Mary Fletcher Harris

Director of History and Research

I work along side other team members, particularly the Directors of Curation and Archive Management, to research the story surrounding archive pieces, answer user comments, look for areas of need in the archive and assisting with special events. I also enjoy working with the actual archival pieces, from dating and labeling photographs to uploading them to our website. My favourite part is probably writing blog posts for the BHA, some about the golden oldie restaurants in our city and others about local places, events and people.

Favourite historical building:

Old houses! It is hard to pick but I have always loved the Lount Castle on Valley Drive.

If I could own a home on one historical street it would be:

Anything Victorian, a red brick place with a big porch, wood floors and a bit of stained glass.

I got involved with the BHA because:

I find myself very connected to the places I have lived. I was born in Scotland and am very attached to my roots in Argyll, my home in the West Highlands. After my family came to Canada, I was raised on a farm in the Holland Marsh. My Bradford-West Gwillimbury connections are very important to me too and I was secretary for my high school reunion committee there in 2009. I came to Barrie to attend Georgian College and I just never left! That was 34 years ago.  I love the older neighbourhoods, with Downtown being my particular favourite – a historic and colourful jewel by the lake. I hope to inspire some curiosity in younger people and newcomers about the many changes Barrie has been through. This project meshes nicely with my other love – genealogy.

What I do for a living:

I trained to be a chef at Georgian College. Today, I very proudly cook at the Salvation Army soup kitchen, at Five Points, in the former Barrie Examiner building. I am also a freelance writer and local food blogger. You can find me at