10 Oct


Dr. LEROY LITTLE BEAR has himself become an institution. This veteran educator and renowned academic is the founder of the Native American Studies Department at the University of Lethbridge – where he served as Chair for 21 years – also went on to become the founding Director of Harvard University’s Native American Program. He has brought together Elders and Scientists in symposia in order to better connect knowledge and wisdom. He has received numerous awards and recognition for his work, including the Officer Order of Canada, and the Alberta Order of Excellence. He’s co-authored three texts – Pathways to Self-Determination: Native Indian Leaders Perspectives on Self-Government, Quest for Justice: Aboriginal Rights in Canada, and, Governments in Conflict: Provinces and Indian Nations in Canada – and helped write Justice on Trial, the report of Alberta’s Task Force on the Criminal Justice System and Its Impacts on the Indian and Métis Peoples of Alberta. A member of the Blackfoot Confederacy, Little Bear contributed to publications for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples in the area of criminal justice issues, did the same for the Assembly of First Nations on constitutional issues and has provided legal advice to numerous Aboriginal organizations on land claims, treaties and hunting and fishing rights. He is now recognized as one of the continent’s leaders in the advancement and acceptance of North American Indian philosophy.

We are indeed honoured to have Dr. Little Bear as our opening keynote speaker. In this unique time to have an Elder of his strength, depth of knowledge and good humour, it is a tremendous gift.  

30 Sep


R2R20 – working together

In these times there is reason to take heart, I believe. The more chaotic and complicated the world around us appears the clearer our role becomes at the Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity (CCRC). The more challenges we face, the more we find our purpose in our friendships across many divides. R2R20 will bring people together, once again, from across the County, the Country and beyond our borders. The R2R belief remains – that a good idea in King’s County Nova Scotia can be shared and be a good idea in Clinton, Ontario, or in the Qu’appelle Valley in Saskatchewan – or almost anywhere else.

The CCRC is proud to be partnering with the Goderich to Guelph Rail Trail Association (G2G) to produce the virtual R2R20. It is an opportunity to share the journey with another rural institution that has proven itself a builder toward a strong and resilient rural community.

AGENDA OUT SOON – STAY TUNED – image by Mary Pym ‘by the south downs’

24 Sep

the story behind the R2R image

The image for the virtual Rural Talks to Rural conference this year is a photograph taken by Kelly Rebar in the late summer of 2020. The image is of rural British Columbia, in the interior of the Province, near Nelson. She didn’t know at the time that the sun would be distorted like it is. The distortion is caused by the smoke in the air from the California, Oregon and Washington wildfires – a thousand miles away.

We are connected and we share this place with a whole jumble of others, and many others that are to come – our next steps need to be taken with great care and consideration.

(Kelly’s fabulous photography can be found at: kellyrebar.wordpress.com)

24 Sep

Rural Talks to Rural 2020 – a virtual conference November 16-28

R2R20 asks: ‘How are you now? How do we better connect knowledge and wisdom? What does change look like to you? What actions are taking place that you can share/that we can learn from – in building a resilient and sustainable rural?

R2R20 is being produced in partnership with the Goderich to Guelph Rail Trail (G2G) Association and will include online panels, solo presentations, a return of Passport to Research, debates with different points of view on the state of things, a rural Covid survey across two different counties + shareable ideas/ideas already making a difference. Value add includes ‘End of the Lane’ videos – neighbours talking to neighbours, story circles, and a highschool project on how students see our future unfolding. And there’s more…

Stay tuned for details and registration info soon.

05 May

The CCRC in Ottawa

read the full release here

Photos by Allan Thompson

Peter Smith, with The Honourable Melanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage







May4 – Minister of Small Business and Tourism Bardish Chagger

Treasury Board president Scott Brison with Peter Smith

May4: l-R: Alecia Anderson, Karen Stewart, Gil Garratt, Chris Lee, Peter Smith, Steven Sparling, Genny Smith and Allan Thompson

02 May

CCRC goes to Ottawa

A delegation from the Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity will be in Ottawa this week to reach out to MPs and Senators and the broader parliamentary community about the centre’s exciting mission to create a hub for rural revitalization in the village of Blyth. The visit will include key meetings with government officials as well as outreach with MPs, Senators and media.

Team Blyth will include Peter Smith, director of the Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity, Karen Stewart, the centre’s director of operations, Steven Sparling, Genny Smith, Austen Chaffe and Alecia Anderson from project partner Cowbell Brewing Co., Gil Garratt, artistic director of the Blyth Centre for the Arts, David Peacock from Regional Tourism Organization 4, Chris Lee from the Guelph to Goderich (G2G) Rail Trail and Allan Thompson, journalism professor at Carleton University and a member of the project’s campaign cabinet.

