Backgrounder Speaker Series

The Institute of Southern Georgian Bay > About Us > Backgrounder Speaker Series

Institute Speaker Series: Background, content, goals


The rapid pace of change in the 21st century inspired residents with backgrounds in business, not-for-profits, philanthropy, and government to create the Institute of Southern Georgian Bay. This “think and do tank” aims to build awareness around issues and nurture collaborative action to improve quality of life for all in our region.

The vision is to “Harness the power of people and place in Southern Georgian Bay to grow social and economic prosperity and be the smartest, greenest, healthiest and most caring region in Ontario.”

Southern Georgian Bay is well-positioned to become Ontario’s premier destination for people of all ages to live, work, and play. However, at several community dialogues held over the last three years, the issue of organizations and sectors working in isolated silos surfaced as a key issue impeding the development of solutions to many of our regional challenges.

In response, the Institute developed its mission to connect people, conduct research, and foster collaboration to explore options and work together on innovative solutions and new opportunities.

2018 Community Innovation Day Success

The Institute of Southern Georgian Bay is initiating a Speaker Series which will build on the seven themes highlighted at our 2018 Community Innovation Day. At this successful event, 90 people participated in discussions on:

  • Establishing a regional arts and culture destination;
  • Nurturing business and entrepreneurship innovation;
  • Collaborating on poverty reduction strategies;
  • Celebrating environmental action;
  • Building health and wellness networks;
  • Designing community hubs and partnerships; and
  • Increasing the impact of volunteerism.

2019 Speaker Series

The Speaker Series will target residents and business, government, and not-for-profit leaders from across the region. Social media platforms, newsletters, and collaborative communications strategies will be used ahead of each event to share data on the current state of our regional quality of life and to generate interest in working together to co-create solutions to issues and to seize opportunities to build a strong future.

Follow-up workshops will offer opportunities to facilitate in-depth discussion and decisions to formalize next steps to bring to life some of the 28 ideas developed at the Community Innovation Day. Please visit to view the reports from this event.

Collaborative Partners

The Steering Committee, made up of collaborating organization leaders, will guide the development and implementation of the Speaker Series. The Committee will also help to capture the learnings for reflection and evaluation purposes and will convene working groups to co-create the roadmap to help achieve the Community Innovation Day aspirations. Partners include:

  • Institute of Southern Georgian Bay
  • Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts
  • Blue Mountain Village Foundation
  • Community Connection
  • Community Foundation Grey Bruce
  • Rotary Club of Collingwood
  • United Way Simcoe Muskoka
  • Georgian College

Four landmark events this fall –  Get engaged!

 Arts & Culture: a significant driver for creative, healthy, and prosperous regions.   

September 19, 2019, 7pm

Marsh Street Centre, 187 Marsh Street, Clarksburg

MC for the evening: Bill Anderson, Radio Host on The New Classical FM, originating from 102.9 FM in Collingwood and heard as well on 96.3FM in Toronto and 103.1FM in Eastern Ontario

 Panellists include:

Stuart Reid, Curator and Executive Director, Community Foundation Grey Bruce

Sandra Dupret, VP, Fleming College in association with the Haliburton School of Art + Design

John Hartman, artist; Chair, Midland Cultural Centre

Dean Hollin, Theatre Director, Marsh Street Centre

Erica Angus, Executive Director, Theatre Collingwood

 Lead Partners:  Institute of Southern Georgian Bay, Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts

Media Sponsor: On the Bay Magazine

 This panel discussion, with audience participation, explores the ideas of place-making and developing a Regional Arts Strategy. A wine and cheese reception follows.

Follow-up goal: The development of a Regional Arts & Culture Strategy Working Group.

 Youthful Cities: Creating communities which retain and attract youth (in development)

Late September or early October, 2019

This event will be developed by youth from across the region being supported by many organizations. Held just before the 2019 federal election, youth (15-29) will be highlighting issues and presenting ideas for building strong and youthful communities. Robert Barnard, co-founder of Youthful Cities will also provide an overview of the Youthful Cities Index. Regional federal candidates will be invited and will have the opportunity to interact with youth and respond to the issues and opportunities.

Location: Bear Estate – Living Water Resorts

Lead Partners: Institute of Southern Georgian Bay, Living Water Resorts, Collingwood Youth Centre, Beaver Valley Outreach, Collingwood Collegiate Institute, Youthful Cities, Georgian College (tbc)

Follow-up Goal: Develop a Regional Youth Advisory Council to help inform planning by all levels of government, businesses, not-for-profits, and philanthropists as we move into the next decade.

 Homelessness Issues and Solutions (in development)

October, 2019

This event will feature a screening of the acclaimed film “Us and Them”. The goal of the film-makers is to impact each of us so that we “never look at a homeless person the same way again”. A proven catalyst for powerful community conversations and action, this film will be followed by an interactive discussion about solutions towards homelessness in our region.

Lead Partners: United Way Simcoe Muskoka, Institute of Southern Georgian Bay

 Social Innovation – what is it and why now? (in development)

November 23, 2019

Keynote: Tonya Surman

Tonya Surman is a Toronto-based social entrepreneur and founding Executive Director and CEO of the Centre for Social Innovation. This dynamic downtown space sparks creativity, connectedness, and fun for those working across sectors to create a better world. CSI accelerates their impact through the power of co-working, community, and collaboration. Tonya will share the journey of CSI and why social innovation is needed now more than ever, and will elaborate on the growth of the social enterprise sector and the potential for our region.

Simcoe Street Theatre and Collingwood Library

 In a visioning workshop on November 23, stakeholders will imagine what this new convergence space at Campbell and High Street could evolve into over the next ten years.

Partners: Rotary Club of Collingwood, New Path Foundation, The Common Roof, Institute of Southern Georgian Bay, other Rotary Clubs, City of Collingwood (tbc)