Barrie, Ontario

Huronia Branch

Inauguration 1996

The Huronia Branch will be twenty-three years old this fall. Here’s a nostalgic portrait from a year later at our first Michaelmas festival, while Novalis Hall in Camphill Nottawasaga was still under construction.
The Huronia Branch of the Anthroposophical Society in Canada has been in existence since 1995. Anyone who is interested in studying and working with the legacy of Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy is welcome to join our meetings.

The format of the meetings attempts to create a balance by dividing our time into three segments: Study, Artistic work, and Decisions on Actions.

After a special verse that always opens our meeting, and – currently – a brief contemplation of one of Steiner’s updated descriptions of the precepts of Buddha’s Eightfold Path, we start the study with an aspect of Steiner’s writings that we have all prepared ahead. We’ve been attempting to carry this out through ‘Goethean Conversation,’ the aim of which is to allow the conversational interaction to create a living entity in itself. We’d like to say here that the emphasis so far has been on ‘attempting’!

In the past we have focused on esoteric studies, spiritual biographies, the three-fold social order, current cultural trends, and other topics inviting an anthroposophical approach. We were very interested, at one time, in taking turns giving individual presentations on special subjects. Some of our members have been very knowledgeable, and had interesting points of view. In addition, the challenge of preparing and delivering a presentation was good training for all of us. More recently, however, we have come to feel that lectures given by one person while the rest listen is not sufficiently active. So, for some time, we have chosen a series by Rudolf Steiner (mostly later works) and, after individually working on a lecture at home over the previous month, we bring the fruits of this to the meeting. Currently, this seems to be more engaging for everyone.

Through the years, we’ve been lucky to have artists in the Branch to act as facilitators for our artistic segment, although anyone can present an artistic session. The emphasis tends to change, depending on the skills of the current members. We’ve done painting, sculpture, music, eurythmy, poetry, mini-dramas, and nature observation and drawing. We currently have in the Branch a musician, a painter, and three people who are involved with eurythmy – so we’ve had lots of colour, music, and movement recently.

Lastly, we have a brief business meeting to address future action, practical logistics, and any financial considerations. Here we also share announcements about any local activities that are coming up.

We like to review how we made out with our goals for the meeting: How did we do? How could we improve? Sometimes we discuss issues of group dynamics. We are now attempting to apply the no-cross-talk / consensus process to our decision-making, hoping to avoid such passions as have

been aroused by seemingly neutral topics such as, ‘What shall we choose as our book-study next year?’ Flawed as we are, we’re still hoping to emerge from these sessions unscathed in the future!

The meeting closes with a repeat of the current month’s aspect of the Eightfold Path that had been contributed in the beginning.

After the meeting we all gather in the kitchen and dining area of Natura for coffee and cake and a chance to catch up on each other’s doings since last month, or for various extensions of the earlier discussion.

Newsletters, plain or fancy, have come and gone over the years. Currently we’re mostly sending out just the minutes, along with announcements of special activities around the Huronia region and Toronto.

We have worked up a set of bylaws, and would be glad to share them with any similar group to whom they might be helpful.

The Huronia Library for Anthroposophy was initiated in 1996, and is located at the Natura Medical Arts Centre, 105 Toronto Street, in Barrie, Ontario. It contains books by Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophical authors, along with some other authors on related subjects. It contains about 600 volumes, not counting periodicals. Except in special circumstances, the books are available only to Branch members. We do not mail out books at this time.

‘Class’ meetings are held at the Natura Medical Arts Centre on the first Saturday of every month except July and August. Contacts: Werner: 705 424-3574, or Ute: 289 597-5616.

We’d be happy to welcome you at our meetings – either as a visitor or a member. Meeting sizes in the past have ranged from six to twenty six. Currently, we have about seven to twelve or thirteen people at a meeting.

We meet at the Natura Medical Arts Centre, at 105 Toronto Street, in downtown Barrie, Ontario. Barrie is located on the shores of Lake Simcoe. That’s the big lake north of Toronto and east of Lake Huron. It’s about 63 kilometres (40 miles) north of the intersection of Rutherford Road and the 400 Highway in north Toronto (Vaughan), and takes about 30 to 40 minutes to get here from there.

Coming north from Toronto on the 400 Highway, take the first of the two Dunlop Street exits after you reach Barrie. This leads right onto Dunlop Street going east. Continue on Dunlop for two to three minutes. Turn left at the fifth traffic light onto Toronto Street. Number 105 is on your right. On weekends there’s lots of free parking across the street by the park, and some beside the building.

We meet at 2PM on the third Sunday of the month. The exception is during July and August, when we usually have a picnic meeting in a country setting.

If interested, please contact Janine at 705 728-1443 or

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