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Department of Culture

Welcome to the Department of Culture (DOC). Our mandate is to implement Barrie’s Plan for Culture, “Building a Creative Future,” on behalf of Barrie’s many and diverse residents. 

Created in 2006, Barrie's Plan for Culture outlines a strategy for building a strong cultural sector in Barrie, one that will greatly enhance the quality of life of residents and contribute to the economic development of the community. One of the key recommendations of the plan was the creation of a department responsible for implementing the culture plan and ensuring community input. That is how the Department of Culture came into being. The Department serves to promote cultural organizations, industries, and activities to cultural consumers.  It is the means by which the City of Barrie provides leadership in the Culture sector and assists artists and arts organizations with much needed resources. The Department of Culture was officially formed in March of 2008 when Rudi Quammie Williams was hired as its first Director.

The DOC supports excellence in local cultural initiatives in an effort to help build capacity for the arts in our community.  We promote, plan, and co-ordinate cultural initiatives with artists, arts organizations, cultural entrepreneurs, other departments within the City of Barrie, and other levels of government when necessary to fulfill our mandate.

DOC objectives include development and implementation of cultural policies for the City of Barrie, development of much needed physical infrastructure to house cultural activities, provision of opportunities for knowledge transfer in order to build capacity for the arts and other cultural activities and engagement of community members across a wide spectrum.

Three Areas of Focus: Development, Programming, and Marketing

In fulfilling Development objectives, the DOC maintains a database of current statistical and financial information on the culture sector. On behalf of the City we provide training and funding to Barrie culture workers, in an effort to support and sustain cultural development and capacity building.

Programming objectives are fulfilled by providing oversight and co-ordination of activities in our cultural spaces through the Special Event Permit process, as well as hosting the City of Barrie’s own schedule of annual events and festivals.  Programming staff also manage the City's growing inventory of physical infrastructure dedicated to arts and culture, including two theatres - the Mady Centre for the Performing Arts and the Georgian Theatre.

The DOC will continue to work with other departments and organizations such as the Department of Strategy and Economic Development, Tourism Barrie, and the Downtown BIA to market Barrie’s culture sector and its opportunities.  To achieve this end, we are engaged in the development of a marketing plan for Barrie Culture, one that will be based on the knowledge gained in our recent market study of Barrie and surrounding region.  We are committed to a leadership role in the creation of adequate opportunities for young and emerging artists so as to ensure their continued growth and contribution to the culture sector.

The DOC is located at 56 Mulcaster Street (beside City Hall) and is pleased to advise, advocate, assist, and nurture all cultural sector participants, City Departments, and City Council for the purpose of enhancing the quality of life for all residents and creating opportunities for culture as an economic driver. 

Department of Culture Staff

The Department of Culture welcomes and encourages you to participate in the growth and development of Barrie’s vibrant cultural sector.  Whether you are an artist, producer, or an arts supporter, please contact us at (705) 739-4299 or email for opportunities to volunteer.  Let’s make Barrie Culture grow.

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