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Barrie Bash returns to city with big economic boost

Air quality concerns won't affect the status of a major ball tournament this weekend in Barrie.

The Barrie Bash is a huge event; with it going forward, it's good news for the players and local businesses.

"From what I'm told, it's one of the biggest tournaments in Ontario," said Sean Hayward, Barrie and District Girls Softball Association's president.

The Barrie Bash, which got underway Friday and ends Sunday, is a big part of a busy weekend in the city.

"This weekend in Barrie is huge. You've got Open Air Dunlop kicking off. You've got the air show where we expect tens of thousands of visitors here to watch," said Stephannie Schlichter, Barrie's economic and creative development director.

Planning for the tournament, which uses a lot of volunteers and 13 ball diamonds for five age groups, began all the way back in November.

"We've got 60 teams here this weekend from all across the province. There's a team here from Phoenix. There are teams from Windsor, LaSalle, Palmerston, London and all over the GTA," Hayward said.

The weekend influx of young families into the area provides a significant economic boost for the community.

"They dine, spend money, shop, and really get a sense of what the flavour of the community is," Schlichter said.

"Every hotel pretty much in Barrie is booked up. Carriage Ridge and Horseshoe Resort's all booked up. We've got one team staying in Midland, so it impacts a lot of Simcoe County," Hayward said.

The City is currently developing a new sports tourism strategy to maximize its amenities.

"We have some incredible sports organizations who are really driving regional, national, provincial recognition, so for us, we're looking at how we bring more of that into the community," Schlichter said.

This weekend's tournament is just one of the recent financial boosts sports tourism has provided for Barrie and surrounding municipalities.

The City estimates that the Ontario Minor Hockey Championships at the beginning of April brought in around $600,000. Top Stories

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