Thank you MacLaren Art Centre! Thank you Sean-William Dawson for thinking of an art show like none Barrie has ever seen.

Last Saturday, we leashed up the pooch, donned ski pants, toques, grabbed a couple of plastic bags (for the pooch’s you-know-what) and entered Kempenfelt Bay at Johnson’s Beach. We walked across the Bay, chatting with fisherpeople who were sitting on stools, ice augers at their side, fishing line dropped in. Sitting they were, all alone. Out on a landscape that was breath-taking.

The sun shone down. We stuffed our toques in our pockets and ran across the slushy parts, slowing to a comfortable pace for the deeper snow. We stopped at Minet’s Point to enjoy the MacLaren’s latest art show, a dozen fish huts painted in a variety of renditions. It was wonderful. Nestled among unpainted huts, those which were “done” were interesting, fun, displayed a sense of humour, and let us have a much closer view at winter’s life on Barrie’s bay.

My personal favourite was The Toque. A double hut, covered with fuzzy fabric, in stripes, with a pom-pom on the top. A winter toque. And inside, Onalee and Jason Fry were perched on benches, water open at their feet, propane heater chugging away, lines in the water. They opened the door, and let us look inside. “We’re renting this for the day,” they announced. It was their celebration of their fifth wedding anniversary.

Happy Anniversary, Onalee and Jason!

Each hut offered the unique-ness of its author artist. Some were sombre. Some were whimsical. Some were funny.

And the show drew people onto Kempenfelt Bay in the winter... people who have likely never been on the bay when it’s frozen over.

From Minet’s Point, we kept to our aqua route and walked to Heritage Park to enjoy all the Winter Fest activities. And after a cafe latte from Mary at Second Cup, we headed back out onto the ice to walk back to Johnson’s Beach. Good workout for us. But, a marvellous reason to venture forth.

Thanks, MacLaren. Thanks, Sean-William!

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