Sip, Savour And Bundle Up For Project Brew ‘Parkas ‘n’ Pints’

NC Brewmaster students to host outdoor beer festival December 10

Excitement is brewing as a class of final-term Brewmaster students prepare to host Project Brew Parkas ‘n’ Pints on Dec. 10. Students are pictured outside of NC’s Teaching Brewery, at the Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake./Supplied photo.

Niagara College Brewmaster students are ready to host the coolest outdoor beer festival in town and offer the public a chance to sample their unique craft beer creations.

The student-led outdoor beer festival, Project Brew ‘Parkas ‘n’ Pints,’ will be held on Saturday, December 10, from 4-8 p.m. at NC’s Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake (courtyard).

Project Brew is hosted at the end of each term by graduating Brewmaster students who cap off their studies with an event that showcases their brewing and event planning skills.

“It’s a lot of pressure for incoming students to know what the finish line for this program entails,” said Maija Saari, Associate Dean for the School of Wine, Beer and Spirits. “Four semesters goes by very quickly, but the program team is with them every step of the way. It’s always a joy to come together to cheer them over the finish line and hear the stories behind their signature beers. Project Brew is such a perfect way to celebrate that success.”

For Brewmaster students, planning Project Brew is a key component of their Beer Sales and Promotions class, which covers everything from marketing and social media, to licensing, layout and design for the event – which are vital skills to those entering the beer industry.

Sarah Scott, Manager, Foodservices Operations for NC’s Culinary, Tourism and Beverage Studies Division, who co-teaches the class, noted that Project Brew is an essential applied learning experience for the Brewmaster students. As they learn about event promotion in class, and how to give events a ‘wow factor,’ they plan and host their own beer festival – giving them a chance to put their what they’ve learned to the test.

“The students are responsible for planning the entire event – everything from ticket sales and marketing promotions to recruiting sponsorship and students to help with the event,” said Scott, who noted that students have been working on Project Brew since September.

“The students are amazing, and they have been extremely engaged. They launched a really great social media plan – and even created their own video – to promote the event.”

For the public, attending Project Brew is chance to get a taste of unique student brews and meet the students who created them. Most of the beers on offer are individual capstone brewing projects for Brewmaster students, along with a few collaborative class creations. The upcoming event is expected to draw more than 400 guests.

“For Project Brew, the students have free rein to develop a beer in their favourite style, using unique ingredients, or to create a beer they may be interested in developing in their future brewing careers,” said Brewmaster Professor Jon Downing, who noted that some previous Project Brew beers have gone on to be featured at breweries where students work after they graduate. “Project Brew is a great experience for our students.”

Student Alanna Scully, who grew up in Goderich, has brewed a Coconut Black Lager for Project Brew. She used real graham crackers and fresh coconut flakes to create her Project Brew beer, which was inspired by a cookie her grandmother used to make. She has also been involved with ticketing, social media, and online marketing for the event.

“Project Brew has pulled everything we have learned in the program together, and we really got to experiment,” said Scully, who enrolled in the Brewmaster program after studying public relations at a university. “There are some really creative beers that were made by our class and it’s going to be really exciting to see everyone present their passion projects at the event.”

Student Chase Miller, who is originally from Winnipeg, shifted his focus from his theatre and film background to the beer industry to enroll in the Brewmaster program, after working at a popular Toronto brewery.

In preparation for Project Brew, Miller has taken on marketing, photography and videography.

“It’s nice to kind of ‘put on a show’ and we’ve got a ‘great cast’ so it’s a lot of fun,” said Miller.

His beer is ‘Tis’ the Saison – Candy Cane Saison’ which was made with his long-time favourite holiday tea.

“I wanted to make sure it was something really special. It’s a French Ale and you can expect traditional seasonal flavors with a little peppermint and real candy cane, as well as some cinnamon and vanilla,” said Miller. “I am most looking forward to seeing everybody enjoying the beers at Project Brew. That’s why I got into it; I just love the camaraderie.”

Matt Grenier, from Brampton, is creating a French Vanilla Black Lager for his Project Brew, inspired by his long-time favourite coffee flavours. In addition to creating his Project Brew beer, he has enjoyed working on the social media team to spread awareness for the event.

He said he was most looking forward to his family attending Project Brew.

“They haven’t tried any of our Niagara College beers before,” he said. “I’m really excited to see what they think.”

Project Brew also involves students from NC’s School of Culinary Arts, who are preparing for the event, led by Chef Professor Justin Downes, who also taught the brew students the sales and marketing theory portion of the course. Students will be preparing a variety of food which will be available for purchase at the event.

