Culture Days are coming to a venue near you

Culture Days returns to Barrie September 29 to October 1 courtesy of the city’s Creative Economy Department. The event will be moved indoors for the three days to avoid being rained out again.

New this year are Scratch Lab, a free DJ/turntable workshop at the Mady Centre, which the city has been looking to partner with the group who work with local schools.

“What we wanted to do was give an opportunity to a variety of age ranges, and have it be open to the general public and more of a drop-in-and-try program,” explains Amanda Dyke, City Culture Officer, Development.

Culture Days, she explains, is a nationwide initiative that encourages communities to celebrate culture and the arts by offering activities that are free and open to the general public and either has an interactive or a behind the scenes element to them.

Currently, in their eighth year – they partner with many of local organizations to do interactive and behind the scenes programming.

“One of the exciting pieces that we’ve had year after year is Conduct Us and that is with the Huronia Symphony Orchestra, and they’ll go out to a local venue and have the orchestra, or a portion of the orchestra, performing and the general public can come over and actually try their hand at conducting musicians,” says Dyke.

One of their partners is the Barrie Public Library, launching the instrument lending library with. The program offers musical instruments, “Especially those classical ones that people might not want to make a commitment to purchase right off the bat,” says Dyke.

“You can borrow instruments from the library, take them home, practice with them, see if you are interested in them and then down to road can purchase one if you decide you are passionate about it,” she explains.

Theatre tours will also be given by their technical directors who will orient attendees with the technical booth, behind the scenes, green rooms and fun trying out some of the tech equipment.

“It’s about encouraging people to go into creative spaces or engage with our partnered organizations, so we’ll be operating out of the Mady Centre Saturday the 30th otherwise it will just be locations around the city that people can drop into,” says Dyke.

Culture Days is a national event that was initiated at the Canada Arts Summit in 2010 and has been carried out across the country every year since. The city encourages the community to attend and is still open to accepting activities anyone would like to hold.

“This really is for people who may already feel and understand how important culture is to a community and how much the arts bring to people. It tends to be those people who are already invested in culture unless it’s something where they maybe stumble upon it,” says Dyke.

“We have had programming take place in our malls or recreation centres and will promote through those (outlets) as well. Regular patrons of those who might not actively engage with any of our cultural or arts organisations can learn more about what’s going on,” she explains.

The Canada-wide celebration will be inspire the arts in Barrie at these locations as follows;

  • Ridin’ Along, Singin’ a Song on city buses and at bus stops around the city
  • Street performers along the downtown core
  • Scratch Lab DJ/Turntable workshops at the Mady Centre
  • Try your Hand at Conducting & Borrow something from the Instrument Library; courtesy of the Huronia Symphony Orchestra and the downtown branch of the Barrie Public Library
  • Unveiling of New Sculpture Garden at the MacLaren Art Centre

The city is always looking to expand on Culture Days with increased activities and venues so reach out to them with your ideas at

(Pictured: Busker at previous year’s Culture Days event)

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