The delegation will be in Ottawa on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for a series of meetings and events. The highlight will be a reception being held on Parliament Hill on Thursday, from 5-7 p.m. in Rm 238-S of the Centre Block. The reception, dubbed A Taste of Rural, will provide the Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity and its partners with a chance to engage with Parliamentarians about the project’s exciting and innovative work. Cowbell Brewing Co., will be offering some its award-winning beers and there will also be other rural treats, including some products from Blyth Farm Cheese, The Whole Pig, and The Garlic Box. The reception is kindly being hosted by MPs Kim Rudd (Northumberland-Peterborough South) and T.J. Harvey (Tobique—Mactaquac), the recently-elected chair of the Liberal party’s rural caucus.

03 Aug

Top 10 reasons to attend R2R Conference


1. Talk Rural – Join Canadian ruralists, from farmers and artists to healthcare providers and community builders, for this unique opportunity to discuss solutions to rural issues and challenges. Learn more.

2. Keynote Speakers and Expert Presenters – Connect with more than 60 speakers and presenters who will share their expertise on topics in arts & culture, food & farm, community revival & development, and sustaining & growing rural populations. Meet our keynotes and presenters confirmed to date.

3. Arts & Culture – Learn how to give voice to our rural stories and how the way telling these stories is evolving. Also explore fibre arts through panel discussions and hands-on activities. Click here for full agenda

4. Food & Farm – Hear from rural experts on how to create jobs through processing local food and farm products, how to overcome road blocks on the way to market, how to raise capital for your business venture, and more. Click here for full agenda

5. Community Revival/Development – Community revitalization, building vibrant rural communities, and reimagining rural tourism lead the topics discussed in this learning stream. Click here for full agenda

6. Sustaining and Growing our Population – Are we prepared for new Canadians? How do we engage, support and retain our youth population? How do rural communities achieve their goals for growth and development while maintaining their distinctive rural character? Join our guest speakers for discussions on these questions and more. Click here for full agenda

7. The Pitch/The Catch – Support rural innovators as they take to the stage to pitch their best business ideas to a handful of catchers eager to invest in growing the local economy. Learn more

8. The Food – September is harvest time in Huron County and we will bring together our top chefs who will feature the best food the county has to offer. Click here for full agenda

9. Kitchen Table Conversations – Great ideas often come from conversations had around a kitchen table. Kitchen tables will be found throughout the conference to provide a spot to delegates to informally discuss innovative solutions to the challenges facing rural communities. Do you have a kitchen table to share?

10. Rural Fun – Rural folks know how to have a good time and we've made lots of room in the conference agenda for delegates to do just that. We will feature local entertainment alongside a good old-fashioned pig roast and bonfire complete with s'mores. Click here for full agenda

04 Jul

Blyth Hosts Rural + Creativity Conference



For Immediate Release: July 7, 2016

Contact: Karen Stewart, 519-441-7629



BLYTH:  From September 28th – 30th 2016 the Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity will host the first Rural Talks to Rural Conference.  Ruralists are invited to Huron County to network, share knowledge and meet other innovators from across Canada.   From farmers to artists and healthcare providers to community builders we’ll inspire collaborative and creative thinking to discuss solutions to rural issues and challenges.

The Conference will focus on four different categories including Arts & Culture, Food & Farm, Community Revival/Development, and Sustaining & Growing Our Population. Each of the goals or issues will have panels, conversations, and presentations.  For example, Arts & Culture will feature a panel on why we need our stories told and from Fibre to Fabulous – fashion from the ground up. Under Food & Farm there will be a panel on creating jobs through processing local food and farm products as well as raising capital for your business venture. Community Revival/Development will have presentations on Rural Health & Wellbeing as well as The Creative Economy – reimagining rural assets and return on investment. And, one of the Sustaining & Growing Our Population presentations will be on Youth Entrepreneurship while another explores immigration – Are we prepared for New Canadians?  Are we welcoming?  Are we friendly?

To get the ideas flowing many events have been organized for the conference. These include The Pitch, The Catch (an opportunity for entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to potential investors), Kitchen Table Conversations (an informal setting to encourage dialogue and connections), tasting events, a pig roast and a Gala Dinner where delegates will enjoy the bounty of the County, and many more great opportunities for creativity and engagement.

Pricing on the conference will range from $350 for all three days sessions, meals, hospitality, and entertainment: $200 for one full day (Sept. 28th or 29th), or $45 for dinner, keynote, and evening entertainment (either date – Sept. 28th or 29th).   Students are encouraged to participate too – $225 for full 3-day conference.

For more information or to register please visit www.ruralcreativity.org

Rural Talks to Rural 2016 is presented by the Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity and generously supported by the County of Huron, the Township of North Huron, Huron Business Development Corporation, The Rural Voice, Rural Ontario Institute, Huron Food Action Network and the University of Guelph.

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The Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity (CCRC) was developed to build a unique cultural hub that addresses issues facing rural communities and accelerate economic growth and social renewal in Huron County and beyond.  The CCRC will inspire people through art and nurture creative thinking in order to identify new economic, creative, and recreational opportunities.  The CCRC operates within the mandate of its parent company Blyth Arts and Cultural Initiative 14/19 Inc. as a not-for-profit charitable organization working in partnership with the community to develop a cultural strategy that provides unique educational and artistic opportunities, meaningful employment, and increased quality of life for all through culture and art.