April 4, 2024

Results of the recent CACE survey on the size of a new arts and culture centre in Collingwood

Thank you for getting involved and responding to our survey; we heard you loud and clear!

You were one of the 1,000 residents who identified themselves as supporters of a new centre. Almost 300 of you responded as to the size of theatre you wanted in our proposed new regional performing arts and entertainment centre in downtown Collingwood. Your input is invaluable.

Nine out of ten respondents said we need the larger theatre option for both today and tomorrow. Over 160 provided reasons in their own words why we need a larger venue.

We at CACE (Collingwood Arts Culture & Entertainment) are a volunteer group of Southern Georgian Bay residents who have been working for almost five years to convince the Town of Collingwood that we need a multi-use performing and visual arts centre that will play host to the many theatrical, dance, cinema and orchestral groups that do not have a proper home for their arts, entertainment and community organizations.

Four years’ ago, we asked them if a performing arts centre would be needed for Collingwood and the Southern Georgian Bay region. An overwhelming number saw the need.

From the fourteen hundred people who signed up on the CACE website, we recently asked the 1000 who were still using their previous emails which of two theatre size options they thought would be right for Collingwood.

As you will see below, 89% supported the theatre size we had researched over the last four years. We also wanted the 1,000 households (well over 2000 people) to be reminded of the size of other theatres in similar-sized communities in Ontario.

Collingwood Council has approved in principle to build a performing arts centre and; we know that as part of the current consultation process two different sized theatres is being considered: a 400-seat and a 600 to 800-seat theatre. Our research on similar-sized communities to ours ranged from large theatres like Stratford with 1800 seats to smaller theatres like Orillia with only 670 seats. There are no communities that have recently chosen to build a small theatre.

It is important to note that Stratford was smaller than Collingwood when the Festival Theatre was built in 1953, and even their small new Tom Patterson Theatre opened in 2022 has 600 seats.

The questionnaire laid out what we learned about the benefits of the two different sizes of theatres.

One point made in our questionnaire mentioned the importance of not offering a theatre size that competes with any of the small theatres in Collingwood and in the region such as the Gayety with 300 seats or Meaford Hall with 330 seats.

With a larger multi-use theatre that can both expand and contract, we can offer not only a smaller option for groups unable to fill a large facility, but for larger gatherings like the Georgian Triangle Life Long Learning, The Collingwood Music Festival, Collingwood Cinema Club, and the many Probus Clubs, the properly sized theatre could move them from the outskirts to downtown Collingwood, as well as supporting all of the business of downtown Collingwood.

So, to all who signed up on our website four years ago and to the almost 300 households who responded to our survey, the majority of whom support our larger theatre option, we thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts.

CACE (Collingwood Arts Culture & Entertainment) Group.

Below are the results:

resultes chart CACE

An analysis of the respondents who commented is as follows (the detailed comments).

163 of those who supported the larger facility provided the following detailed commentary.

  1. Economic Viability and Community Needs: Many respondents believe that a larger venue is economically viable and necessary to meet the expanding needs of the community. They emphasize planning for future growth and accommodating a wide range of performances. 81 responses
  2. Attraction of International Artists and High-Quality Shows: Supporters expressed a desire to host international artists and high-calibre performances, including ballet and live theatre, akin to those found in major cities like New York. 74 responses
  3. Competitiveness and Uniqueness: The preference for a larger theatre is often linked to the ambition to offer something beyond what neighbouring towns provide. Respondents highlight the importance of not duplicating the offerings of local theatres with around 300 seats, advocating for a unique and competitive venue. 18 responses
  4. Flexibility and Multi-purpose Use: There is a call for designing a versatile space that could accommodate several types of events, including movies, thereby serving as a true multipurpose facility. This includes suggestions for innovative architecture to allow flexibility in usage. 16 responses
  5. Location and Architectural Considerations: Some suggestions include locating the theatre by the waterfront or ensuring it offers views of the natural surroundings, adding to its appeal. 13 responses
  6. Growth and Futureproofing: Respondents consistently mentioned the rapid growth of Collingwood and the surrounding area as a reason to build a larger facility. They argued for futureproofing by considering long-term community growth and tourist attraction. 86 responses

87 respondents included two or more of the above themes. 56 included three or more.

22 of those who supported the smaller facility provided detailed commentary.

