Each year, the City of Barrie is proud to celebrate Culture Days, a Canada-wide celebration designed to catalyze and inspire public participation in arts and culture.
Culture Days programs invite the public to show appreciation for arts and culture in their own communities and nationwide. The Culture Days organization supports a Canada-wide network of arts, culture, and heritage organizers to facilitate free public events in their communities every year.
Running September 22 until October 15, 2023, Culture Days events and activities promise to deliver three glorious weeks of colour, creativity and community. Follow @creativebarrie on Instagram and Facebook for updates!
Culture Days programming is accessible and free, taking place in person, online, and through self-guided exploration. There is still opportunity for interested artists and businesses to participate in Culture Days. Please email the cultural development officer, Amanda Dyke, at Amanda.Dyke@barrie.ca.
Brightening Barriers is a temporary public art project that brings original works by local and regional artists to patios throughout the downtown. Take a self-guided tour to view them all or take your kids on a scavenger hunt! The exhibition ends on September 29.
Keep your eye out for Art on Transit! This public art project presents unique digital designs by regional artists, inspired by Barrie’s Poet Laureate, installed on bus shelters across the city - one in each ward. The project gets installed on September 29.
30 artists and crafts people will open their studios to exhibit work at 20 locations in Simcoe County during this year’s 40th Anniversary 2023 Images Studio Tour. Images is proud to be one of Ontario’s finest and longest running studio tours in Ontario.
Garden Follies is an exhibition of select works from the Barrie Art Club. It runs from June 17 to October 22.
Barrie Public Library Programming
Through partnerships and community engagement, the Barrie Public Library seeks opportunities to cooperate and build connections. Visit the Barrie Public Library’s Events Calendar for ongoing, regular programming.
The exhibition runs from September 21 to October 22. From the autobiographical perspective of a child attending school in 1980s Canada, Aujla pieces together fragments of childhood memory to construct a visual narrative of the colonial and Eurocentric influences that shaped her early education.
On display for the duration of September and October is an exhibition by The Steel Spirit, a volunteer-run organization dedicated to sharing the talents and stories of first responders who use art as an outlet.
Culture Days Flag Raising
12:30pm–1pm, City Hall Courtyard, 70 Collier Street
Join the City of Barrie for its flag raising ceremony to mark the start of Culture Days 2023. It will take place at City Hall, 70 Collier Street, outside in the courtyard by the fountain.
Brightening Barriers Guided Walking Tour
1–2pm | City Hall Courtyard, 70 Collier Street
Join the City's Public Art Coordinator on a walking tour of Brightening Barriers, the downtown patio art project.
Culture Days Kickoff
Starts at 10am | Meridian Place, 30 Simcoe Street
Kick off Culture Days with a diverse mix of arts and culture performances, activities, and organizations for all to enjoy.
Forest Bathing with Musical Enchantment
10am–12pm | Sunnidale Park, 265 Sunnidale Road
Celebrate Culture Days Barrie and the autumn equinox. Wander on a luscious forest bathing walk with Beth Foster as singer/song-writer Painted Sky offers guitar accompaniment to the sultry sounds of nature in the autumn splendour of Sunnidale Park. Registration is full. Join the waitlist in case of cancellations.
Transit Tunes with Barrie Folk
10am–2pm | Downtown Barrie Transit Terminal, 24 Maple Avenue
Enjoy live music by a variety of artists engaged through the Barrie Folk Society inside and outside the Barrie Transit Terminal.
Game On! BPL Comic Fest 2023!
10am–3pm | Barrie Public Library (Downtown), 60 Worsley Street
Dust off your superhero cape for BPL Comic Fest 2023, in partnership with the City's Game On! event. This is a free, family-friendly event that showcases pop culture in Barrie with local vendors, cosplayers, artists and more.
Game On! After Dark (19+)
6–10pm | Five Points Theatre, 1 Dunlop Street West
Re-live the nostalgia of retro video games, go head-to-head in a video game tournament, solve clues and puzzles in an escape room, and much more!
Culture and Poetry (Family Sunday)
1pm–3:30pm, MacLaren Art Centre, 37 Mulcaster Street
Drop-in and join Ty the Poetess, Barrie's new Poet Laureate for a creative writing workshop where poetry and one's culture will be used to spark creativity. Leave with a deeper understanding of your own culture and a new poetic piece to take home.
