Innisfil is a growing but still largely rural town encompassing a wide swath of land that includes Alcona, Belle Ewart, Lefroy and Cookstown.
The area is known for its lakeside community that once mostly served as a resort and seasonal lodging for those who wanted to spend the summer along the shores of Lake Simcoe.
With the growth of the greater Toronto area and especially Barrie, which borders Innisfil to the north, seasonal homes gradually gave way to more permanent residences as demand for land in Innisfil increased. Much of the development in the area has taken on a suburban character, but elements of small-town life and a fiercely proud community spirit abound.
The Evolution of Innisfil
Innisfil began in the early 19th century as a settlement hewn completely out of dense virgin forests that were the home of Huron Indians. The establishment of several sawmills led to the growth of timber-supported communities and an expanding population.
A road was constructed in 1825 that later became Highway 11 and portions of Yonge Street.
By 1838, schools, post offices and churches were built. The building of a grist mill allowed the economy to add an agriculture industry to its largely self-sustaining farms.
By 1859, the population had tripled to nearly 2,000 people. Several resorts were being built upon the lake shores. The town continued to grow, and by the 1950s 3,500 people called Innisfil home. Paved roads and increasing housing costs in Toronto led to seasonal resort housing becoming permanent residences.
Barrie began to grow rapidly around this time too, leading to a population explosion fed by entrepreneurs drifting north of Toronto for business prospects.
Now Innisfil has over 33,000 residents and 13,000 households. A series of new development neighborhoods increased the demand for businesses and public services like quality schools. Present-day Innisfil is a thoroughly-modern town with a keen sense of its past.
Antique stores in Cookstown carry memories of bygone days and prove a consistent attraction to collectors. Outlet malls nearby remind travellers and residents of the colliding of past and present that Innisfil represents.
Living in Innisfil
Lakeside and rural communities lend a sense of diversity to the lifestyles of Innisfil residents.
People who live near Lake Simcoe generally enjoy a quieter life. Businesses like Born to Ride embody
the adventurous pioneer spirit by letting residents and visitors tour the beautiful trails and roads along the shoreline.
Area children attend schools like Alcona Glen Elementary, Nantyr Shores Secondary School and St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School.
Those who live closer to Barrie are seeing more rapid development, with new communities and shopping centers being built every year. The Tanger Outlet malls and aforementioned antique stores are popular draws for people living in the area.
A huge number of schools are available depending on the district or the family’s willingness to travel. These schools include Trillium Woods Elementary, Warnica Public School, Saint Peter’s Secondary School and Hewitt’s Creek Public School.
Anyone moving to Innisfil should be excited about joining a warm and inviting community. Consistent growth means that there are always new businesses and neighborhoods to be excited about, and a firm grasp of the past means that there is plenty of culture to enjoy.
Events like the Cookstown Fair characterize the local energy and love of good times.
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