One of the most distinctive communities of Barrie has a long history and continues to thrive.

Allandale, with its centuries-old houses, some of which date back almost 150 years, has deep roots in the railroad, when the station built in 1904, the fourth station on the site, together with the nearby master mechanic building, was a busy hub. now the Southshore Center.

The history of the village is not lost on many Allandale residents who have decided to make a house of the century their home, but according to Cathy Colebatch, a member of the Allandale Neighborhood Association (ANA), it's more about the sense of community.

The & # 39; village & # 39; is loosely defined as Tiffin Street and Lakeshore Drive in the north, then east to the end of Cumberland Street to Burton Avenue, followed by a few bends to Bayview Drive and then west along Baldwin Lane, past St. John Vianney Catholic Church and then west again to Campbell Avenue and along Essa Road.

"We love our porches, we always talk to our neighbors and share stories," said Colebatch Barrie Today home from her Cumberland Street. "Most of the people who live in Allandale have decided to live here because of the village feel, the character of the neighborhood, the trees and gardens, the community spirit, and the waterfront location.

"We love and endure our century houses that are full of character and charm," she added. "Enduring means a job of love and money. Nothing is built as standard; Everything you do in older homes usually requires custom work and work with specialized craftsmen in their field. "

Some residents learn more about their more than 100 years old houses.

"Our Centennial Houses, like all the historic quarters in Barrie, tell a story of our past and where we came from, who we shared the land with and why we are here," said Colebatch. "Your architecture has proven itself. Some of our oldest houses are almost 150 years old and the craftsmanship is superb. "

With ANA member Craig Froese, who lives on nearby Burton Avenue, has researched the history of his home and, to varying degrees, 25 other homes in the area.

He believes that the historic memorial plaques – which indicate who the first owner was, what people employed them, and when the house was built – give Allandale a sense of community.

"Most of the people who lived in Allandale worked for the Grand Trunk Railway. They were train drivers, conductors, railmen and firefighters (who fueled the steam engines), "he said.

"There were other professions: lawyers, doctors, ministers for local churches and pensioners (peasants), widows and a gentleman," said Froese. "I've found that the farther and better the crew, the farther you are from the Allandale Station, the further away you are from pollution and coal dust.

"Apparently they could only do laundry here on Sundays, because the rest of the week, when they hung up their laundry outside, was covered with coal dust."

Now residents of the Allandale can hang their laundry on any day of the week.

"Allandale has been and still is a very diverse community for many years," said Colebatch. "We have rental apartments, second suites, single family homes, boarding and boarding houses, senior citizens and social housing, all leading to a very attractive community.

"We have many young families who moved into the older houses, which is something to be proud of," she added.

It's not just older homes that are being looked after and rejuvenated, which gives Allandale a sense of neighborhood.

When the former King Edward School on Burton Avenue was closed, a longtime church friend was lost, but a new one won at Unity Christian High School. The private purchase allowed the building to be refurbished, and now the students go back through the corridors and through the neighborhood.

"The Allandale community is a great place for our school," said Allen Schenk, director of Unity Christian. "It's very central to Barrie, which is great as we attract students from the north and south of the city. It's also great to be so close to the shores of Barrie and Shear Park, both of which offer excellent recreational space. "

The students would also influence the lives of local residents, he added.

"Being good neighbors is an important part of who we are," Schenk said. "Unity has a service day for our 10th and 11th grade students at the beginning of September, which we often need to help seniors in our neighborhood who need help with basic cleanup or minor landscaping. It is my pleasure to be part of this community. "

For the Allandale, changes are in sight.

According to Colebatch, the ANA is continuing to relocate Steam Engine No. 1531, which once graced the area across from Centennial Beach, from the Simcoe County Museum back to the old Allandale train station.

"We also hope to incorporate some railway photos and perhaps indigenous artwork into the tunnels of the Allandale GO Station, which will help to tell the story of the Allandale," she said, adding that "all Barrie" is looking to complete the historic train waiting station.

Colebatch and her group have high hopes for the site.

"We hope to make progress later this year. If the city sticks to the original plan, we hope to have a common room with Victorian gardens, outdoor seating, maybe a fountain, a farmers market – a small railway museum would be nice – and a restaurant to celebrate the arrival of the railroad to Allandale and then continue to Barrie in 1853, "she said.

The mayor of Barrie, Jeff Lehman, said the city completed on-site archeology in collaboration with two indigenous communities, the Chippewas of Rama on behalf of the First Nations of the Williams Treaty and the Huron-Wendat. This should be completed this summer.

"Previously, the part of the site intended for the new bus hub (the Essa Road area of ​​the GO station and the former Lawn Bowling Club) was archaeologically completed and the project was funded by our request for infrastructure financing, which could already go next year, "he said.

Allandale is full of interesting people and places and has a rich history dating back to long before European settlement, Lehman said, adding that the unique story of the indigenous peoples' use of the land on the south coast begins.

"I know it's one of Barrie's grandest historic quarters, with a dedicated population that is interested in their community," he said. "For people who do not live there, it's a place to walk through shady streets with many centuries-old houses and imagine the city a hundred years ago, when Allandale was a railroad town."