I joined the early birds on January 1st at Mayor Jeff Lehman’s Annual Brunch and Levee. While Levee’s have long been a New Year’s Day tradition in Canada, this Barrie brunch event is a unique offering that gives back to our County; with funding from Power Stream, all profits from ticket sales go to the United Way of Greater Simcoe County.
We were warmly greeted by event hostess, Canvas and Cabernet owner, Cyndi Taylor. I then circled the rotunda to scope out the brunch offerings from familiar downtown cafes and restaurants. Hudson, Tara Indian Cuisine, Lazy Tulip Café and cup•CAKE provided the edibles while other local businesses contributed mocktails, superior service, with warm beverage offerings and dark chocolate bites from Fair Trade Barrie.
Robin Munro; organizer extraordinaire of the Barrie Blues and Jazz Festival, talented member of Jazz Mandhu set the musical tone, then “Aura”, Duke Ellington’s favourite Jazz singer took the microphone to woo us with her fantastic vocals. Students from Music Lessons Barrie shared their skills too.
The room was abuzz with gentle conversation; I basked in the positivity of community.Regardless of your political stripes, the tradition of the Levee opens the doors of the Mayor’s office to the people of the city. From the skating rink to the inner sanctum of the offices themselves, this event is without pretense; beverages were offered and the Mayor’s daughter eagerly handed out bags of locally produced sweet and salty popcorn to Levee attendees. Conversation was comfortable and sincere.
Many folks were on hand for the Kiwanis Club draw for a dinner for two anywhere in the world!
I spoke with fellow members of the Barrie Public Library Monday night book club who were in attendance; one of whom is new to our city having moved here recently from Poland. Kate and her husband Michael came to the Levee to meet our Mayor Jeff Lehman. They are keen to learn more about the city they now call home and the activities, events, restaurants and cultural activities available for them to participate in. As we watched the families skating in the center rink below the Mayor’s office, Michael said they recently purchased skates and are ready to take a spin.
January often starts with resolutions which can be notoriously difficult to keep. Come February or March, many have fallen off track. Research says it is far easier to keep those good intentions when support and encouragement is provided.
I suggest we make a collective resolution and encourage each other to shop and support local!
Whether you are new to Barrie, new to exploring our downtown, or new to the shop local movement, let me assure you that you will find everything you need here; friendly knowledgeable businesses, restaurateurs, café and shop owners, artists and entrepreneurs, providing the full gamut of skills and services you require in your community!
Erin Corcoran; Re/Max Chay Reality Inc. Sales Representative and enthusiastic owner operator of Barrie’s Simcoe County Shop Local and I are collaborating to bring you “Barrie through the Seasons”. This monthly review will encourage community awareness in support of local, downtown focused events, businesses, restaurants and shops for you to experience and explore.
Erin Corcoran and I resolve to continue our support of local, please join us!
Mark your February 2016 calendars for:
-Winterfest February 6-7th including the Hot Chocolate Trail.
-February Blues Festival 4-7th
-Reel Stories February 5-7th