  1. Flexibility and Expansion Potential: A few respondents mentioned the advantage of starting with a smaller theatre due to its potential for future expansion or its inherent flexibility. This theme encompasses the idea that a smaller venue can adapt over time as community needs evolve. 2 responses
  2. Community Focus and Intimacy: A considerable number of comments highlighted the value of maintaining a community feel and ensuring the intimacy of performances, indicating a preference for a venue that fosters a closer connection between performers and the audience. 8 responses
  3. Economic Viability and Sustainability: Concerns about the economic viability of a larger venue were common, with several respondents pointing out that a smaller venue might better match the community’s size and be more sustainable long-term. 5 responses
  4. Support for Local Arts and Accessibility: Respondents expressed a desire for the theatre to support local arts and culture, emphasizing the importance of making performances accessible to the local community and reflective of its identity. 4 responses
  5. Practical Considerations (Size and Utilization): Some comments focused on practical aspects like the likelihood of filling seats and managing the venue’s size to ensure events feel exclusive yet accessible. 3 responses
  6. Skepticism Towards Large Venues: A few respondents expressed skepticism towards the idea of a larger venue, citing concerns over losing the personal touch or the theatre becoming too commercial. 3 responses

Do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions.


September 23, 2022

Media Release

The CACE Group and its associate arts groups in Collingwood and South Georgian Bay are very pleased with the results of their questionnaire sent to the candidates for the 2022 Collingwood Council

The upcoming Municipal Election addresses the many economic and social challenges the Town of Collingwood and surrounding communities are facing with its increasing population and inherent needs and demands.

A vision for the Town and its surrounding communities is necessary.

The Collingwood Arts, Culture & Entertainment Group (CACE) is a local grassroots group of citizens who for the past three years has been very passionate and committed to building an arts, culture and entertainment centre in Collingwood, servicing the South Georgian Bay region.

On September 12th, the CACE Group sent out a questionnaire to all the Collingwood candidates running for Council to better understand their position regarding this visionary and much needed build.  Although this is just one account, the results are positive for having a new Council that understands the economic and cultural impact a Centre for the Arts, Culture & Entertainment would have on the region.

Question asked of candidates:

Cost, location and size for an arts, culture and entertainment centre will be addressed by the consulting company (Nordicity) contracted by the Town of Collingwood. Subject to credible financial analysis, do you support a purpose-built centre for Arts, Culture and Entertainment in Collingwood?

  • YES
  • NO

The results:

` 15 candidates completed the questionnaire
` 13 answered YES
` 0 answered NO
` 2 answered OTHER
` 14 gave their names and 1 answered anonymously

The following candidates answered YES:

Chris Potts
Tim Fryer
Deb Doherty
Ian Chadwick
George Dickenson
Yvonne Hamlin
Mariane McLeod
Cam Ecclestone
Steve Johns
Norm Sandberg
Bob Madigan
Brandon Houston

Two candidates answered OTHER:

Bob Ring
Steve Berman

For an Arts Centre in Collingwood.


In January 2021, The Town of Collingwood engaged Nordicity and Giaimo Architects to undertake a Feasibility Study for an Arts and Culture Centre in Collingwood. This report represents the findings, options, and recommendations as to next steps based on the research, consultations and analysis conducted between January and August 2021. The purpose of the study was to:

  1. Evaluate the needs of the arts and cultural community in Collingwood
  2. Determine if, and to what degree, there is demand for an arts and culture centre
  3. Assess the feasibility of a new arts and culture centre in Collingwood.

Feasibility study recommends downtown Collingwood as prime location
Oct 05, 2021 by: John Edwards

Nordicity study concludes Collingwood should have an arts centre.
Collingwood Today
Oct 05, 2021 by: Jessica Owen

The CACE Group has developed an exciting project to help grow the arts and culture scene in Collingwood and the surrounding area. I look forward to seeing this project expand the entertainment opportunities in our region.

MP Terry Dowdall


The Town of Collingwood has a proud history as a strong centre for excellence in the Arts, and I am pleased that CACE has come forward to engage the energy and voices of residents in building an even brighter cultural future for our community. It is always exciting to see residents come together for the betterment of our community.

Brian Saunderson

Mayor, Town of Collingwood

I am excited to offer my personal support to the effort to build an Arts, Culture and Entertainment Centre in the region of South Georgian Bay.   We are neighbouring communities that share the common delight of performance arts that inspire and entertain.   An arts centre will serve to bring us closer together and provide opportunities for the expression of rural culture.   Best of Luck!

Doug Measures

Mayor, Clearview Township

The Blue Mountain Village Foundation has always viewed the arts as an important component of our Region’s overall health and sustainability. We are fully supportive of the CACE Group’s Regional Centre for Arts, Culture and Entertainment and look forward to its benefits to all members of the community.