Performance & Movement Experience with Simcoe Contemporary Dancers
2:30pm–3:15pm, MacLaren Art Centre, 37 Mulcaster Street
Join Simcoe Contemporary Dancers for the premiere of their newest community-engaged choreography! Inspired by the Garden Follies exhibition at the MacLaren, this performance was developed collaboratively with our regional community this past summer.
Write For Your Life
2pm–6om, Uplift Black, 12 Dunlop Street East
"Write for Your Life" is a chance to get your thoughts on paper in a relaxing and friendly environment surrounded by fellow creatives from the area. We will be blending in some free movement warm-ups and mindfulness exercises with featured guest Anthony (from France!) to get ourselves grounded and ready for a day of creativity! We will gather as a community and go through a series of prompts that will result in a beautiful, comedic, heart-warming, or powerful poem.
10am–4pm, Lakeshore Mews
Mews Fest gathers local artisans, vintage vendors, good eats, and the makers and shakers of our community for a block party! It is a community-oriented celebration of the Lakeshore Mews – Barrie's best kept secret, a gateway to beautiful and whimsical shops and eateries. Come to our block party and let’s eat, shop, and gather. Follow @downtownbarrie for updates.
Ukulele Meet Up
6:30–7:30pm | Barrie Public Library (Downtown), 60 Worsley Street
Join fellow musicians to practice your ukulele skills in a relaxed environment. No formal instruction provided.
Red Quills Indigenous Book Club
7–8:30pm | Barrie Public Library (Downtown), 60 Worsley Street
Barrie Public Library is hosting this special edition book club offered by Vanessa Kennedy from Red Quills. Join the discussion about Robin Wall Kimmerer's book Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants.
5–9pm | Bohemia, 125 Dunlop Street East
The first ever Bohemia Bazaar will gather 16 of our local creatives in one cozy, candle lit space to share their work with the community. Bohemia will be selling snacks, beverages, and the usual delicious goods. Emmet Morris will play a live set + DJ throughout the evening. It’s going to be a very special night!
After Hours Café by Uplift Black
7pm–12am | UP Beat Box Creative Studio, 12 Dunlop Street
The City is proud to support this event, welcome to all, which features:
- African inspired hot and cold beverages, popcorn bar and live music!
- Co-creating and networking with other artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and community leaders
- Workshops led by UPlift Black Artist Collective members
- UP BeatBox Recording Studio open for bookings
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Special Movie Presentation
1:30pm–3pm | Painswick Library, Massie Family Community Room, 48 Dean Avenue
Join us for a special movie presentation of Jordan River Anderson, and learn more about Indigenous children and human rights in Canada. Alanis Obomsawin's 52nd film tells the story of how the life of Jordan River Anderson initiated a battle for the right of First Nations and Inuit children to receive the same standard of social, health and educational services as the rest of the Canadian population.
Community Writing Group
11am–1pm., Holly Library, Meeting Room, 555 Essa Road
Are you a writer, or interested in writing? Meet up with a small gathering of locals who want to meet others with similar interests. All abilities welcome. Use this time to write, discuss your ideas, share writing tips, and make connections!
Simcoe Reads Author Talk with Tracy L. Ward
7–8pm | Online
Tracy L. Ward is a former journalist and graduate from Humber College's School for Writers and the author behind the best-selling Marshall House Mysteries and the Mercy Me Mysteries. Her newest novel is called “Warm Hands, Cold Heart.”
6pm–8:45pm, Downtown Library, Angus Ross Room, 60 Worsley Street
A get-together for playwrights seeking to have new scenes and plays read out loud by local actors, and local actors looking for a chance to cold read!
Song Circle Night with the Barrie Folk Society
6–8:30pm | Barrie Public Library (Downtown), 60 Worsley Street
Join the Barrie Folk Society, a not-for-profit organization that cares about the growth & nurturing of the folk/roots music movement in our community, as they share their passion for acoustic music.
Listen to the sound of live music or bring your instrument and play your favourite tunes for/with other musicians in a SONG CIRCLE format. It's a great opportunity to learn new songs, connect with like-minded musicians or simply sit back and enjoy the tunes.
Each performer (solo or groups) will perform a song in turn around the circle. The performers have the option to invite others to play or sing along with them.
Indigenous Story Time
10am–10:30am | Barrie Public Library, 60 Worsley Street
Bring your drum and join us for some traditional songs, and stories where we learn about indigenous history and culture. Angelia Brooks, our EarlyON Indigenous coordinator has put together a Storytime based on traditional stories and animals in Indigenous Culture to share.
