Friday, 12 July 2013

The Midland Cultural Centre

Ahneen, bienvenue and welcome. Those are the three words thoughtfully incorporated into the logo of the Midland Cultural Centre, making all visitors feel at home in the languages of  the Ojibwe, the French and the English who were the first people in the area, in that exact order, and their descendants remain and thrive today.

An old movie theatre, the Roxy, once stood on this spot at the corner of King and Elizabeth Streets and was torn down to make way for this new modern structure. Coming from Barrie, where many grand old buildings frequently lose fights with the wrecking ball, I can understand if more than a few long time Midlanders were sad to see old Roxy go, but at least they can be proud that a beautiful piece of architecture grew up in it's place. The light and airy central atrium has a delightful cafe christened Cafe Roxy, a nice nod to the old moving picture house.

You can feel the newness when you walk inside. Everything is so contemporary, sleek, clean and open. Plenty of high windows let in plenty of sunlight. Small tables and chairs dot the atrium floor, and on this day a handful of people were enjoying a coffee with friends and puzzling over the sudden arrival of 30 camera happy tour members. Well, they picked a good time to be there, as the servers soon brought out trays of little sweets for us to sample and the customers soon found themselves offered unexpected goodies too. The little rhubarb cake that I ate was drizzled with tiny stripes of white icing. Very in season and very tasty!

Now this isn't your grandmother's coffee shop! You can choose from a pretty decent selection of wine or beer here too. I had no idea that wine was produced in Collingwood. I also learned that Collingwood made wine is available at the Midland Cultural Centre. Very nice. I think I would enjoy doing some people watching through the big glass window, while sipping on a chilled glass of wine and enjoying a slice of the mushroom shallot rosemary and brie quiche that I saw in the display case.

Cafe Roxy isn't all that the Midland Cultural Centre offers, not by a mile. The Rotary Hall can handle many kinds of events from business functions and trade shows to concerts and wedding receptions. The cuisine at both the Roxy Cafe and Rotary Hall are overseen by executive chef, Ivars Rasa, who had the very well respected Midland restaurant, The Library, until coming on board the Midland Cultural Centre project in 2010. He is well known for creating exciting and elegant dishes, using as much local produce as he can and working with various budget types. Chef Ivars utilizes ingredients from some of his fellow Huronia Food Trail members, including Williams Farm and Eco Huronie.

Big city looks, small town feel. That's what you'll find at the Midland Cultural Centre. The amenities and the foods on offer are world class, but you won't feel outclassed - you'll feel at home and very comfortable. Keep up the good work, Chef Ivars and staff!

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