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THEN AND NOW: Generation after generation, Bayfield St. home has many tales

In 1888, the names John Barr and James Henry were both listed on the title of the property at 169 Bayfield St., and it’s possible the house was built about this time

This ongoing series from Barrie Historical Archive curator Deb Exel shows old photos from the collection and one from the present day, as well as the story behind them. 

169 Bayfield St.

The cool thing about these old houses is the number of stories they collect as generations of owners and tenants come and go.

The earliest record of this piece of property is from 1857. In that same year, the Hon. James Patton became the second in a long list of people to hold the title for this land.

James Patton, by way of introduction, felt the need to offset the influence of the Northern Advance, and together with other like-minded individuals, they founded The Herald newspaper in 1852.

Patton also had real estate holdings in the area of the Bayfield Street property and once he released them in the 1860s, the mansions along the Wellington Street ridge  such as ArdtraeCarnoevarStatenborough and Maple Hill — started to appear. These magnificent homes were built with their backs to the street so they would be facing a spectacular view of the bay.

In 1873, John Barr and James Henry got together to make woodworking parts for wagons and carriages and in the early 1880s, they opened their carriage works at the corner of Bayfield and Collier streets.

In 1888, Barr and Henry’s names were both listed on the title of the property at 169 Bayfield St., and it’s possible the house was built about this time. John Barr became the sole owner from 1890 until 1894.

In 1895, well-known local builder and carpenter George Ball was in residence at 169 Bayfield St. Ball had opened a steam sash and door factory at the corner of Ross and John (now Maple Avenue) streets, which was destroyed by fire twice before he built his large, new factory at Ross and Bayfield streets.

Ball and his family may have lived on Bayfield Street while his lavish home on John Street (Maple Avenue) was being completed.

H.B. Joyner was the next proud owner of 169 Bayfield St., in 1900. Hampden Batson Joyner, had had a large shipping business in England and milling and elevator interests in the North West Territories. He considered Barrie to be a beautiful town and intended to make it his home.

In 1900, Joyner bought out Joseph Anderton’s partner, Robert Tate, to become the new part-owner of the Simcoe Brewery. Those next few years were busy ones for Joyner. In 1901, he served on town council, as a prominent member of Trinity Anglican Church he hosted Bishop Grisdale of Q’Apelle Diocese during his visit to eastern Canada and he was honorary patron of the newly formed Barrie Boating Club.

The following year, Joyner, Anderton and J.J. Coffey, of the Vespra House Hotel, were members of the anti-prohibition delegation at Toronto.

Joyner was also one of the officers elected to the Barrie Board of Trade, as part of their council and the railway committee. Discussion and suggestions on the board that year included a summer hotel, encouraging tourism, inducements to industry, better railway services as well as parks and local improvements.

The Joyners were also strong supporters of the Royal Victoria Hospital, with Mrs. Joyner organizing charity balls, donations and other activities.

The year 1903 continued much the same. In April, Joyner, and other cricket lovers, met in the parlors of the Queen’s Hotel to organize the Barrie Cricket Club, with H.B. elected as president. The Barrie Cricket Club was not to be confused with the Sons of England Club, although it was perfectly acceptable to be members of both!

More social events occurred that month  local Englishmen dined at the Barrie Hotel to celebrate St. George’s Day, with H.B. giving the toast.

In January 1904, Joyner was elected a director of the Barrie Horticultural Society, along with Bayfield Street neighbour John Bennett.

Strangely, the social pages were quiet after that, only mentioning Mrs. Joyner attending the final meeting of the Daughters of the Empire in May and helping with flowers and vegetables for a Thanksgiving service at St. George’s church in late September. Then, on Oct. 27, 1904, just this one line appeared in the paper: "Don’t forget the auction sale of valuable household furniture, etc., at noon to-day (Thursday) at the residence of H.B. Joyner, Esq., Bayfield street.’

Ten years later, in October 1914, a most sensational story was making the rounds. The former proprietor of Simcoe Brewery, after selling his home in Barrie and moving back to England, had been captured by the Germans, who had cut off both his hands. The report seemed too incredible to even consider. First, H.B. would be a bit old to be a soldier, and secondly, no one believed that he would fall into enemy hands. What we do know for sure was that H.B. Joyner died in 1919 at the age of 62. 

Interestingly, during the brief but busy time, H.B. Joyner was in Barrie, records show another occupant of 169 Bayfield in 1901: lawyer William Alves Boys (not to be confused with his father William Fuller Alves Boys, mayor in 1873-75, who had lived over on Toronto Street).

Boys was also commodore of the Barrie Boating Club at the same time Joyner was honorary patron. In 1889, the Boys were living down the street in D’Alton McCarthy’s old place at 5 Wellington St.  Carnoevar – perhaps Bill and Sophie Boys were just staying with Joyners temporarily due to renovations or while transitioning between homes.

Boys was also in partnership, like H.B., with an Anderton, launching the new Barrie Brewing Company in 1901. Boys also served as mayor of Barrie from 1902-04. Later, it was Conservative MP W.A. Boys who declared in 1913 that the government would build a new armoury to replace the Mulcaster Street building if the town of Barrie would provide a site.

Construction of the current armory in Queen’s Park started in September 1914.

This oldtimer at 169 Bayfield has been home to many families and businesses since Joyner and Boys hung their hats there 120 years ago.

The building is currently for sale if you want to add your story to the history of this house.