Happy new year!

2016 was an incredible year for the City of Barrie. Never before has Barrie been able to boast of a state of the art digital, free online museum until now. The Barrie Historical Archive (BHA) launched on September 21st with a one night only spectacular night called Mayors’ Seat. This evening, which united nearly every former City Mayor, was an unprecedented historical event that was used as the catalyst to open the virtual doors of the BHA.

On a cold January evening in 2016 a group of 15 people met in the Bayshore Condominium building for the first-ever BHA meeting. With no money in hand but a vision in heart, our sprint to September 21st began. The response from the community has been nothing less than overwhelming. There have been a tremendous amount of milestones along the way.  I wish to highlight a handful of them that have played a foundational role in establishing the BHA.

  • Establishment as a non-profit (March 2016)
  • Initial crowd funding campaign with Mayor Jeff Lehman (May-August 2016)
  • Strategic partnership with Tony Grace and CTV Barrie
  • Growth to a ten member Board of Directors
  • Partnership with Georgian College and student volunteers
  • Implementation of inaugural “Barrie Historical Week” (September 2016)
  • Forming alliances with the Simcoe County Historical Association, Heritage Barrie and the Barrie Historical Association
  • Historic Mayors’ Seat event reuniting City of Barrie Mayors (September 2016)
  • A host of community events including Celebrate Barrie and Celebrate BCC 2016
  • Partnership with the City of Barrie to produce their 2016 Waste Calendar
  • Introduction of BHA Historical Services:
    • Online advertising
    • Sponsored blog posts
    • Sponsored social media campaigns
    • Collection/Exhibit sponsors
    • Historical licensing and prints (partnership with Extreme Imaging)
  • Host of speaking engagements including the City of Barrie Council, Golden K Kiwanas Club, Barrie Rotary chapters and church groups
  • Launch of an interview mini-series, “Evolution of a City” with former Mayor, Jim Perri
  • Partnership with Rowell Photography and establishment of a Contemporary Photography Team to capture current City development
  • Partnerships with the Barrie Examiner and Barrie Today to provide weekly historical pieces for publication
  • Numerous television appearances including Daytime on Rogers Television and CTV News
  • Establishment of office/meeting space at The Creative Space at Barrie’s historic Five Points district
  • Radio appearances on The Dock, Life 100.3, Kool FM, Rock 95, Fresh 93.1 and BIG 101.1
  • First annual “Help Pay the Rent Event” community fundraiser with Danny Stephens (November 2016)
  • Contributor to the Historical Waterfront Trail Project
  • Volunteering with Fresh Radio’s Christmas Cheer Toy Drive (December 2016)

It’s nothing short of amazing to reflect on what’s been accomplished in our first year. It’s a tribute to a great team, including ten amazing board members and the generosity of this community who have opened their wallets, memories and hearts to make the BHA a reality. We are sincerely thankful and grateful for your investment in celebrating Barrie’s rich history through a free, online archive.

As we look now to 2017, we are beyond thrilled to continue building Barrie’s online museum.  Over the course of the next few months we have in queue over 4000 photos, films and historical documents to add to the BHA.  In addition, we have some show-stopping historical events we’re planning for YOU during Canada’s year-long 150th birthday celebration.  As we kick-off 2017 with a BANG we hope you will stay connected with us or even consider joining our ever-growing team of historians and volunteers.

Beginning this coming Wednesday January 4th, join us the first Wednesday of every month at The Creative Space, 12 Dunlop Street for our monthly one hour vision nights in historic Downtown Barrie.  Our monthly meetings are the entry point for any person interested in joining our team.  We hope you will come check us out and consider joining this ‘historical movement’.

Our sincerest thanks goes to those who made the first year of the BHA a monumental success. We achieved and accomplished more than we could have dreamed of because of your relentless support and sacrifice. Barrie finally has a place online where our history can be centralized and celebrated. We hope you will take trip back in time, explore the BHA, invest in it and join us as we tell our history – your story.

Dr. Travis Doucette

Chairman, Barrie Historical Archive