Former Barrie Mayor will double your giving power to the MacLaren Art Centre

Jul 7, 2020

Honoree Janice Laking with her husband at the 2013 Legacy Dinner, MacLaren Art Centre.

Former Barrie Mayor Janice Laking is inviting others to join her in building a brighter and more creative future for our community by donating to the MacLaren Art Centre. In an exceptional act of generosity, she has pledged to match all donations made to the Gallery by the end of August, up to $20,000.

A strong philanthropic force within the community, Laking is known for her forward thinking and commitment to promoting excellence. She was a champion for the MacLaren during her mayorship and continues to stand for its strong educational impact in the community today.

Among her significant community development and infrastructure projects, Laking was a spearhead in the relocation of the MacLaren to its present location on Mulcaster Street.

The MacLaren Art Centre is the regional public art gallery serving the residents of Barrie, the County of Simcoe and the surrounding area. Every year, more than 58,000 people participate in its programmes, including over 20,000 children and youth. In addition to VanGo, which brings cross-curricular visual arts programming to thousands of Simcoe County school children, the Gallery offers art classes for all ages, as well as tours and talks about its world-class exhibitions and collection.

A registered charity, the MacLaren relies on public and private support for its operations and programmes. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has proven particularly hard-hitting for the non-profit, which had to close for several months and cancel or postpone many of its major fundraising events. The current challenges have not diminished the demand for its services and the Gallery has responded with innovation, quickly developing new programmes and transitioning in-person programmes online.

MacLaren Director of Development Laura Aylan Parker says “We are enormously proud of our role in our community’s cultural life and the incredibly positive impact the MacLaren has had. As a cultural hub for the entire community, the MacLaren enhances the quality of life in this city for residents and tourists alike.”

Every gift made to the MacLaren Art Centre in July and August will be matched, dollar for dollar, by Janice Laking up to a total of $20,000. Funds raised will be directed towards the Gallery’s programming for children, youth and families.

Donations to the fund can be made online at or by contacting Laura Aylan Parker, Director of Development at (705) 720-1044 ext. 236 /

The MacLaren Art Centre is grateful for Janice Laking’s tremendous contribution and asks the community for support during this difficult time. Your gift today will have a double impact on strengthening our community and improving social well-being for everyone.

Image: Janice Laking with her husband at the 2013 Legacy Dinner, MacLaren Art Centre. Photo: André Beneteau