“An event like Project Brew is great for culinary students to participate in, giving the students an understanding of what is involved with every aspect of the event from food prep, set up, execution and clean up,” said Downes. “They are able to experience these actions with a chef beside them to guide them through the entire process. It’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to working beside all of them.”

The Project Brew menu includes Dill Havarti Grilled Cheese, Smoked Tomato and Coconut Bisque; Poutine, Albert’s Leap Brie, Gravy; Braised Pork Belly Poutine with Albert’s Leap Brie; and S’mores – Marshmallow, Graham Cracker, Cranberry Plum Sour Dark Chocolate Ganache. Vegan and vegetarian options will be available.

Tickets for Project Brew are available in advance via Eventbrite or at the door (until capacity is reached) for $25.12 including a sample glass and four drink tickets. Additional drink tickets may be purchased for $2 at the event.

Following the event, Project Brew beer may be purchased through the NC Teaching Brewery retail store or Wine Visitor + Education Centre (located at the College’s Daniel J. Patterson Campus) while supplies last.

Proceeds from event ticket sales will be donated to the Matt Soos Scholarship. The scholarship, in honour of Matt Soos who passed away just a few months after he graduated from the program in 2015, is awarded to the student who brews the best beer in the annual Brewmaster competition each year.

NC’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program was launched in 2010 as the first of its kind in Canada. The award-winning, two-year diploma program offers extensive hands-on training at an on-site, state-of-the-art Teaching Brewery to prepare students for employment in the expanding brewery, microbrewery and brewpub industries. Located at the College’s Daniel J. Patterson in Niagara-on-the-Lake, students learn from award-winning faculty and have access to on-site hop yard and local farm products to brew a full range of beer styles. Visit

Attribution: Niagara College news release

Benches: Sit, Stay A While

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large
WELLAND – I’m a collector of benches. Photos of benches, that is.
Benches are interesting, informative, even intriguing.
There are benches with a view.
There are benches with a past.
There are benches with a presence.
Old benches silently tell stories about how things have changed.
Some examples are found in a green space between the Welland River bank and River Road.
In the early 1900s, the green space park was known as Orchard Grove Pleasure Ground and was a popular gathering place for weekend picnics and other social events. Some benches were positioned to provide views of the river and riverbank. But growth of weeds and other vegetation since then denies or obscures views in the current day.
Benches can be: feeding places, thinking places, meeting places, get-away places, resting places. I find a bench in Welland’s Chippawa Park a great place to get away from it all, to just sit and think. It is pictured on this page.
My point in providing this for readers is simple enough: please don’t underestimate the value of a bench!
Benches from my collection featured here are from Merritt Island, old Orchard Grove Pleasure Ground, Morgan’s Point Conservation Area, Cedar Bay park, St. Johns Conservation Area and various other sites.
So sit, stay a while and enjoy the tour. Who knows… you might move up from backbencher to bench photo collector yourself.
Thanks for viewing and for reading.

Barky’s Billboard

Kids in Welland in need of warmth can receive a free winter coat! This program is a partnership between The Hope Centre and Central United Church.
Starting November 30th until December 3rd parents can bring their children to select a winter coat, hats, mitts and scarves (while supplies last). The program runs Wednesday to Saturday from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. NO registration required.

Note: Adult Coats are available at Holy Trinity Welland’s breakfast program, offered six days a week from 7:30 am to 8:30 am, for the homeless population in Welland.

(Barky’s Billboard is a recurring feature on the blog. /Supplied graphic.)

Tip Off Tourney Returns After Pandemic Hiatus

WELAND – Notre Dame hosts its Fr. Fogarty Tip Off basketball tournament Wednesday and Thursday this week. Irish coach Mark Gallagher said it’s the first tournament since before the pandemic.

The senior boys tournament will be played in Dillon Hall and the Belcastro gym. The game sites are represented on the bracket as DH and BEL.

Competing are: St. Marcellinus (Mississauga); St. Thomas Aquinas and Holy Trinity, (Oakville); Orchard Park (Stoney Creek); Assumption (Burlington); Denis Morris and St. Francis (St. Catharines) and the hometown ND Fighting Irish.

/Tip Off Tournament file photo

Lasting Image: Bob Chambers, A Life In Focus

Caption: Bob Chambers at a 2014 reunion of, mainly, the Tribune’s “old hands”. He is pictured with the City of Welland 150th anniversary book, open to pages displaying the newspaper’s locations on King Street and later East Main Street, and newsroom staff. /Joe Barkovich file photo

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

A lasting image of Bob Chambers is in my memories archive. He was a photographer and I was a rookie reporter at the Tribune and we had just covered an assignment at Sherkston Beaches. This was about 50 years ago.

