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3 Things You Might Not Know About The MacLaren Art Centre

3 Things You Might Not Know About The MacLaren

3 Things You Might Not Know About The MacLaren Art Centre

The MacLaren art centre is a fixture of the Barrie arts scene. The gallery presents dozens of unique exhibitions and art works and regularly hosts events adding to the cultural fabric of the city. Moreover, it’s a fantastic venue for weddings and fundraisers, and boasts one of the city’s best cafes.

Moreover, as they have had to close their doors to help fight the spread of Covid, it’s a good time to look back on the centre’s history and uncover a few things you might not have known…

It Used To Be Barrie’s Main Library

The MacLaren is actually comprised of two buildings. Combining the contemporary facility on Mulcaster street and the older structure on Collier street. Known as the Carneige room, it was the city’s library for over 75 years. The establishment got it’s moniker thanks to a $15,000 grant provided to the city in 1915 by Andrew Carneige, the American steel magnate. He was offering grants to communities across North America at the time, to build new libraries.  

Eventually, in 2001, the MacLaren moved from their Toronto St location into the old library building.

It’s Named After a Local Businessman

In light of the history of the building, you might think the museum has been around for a long time. In fact, the MacLaren got it’s start as the Barrie Gallery Project, in 1986. By the same token, they opened a storefront gallery on Mulcaster street just a few doors down from the current location.

In 1989, a local businessman Maurice MacLaren left his collection and home at 147 Toronto Street to the City of Barrie and the Barrie Gallery Project, giving the Gallery a permanent home. In honour of his bequest, the Gallery was named the MacLaren Art Centre in 1990.

The Spirit Catcher Is One Of It’s Exhibits

Synonymous with the city and the waterfront, the Spirit Catcher is the first permanent exhibit of the MacLaren. Although artist Ron Baird created the sculpture for Vancouver’s Expo ’86, it found it’s way to Barrie in 1987. Following Expo, the sculpture was purchased by the Helen McCrea Peacock Foundation and donated to the Barrie Gallery Project. It then entered the gallery’s permanent collection. Furthermore, the MacLaren maintains the Spirit Catcher and undertakes annual inspections to ensure it’s preservation.

What Did You Think 3 Things You Might Not Know About The MacLaren Art Centre? Check out their website and Instagram for more on how you can stay connected with them!

The Social Recap – The Week That Was Jan. 11th

5 Things To Do This Winter in Barrie

The Social Recap – The Week That Was Jan.11th

All The Good (And Occasional) Bad of What Went Down in Barrie Last Week

There are three certainties in life…



Social media.

And if you are tweeting, posting and talking about Barrie on social media, we want to hear from you!

Every week we will do a quick recap of the week that was in Barrie based on your pics, posts and videos.

Whether it’s store openings, foodie reviews, feelgood stories, fun facts about Barrie, even bizarre bird formations over the marina, we want to share it.

The Social Recap – The Week That Was Jan. 11th

Do you ever wish you could just…rise above it all? Besides taking up superhero flight as a hobby, drone shots like this one are the next best thing!

Winter doesn’t always bring out the best in us (see: getting stuck in the snow while driving) But it does bring out the best in photography…

Did you check out our primer on Barrie’s restaurants offering delivery and curbside pickup? If not, be sure you have a look at the great takeaway options from some of the city’s best eateries, like Lazy Tulip, or Hooligans (offering amazing donations to local charities and non profits every Wednesday)

And finally, did you know your Baycats have a podcast? And with the lockdown in full effect, you have plenty of time to check it out!

What did you think of The Social Recap – The Week That Was Jan.11th? Keep using the #barrieuncovered hashtag and we may feature your “stuff” in a future blog. And if you are a Barrie business based looking to expand your digital footprint, reach out today! We will get you Uncovered.

Kempenfelt Community Players Goes Virtual

KCP accepting audition submissions for their first full-length virtual performance


Kempenfelt Community Players (KCP) is adapting to the new normal and is currently accepting audition submissions for their first full-length virtual performance of The Last Five Years.  KCP Alumni, Ryan Laplante will direct this completely virtual performance alongside Musical Director Renée  Cingolani.  

The Last Five Years explores a five-year relationship between Jamie Wellerstein, a rising novelist, and Cathy  Hiatt, a struggling actress. The show uses a form of storytelling in which Cathy’s story is told in reverse  chronological order (beginning the show at the end of the marriage), and Jamie’s is told in chronological  order (starting just after the couple have first met). The characters do not directly interact except for a  wedding song in the middle as their timelines intersect. This Broadway smash hit was adapted for the  screen in the 2015 film of the same name featuring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan. 

In KCP’s production, Cathy will be portrayed femme and Jamie will be portrayed masc, however, the casting  of this show will be age, gender, and colour blind so there is great deal of flexibility. Those interested in  submitting an audition video are free to audition for whichever character interests them the most! 

Instead of the traditional two-person cast for The Last 5 Years, KCP will be casting a different performer for  each song (and two performers from within the same household for the duet at the centre of the show)  with a few possible non-speaking roles that would be played by performers within each cast members  household (if that isn’t possible those roles will be cut from the show). Auditions, music rehearsals, text  work and the overall planning, discussion of the shoot, and recording will take place entirely over e-mail,  zoom or the phone as necessary. SAFETY IS THE FIRST PRIORITY. The cast size is anticipated to be  somewhere between 14-17.  

