Sir Robert Barrie Day

The City Council of Barrie, Ontario, Canada is set to establish the 7th June as Sir Robert Barrie Day.

This is to honour the anniversary date of the signing of the Twinning Certifcate with Harrogate, which was completed at Ripley Castle on that date in 2013, and the 180th anniversary of Sir Robert’s death.

Sir Thomas Ingilby was instrumental in the formation of the twinning relationship with Harrogate, and with a strong family connection. Sir Robert married Sir Thomas’s ancestor, Julia Wharton Ingilby, on 24 October 1816, and Sir Robert is buried at Ripley Church.

“In early 1824, Commodore Barrie took up the post of commissioner of the Naval Dockyard in Kingston, Upper Canada. He was instrumental in developing the facilities at Kingston, as well as supporting the building of the Rideau and Welland canals.

He came to the Barrie area to inspect the Nine Mile Portage, a key trading route from Kempenfelt Bay to the Nottawasaga River and Georgian Bay. Lady Julia Wharton-Ingilby, Barrie’s wife, thought the area at the end of Kempenfelt Bay one of most beautiful places on Earth and suggested they settle there.

In 1833, that area was named Barrie in his honour.

In mid-1834, Barrie returned to England and King William IV made him a knight commander of the Royal Guelphic Order. He was promoted to rear-admiral in 1837 and knight commander of the Order of the Bath in 1840. 

Barrie lived in retirement in Swarthdale, Lancashire and died on June 7, 1841.”

Deputy Mayor Barry Ward, who was a guest of Harrogate for the 2019 World Cycling Championships, stated,

“It is always a good idea to celebrate our heritage and teach residents about the person our city is named after. Sir Robert Barrie had quite an interesting life, both as a military commander and administrator in what later became Canada. June the 7th marks both the anniversary of his death and the anniversary of the signing of the city’s agreement to make Harrogate (North Yorkshire, England), where he is buried, a twin city of Barrie.”

A full and intersting biography of Sir Robert can be found on Wikipedia, and can be accessed with this link:

Robert Barrie – Wikipedia

Vandalism to the New Zealand Garden

It is very upsetting to report the recent damage to the wooden carvings donated to Harrogate by the City of Wellington, our ‘twin town’ in New Zealand.


The age and condition of the timber made it easier to deface the carvings, and  to the extent that HIP will be supporting Harrogate Borough Council to replace these works of art with new, more durable pieces, and most likely in metal. This to maintain our strong links with Wellington, which were forged through the heroic support of their air force during World War ll, and with many service personnel stationed in and around Harrogate.

Sadly many lives were lost, and and it is even more poignant that the thoughtless damage should occur close to the 75th anniversary of the end of World War ll, and the remembrance of the brave men who gave their lives to help bring the relative peace of recent times.

It is also sad that the impact of the Covid 19 epidemic has significantly restricted our ability to focus and reflect on all those who sacrificed ‘their tomorrow for our today’. Restoring the New Zealand garden will help in a small way to show that they are not forgotten.

Details of the Restoration Fund will be announced shortly.

The latest trip to Barrie


(The iconic, ‘Spirit Catcher’ providing a stunning image on the Barrie skyline.)

HIP Director, Mary Fennimore, recently managed to squeeze in a two day visit to Barrie while in Canada for a family  wedding, and hosted by the Deputy Mayor, Barry Ward, and his wife Marg . Barry and Marg were civic guests in Harrogate for the UCI World cycling last September.

They were given a tour of City Hall by Barry, and Bill Sergeant from Barrie’s International Relations Committee.

They were shown  Sir Robert Barrie memorabilia and paintings, and a wonderful photograph of the bay on the wall round the council chamber, as well as seeing the view from the top floor offices. Bill then took them to the art gallery, where they had a behind-the-scenes look at the latest exhibition which was being set up, and then on to the military museum.

Mary said that Barry and Marg were wonderful  hosts, introducing them to Barrie by night, and sampling the ‘brew’ from the ‘best pub in town’!

They also managed to fit in a trip north to Midland, to the annual First Light festival at ‘Saint Marie Among the Hurons’ (an early settler site), where the attractions included food, music, crafts, fireworks, musket firing, and a lesson in First Nation drumming (!).

Proving ‘it’s a small world’, they met someone who had lived in Shipley for several years, and another local who had been to the Harrogate riding centre!

Bill Sergeant and Bunty Brooks were presented with a gift for the Barrie International Committee, which was the new Harrogate Monopoly set! That went down really well!

The next event on the horizon with Barrie is the return visit of the St Edward’s choir, next July. Bunty  is particularly involved with that, and is very much looking forward to coming back to Harrogate, as we are to welcoming her!