On the drive home we stopped at the B and B Restaurant on Empire Road, not far from the famous swimming hole, the quarry. Bob was thirsty. We chose chocolate milk shakes.

He regaled me with stories, the spoken kind. He lived not far from where we were, on Pleasant Beach Road (from 1939 to 1966). He came down with polio in his teenage years. He loved trains. He loved ice cream …. Before we knew it the milk shakes were drained so we had seconds. That setting is my choice as a lasting image: sitting across from this marvellous lensman, watching him and listening to him as he shared memories and stories.

Bob Chambers died Thursday, Nov. 10, aged 83. His death notice said he passed at Juravinski Hospital ICU, Hamilton, “after a lifelong struggle with polio and a four-week battle with pneumonia and COVID.”

He started at the Tribune in 1957 and moved on in 1970 to the Hamilton Spectator.  I was privileged to work with Bob just over a year. But even in that short time, I learned quickly about my presence in greatness. This came not only from the boldface admiration and respect for him from his colleagues but also members of the community with whom he came in contact as a representative of the paper.

One of the lessons he left me with: Never downplay the importance of an assignment from your editor because everything is significant in its own way.

Bob was admired by many for his kindness, generosity and humility. At a gathering of friends and family on Thursday, Bob’s son Chris said smething he’d heard from many people in the days following Bob’s death was how supportive he had been of their endeavours. He would unselfishly and willingly go the extra mile to help them, always asking what more he could do to promote their cause. “He was so generous that way,” Chris said.

Bearing that in mind, a post in Bob’s obituary found on the Tribune site amplifies Chris’s comment:

“ ‘Uncle Bob’ as us Child Amputee kids knew him. He took a photo at my first CHAMP seminar (30 years ago) that captured the first real smile I´d had in years after chemo and amputation. He was there to document our growth and triumphs and will forever hold a special place in the hearts of thousands of us who grew up with him as the Uncle with the camera at seminars across the country. May he rest in peace and may his loved ones be sent comfort. – Jennah Stavroff, Vancouver Island.

What do colleagues remember about him? I asked a trio of them to share some thoughts:

“Bob Chambers was a true rail fan – one who loved and knew all things related to trains. I accompanied him on a few of his excursions back in the Sixties, one of which was a ride on the Polar Bear Express that runs from Cochrane, to Moosonee on James Bay. That train passes several tiny, isolated  ‘communities’ which had no road access. We passed a school where kids and their teacher were standing out in the yard to wave at the train as it passed by, Bob snapped a picture of them and used it in a story in The Tribune. Surprise, a few days later we received a letter to the editor pointing out that the teacher in that picture hundreds of miles to the north was actually from Port Colborne. And no, Bob didn’t even ask for mileage on that shot. Lol.” — Bob McClellan, city editor.

“Bob was young when he first joined the Tribune staff as a photographer. He was a quick learner and could soon handle any assignment given him.

Bob had an eye for the unusual shot, especially if it could include a pretty girl.

One particular shot I remember was a shot of Main Street Bridge with the Park Theatre marquee in the foreground with the wording “Don’t raise the bridge lower the water.” 

Bob loved to experiment…like the time he took a picture with  the moon as the only source of light.

I enjoyed working with Bob during his years at the Tribune. Besides being a photographer, he had a great interest in trains. One of his assignments was to ride the last train on the NS and T trolley when they stopped passenger service on the line.

Over the past few years we were able to meet for lunch a couple of times and talk over old times.”—  Cec Mitchell, photographer.

“Bob was a true professional when it came to photography. He always strived for perfection and he took  pride in the photos he snapped over his newspaper career.

He was creative in many ways when it came to setting up for a special photo session.

When he had an assignment for the sports department, he always came back with a variety of shots whether it be hockey, baseball or high school football. He loved his job taking  pictures.

One thing I always looked forward to was his April Fool’s photo. Bob had quite an imagination and he produced some dandy April Fool’s photos over the years. Bob was a man for all seasons as he always came up with a photo to match the season or some special day. ” — Wayne Redshaw, sports editor.

And Terry Hughes, who shared Bob’s interest in trains and model railroading offered this:

“The care that Bob put into his livelihood as a photographer was evident in his interest in railroading. He contributed many prototype photos to the local NMRA (National Model Railroad Association) calendars showing local scenes long forgotten. Modellers could use them as a valuable resource when creating and building structures, rolling stock or locomotives. His modelling skills are evident in the construction of the Burlington Station on display in the building of the same name.”

