Barrie may soon have an iconic ‘go to’ sign on the waterfront

Could attract tourists who would share photos with the sign

It’s not a new idea, but one that has worked well in other cities in attracting tourists and residents.

Barrie City Council is considering a ‘Love Barrie’ sign where people could have their picture taken then share it on social media.

Councillor Mike McCann, who proposed the sign, sees not just tourists and residents snapping a picture by the sign, but also businesses gathering their staff there for a group shot, “Maybe the heart will be the unique aspect that that will capture you Mayor Lehman; maybe there’s a little seat inside the heart…so you can bring maybe your daughter, sitting inside the heart with you beside it, so the Lehman’s love Barrie.”

McCann thinks the sign will be inspirational and will drive business to the downtown/waterfront area.

Councillor Gary Harvey, says the timing of it – by July 2022 – will be perfect. “The timing of this sign is going to be as we’re coming out of the pandemic when especially tourism is huge in our city. And when you have a new legacy sign like this that’s going to be in a very prominent area I would highly suspect that we’re going to be attracting people that have probably travelled to other parts of the world and made sure that they have photographs.”

There’s a $200,000 cap for the project, none of it coming out of city coffers. McCann says he will be fundraising for it and already has $50,000 in donations.

The ideal spot for the sign in McCann’s mind would be Meridian Place with Kempenfelt Bay in the background.

A final vote on whether to proceed will be taken at next week’s council meeting.