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Our Towns – Barrie Spirit Catcher

Southern Georgian Bay Spotlight2018-12-6By: Janet Lees

Barrie’s most iconic landmark is the Spirit Catcher, a winged sculpture on the shores of Kempenfelt Bay. It represents Canada’s Aboriginal people and is influenced by the myth of the Thunderbird.

Created by artist Ron Baird for the 1986 EXPO in Vancouver, the Spirit Catcher was donated to the MacLaren Art Centre in Barrie and remains the largest piece in its permanent collection. 

It has 16 metal quills that rock back and forth like feathers when the wind blows.

The 25-metre-high sculpture is a focal point on Barrie’s waterfront, serving as both a meeting place and a navigational aid to visitors and residents alike. And the spirit lives on as the Spirit Catcher started a drive to place art around the city that continues today.


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