Listening to Angus, I can see we are spoiled in Toronto. If we live just north of the city core, we point our antenna south, get all of the stations broadcasting from CN Tower plus the stronger Buffalo stations. We are blessed with a dozen or more strong stations depending on our location and antenna.
In Barrie, I guess the strategy would be to pull in as many as possible from the CN Tower. I dont know how good the digital boxes are with regards to sensitivity but I would consult the chart in this forum and attempt to receive what you can from Toronto. If you have a good location such as south part of Barrie, try scanning or tuning for the stronger Toronto stns such as TVO on 19.1 and CBC on 20.1. If you cant receive them, then you are just too far away.
Its too bad since for Toronto viewers, Buffalo is just as far away as Barrie from Toronto yet we can receive them (primarily because they broadcast more power).
Another option if you wish to experiment is to ditch the old analogue tv and buy a new digital TV. Buy it where you can return if it does not work out. Make sure your antenna is pointed south to Toronto and scan for channels. Perhaps the digital TV tuner may be more sensitive and can pick up Toronto. Another advantage is you will at least get a high definition picture.
If it doesnt work, return it to the store and complain to your local MP and to CRTC. CRTC has a feedback email where you can complain about the digital switchover.