I traveled to Barrie with the Greyhound bus from Waterloo, ON which is really convenient if you don't have a car. It is approximately 1 1/2 - 2h away from Toronto and you can go back at the same time. It is nice to spend a day there but not longer (at least in summer time). However, I really enjoyed the walk along the lake and the lovely bar atmosphere of the main street. There is a n okay-trail to Orilla but I recommend a bike and a group of people going this way. I found it not scary but there are only a few signs along the way and it's quite a ride. Overall, I had a good full day in Barrie, but I can honestly say it is no place where I would come back to again.