2021 Highlights

Thank you for participating! 2021 Highlights – We’ve achieved a lot together!

In this newsletter:

  • Progress highlights – 2021
  • Introducing Amber Ebert, Regional Arts Network Development Coordinator
  • Notes from Our Sustainable Future – Innovation/Economy and Housing events
  • Thank you list of Design Team members, major partners and program supporters

2021 Highlights

In 2020, when this pandemic began to shine a light on what we needed to do to build back better in our region, Institute volunteers gathered over 200 people for online discussion events. We agreed that a regional approach to issues and opportunities would bring new ideas and resources to the table to grow social and economic prosperity. The Mapping Our Road to Recovery series helped us connect and discuss how we could do things differently. We highlighted ways to access more capital in the Social Finance Primer, we heard from arts workers and others about the value of the arts sector to our well-being and economy, everyone wanted public regional discussions to continue, and we heard that we needed more data to support investment and track progress in our region.

In 2021, many more people got involved, we had more municipal and business partnerships, and the momentum continues. Highlights include:

  • Participation grew by over 100% in 2021, and over 400 people gathered for regional online discussions on local sustainability, the next economy, innovation, the arts, housing, and envisioning a low carbon future,
  • Design Teams and Learning Groups grew from 1 to 3: Our Sustainable Future, Regional Arts & Culture Strategy, and the Social Finance Learning Group. Over 40 people were helping to design our programming in 2021,
  • Held twice the number of public events; grew from 5 to 10,
  • Doubled the number of major partners from 4 to 8,
  • Published the Regional Arts & Culture Strategy, highlighting next steps for strengthening the arts sector. Funds were raised, and a new job created for an Arts Network Coordinator
  • Gathered a local group of speakers to present ideas, projects, and models for a stronger future at the Habitat in Towns: Collingwood World Summit. Jeffery Fletcher, Manager of Sustainability and Solid Waste presented The Blue Mountains Future Story planning process and how the town is using the Sustainable Development Goals. See presentation here.
  • Connections were made, relationships developed, and potential collaborative projects discussed, by bringing together business, municipal government, non-profit, and philanthropic leaders for deeper impact.

The Institute held a strategy session for Board members and Design Teams and Learning Group in October to identify what we had achieved collectively, what we want to do more of, and what resources we would need in 2022/2023. That group will come together again in February to plan programming and align our work with Sustainable Development Goal 11, with milestones that include local sustainability, housing, environmental challenges, integrated planning, cultural and natural heritage.

da0b9aca-e898-9076-b31c-a965e33d05d3We encourage you to let your colleagues, friends, and relatives know about subscribing to the Institute newsletter at www.tisgb.com and getting involved. Our impact will be greater if we work together.

Thank you for making our communities stronger!

Rosalyn Morrison, Chair, The Institute of Southern Georgian Bay

Introducing Amber Ebert and the arts network

Have you heard? There is a new arts network launching in the Southern Georgian Bay region that aims to connect artists of all disciplines, arts organizations and businesses to collaborate, support, and empower the arts and culture sector. Our goal is to weave together a network of networks, create a branding and marketing campaign to highlight regional arts and culture events, and build an online digital resource hub for artists and the sector.

The network has grown out of the Institute of Southern Georgian Bay, and our goals are informed by The Power of the Arts & Cultural Strategy that was released in September 2021. The network is also being supported by our partners South Georgian Bay TourismTheatre Collingwood, and the Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts.

9d22da5d-6865-96e7-799f-2b818007d713My name is Amber Ebert, and I’m thrilled to be the Network Development Coordinator for this newly established arts network. I have 15 years of experience working with professional arts organizations to plan and deliver cultural events and community engagement programs.

Read more here.

Our Sustainable Future – Event 6 and 7 notes and recordings

Over 400 people participated in the Our Sustainable Future 7-part online discussion series, held February to December 2021. The series brought together publicly mayors and CAOs from across the region for the first time. The seven events built a narrative about why and how we could focus on developing a sustainable future, and concluded with two powerful events.