Further information about the audition process for this production can be found at 

Staying Connected: Barrie’s Fitness Centres

Staying Connected: Barrie's Fitness Centres

Staying Connected: Barrie’s Fitness Centres

Every Wednesday, we’ll focus on one service or industry in Barrie and highlight how they are staying connected to you during this latest lockdown. Whether it’s online sales, curbside pickup or virtual sessions, we’ll share the ways you can support them. Even if it’s as simple as providing you with their online presence so you can leave them a positive review!

This week we focus on Barrie’s Fitness centres and gyms.

Staying Connected: Barrie’s Fitness Centres

The Barbell Academy

Founded in 2015 and located in the Northeast part of Barrie, you can find out more about them and their training programs on their website!

Fit Studio and Kickboxing

Offering training for men, women’s and teens, this is another independent fitness centre. Located on Cundles in Barrie, they’re celebrating 10 years in town!. They have gear for sale as well as a FB page you can check out!

Core Evolution Fitness

Located on Saunders road, Core Evolution is Dave Fraser’s intense and effective fitness facility, specializing in MetaFit.

Waterfront Pilates and Fitness

Specializing in fitness through Pilates and general health improvement, Waterfront Pilates is on Gowan street, walking distance to the lake. They offer a full schedule of pre-recorded classes and live online sessions.

9 Round Fitness

One of the most unique workouts in town, 9 Round provides 30 minute trainer led kickboxing sessions in every sitting. They’ve got plenty of online options as well as gear to buy to support them.

Fitness Infuzion For Women

Fitness Infuzion for Women is a non-intimidating workout place dedicated to women. With focus on weight loss, building muscle and improving self esteem, they provide plenty of online options to keep trim and active during the lockdown. Check them out online and on FB.

And you can also visit the websites for Alexacise, Hot Bod and Crossfit Barrie.

What did you think of Staying Connected: Barrie’s Fitness Centres? Did we miss any locations? Let us know! And if you are a Barrie based business looking to expand your digital footprint, reach out today! We will get you Uncovered.

5 Things To Do This Winter in Barrie

5 Things To Do This Winter in Barrie



Let’s face it… winter is not everyone’s cup of mead. When it arrived on Monday, with news of another lockdown, we could hear the collective groans all over town.

BUT! Even in lockdown, you can break free of the icy induced despair. The season in Barrie brings cold weather events and experiences suitable for your entire clan. Hit the links on each event for more!


5 Things To Do This Winter in Barrie



The Uptown Theatre closed it’s door earlier this year, but the BFF will continue to show it’s programming online

Virtual Cinema will bring thought provoking international films to town every month, that can be rented for viewing at home. And you can get caught up on previous rentals that have been uploaded as well.



Bust out the snowshoes and blades and hit up the resplendent paths and rinks around town. Lackie’s Bush, Ardagh Bluffs and Sunnidale park are beautiful in town spots for a winter walk.

And if you are willing to take a car trip, there are plenty of gorgeous skating trails within driving distance of Barrie

There’s also city hall and the community centres if carving fresh ice is more your jam. Most rinks and outdoor parks remain open, but you should always check in advance for any restrictions. 




If hanging by the fire is on your list for this winter, might we recommend curling up with a good podcast? Of course we’ve got a variety of audio entertainment, but there are a plethora of equally cool local pods.

True crime junkies should have a listen to Whereabouts Unknown, hosted by local private investigator Ellen White. The ongoing series shines a spotlight on the stories of the missing and murdered in Canada, particularly cases from around the region.

Sequel Talk with local filmmaker Mitch Graszat is a pop culture-savvy chat where guests dream up imaginary sequels and talk about em! Recent episodes include bad ideas for classic movies like Heathers and the Princess Bride. And it’s not limited to just movies. Mitch and company also speculate on what could have been with classic songs and TV shows.



Did you miss Mayor Jeff’s red zone challenge? The Challenge is simple!

The latest restrictions will last 4 weeks (or more). So, for the next four weeks, the challenge is to do these 4 things each week (4 x 4): 1. Donate to a Barrie Charity 2. Order take out for pickup from a Barrie restaurant 3. Buy something from a Barrie shop/service 4. Reach out to someone in Barrie. Post the 4 things you did with the hashtag #Barrie4x4Challenge

Need some inspiration to get started? How about Christmas Cheer to donate to, Skewers for take out and one of the great local businesses from the Chamber of Commerce to buy from!



“Education is the passport to the future” said… someone much brighter than us. But you can put yourself on the path to recognizing or even saying profound quotes like that via the many adult education options in Barrie.

Georgian College has a number of evening and continuing education classes beginning in January, including online learning.

There’s also College Boreal, which provides full courses in French and Spanish as a second language.


What did you think of our 5 Things To Do This Winter in Barrie? Did we miss anything cool? Let us know! We are always on the lookout for events in Barrie, virtual or otherwise, to add to our events calendar