Lunch & Learn: Friendship Centre Movement with Samantha Kinoshameg
12–1:30pm | MacLaren Art Centre, 37 Mulcaster Street
Samantha Kinoshameg, Executive Director of the Barrie Native Friendship Centre for the last seven years, will cover the history of the Friendship Centre movement in Canada, the unique and important role that Friendship Centres have in building and strengthening communities, and the relationships and connections that grow from these community centres.
Barrie Sports Hall of Fame 38th Annual Induction & Awards Ceremony
7–9pm | Allandale Recreation Centre, 190 Bayview Drive, Barrie
This ceremony acknowledges the current “Class” of athletes and builders who have excelled in their sport and have represented Barrie on the local, provincial, national and international stage. Established in 1983, almost 100 inductee portraits created by Canadian artists line the walls of Allandale Recreation Centre.
Sandbox Social Takeover & Printmaking Activity – Please Register
4–6pm | Sandbox Centre, 24 Maple Avenue 2nd Floor
Every Thursday evening, the Sandbox Centre hosts a social to facilitate lively networking, fun, and the opportunity to chat about challenges or opportunities between its members and others in the community.
On one extra special Thursday, October 5th, Culture Days will be taking over. This social will feature a printmaking activity by local artist Kim Brett designed to engage all levels of skill! Enjoy live acid jazz by Michael Whone.
This is your chance to tour the Sandbox Centre's state-of-the-art business incubator space for free, while getting connected, enjoying a beverage from the cash bar, and making a unique print to take home!
Culture Night Out – Please RSVP
6–8pm | Sandbox Centre, 24 Maple Avenue 2nd Floor
Join artist Sean-William Dawson for an artist talk, and the premiere of his two new YouTube videos. The videos are part of a series called Outta The Box, where the artist opens packages sent to him with random objects, and makes an art piece.
This is your chance to tour the Sandbox Centre's state-of-the-art business incubator space for free, while getting connected, getting a sneak peak of a new community-building art initiative, and enjoying a beverage from the cash bar!
Live Digital Portraits and Craft Beer
6–10pm | Wheeled Brew Bottle Shop, 7 Clapperton Street
Enjoy watching live art on a big screen as portraits are drawn digitally by local portrait and caricature artist Linda Laforge. Only 16 portrait slots available! You’ll receive your one-of-a-kind art by email during or after the event. The Wheeled Brew Bottle Shop curates a constantly rotating selection of Ontario craft beer, ciders, and wines. We select different styles from small producers around the province for you to enjoy in our small bar or at home.
Artist Talk with Sean-William Dawson: Live Between Us
7–8pm | Spare Room,12 Lakeshore Mews
As part of the Spare Room Artist Talk Series, Sean-William Dawson will be talking about his current art practice, his new YouTube channel, and the intersection between art and technology and how he’s surfing that wave in his art.
Barrie Farmers' Market
9am–1pm, at City Hall, 70 Collier Street
These days, more and more people are making the healthy decision to buy locally grown fruit and vegetables, meats, dairy, eggs, baked goods, and handmade products from farmers’ markets. A wonderful connection is made when you talk to the people who take pride in producing your food! Once you visit, you’ll know why the Barrie Farmers’ Market is such an extraordinary shopping and social experience.
Open Air Dunlop
All day, Dunlop Street East
Open Air Dunlop will have Dunlop Street East closed to cars and open for pedestrians and bikers to roam freely. There will be fitness activities and all-ages art activities from 8am–5pm, and musical entertainment at the Meridian Place stage, 30 Simcoe Street.
- 8:00 A.M.: Yoga with Uptempo Studio
- 9:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.: Craft with Samantha Loney of Metis and Me
- 10:00 A.M.: Yoga with Nook Yoga
- 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M.: Life Drawing with Drawing House
- 1:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M.: Art activity with Jenn Guerin of Art with Purpose
- 1:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M.: Art activity with Vivian Heliotis of Spare Room
- 4:00 P.M.: Dance with Uptempo Studio
Cultural Tile Mosaic Project
1–3:30pm | MacLaren Art Centre, 37 Mulcaster Street
Drop-in and create an original artwork that showcases your cultural expression! Using a wooden 4” X 4” tile and paint, bring to life who you are; no previous art experience required. Imagine if you could show what your culture means to you in a painted tile and that piece became part of a larger mosaic project called "Culture Across Our County"- this is your chance! All are welcome. This activity is organized by Making Change.
