We are celebrating
Our History…

The history of Barrie goes back to the early 19th century. More than 170 years have passed and Barrie has been without an online museum–until now.

The Barrie Historical Archive exists to preserve and proclaim our history – YOUR story.  We’re on mission to build, organize and maintain a free, credible online archive that celebrates and centralizes Barrie’s historical content.

Will you help us tell
Your Story?

We need materials

The strength of the archive is built upon unpublished family pictures that tell your story.  We’re looking to borrow any documents, photos, films, slides or videos from Barrie.  We work with experts to ensure your property is cared for and digitized professionally.  We recognize every contributor by name with each archival entry.  Please connect with us at and complete this material consent form to get started.

We need minutes

We are a group of local historians and volunteers who love our city.  If you have a passion for preserving local history and believe in the vision and mission of what we are doing, we’d like to hear from you.  We’re not a club.  We’re actively building and maintaining a reputable and outstanding historical archive. We love what we do and have a lot of fun doing it! If you are interested in joining our team, the first step is to visit our volunteer page.

We need money

As a non-profit, we are 100% funded by community dollars*.  Operating an online museum incurs a number of costs including film transfer, web hosting, promotional materials, design and historical community events.  Donations can be made in memory of a loved one, living or deceased and can be given online or mailed to our office at P.O. Box 833, Barrie, Ontario L4M 4Y6.

Board of Directors

Billy Courtice
Billy CourticeChairman
Deb Exel
Deb ExelVolunteer
Mary Fletcher Harris
Mary Fletcher HarrisDirector of History and Research
Ryan Rowell
Ryan RowellTreasurer
Tyler Steingard
Tyler SteingardDesigner (Non-voting member)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Barrie Historical Archive?

The Barrie Historical Archive (BHA) is Barrie’s only free online museum of photos, videos, documents and audio. Accessible and available to everyone, the BHA is cultivated by local historians and photographers who are committed to capturing and archiving our rich history and telling your story.  As a registered not-for-profit we are completely community sourced and funded.

What is this vision and mission of the Barrie Historical Archive?

We exist to preserve and proclaim our history – YOUR story.  We’re on mission to build, organize and maintain a free, credible online archive that celebrates and centralizes Barrie’s historical content.

Where do the historical pieces in the Barrie Historical Archive come from?

The strength of the BHA is built upon unpublished historical content lent to us by the public.

If I loan my archives to the Barrie Historical Archive, will they be protected until they are returned to me? How long will you keep them?

All content lent is carefully handled and processed by professional digital media editing companies.  Depending on volume, material is processed quickly and returned promptly, usually within a month.  If you have material you would like to lend and see included in the BHA, please start by completing our online Material Consent Form.

How are you able to post others’ historical pieces and monetize them?

The business model of the Barrie Historical Archive acquires assets for the purpose of monetizing them as a part of our ongoing fundraising efforts. Donors of historical materials sign a Material Consent Form, a legally binding document that grants us permission to post their historical pieces and in most cases, monetize them to help fund the archive.

What type of work do you need help with?

We’re always looking for volunteers to help in the following areas:

  • Content Organization: Photo sorting by geographical location, re-naming files with simple descriptions, and organizing content according to specific systems within Dropbox and WordPress.
  • Website Content Management: Uploading content to website, creating captions, tagging, ensuring format consistency.
  • Content Scouting: Finding content through various means (cold calling, emails, inquiries), build creditable relationships with lenders, arrange to pick-up (borrow) and return content once processed.
  • PR and Recruitment: Pursue and develop in-roads with the media and other historical/community groups, educate the public on the BHA, recruit others and assist with crowd-funding initiatives.
  • Administrative: Help to maintain volunteer databases, finances, organizational systems and structures.
  • Social Media Management: Oversee and regularly maintain Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Initiate and execute creative incentives to build viewership.
  • Fundraising: Help lead and manage fundraisers, investigate and pursue potential donors and design creative fundraising initiatives.
  • Historical Research: Investigate, identify and review information that will aid in identifying people, places, buildings and objects in archive pieces.
  • Photography: Professional photographers who want to capture the city and donate their submissions for the benefit of the BHA.
  • Archive Curation: Assist in determining which pieces are included in the BHA according to our Guidelines for Curation, identify what areas in the archive are lacking content.
  • Special Events: Assist in planning and executing our two annual signature events (Spring and Fall), plan, prepare and promote ongoing BHA campaigns and initiatives.
Will any training be provided for volunteers?

Yes. We regularly host a variety of training sessions to fully equip our volunteers and make them feel comfortable with the tasks assigned to them.  In addition, we also provide clear manuals (with pictures) and video tutorials on how to complete regular archival tasks.

Do you have to be a resident of Barrie to volunteer with the Barrie Historical Archive?


How is the project being funded?

We are an incorporated not-for-profit completely funded by the generosity of our community donors and sponsors. Donations can be made online, or a cheque can be mailed to our office at P.O. Box 833, Barrie, Ontario L4M4Y6.

Is anyone on the Barrie Historical Archive Board of Directors paid or renunerated in any way?


Is the Barrie Historical Archive currently a registered charity?

No.  We have applied for charitable status and anticipate a government response in 2018.

Are you associated with any other historical organizations?

Yes.  We are affiliated both the Simcoe County Historical Association and the Barrie Historical Association.  We are also members of the Barrie Chamber of Commerce. In addition, we regularly partner and promote events with local organizations including the City of Barrie, MacLaren Art Centre and the Downtown Barrie Business Improvement Association (BIA).

Are you active on social media?

Yes, very much so.  You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.  In addition, we help oversee the If You Grew Up in Barrie You Remember historical Facebook group.

How is this organization different from the other local historical associations?

The BHA is dedicated to one sole project: building and maintaining an online archive. Whereas we may partner with other organizations to assist with projects, our primary focus is preserving our history and telling your story through celebrating and centralizing Barrie’s historical content.

I’m sold! How can I get involved?

The entry point to becoming involved with the BHA is to attend one of our monthly, 1 hour meetings.  Follow us on social media to find out when our next meeting in or email us at [email protected].