Harrogate, United Kingdom
Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Twinning with Harrogate
Former Harrogate Mayor and Alderman Michael Newby, and the Harrogate Business Improvement District Manager Matthew Chapman were hosted by Mark and Patti Sachkiw and Lou and Rick Leroux during their stay in Barrie to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Twinning certificate between Barrie and Harrogate. Michael had signed the certificate on June 7, 2013 at Ripley Castle along with former Mayor Jeff Lehman.
Matt Chapman, Sir Robert Barrie KCB KCH (Randy Rice), former Horrogate Mayor Michael Newby, and Mayor at the SRB Day flag raising ceremony, on the 10th anniversary of the Twinning with Harrogate, Barrie city hall - June 7, 2023.
Meeting with the Barrie BIA - Matthew Chapman, BIA Chair Craig Stevens, Councillor Jim Harris, and Michael Newby.
During their eight-days visit, Michael and Matthew visited many local attractions and met with various organizations and local leaders. On Sir Robert Barrie day, June 7, they raised the Harrogate flag at city hall before being introduced at the Barrie City Council meeting by Mayor Alex Nuttall. While they were here, they met with the Barrie Chamber of Commerce members Paul Markle and Stephanie Gourlie; the Barrie BIA chair Craig Stevens; Georgian College’s Global Engagement Director Kelly Watson and Kenta Shirakura; and Steve Gauci, Director Retail of Napoleon Home Comfort.
Meeting with the Barrie Chamber of Commerce - Stephanie Gourlie, Michael Newby, Matthew Chapman, Paul Markle and Councillor Jim Harris.
Touring Georgian College - Matthew Chapman, Bill Sergeant, Michael Newby, Kelly Watson and Kenta Shirakura.
One of the highlights of their visit was meeting members of the world renown Canadian aerobatic team, the Snowbirds at a dinner at the South Shore Centre and then watching them perform the following day in the Barrie Air Show. This was made possible by IRC member, HCol Wayne Hay, who was the Air Show Committee Chair.
Visit to Barrie by the Harrogate U-16 Rugby team
After a three-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Barrie was finally able to host 25 members of the Harrogate U-16 Rugby team from 26 July – 3 August, 2023. Rick and Louise Leroux had been liaising with Ralph Zoing, Matt Duncombe, Luke Raphael and Sonja Brown throughout that time period to make this exchange possible. The team was welcomed to Barrie by Mayor Alex Nuttall, a former rugby player, who raised the Harrogate flag with them at city hall.
Harrogate U-16 Rugby being welcomed at Barrie City Hall by Mayor Nuttall, July 27, 2023.
The Barrie and the Harrogate U-16 rugby teams, July 30, 2023.
The organizers had scheduled two practice sessions for the team and two rugby matches against local U-16 teams from Barrie and Collingwood. One of the practice sessions was at Georgian College where the Grizzlies coach, John Daggett, put the team through some advanced level drills. In addition to visiting numerous local attractions, they enjoyed time at Wasaga Beach, Wye Marsh, Saint Marie among the Hurons, Toronto, Niagara Falls, and a tour of the Canadian Forces Base Borden. The visitors also celebrated Yorkshire Day on 1 August by meeting local members of our federal and provincial parliaments, as well as Mayor Nuttall and Councillors Jim Harris and Craig Nixon as they raised the Yorkshire flag at city hall.
The Collingwood and the Harrogate U-16 rugby teams, Aug 1, 2023.
The Harrogate U-16 Rugby delegation at Galaxy Cinema, Barrie, prior to going to the airport for their return flight home, Aug 3, 2023
The team was billeted by local families who enjoyed getting to know them better. The team was accompanied by some of their parents and siblings who wished to see Barrie and other Canadian attractions while they were here. The home stays provided them with an opportunity to experience local culture and attractions that they would not otherwise have been able to. One of the most memorable people that they met during the Harrogate UK U-16 & Barrie Rugby Exchange 2023 was the bus driver, Terry Kirbyson, He was the driver for every one of the trips (except Niagara Falls) and became a big part of this exchange. He even wore his “Irish” rugby shirt to tease the boys.
As the trip came to an end, the Harrogate International Partnerships committee sent a massive thank you to everyone involved in making this memorable trip happen.