Steve introduced Fred Hacker as a giant in the legal profession and a committed part of the community active in all aspects of the life of Midland.
Fred brought word from Culture Midland, an organization that works to organize the community around a cultural perspective.  The Town struck a Committee to write a Cultural Plan which included the recommendation that a permanent Committee be struck to implement all the other recommendations of the Plan.  That Committee has been in place for a while now and it is pursuing more public awareness.
Culture, Fred says, is not a dirty word, it's everything.  Midland's economy needs a new focus in this post industrial world and the cultural economy permeates every aspect of life in the community.  And it repays our investment.  For every dollar spent on cultural activities, nine dollars are returned.  Examples of successful cultural economies are Stratford, once a pig farming community and now a community with one of the highest standards of living and education in Canada, and Niagara on the Lake which Fred described as a few houses surrounding a plaque that now draws thousands of people who take advantage of restaurants, stores and activities.  Midland has the attributes to exploit and Culture Midland is there to provide advice and support.
Its mandate is to Celebrate and Leverage the Cultural Resources of our Community and the focus is to make it better, richer and more engaging for its residents.  It aims to do this by helping grow the cultural economy so that by 2020 culture is one of the economic drivers of the community.  The Committee wants to expand community awareness through talks like the one we were listening to, to connect the area's past with the present and take it into the future as a cultural hib.
The Committee has several strategic directions.  It notes that Barrie and Orillia both have cultural budgets of over a million dollars and Midland has one of $10,000.00 so one goal is to strengthen the level of municipal support by building partnerships and expanding culture's role in municipal activities.  It wants to celebrate and promote our heritage.  And it wants to define culture in a way that everybody can see it is a part of all that happens here.
Fred says that tourism is why people visit a community but Culture is why they stay.
In answer to a question about getting the Town to put up some funding, Fred suggests that Council will follow the lead of the ratepayers and if we, as members of the community, make culture a part of the discussion, Council wll follow.  The other three communities have not joined this effort as partners but Culture Midland recognizes that any activity that takes place across North Simcoe will be valuable.