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Barrie, Ontario

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Barrie in Ontario.

 

Barrie is a city located on Kempenfelt Bay, an arm of Lake Simcoe, in the central portion of southern Ontario, Canada. Although geographically near the centre of Simcoe County, the municipality is politically separate.

Barrie's location between Toronto and resort areas to the north, popularly known as cottage country, result in the city being influenced by the metropolis to the south. The city is located in the northern portion of the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the most densely populated area of Canada.

In 2008 Barrie city council started electing an exemplary citizen as an honorary Mayor. This occurs on the first day of summer as a symbolic start to the lucrative tourist season in the City. Michael Barnes has been recognized as the first recipient for this award.

Barrie is home to a number of live performance companies including Theatre by the Bay, Talk Is Free Theatre and the Huronia Symphony. Grove Park Home is the practice hall for On Stage Performance Group which performs in Cookstown. The Strolling Youth Players, and the Kempenfelt Community Players also all perform in Barrie. In addition, an annual live concert series is hosted by Georgian College. Barrie is home to many galleries and studios. A Studio tour in the Barrie, Orillia area takes place on the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend every year. It is called the Images Studio Tour and has over 25 artists on average. The self guided tour allows people to visit artists in their working studio and see how the art is created while enjoying the beautiful fall colours driving through the two cities and the countryside. Potters, jewellers, painters, textile artists and fashion designers make up a few of the disciplines of the talents on display.

Barrie is also home to the MacLaren Art Centre, an innovative art gallery that supports the visual arts in Simcoe County. It inspired the "Art City" project, which has had many different large sculptures installed around the city. These can be found in parks and along the scenic waterfront. The MacLaren Art Centre is a large and beautiful building on Mulcaster Street in downtown Barrie. International and Canadian artists display in the three main galleries. A permanent collection of art is slowly growing, the Radio Cafe, a gift shop, film nights, speakers, theatre and many children's programs and community art projects are just a small part of the gallery's mandate. This gallery contributes overall to a vibrant arts community in the Barrie area with it leading edge arts. An August Rodin sculpture in bronze called "The Thinker" is housed permanently on the front gardens of the gallery. On Lakeshore Mews two galleries have opened recently: Gary Owen Gallery and Awkward Gallery. The Gary Owen Gallery specializes in local original art and Awkward Gallery opens its doors to all types of contemporary Canadian art. Lakeshore mews is quickly becoming a hub of galleries and studios in the downtown area.

Barrie's Downtown Community Theatre is located at the site of the former Scotiabank site at Five Points in downtown Barrie. The Downtown Theatre was renovated in Fall 2008 for interim use by community groups. Currently the Theatre is under construction and will be open in May 2011 with seating for up to 210 people. The Downtown Theatre will be the main venue for Theatre by the Bay and the Talk Is Free Theatre Company among all other community arts groups.

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