Counselling Service Joins Harmony Resident Community

Harmony Centre welcomes First Health Counselling as the newest member of our Resident Organization program. Their mandate is to serve the mental health needs of First Responders, Public Safety Personnel and Health Care Professionals of Grey and Bruce counties through specialized mental health support. Various certificates and approved provider statuses are held, to meet the unique mental health needs of First Responders, Public Safety Personnel, Health Care Professionals and their family members. These individuals are encouraged to contact the office at their earliest convenience, to discuss the proactive and supportive routes that are available for their mental health. First Health opens their doors at Harmony Centre on May 3. Please give First Health a warm Harmony Centre welcome!

Phone: 519-379-1222


Changemaker Pub Night brings together representatives from nine local social change groups to deliver a series of three-minute pitches about the organizations they represent, what they do, and what they need. These pitches are sprinkled throughout an evening filled with music from Paul and Olivia WilliamsonJoanna Mackie and Charlie Taylor-Gillespie.

Pub food will be available to add flavour and fun to the event. Changemakers presenting their three-minute pitches are: Rebound Owen Sound; Glassworks; Art Banner Project; OSHARE/Grey Bruce Food Share; REACH; Roselawn Bowling Club; Poverty Task Force; Beyond Reach Productions; and, the Sydenham Bruce Trail Club.

This event sold out last year, so get your tickets in advance.
Get tickets here or pay what you can at the door.

Harmony Centre has been home to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Grey Bruce & Western Simcoe (BBBSGBWS) since 2016, and in that time, the organization has tripled in size and reach.

According to Executive Director Beth Aubrey, much of this success can be attributed to a strong volunteer network and a deep commitment to the transformative power of mentoring. But it also has to do with an expansion of services that is meeting the changing needs or our community.

“This year, BBBSGBWS has seen a sharp rise in youth seeking services while simultaneously experiencing a drop in volunteer and donor acquisition,” she says. “This has had a tremendous impact on how the agency operates, and how we work to reach those youth and families most in need.”

As a result of these challenges, the agency is sending out a call to action, requesting donations and volunteer support.

Aubrey believes in providing preventative services to youth and families that have a generational impact. These services include a growing youth council, outdoor wellness program, group skill building programs, as well as traditional one-to-one and in-school mentoring programs.

“Each of our services are aimed at creating a lasting impact on the lives of some of the most vulnerable and at-risk youth across our community,” she says.

Harmony Centre has played a role in this process. “I can’t say enough good things about this place,” says Aubrey, pointing out that Harmony Centre values, as social enterprise, are a perfect fit for their organization.

“The low overhead we’ve been able to maintain, thanks to subsidized accommodation, has helped us deliver more with less,” she says. “Our accessible presence at the heart of the community is also an important aspect of our residency here.”

Local painting contractor Rob Hassard was delighted when he was invited to teach an Owen Sound District Secondary School class how to paint a room. But he wanted to do it out in the field, not in a classroom. So, he put out the call, and Harmony Centre responded.

“Harmony Centre is a perfect place to teach a group to paint because it’s a charity, and this is a great way of giving back to the community in a very practical way,” he says.

Harmony Centre also has an abundance of rooms, and the Board Room was selected for the project because of its manageable size.

Hassard is excited about the project because he believes that painting is an ability that people carry with them wherever they go. “At some point in your life you’re going to have to paint a room,” he says. “If you have some basic knowledge about how it’s done, then you’re ahead of the game.”

Instruction will be provided on how to select paint, make minor repairs, prepare surfaces for painting, masking, and various techniques for applying paint.

“I hope this will inspire some young people and give them the confidence to take on projects of their own,” Hassard says.

But Rob also believes that painting is a transferable life skill that also teaches about setting goals, problem solving, and patience.

“Everything in life is a process,” he says. “Learn the process – learn to trust it – and you’re all set.”

If you love to sing, Harmony Centre is the place for you. We have 3 choirs meeting weekly and a talented vocal coach giving lessons to get you started or refine your talents.

Coco Love Alcorn will begin her live choir, The Wonderland Singers, at Harmony Centre on Mondays in March. This is a non-auditioned, local, in-person community choir. The group will be singing a mix of Coco’s songs, cover songs, and music of the moment; focusing on folk, soul, and spirit lifting music. Songs will be taught by ear. Anyone who loves to sing is invited to take part. More info here.