Andrew Siegwart

President, Blue Mountain Village Association

The proposed Collingwood Arts, Culture and Entertainment Centre is a worthy and needed facility that I am pleased to support. Not only will it provide a home for diverse professional and local art forms in South Georgian Bay, but it will also be an economic boon for our region, providing direct employment during its construction and operational phases, and significant spin-offs throughout its lifetime.
Best wishes with the project. And thank you for your volunteer efforts on behalf of the region.

MPP Jim Wilson


Arts centre advocacy group dreaming of world-class theatre in Collingwood.
Collingwood Today
Nov 19, 2020 by: Erika Engel 

‘The stars seem to be more aligned’: Collingwood group champions creation of ‘world class’ cultural centre.

Town is looking to study the feasibility of an arts centre.

Nov 14, 2020 by: John Edwards

Missing LIVE music? 
Check out South Georgian Bay EVENTS page where they showcase past Wednesday Night Jazz and Blues at the Station concerts.
(Dancing and singing along at home is encouraged).

‘A place for people’: Group pushes for Collingwood cultural centre.
Jan 25, 2020 by Ian Adams Collingwood Connection

Feasibility study planned for potential new arts centre in Collingwood.
Collingwood Today
Nov 26, 2019 by: Jessica Owen

For Art’s Sake
Local group envisions a world-class arts and entertainment centre in Collingwood
On The Bay
by Judy Ross
photography by Jessica Crandlemire





Arts, Culture & Entertainment Group is a grassroots local organization made up of citizens who are dedicated and committed to building an Arts, Culture and Entertainment Centre in Collingwood.


Establish Collingwood as the centre of arts, culture and entertainment in the South Georgian Bay area.


  • To build a world class, flexible, multi-purpose arts, culture and entertainment centre that is commercially successful by attracting professional artists & productions, while still supporting local talent and programs and both the current and future needs of the community.
  • To support and promote all art forms including performing, visual and musical; across all ages and abilities.
  • To design and build a centre that has flexible space and facilities that will accommodate the needs of many organizations and cohorts.
  • The Centre will provide sufficient capacity to attract world class artists to perform in our town.
  • Inclusivity, accessibility, sustainability and community engagement are the corner stones of the project.


  • It is the intention of this group to collaborate with the various stakeholders and all levels of government in a Public, Private Partnership that supports the speedy completion of this project.
  • To ask the Town of Collingwood Council to support the project with appropriate seed money to begin the project and participate in a joint feasibility study.
  • To enlist the work of a professional fund raiser to develop and carry out a capital campaign to raise funds for the build project and ongoing operating support.
  • To find an appropriate site for the build.
  • To seek and engage professionals in the design, build and management of the facilities.
  • To acknowledge the land and the First Nations peoples whose history is tied to it.


  • Flexible and fully accessible theatre space to accommodate between 250 and 600 people.
  • Including comfortable seating with professional standards for sight lines & acoustics.
  • Appropriate professional sized stage with adequate back stage, wings, green, and dressing rooms with dedicated space for set construction and storage capabilities.
  • State of the art sound and lighting equipment and infrastructure.
  • Rehearsal & educational spaces.
  • Outdoor gathering and performance spaces.
  • Gallery space for art installations, speaker series, receptions & small events. Office space for theatre/property management, anchor production company, front of house & catering, tourism offices, etc.
  • Box Office (central hub for ticketing).
  • Retail space, (including gift shop, showcasing work by local artists and students).
  • Food and Beverage outlet, (bar, café, light snacks).
  • Kitchen and food prep area, (outside catering of events, weddings, etc.).
  • Regional History Museum, highlighting our Indigenous and Ship Building History.
  • Young Peoples Zone, (interactive areas that engage youth in the creative process).



To build a regional economic, cultural and creative engine that will serve the residents/taxpayers of Collingwood by:

  • Addressing the needs of local organizations that currently have no facilities to hold recitals, rehearsals, etc., (revenue now going to Meaford, Barrie, etc.,).
  • Drawing in new organizations from outside the town, (conferences, over flow from Blue, theatre productions, etc.,)
  • Establishing Collingwood as the centre for Arts, Culture and Entertainment, which will attract new visitors and residents, drive income to businesses, sustain real estate, etc.
  • Providing facilities and services that will attract all ages and provide education through experiences and formal engagement.
  • Increasing new tax revenues.
  • Increasing Tourism to the Town and Region.
  • Providing new job opportunities.