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LETTER: Barrie's small city ranking conjures up negativity

CFUW Barrie member says organization is doing what it can to be positive force in the community, including donations to the Women and Children’s Centre, Youth Haven and area food banks
AUG 08152022SpiritCatcherKL
The Spirit Catcher is shown in a file photo.

BarrieToday welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected]. Please include your full name, daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following letter, from CFUW Barrie and District member Vi Andersen, is in response to ''Secret is out': Barrie among 25 best small cities in Canada,' published Nov. 17. 

When there was a news story on Barrie being cited as among the top 25 small cities, one would expect that we’d be rightfully proud. As BarrieToday proclaimed [quoting Mayor Alex Nuttall], “the secret is out."

Surprisingly, though, the social media comments were very negative and filled with complaints about our community. While there is much inequity in society these days and our city is no different, the negativity leaned towards pettiness rather than offering solutions.

Given the selfless work done by so many volunteer organizations and the people who support them in Barrie, it does make you wonder how well the naysayers truly know the city and what goes on every day to make things better in a positive way. Whether it’s anti-poverty, shelter, anti racism, trade union or faith groups, every single day something goes on here to make our home town a fairer place for everyone.

Our organization, the Barrie chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW), donates to and takes actions with many of these amazing groups. We are affiliated with the national body which has 96 clubs across Canada and 49 here in Ontario. Our members seek to improve public policy in education, the status of women and girls, human rights, peace, justice and the environment.

This December, CFUW Barrie will be donating $400 each to the Women and Children’s Centre and to Youth Haven of Barrie. In addition we will be making contributions to our region’s food banks.

We hold a garage sale to raise money for youth scholarships, including one targeted for youth coming out of care; we donate to and walk beside those advocating for shelter for vulnerable youth and women here in Barrie. We step forward, when invited, to follow the indigenous community in their determination to find reconciliation.

We regularly host a Jane Jacob’s walk to encourage citizen involvement in how our city should be planned. These are but a few of the actions we take and yes we see the shortcomings around us but we engage with others in a positive way to try and make change.

We’re not entirely sure that the criteria listed to measure the cities on Best Small Cities list are ones we would have used. Coretta Scott King once said, “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of it’s members."

Based on her criteria, though, those groups and individuals who step forward to make positive change in Barrie, rather than sit on the sidelines and criticize, do make our city a pretty special place.

Vi Andersen
CFUW Barrie and District