Uniting for Progress: Affordable Housing, Arts, and Social Entrepreneurship

The Institute of Southern Georgian Bay > News/Newsletters > Newsletter > Uniting for Progress: Affordable Housing, Arts, and Social Entrepreneurship

In this newsletter:

  • The Social and Economic Costs of the Affordable Housing Crisis, by Collingwood’s Housing Development Coordinator
  • Attend our November 17th event, New Ways to Finance the Housing Affordability Gap: Ensuring the sustainability of our towns. Register NOW!
  • Regional Arts Network: A note from Lory MacDonald of the Nottawa Art Studio and Retreat
  • Business & Innovation: Featured Social Entrepreneur
  • PLUS, An Important Program Support Message from Board Member, Melanie Rodriguez

The Social and Economic Costs of the Affordable Housing Crisis

Photo of Jenn Rae


By Jenn Rae, Housing Development Coordinator, Town of Collingwood



Communities across southern Georgian Bay and beyond are grappling with the challenge of affordable housing. But affordable housing is not just a local issue – it’s a global crisis with profound consequences for individuals, communities, and economies. In this article, we will explore the extensive social and economic costs of failing to address the affordable housing crisis, while highlighting how the Town of Collingwood is taking action on this high-stakes issue.

The Human Toll

The most immediate and heart-wrenching cost of the affordable housing crisis is the impact it has on individuals in need of housing. This can affect individuals and families in a variety of ways – at its most severe, those who are unable to secure stable and affordable housing may experience homelessness and the myriad of risks and challenges that accompany it. Some individuals may find themselves stuck in unsafe or unsuitable housing with no other options available, while others may be limited to living with family members long after previous generations would have ‘flown the nest’ – not experiencing the typical milestones of young adulthood and feeling despondent about their future.

The Economic Consequences

A lack of affordable housing can lead to longer commutes for those who must travel between their more affordable home and their place of work. Lengthy commutes not only result in lost time but can also lead to decreased workforce productivity and contribute to emissions that drive climate change, another crisis faced by our communities. It can be challenging to recruit and retain employees when there is a lack of affordable housing, which can have a significant effect on a region’s economic growth and stability.

READ MORE HERE and also be sure to register for our next in-person event, being held at Meaford Hall on Friday, November 17th. New Ways to Finance the Housing Affordability Gap: Ensuring the sustainability of our towns.

Register Now

Upcoming Arts Workshops Happening in Nottawa!

Lory MacDonald photo.


By Lory MacDonald, Artist and owner of Nottawa Art Studio & Retreat



Hello, I’m Lory MacDonald, an artist, owner of Artfest Ontario, and I want to share my journey of resilience and innovation in these ever-changing times. As an artist, I am accustomed to pivoting and keeping my eyes wide open for new opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic was particularly devastating for the arts industry, shattering sales channels and canceling events across Canada. It was a harsh reality check, and my typical perpetual optimism alone was not enough to weather this unprecedented global event. Despite the return of in person events, many things have changed, including myself. Organizing large arts events no longer excited me.

So, I took a step back and revaluated. What was next? How do I rebuild my art business? I recognized that my 1.5 acres of picturesque property, historic home, large art studio, and the breathtaking South Georgian Bay area were my true assets. With restored determination and research, I embarked on a new venture: The Nottawa Art Studio & Retreat, an arts hub nestled in the charming village just south of Collingwood.

The Nottawa Art Studio & Retreat invites you to discover a haven for artists and art enthusiasts alike. We bring together distinguished visiting artists, intimate captivating arts events, and a vibrant community of individuals who share a passion for artistic expression. Whether you’re a seasoned artist or someone looking to explore your creative side, we have something special in store for you. Workshops in visual arts, textiles, poetry, gourmet food, photography, leathercraft, music plus cozy accommodations, monthly Poetry Party’s, and weekly Art Clubs all await. Join this new artistic journey in the heart of South Georgian Bay, where unique, memorable, and creative experiences await. Reinvented, better than ever!

The Art of Flavour Workshop Poster

The Art of Flavour: Festive Flavours Culinary Workshop with Darrelle Leeming – Nov 21, 10 am-1 pm OR Nov 23, 6-9 pm

Indigo Dyeing Workshop: Saturday, Nov 25, 9 am-3 pm with Carolle Blakeman

Poetry Party: Friday, November 17th, 7-10 PMPoetry Party Poster










Visit the links above or Contact Lory MacDonald ([email protected]) at the Nottawa Art Studio and Retreat for more information on these hands-on creative opportunities.  

Social Entrepreneur Feature

Jeff Barrett: Pioneering the Socially and Environmentally Conscious, Wild Education Revolution

By Jessica Flynn, Business & Innovation Design Team

Photo of Jeff BarrettIn the heart of Southern Georgian Bay, amidst the natural splendor of the Beaver Valley, Jeff Barrett is the visionary force behind a transformative institution – Blue Mountain Wild School. As the Founder and Executive Director, Jeff’s life journey and experiences have not only shaped the school’s unique educational philosophy but also the lives of a growing number of students who are experiencing this fresh approach to the Ontario curriculum.

Through the lens of social entrepreneurship, Jeff has built an educational institution that goes beyond traditional paradigms, connecting students with the environment while creating a positive impact on society.

Blue Mountain Wild School is not just an educational institution; it’s a hub for reimagining education as a force for change, for fostering curiosity, and for nurturing the changemakers of tomorrow. In a world where creativity, adaptability, and a deep connection to the environment are becoming increasingly crucial, Blue Mountain Wild School stands as a beacon of innovation, igniting the passion for learning and empowering students to make the world a better place.


Program Support Message

Photo of Melanie.


By Melanie Rodriguez, TISGB Board member



When we bring together community members, from diverse sectors, backgrounds, and lived experiences; innovation sparks. Through our collective knowledge, we can build solutions to tackle our region’s greatest challenges and opportunities. With your support, we can:

  • Drive impact-driven collaborations;
  • Explore solutions to make our region more affordable and sustainable; and
  • Take action to make our community more equitable for all.

Join us in building a collaborative and vibrant future for Southern Georgian Bay.

Partner With Us