In November, we heard from multi-sector speakers about The Impact of Innovation on Building Resilient, Sustainable Economies. We heard examples of innovation from other jurisdictions, why we need to innovate now, and how we could nurture communities of innovation here in Southern Georgian Bay. Read the notes & watch the recording here.


The final event in the series, held in December, attracted over 100 people. Sustainable, Attainable, Affordable Housing speakers emphasized that everyone is, and will be further, impacted by the lack of affordable housing in our region. Affordable housing means that enough housing stock is available so that people are not spending more than 30% of their income on shelter. We need an “all hands on deck” aligned, integrated, and resourced approach to ensure that young people working in the service industry looking to rent, young professionals looking to buy their first home, and seniors needing accommodation can find a place they can afford. Read the notes & watch the recording here.


Thank you – Design Teams, Learning Group, Partners, Patrons, Members, and participants!

We could not have done it without you! The Institute of Southern Georgian Bay is all about collaboration. We believe that diversity of ideas, aligning objectives, and the pooling of resources will make us stronger. We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all those who helped to create and deliver our programming and who supported it financially.

Appreciation is extended to our Board of DirectorsDale Biddell, Susan Cook, Larry Hogarth, June Porter, Yvonne Hamlin, Don May, and, Rosalyn Morrison.

In particular, we would like to thank retiring Board member Don May. Don is a founding Board member and first Chair of the Board. He and founding Vice-Chair David Green devoted several years to sharing the idea of a regional non-profit collaborative organization, which could accelerate progress on issues and showcase new opportunities. Don was instrumental in the 2015 Social Justice conference and early Arts and Culture conversations, and he championed the idea of creating an Endowment for the Institute, which is now held at the Community Foundation Grey Bruce. Thank you, Don, for all your efforts!

Our Design Teams and Learning Group

We would also like to thank the members of the Design Teams and Learning Group, who have worked hard this year to bring our communities and the talent of our region together:

Regional Arts & Culture Strategy
Co-Chairs – Susan Cook, Stuart Reid, and Dean Hollin; 
and Erica Angus, Patrice Clarkson, Victoria Evans, Lory MacDonald, Kate Russel, Beverley Smith, Heidi Light, Liz Rykert, and Rosalyn Morrison. We also benefited from the dedicated support of Brandon Houston from Collingwood Foundry, who provided the Zoom platform and unflappable technical support and advice, and the expert facilitation skills of Christy Deere, who helped both with shaping the online events and animating them with skill and aplomb.

Our Sustainable Future: Get Inspired, Get Informed, Get to Work!
Co-Chairs Catherine Daw, Julie Scarcella, Andrew Palmer, and Adam Thackeray;
 and Marilyn Struthers, June Porter, Brian Denney, Jane Walker, Yvonne Hamlin, Jack Vanderkooy, and Rosalyn Morrison.

Social Finance Learning Group
Co-leads Marilyn Struthers and Jack Vanderkooy
; and David Green, Morag Budgeon, Leigh Greaves, Pamela Vair, Zoe Thurling, Catherine Daw, Brian Saunderson, Gillian Fairley, Andrew Siegwart, Shirley Keaveney, Dale Biddell, Waleed Aslam, Carol Merton, Cathy Little, Beth Hamilton, Geoffrey Shea, Steven Morel, and Rosalyn Morrison.

Patrons and Partners

A very special thank you to our Patrons and Partners – Thomas Vincent, Larry Law, David Green, Rosalyn Morrison and Michael Coward, and the Towns of Collingwood, The Blue Mountains, and Wasaga Beach, the Municipalities of Meaford and Grey Highlands, to our business partners Greenland Consulting Engineers, Community Futures South Georgian Bay, and Julia White – Co-operators, and to many other individuals for the financial support that enabled free programming for all.

And thanks to you — as one of our newsletter subscribers!

Thank you for being one of the Institute’s newsletter subscribers and a participant in the important online discussions for developing our collective vision. Thank you for your civic engagement, your interest in our communities, and building a smarter, greener, healthier and more caring region. We wish you an ever-improving 2022 and look forward to connecting, sharing knowledge with each other, and taking more action, together!