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‘There is nothing shady going on,’ says Coun. McCann as “Love Barrie” sign makes its debut

McCann says what's left in the bank balance will be given to charities and the beaver and turtles program

Coun. Mike McCann speaks confidently about what the “Love Barrie” sign will do to help tourism and downtown businesses, as well as something the entire community can enjoy.

The 10-foot-tall sign is being erected at Heritage Park on the waterfront, just in time for Canada Day. The sign will have a heart that people will be able to stand in and pose for photos.

McCann says recognition of sponsors will take place in July or August.

The sign has been controversial at city hall and among residents since it was approved by council last June.

Eyebrows have been raised in some circles about the $200,000 price tag for the sign and how the Ward 10 Coun. has gone about fundraising for it, with donations collected by his Heart Barrie company.

Council did put $15,000 on the table to be used annually for sign maintenance including the removal of graffiti.

“We were in the pandemic and downtown businesses were screaming for city hall to do something,” says McCann. “I thought what a great way to bring Barrie residents and tourists downtown by having a landmark sign because they are completely successful in so many other parts of the world.”

Trying to pin a dollar figure as to how much money McCann’s Heart Barrie company has received has been a moving target.

At a council meeting on June 6, McCann disputed a staff memorandum that indicated Heart Barrie had raised $375,000 in donations. According to the donor list published by the City of Barrie on its website as of June 30, 2022, the tally is $370,000.

“Unfortunately, city staff published numbers that were not correct, and I believe I made that very clear in council because there were some in-kind donations,” McCann told Barrie 360.

He said that the amount donated is in the $300,000 range with some of that being in-kind donations.

Asked what type of in-kind donations he has received, McCann said that could be for labour, advertising, and promotion. He says he let staff know the numbers were wrong, and they were published anyway, which McCann blames on miscommunication.

McCann told Barrie 360 that he believes he will have quite a large bank balance of between $80,000 and $90,000 which he indicated will go to the save the beaver and save the turtles program, as well as to charity.

“Everything is transparent, said McCann. “

“I generally wouldn’t comment on such weak comments put out by other people,” he added, when asked about questions directed his way by some on council about his fundraising effort. “I believe they are either ignorant or it’s politically motivated to tarnish my reputation.”

McCann emphasized that nothing he is doing is illegal.

“I’ve got a third-party accounting firm that is doing all the accounting and all the numbers are there,” he explained. “Once I have collected all the money, once I have paid all the HST, and all the administration, I will have a large bank balance and everyone will see clearly where all the money went. There is nothing shady going on and nothing ambiguous. Luckily with numbers, it’s all black and white.”

McCann says it did not take him very long to get commitments for the money but added it has taken a little longer to actually receive the money.

“There were some people who paid the city directly, but they had to pay Heart Barrie, so they had returned cheques and all that kind of stuff. But at the end of the day, we raised the money, and we have the sign, and we’re going to have tens of thousands of dollars going to local charities, and the beavers and turtles.”

McCann said donors to the sign will be the decision-makers around which charities get money from the fundraising effort.

“My job was to have the vision, to get council on board, and to raise the money,” he said. “As soon as I hand in my financials then my job is done, and I am going to sit back and enjoy it (the sign).”

Banner image – City of Barrie – supplied


On June 14, 2021, Council approved motion 21-G-166 – Heart Barrie Landmark Sign​. Details on this approved motion and related approved motions are below.  ​

Approved Motions

The Heart Barrie Landmark Sign staff report, published on June 7, 2021, outlines the recommended motion, purpose and background, proposed location, financial information, and more. The amended motion passed as follows on June 14, 2021:

  1. That further to motion 21-G-040, a Heart Barrie landmark sign (landmark sign), no more than 8 feet tall be installed in Heritage Park and identified as Appendix “A” to Staff Report ACC002-21.
  2. That, if Councillor McCann has 100% fundraising commitment of $200,000 by October 10, 2021 – with 75% of donations paid to the City by October 10, 2021, staff in Access Barrie issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to secure a company that can provide three (3) sign concepts and install the landmark sign at the approved location before July 1, 2022.
  3. That the donors be recognized by having their names embossed and colour branding in the concrete at the base of the landmark sign, with the size of the donor names embossed, being appropriate to their financial contribution and that each donor be provided with a memento of the sign.
  4. That $15,000 be added to the Operations Department budget beginning in 2022 to cover costs of potential graffiti removal and winter maintenance on and around the sign. (ACC002-21)

On June 28, 2021, Council approved Motion 21-G-187:


That any funds raised on top of the $200,000 for the Heart Barrie Signage where no donation receipts have been issued be donated to the Save the beaver and Save the turtle programs in the City.

On March 28, 2022, Council approved Motion 22-G-062:


  1. That the size of the heart in the Heart Barrie landmark sign be increased from 8 feet to 10 feet, with the remaining letters being no more than 8 feet, as previously approved by Council.
  2. That Councillor McCann provide a list of donors to the Heart Barrie Company to the City and that staff in Access Barrie publish this list on the City’s Heart Barrie sign webpage.


The City received $200,000 that was required as part of motion 21-G-166.  As per item 2 in Council Motion 22-G-062, the list of donors are listed below, as provided by Councillor McCann​:

Miele Developments Inc
Sunrise Homes Ltd
NetGain SEO / Busch Systems
Napoleon and the Schroeter Family
Melchior Management Corp / Royal Lepage
HIP Developments (Barrie Central Developments Inc.)
Giampaolo Investment Ltd and Quantum and Triple M
Dawn Mucci / Phillip Moore
Wynstar Developments Inc.
The Sarjeant Company Ltd
Pratt Homes and the Hansen Family
CTV2, Pure Country, Bounce
Meridian Credit Union
DV Bell Foundation
Drysdale Tree Farms Ltd.
Moore Packaging Corp., PBM Realty Holdings Inc.
Mayes-Martin Ltd
Brixen Developments Inc
Audi Barrie
Rock 95 / Kool Fm / Barrie 360
Responsive Mailing Inc. – Waide Family
DIV / Dorsay
Rafat General Contractor Inc.
Barrie Waterfront Developments Inc. (Debut Condos/BWD Holdings Inc.)
Lazy Ty Inc. (ALLEY Nightclub Dustin Leigh & Ty Jones)
Sally Elston (The Elston Charitable Foundation)