The Collingwood Enterprise-Bulletin
Wed Oct 20 2010
Page: A14
Section: News

Grey Highlands area artists, dancers, weavers, spinners, musicians, poets, history buffs, heritage advocates, sports and recreation enthusiasts and anyone else who considers themselves a cultural individual or group are asked to get involved with a creative communities initiative now underway by the local Chambers of Commerce.

Two public meetings were held at the Osprey Museum sites in Feversham and Rob Roy recently to discuss local culture and reach out to people who may be interested in creating the future vision of culture in the municipality. This vision will inform a report about local culture, which will become an integral part of the strategic planning for Grey Highlands.

“We want people to tell us what culture is to them in Grey Highlands,” explained Project Coordinator Kate Russell, who successfully applied for a Creative Communities Prosperity Fund grant from the Ontario Ministry of Tourism & Culture. “This is an excellent opportunity for people to get involved and help shape the future of culture in our community.”

Russell, along with consultant John Harrison are working on the grant workplan, which involves an inventory of local cultural people, events, buildings and organizations -everything from archaeological finds and heritage buildings to artists, galleries and studio tours. They are also working up a cultural upgrade of the Grey Highlands community profile, hosting public meetings and planning a two-day cultural planning workshop.

“We heard from many people about what is important to them locally,” said Russell of the public meetings, which allowed people to feed into the process by reviewing the cultural assets list, offering stories or other cultural interests to be mapped in the area and learning more about the upcoming workshops — planned for Oct. 29 and 30 at the Centre Grey Recreational Complex in Markdale. “We have rich local culture, yet some people don’t recognize its importance to our forward planning. We’d like to hear from cultural champions to help us move this project forward.”

The two-day workshop will offer an opportunity to learn more about the why, what and how of municipal cultural planning. The first day will be workshops and feature keynote speaker Dan Taylor, Economic Development Officer for Prince Edward County.. Prince Edward County is internationally recognized as a rural travel destination and is full of traditional and modern cultural attractions and amenities.

The second day of the workshops will be all about visioning for Grey Highlands. How people want the community to grow and prosper from a cultural perspective. The workshop is free -as it is sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and Municipal Cultural Planning Inc., a provincial organization which offers expertise in the area and is sponsoring the speaker for the event. To get involved or for more information, contact Kate Russell at the Markdale Chamber of Commerce at 519-986-4612 or email