Rock the Sound Choir led by Holly Sled is a diverse and inclusive community-based choir, creating harmonies in the genres of classic rock, pop, and modern music. This choir meets on Sundays at Harmony Centre. Come experience the power of music which unites people of all walks of life. More info here.

Under the direction of Norm Reintamm, the Georgian Bay Concert Choir rehearses Tuesdays at Harmony Centre. Originally formed as a group of singers to accompany the Georgian Bay Symphony in some of the Christmas choruses from Handel’s Messiah, the GBCC became a larger four-part ensemble to perform the major works of the music repertoire. More info here.

And finally, we have Grace McRae, best known for her work with the Roxy Young Company and youth theatre camps, giving vocal lessons weekly at Harmony Centre. If you are interested in any aspect of vocal training, get in touch with Grace

Harmony Centre is a beneficiary of a new social impact investment program initiated by the Community Foundation Grey Bruce. Social investment is a method of indirect financial support provided to organizations that positively impact the community and the environment.

Under its new program, the Community Foundation will assume the Harmony Centre’s privately held mortgage and set the interest rate for it at below market rates. In exchange, Harmony Centre will continue to operate as a social enterprise that benefits the public by offering a non-profit hub for local performers, artists, and community groups.

By all accounts, it’s a win-win.

According to Lynda Chiotti, chair of the Harmony Centre board, this support from the Community Foundation is rooted in the shared values between these two organizations, and a common commitment to social impact.

“By working with Community Foundation Grey Bruce, we can strengthen our capacity to offer services that foster growth, sustainability, and positive change,” says Chiotti.

Kerry Lee, chair of the board of the Community Foundation echoes this sentiment, adding that this social investment pays dividends to the foundation as well.

“The interest we collect, though lower than what we might expect from conventional investments, remains a revenue stream that we can divert to other meaningful programs in support of local community projects,” she explains.

Harmony Centre, a charity run and maintained by volunteers, has emerged as a model social enterprise in Owen Sound. Every year, thousands of individuals attend performances, workshops, rehearsals, meetings, and banquets at the 150-year-old former church that was saved from an uncertain future more than a decade ago.

Created in 1994, Community Foundation Grey Bruce has a mandate to enhance community vitality by fostering open discussion about local need, sharing knowledge, and growing endowments to provide strategic granting and support to a wide range of non-profit organizations.  Community Foundation Grey Bruce established its Social Impact Investing Fund in 2022. The fund commits one per cent of the foundation’s total assets to local investments that generate a financial return and makes Grey Bruce a better place to live.

Chase away those winter blahs and have some fun learning to Tango, Square Dance or Contra Dance. Harmony Centre has different types of dance classes and fun dance events throughout the month.

In February, Lena Boyarskikh, an experienced dancer and teacher and will guide you through the steps and rhythms of Tango. Her course runs over 5 weeks on Friday evenings in the beautiful open dance floor in the Commons at Harmony Centre.

The Owen Sound Steppers hold Square Dances every Thursday and would love for you to join them. The fun doesn’t stop at dancing. This is also a social event. There is often a theme and those who wish can dress up and ado the fun.

On the first Saturday of every month, Fiddlefern Country Dancers will lead you through Contra Dance moves done to live music. There is a half hour class before the dance starts to orient any newbies and dancers are guided by callers who lead the group through the steps. The callers and musical performers change from month to month.

Pre-registration is required for the Tango classes but the other two are open to the public to drop in, and newcomers are always welcome. If you want to bring a partner that’s great but singles are also welcome and will be partnered up at the class/dance. Please bring indoor shoes for dancing and you’ll likely want a water bottle. So come have fun, meet new people, and learn some new moves. Check out our Events listings for more information.

Contrary to common belief, Leigh and Frank Greaves do not own Harmony Centre and never have. It is owned by a Canadian charitable corporation that has complete control over it’s governance and finance. Leigh and Frank, however, were the initiators and founders and have been the ever-present energy behind it’s growth and success. This year, Harmony Centre has honoured them by naming the largest event space in the building the Leigh and Frank Greaves Auditorium.

The plaque marking this change reads as follows:

“This room is named to honour Leigh and Frank Greaves for their leadership in founding Harmony Centre Owen Sound, and for their tireless effort and commitment to making it the thriving social and cultural centre and invaluable community resource it has since become.”

We cannot thank the Greaves enough for creating and sustaining this remarkable social enterprise and giving Owen Sound a place to Share • Create • Educate * Perform.

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