Several years ago I asked Bob if he might be interested in a column for this blog site. I suggested choosing a photo from his days at the local paper and writing a short story explaining the background to it and perhaps some technical details of the shot. He was happy to oblige. The column, Chambers’ Corner, became a hit with readers. Due to requests, it returned a few years later as Chambers’ Corner Revisited.

Below are links to three of those columns. I’m sure if you take the time to visit them, you will enjoy Bob’s photography and his  written words. 

Not only that, but you may be left with lasting images of this accomplished man’s work. 

Lasting Image is a recurring feature on the blog. Some others in the series:

Ivy Riddell, She Loved Having Us Over, May 30, 2022; Alirio Rodriguez, He Spent His Life Serving The Lord, May 25, 2021; Caesar Hajdu, Never One To Miss A Game, October 21, 2020; Fred Turner, Forever A First-Class Guy, March 29, 2020; Frank Sernak, A Great Voice For Radio, December 8, 2018; Ivan Zecchini, His Countenance Glowed From Wide-Eyed Appreciation, July 18, 2018; Augusto Macoritto, Gifted Lensman,  August 21, 2018; Mother Alba Puglia, Tireless Trailblazer, June 18, 2018; Michael Santone, A Barber Of King Street, January 23, 2018; Jimmy Roberto, You Could Find Him In The ‘Republic Of Roberto’, September 11, 2012. 

Editorial Cartooning In Niagara: 175 Years Of Observing History

EDITORIAL CARTOONING IN NIAGARA will showcase the work of a number of editorial cartoonists who were associated with various communities across Niagara between 1849 and 2008.

This is an adjunct lecture to an earlier presentation by Arden Phair, “The Pun is Mightier Than the Sword: The Art of Editorial Cartooning at The Standard, 1936-1961”.  This was presented to the Historical Society of St. Catharines on September 22, 2022 and showcased the work of six staff cartoonists at The St. Catharines Standard.  This presentation is available for viewing at:

EDITORIAL CARTOONING IN NIAGARA is the story of individuals striving to publicly share their interpretations of the daily news and issues of the day within Niagara’s communities, but also dealing with international, national, and provincial matters.  While it was a part-time freelance pursuit for most of them, the one thing that they all had in common was a love for the medium of artistic and editorial expression.

Arden Phair (retired Curator of the St. Catharines Museum), has undertaken extensive historical research and a biographical study into the lives and careers of a selection of cartoonists from Port Colborne, Welland, Beamsville, Grimsby, and St. Catharines.  It has resulted in many new discoveries about a previously undocumented aspect of editorial cartooning over almost two-centuries of Niagara’s print media history.

The 45-minute illustrated talk will explore the work of half a dozen twentieth-century cartoonists, as well as showcasing several nineteenth-century cartoonists and some of the lesser-known names in the industry.

Some of the highlights include:

o   The oldest featured cartoons are three 173-year old pencil illustrations by a St. Catharines artist that tie into a pivotal point in Canadian history. 

o   A part-time cartoonist who became one of Canada’s top-selling authors with over twenty-million copies in book sales.

o   Another cartoonist who was born in the village of Beamsville but went on to work for all of the major metropolitan Toronto daily newspapers, as well as North America’s biggest syndication firm.

EDITORIAL CARTOONING IN NIAGARA features a number of cartoons by each cartoonist, as well as many other interesting illustrations and photographs.

Some of the cartoonists who will be showcased include:  Ernie Alcott, Thomas Banwell, Sandra Bell-Lundy, J.W. Bengough, James Charters, George Doros, Lyle Glover, Leslie McFarlane, Harry Moyer, William Osborn, and J.T. See.

Officially Open!

CAPTION: Although it was open to visitors earlier in the month, opening night for Gone But Not Forgotten, Welland’s Festival of Arts exhibit at Welland Museum was held Thursday evening. The event, attended by about 30 people, offered opportunity for discussion of the past, present and future of public arts in Welland. Left, Bart Gazzolla, a member of the sponsoring group The Welland Creatives Network, admires images of the festival’s murals; top right, Mikki Roy, Rick Woodward and his wife Lina Woodward pause for a photo during their tour of the exhibit (Roy and Rick Woodward were part of Welland’s Festival of Arts from its earliest days); and bottom right, Ward 6 city councillor Jamie Lee. The exhibit is on display at the museum to the end of the year. /Photos by Aldo Parrotta.