Canal Bank Street Road Closure Due To Structural Damage Of Rail Bridge

WELLAND – The City of Welland initiated a temporary road closure this morning on Canal Bank Street, between Sixth and Seventh Streets. The closure was due to a vehicular accident which left the Canal Bank Rail Bridge with structural damage. Welland Fire and Emergency Services are happy to report that the accident did not cause any human injuries; however, damage to the Canal Bank Rail Bridge is awaiting a review from CN Rail.

City staff are currently working with CN Rail to assess the situation, estimate the damage, and address any safety issues.

“We’re meeting with the appropriate people to discuss a plan of action this afternoon,” said Deputy Fire Chief Adam Eckhart. “Public safety is first and foremost to the department and city staff.”

CN Rail is aware of the incident and has made adjustments to any schedules that include the Canal Bank Rail Bridge. The bridge is now out of service, and absolutely no trains will cross over the Canal Bank Rail Bridge until it is safe to do so. The City of Welland is creating road detours that will redirect traffic to the quickest and easiest alternate route. More information will be made available on the city’s website after CN Rail, Welland Fire and Emergency Services, and the City’s Engineering Department review the damage and create a plan of action.

For more information on City of Welland road closures, visit

(Source: City of Welland news release)

Chris Rao New Head Coach Of Niagara Knights Women’s Basketball

Chris Rao, like father, like son: “I’m extremely proud of my Dad and what he has done with the Brock women’s basketball program and we will continue to support each other as we have all along.”

WELLAND – Niagara College Athletics and Recreation is pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Rao as the Knights Women’s basketball head coach.

Rao takes over for former head coach Mike Beccaria, who retired after the 2018-2019 season.

Rao is a born and raised Wellander, attending Notre Dame College School before heading to the east coast to Cape Breton University. While working towards his degree in education, Rao became an assistant coach with the Cape Breton University Capers from 2014-2017. From there, he moved to Acadia University as an assistant coach with the men’s program for one season before returning to his alma mater in 2018-19 as lead assistant coach for the Capers.

Rao has also been involved in the provincial sport realm coaching with Basketball Nova Scotia. Since 2017 he has been an assistant with both the under-14 and under-17 boys programs, and is currently at the helm of the boys 15 and under program.

Although Rao’s resume weighs heavily on the men’s game, he’s confident the transition to the female game will be a good one.

“Coaching is coaching. At the end of the day, it’s about connecting and working with individuals” he says. “If you’re able to do that, success and positive culture will follow.”

The name Rao may strike a chord of familiarity with those in the Niagara region basketball scene. Brock University’s women’s basketball program recently inked a three-year deal with Rao’s father, Mike. With the father-son duo reunited in the Niagara region, Rao is hoping collaborate with the elder Rao to provide the best experience for both Brock and Niagara student-athletes.

“Being back home and near family is obviously very exciting” says Rao. “I’m extremely proud of my Dad and what he has done with the Brock women’s basketball program and we will continue to support each other as we have all along.”

The Knights will begin their quest for an Ontario Colleges Athletic Conference Championship under Rao on November 1st at home against Sheridan.

Rao will officially begin August 15th, with women’s basketball tryouts and training camp set to begin September 9th. Full training camp schedule.

For full 2019-2020 women’s basketball schedule, please visit

(Source: Niagara College news release)

Welland’s Other Outdoor Murals: Garden Art

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

WELLAND – The city’s “other” outdoor murals, garden art by its horticultural crew, are all in place.
The work is outstanding, particularly those that were earliest to be done and have matured over the past few weeks.
The last, a lizard design in the showcase bed at Southworth Street and Ontario Road, was still being worked on yesterday. It was photographed just this morning, July 10.
The other showcase beds are at: Prince Charles Drive/First Avenue, Prince Charles Drive/Colbeck Drive, Niagara Street/Riverbank and Prince Charles Drive/Broadway.
Year after year, the work is proudly done by Welland parks staff, adding colour and beauty to the local environment through imaginative and appealing floral design. It figures prominently in the commitment to the greening of Welland.

Lives Run Out On Basil, Niagara College’s Beloved Greenhouse Cat

After a brief illness, Basil, the lovable tabby cat who called NC’s Greenhouse home, passed away July 3.

An official NC employee, Basil had been chief of natural pest control in the greenhouse since coming to college in 2003, earning his moniker through a naming contest held by Greenhouse staff. The stray tabby made the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus home, where he quickly attracted the attention, love and care of the entire college community.

In the over 15 years of Basil’s time with Niagara College, he was not only a fearless mouser, keeping the greenhouse pest-free, but was also a constant source of encouragement and stress relief for students, staff and visitors alike. Basil received regular checkups and visits to the vet, and was well cared-for by Greenhouse staff and many others, including president Dan Patterson and his wife Saundra, who took great delight in him.

His contributions to the college community were immortalized in July 2018, when he left his paw-prints in a new concrete path connecting the greenhouse to Benchmark Restaurant, where he could often be glimpsed welcoming restaurant guests. Basil also had an Instagram account, where he shared uplifting photos with the college community, and starred in several NC holiday videos in past years. Watch them here, and here.

In 2016, a new Basil Bursary was created in Basil’s honour. Plush keychains in his likeness were created, and are still for sale at Benchmarket at the NOTL Campus. All funds raised through the sale of the keychains go toward a $500 bursary for students. Donations to the Basil Bursary can also be made directly online, by visiting and clicking ‘Online Donation.’

Those who encountered Basil are encouraged to share their memories of him on social media, tagging his Instagram account, @Basil_theNCcat. Donations can also be made directly to the Basil Bursary online, at .

(Source: InsideNC, a Niagara College publication)

Welland Jackfish To Play As Welland Pirates For Pack The Park Day

WELLAND – The Welland Jackfish presented by North Welland BIA, are excited to announce Pack the Park Day presented by Enviro-Niagara on Saturday, July 20th at 1:05 p.m.

Pack the Park Day will see the Welland Jackfish suit up as the Welland Pirates for one game only. The Jackfish will wear Welland Pirates inspired jerseys that will be auctioned off immediately following the July 20th game.

The Jackfish will also attempt to sell out Welland Stadium for the first time since the 90’s as Enviro-Niagara has purchased almost all available tickets to the July 20th game are giving them away to fans at their store located at 8-2255 Hwy 20 Welland.

“We really wanted to do something to honour the past of baseball in this great city” said Jackfish President Ryan Harrison. “There is no better way of honouring the past than to change our name for one game and pack the house!”

Tickets for July 20th can be picked up from Enviro-Niagara starting Tuesday, July 2nd.
For more information about Pack the Park Day, please contact us at or 905-736-1346.

(Source: Jackfish news release)