Artist Workshop with Sean-William Dawson: House of Blend
4pm | Spare Room,12 Lakeshore Mews
Come join artist Sean-William Dawson (SWD) as he demonstrates his process from his new YouTube channel and invites you to respond to items on hand and make your own art. Feel free to bring a 2D surface (wallpaper, fabric, etc), a 3D item to incorporate, and a printed image.
Art for Lunch: Calling Home
12pm–1pm | MacLaren Art Centre, 37 Mulcaster Street
In conjunction with Culture Days and the House for Sale exhibition, join regional artist and illustrator Linda Laforge as she creates a digital animated drawing accompanied by an original narrative exploring the varied definition of home and community specific to lived experience and regional characters. All are welcome.
Open Stage Night with Barrie Folk Society
6pm–8:30pm | Barrie Public Library, 48 Dean Avenue
Join the Barrie Folk Society, a not-for-profit organization that cares about the growth and nurturing of the folk/roots music movement in our community, as they share their passion for acoustic music. Listen to the sound of live music or bring your instrument and play your favourite tunes in an OPEN STAGE format. Members of the community are encouraged to come out and be part of our audience. Enjoy an evening of musical entertainment for FREE!
Artist Talk: Lessons Learned by Angela Aujla
10am–11am | The Campus Gallery, Georgian College, 1 Georgian Drive, Building D, Room 140
Angela will discuss and deconstruct a selection of the pieces in her exhibit, Lessons Learned, delving into the layers of confusing colonial and Eurocentric influences that quietly and insidiously shaped her childhood identity growing up in 1980s Canada. She will explain why the metaphor of the palimpsest holds such resonance for her artistic practice, and reflects on the power of visual storytelling to encourage a process of questioning and self-reflection regarding the lessons we inherit.
The Giving Tree: A Retelling of a Traditional Metis Story
10am–12pm | South Simcoe Metis Council, 64 Cedar Pointe Drive, Unit 1401 and 1402
Please reserve your spot
Bring your little ones to join Metis podcast producer Samantha Loney in the reading of the traditional Metis story of The Giving Tree. Around the theme of reciprocity, they will create a craft to leave as a gift for the tree and receive one in return. For ages 4 – 9, gifts from the tree will be age-appropriate toys. Snacks will be provided.
Skate Deck Exhibition: Closing Party
2pm–4pm | Spare Room Gallery, 12 Lakeshore Mews
Come view an exhibition of skateboard decks painted by local artists. The exhibition runs from October 4 to October 14. This will be the closing celebration, and last chance to bid for a skate deck and help support Spare Room, a studio space and support system for local emerging and early career artists.
Against All Odds: Artistic Practice in the Face of Uncertainty and Change
11:30am–1pm | MacLaren Art Centre, 37 Mulcaster Street
The MacLaren Art Centre has partnered with the Orillia District Arts Council to host an engaging talk by professional artists from the region and abroad. With ties to Ukraine, these artists have continued to maintain an artistic practice as a vital way to express identity, culture, and a sense of belonging in the face of transition, uncertainty, and change. Through the creative endeavours and life experiences they will share, notions of home as a metaphor--a feeling of stability, or a lack thereof--will be explored. A 15-minute Q&A session will follow. All are welcome.
The Steel Spirit Art Discussion
1pm–2pm | Online
Join an inspiring discussion on artwork, creativity and personal stories of those from Military and First Responder services. Soldiers, firefighters, police and paramedics are the first to be sent out to protect nations and the first ones to arrive on scene among strangers to help in the most critical incidences of our lives. Art has been one of the most compelling outlets for individuals in the services, encompassing a wide variety of mediums within which artists can explore their talents. The Steel Spirit is a volunteer-run organization dedicated to sharing the talents and stories of these artists.
Living Art Exhibit: Indigenous Art Showcase
1–3pm | MacLaren Art Centre, 37 Mulcaster Street
Stop by and join us in the Rotary Education Centre for the Living Art Exhibit! The Barrie Native Friendship Centre has invited local Indigenous artists to share their artwork in various forms as well as the role art plays in identity, culture, and connection. In this Indigenous Art Showcase, families and individuals can engage with the artists and learn firsthand about the stories behind these pieces. Questions are encouraged. All are welcome.
Culture Days wouldn't be possible without the coordination of many in Barrie's arts sector. Thank you to all our partners for your passion and dedication to a healthy and vibrant cultural sector:
- Barrie Public Library
- Barrie Farmers' Market
- Downtown Barrie Business Association
- The Campus Gallery (Georgian College)
- MacLaren Art Centre