centre in Simcoe Region, the Growth Management Strategy for the City of Barrie says the City will continue to expand and evolve in retail trade, higher education and health services. Moreover, because of its local attractions and location in "Cottage Country", Barrie is well positioned to increase and expand the number of jobs in Barrie to focus on developing its tourism and frou-season recreational opportunities. To add, the Growth Management Strategy mentions that jobs in Barrie will start to capitalize on its employment growth potential in the "knowledge based" and "creative economy" - mainly due to Barrie's youthful labour force.
A current development for the City of Barrie is the opening of Georgian College's Centre for Health and Wellness in September 2011, which will provide 400 new full and part-time jobs in Barrie. The TD Bank group has also announced construction of a new $85 million technology and operations centre in south Barrie, again providing more opportunities for jobs in Barrie.