East Enders celebrate their sense of community

Next to Downtown and Allandale, the East End was the first part of Barrie to be developed. Kempenfelt Drive was a horse path in early years and the first stately homes were built along Blake St. Farms dotted the field of what is now Codrington St, and the road to Shanty Bay was an unpaved, quiet trail, except for the courage it took to cross Thunder Bridge.

In the 60’s and 70’s, the east end pushed, well… more east and north reaching Little Lake and filling in up to Cundles.

Defining the East End today would likely include Bayfield St to Highway 93, Cundles down to the water, and swing east to the City Limits on Shanty Bay Rd.

What was bare farmland in the post-war 1950’s is now gloriously-shaded lots and 1000 square foot bungalows nestle themselves beside larger homes that overlook the water. The East End is home to revered shops like Robinsons Hardware, long time mechanics like Egon Harant at Egon Motors, variety store anchors like Jay’s Variety, a couple of banks, a hospital and a college. It’s a real microcosm of commerce, institution and residents mixed together.

And this Saturday, a few East End residents have pulled themselves together into an organizing committee to celebrate the second annual East End Social. This year’s social happens at Strabane Park and is a huge festival for kids, parents, grandparents, empty nesters, singles who live in the East End. The Y will provide day camp counsellors so parents can enjoy themselves, as well as free fitness classes in the park that morning. The Y is also helping out with picnic tables and support, according to Brian Shelley, a Y employee and organizing committee volunteer this year.

A silent auction, ball hockey tournament (on the Strabane Park tennis courts), dunk tank, community garage sale… it’s all there. The Lions Club will have their hot dog and sausage cart on site and are donating all proceeds from the day.

This is a day long/evening long event, running to 10 pm with 5 food vendors and lots of things to do.

There will be a children’s movie under the stars as the East End Social works with the Barrie Film Festival to offer the movie kids select on an inflatable screen. Kids can go to www.barrieeastendsocial.com and vote for The Smurfs, Happy Feet, Puss n Boots or Chicken Run. What a great way to end the day!

While the day ends with a movie, it begins at 8 am with Yoga by Energy Balance. A fitness class offered by the Y runs from 10 to 12 noon. And bands! Local bands like Vitality, OverTyme, Lyric & Jesus Drives a Malibu will join other East End musicians and offer musical genres for everyone.

Brian Shelley expresses gratitude not only to the Y for its involvement but also to Georgian College as financial supporters of the event. In fact, Georgian’s Scott Harradine is part of the organizing committee, along with Brian, Ryan Andersen & Laura Keller (who are co-chairs) and Carly Warren. Georgian’s Students Council is heavily involved, acting as the East End Social’s lead sponsor.

Parking is at St Monica’s School for those coming from the far reaches of the East End, but it’s expected that most attendees will walk. Last year the event drew 2000 people; this year it’s expected to be much more. Money raised last year was donated to the MS Society. This year’s charity is Hospice Simcoe, located in the East End.

What started as a community garage sale has sure become something grand. What a wonderful way for East Enders to celebrate this part of town! It’s all done by volunteers!  And it’s rain or shine!

Thanks, everyone, for making a great event.