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County of Simcoe reminds residents that warming centres are open during the coldest months of the year

Midhurst/December 19, 2023 – The County of Simcoe is reminding residents that warming centres are open during the coldest months of the year for vulnerable populations. These warming centres are part of the regional system approach to homelessness prevention with support from community partners.

Warming opportunities available at the following locations:

​Barrie – The Gilbert Centre, 80 Bradford St.
Daytime Warming​
(8:30 AM – 5:30 PM Daily)
November 3, 2023 – April 30, 2024The Busby Centre, 20 Rose St. (tem​​porary structure)
Warming services (11 AM – 6 PM  alternative space activation – activated during inclement weather​)
Additional Emergency Winter Overnight Shelter Beds
(5 PM – 11 AM Daily)
November 15, 2023 – April 30, 2024

​Orillia – Orillia Community Church, 64 Colborne St. E.
(9 PM – 7 AM Daily)
November 15, 2023 – April 30, 2024Bradford
WOW Living Out of the Cold Café,
177 Church St.
(9 PM – 8 AM Daily)
December 1, 2023 – April 30, 2024

Located in Barrie, Bradford West Gwillimbury, and Orillia, centres are open during the winter months and provide crucial supports to those that need them. As part of the County’s winter response plan, we are enhancing support for:

  • winter warming centres – open 7 days per week during the winter months
  • additional mobile response outreach teams supporting additional warming and transportation to shelters and/or overnight warming centres during inclement weather
  • activation for alternate spaces and temporary overflow beds in shelters, with up to an additional 110 available spaces, over and above the 224 shelter beds already in the system
    • The alternate spaces activation strategy allows shelters to offer warming by opening boardrooms and other areas within their settings where individuals can come in from the cold and temporarily access a place to sit and get warm throughout the night
    • This is activated when weather temperatures reach -7° Celsius or colder
    • Overnight, Barrie will have an additional 30 spaces available through the alternate activation strategy in shelters, which is above and beyond the Rose Street overnight, overflow program
  • new tools to assist the public, service providers, and municipalities in accessing live to-the-minute data on each local homeless shelter’s current bed capacity
  • the County of Simcoe continues to look for other overnight warming centre programs throughout the region

The warming services listed above are funded by the County of Simcoe in partnership with the City of Barrie and the City of Orillia, which are above and beyond the regular municipal service contributions​. 

Those in need of shelter or warmth can always call 2-1-1 to connect with a nearby shelter or visit one of the locations listed above.

This is just one more way that the County of Simcoe is #BuildingUp communities. For updates on the how the County of Simcoe is investing in our communities, visit <<< Add Link to {Page Name}>>>.

About the County’s 10-point homelessness prevention strategy

The County of Simcoe’s 10-point Homelessness Prevention Strategy provides a strong, data-driven plan to help vulnerable residents and our communities. The strategy includes a considerable added investment toward the goal of preventing and ending chronic homelessness. For further details and ongoing updates to the homelessness prevention plan, visit <<< Add Link to {Page Name}>>>.

About the County of Simcoe

County of Simcoe is composed of sixteen member municipalities and provides crucial public services to County residents in addition to providing paramedic and social services to the separated cities of Barrie and Orillia. Visit our website at


“We are incredibly thankful for the community support we have received for those living unhoused in the region,” said County of Simcoe Warden Basil Clarke. “It is through partnerships like the one we have with the City of Barrie and contributions they have provided that we are able to open up additional overnight warming spaces when and where they are needed. As we gear up for the coldest months of the year, we are able to adjust as necessary to help vulnerable individuals and families find warmth and support.”

“The collaboration between the City of Barrie, County of Simcoe and our community partners exemplifies the strength and compassion that define our city,” said Barrie Mayor Alex Nuttall. “Upon receiving feedback from our local social service agencies, it was imperative for the City of Barrie to provide additional funding to ensure that our most vulnerable residents have warm, safe spaces to turn when temperatures drop. I want to express my gratitude to the County of Simcoe and our partners for their dedication to creating a supportive community during these challenging winter months.”

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Andrea Walasek
Public Relations Consultant
County of Simcoe, Service Simcoe Department
249-535-3511 (mobile)

Collin Matanowitsch
Manager, Public Relations
County of Simcoe, Service Simcoe Department
705-734-8386 (mobile)​ ​​​​​