The Greening of Harmony Centre

A recently-completed project to install energy-efficient windows, state-of-the-art heat pumps, and necessary electrical upgrades to the 150-year-old Harmony Centre has helped secure the future of this important Owen Sound cultural institution and position it to serve the interests of the local community for many years to come. 

Thanks to grants from the Canada Community Revitalization Fund, Ontario Trillium Foundation, and funds contributed through local donations, the former church-turned-cultural-venue, is now warmer, healthier, and more financially sustainable.

According to Harmony Centre Vice Chair Barry Randall, the project has resulted in significant energy efficiencies that have reduced building’s carbon footprint and increased the indoor air quality at The Harmony Centre. But of equal importance, the project has ensured the long-term viability of the facility. “Now we are free to deliver programming and focus on the needs of our community users – rather than struggling to pay our heating bills,” he says.

The Harmony Centre’s HVAC overhaul was a large undertaking that replaced the old boiler and radiator system with 13 individually controlled high-efficiency ductless heat pumps. According to project engineer Jeff Graham, president of Owen Sound-based GSS Engineering, the results are well-worth the effort. “Historically, The Harmony Center used approximately 26,000 cubic meters of natural gas per year to heat the building,” says Graham. “By installing the heat pump system and eliminating use of natural gas, the Harmony Center has reduced green house gas emissions by approximately 50 metric tonnes per year.”

Harmony Centre is happy to host Fiddlefern Country Dancers as they resume their regular dance schedule this fall with a contra dance each month. 

This group of dancers and contra dance lovers has been organizing and promoting regular dances in Owen Sound for more than 20 years. Contra dancing is a fun, friendly form of dancing done to live music with a caller leading you through the dances. Their dances feature musicians and callers from the Grey-Bruce region as well as from Ontario, Quebec, and the USA.

They would love to have you join them, even if you’re a complete beginner.  No matter what your age, on your own or with friends or family — come out for an evening of smiles and tremendous fun.  All dances are taught and prompted by the caller. Begin with a half hour of instruction and introduction to new dances, then dance until 10:00pm with lots of time for socializing and relaxing!  Beginners are always welcome to join in the fun!  No partner needed. No experience necessary. All levels welcome. 

For more info, visit

Thanks to a grant from Community Foundation Grey Bruce, the Auditorium is now a more comfortable place to spend an evening.  The centre section of seating has been replaced with new, modern, comfortable chairs.  The switch to chairs allows for much more flexibility in the Auditorium, as they can be moved or removed as needed.  We can now open up a dance floor or set up cafe tables and chairs.  Recently, removal of the chairs allowed Look Up Circus to hold their summer camp in the Auditorium where the high ceilings allowed for set-up of the high circus apparatus.  

Many of the old wooden pews were sold at auction and buyers, like Holly Sled of Rock the Sound, are happy to have a piece of the old Knox Church as a keepsake.  Any excess wood from the pew removal was donated to Intersections Wood Collaborative and will lead a new life as a piece of fine wooden furniture or art. The goal is to replace the rest of the ground floor pews with chairs whenever funding allows.  If you are interested in sponsoring a chair or purchasing a pew, please contact us at

Holly Sled has a special connection with the Harmony Centre. She was a member of Knox Church, which occupied the facility for more than a century, and she fondly remembers practising and performing here as a child at many Kiwanis festivals held in the lovely old building.  When she later took over as director of Rock the Sound she found Harmony Centre to be the perfect venue for the choir’s eclectic brand of energetic rock and pop music. The acoustics, of course, are superb – but the versatility of the building is what really makes it ideal for Rock the Sound. “The facility offers multiple spaces, so we can split up and practice sectionals, then come back together in the Auditorium, where the sound is unbelievable,” Holly explains. 

Holly admits that times where tough during Covid when restrictions made it nearly impossible to operate a choir. But she was determined to make a go of things. “We held some outdoor choir sessions when it was safe to do so,” she recalls. “Eventually things returned to a state where we could gather and sing again indoors and we are loving the return to Harmony Centre.”

Rock the Sound Choir meets three times a month at Harmony Centre, and puts on public performances throughout the year. Look for notice of their holiday concert. To find out more about the choir and how you can become involved, visit their Facebook page at

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