Proof Of Vaccination Required At Recreational Facilities And Other City Sites

WELLAND As of September 22, all entrants to some City facilities will need to be fully vaccinated (two doses plus 14 days) and provide their proof of vaccination along with photo ID.

This approach, as part of the provincial proof of vaccination program, focuses on higher-risk indoor public settings where face coverings cannot always be worn. For City of Welland facilities, this includes meeting and event spaces, facilities used for sports and fitness, and sporting events at locations such as:

  • City Hall (meeting rooms only at this time)
  • Welland Community Wellness Centre (WCWC)
  • Welland Arena on King Street
  • Welland International Flatwater Centre (WIFC)
  • Chippawa Park Community Centre
  • Hooker Street Community Centre

“We have followed the public health and provincial guidance throughout this pandemic, and complying with the province’s proof of vaccination system continues to ensure our resident’s safety as they enjoy our facilities,” said Steve Zorbas, CAO. “Staff are preparing for this added level of safety and will do everything possible to make it as smooth and uninterrupted a process as possible.”

For a limited period (on or after September 22, 2021, but before October 13, 2021), for indoor social gatherings associated with weddings and funerals (in meeting and event spaces), the negative result of a COVID-19 antigen test may be provided instead of proof of being fully vaccinated.

The province is developing an enhanced vaccine certificate with a unique QR code and accompanying verification app to allow users to securely and safely verify their vaccination status when scanned. The enhanced vaccine certificate and a verification app to enable businesses to read the QR code will be available beginning October 22. City staff will adopt this method when available.

For more on the City’s guide to reopening and the health and safety measures in place to keep visitors to all City sites and facilities safe, read the reopening document.

(Source: City of Welland news release)

Wait For The Whistle Before You Walk: Welland Crossing Guards Use New Approach At Intersections

WELLAND – It has been just over a week into the school year and the City of Welland has received several complaints regarding motorists speeding through intersections as crossing guards attempt to safely cross children on their way to school.

As an additional measure to communicate with pedestrians and motorists this year, the City equipped all crossing guards with Windsor sports whistles, designed to reach audible levels above the sound of traffic at the push of a button.

Step One – one long whistle blast:

The crossing guard determines it is safe to enter the crosswalk, alerting motorists they are stepping out into the crosswalk.

Step Two- two short whistle blasts:

Once deemed safe, the crossing guard will convey two short whistle blasts indicating pedestrians may cross the street.

“All crossing guards are wearing masks to help keep those around them safe, but in doing so, they can reduce the quality and clarity of verbal communication which we are used to relying on,” said Jolene Kostick, workplace health, safety, and wellness specialist. “We brought in the whistles to provide additional audible control to assist the crossing guards to carry out their high-risk tasks. It is the opinion of everyone involved who is actively improving the crossing guard program at the City that crossing guards have the vital task of keeping our kids and other members of the community safe when crossing our streets, and no one should feel at risk when doing so.”

School crossing guards are regulated to stop traffic movement under the authority of the Highway Traffic Act. Therefore, the City reminds motorists to obey the crossing guards’ signals and exercise safe driving in all school zones and crosswalks.

Anyone who witnesses unsafe conditions is encouraged to contact the City and report the incident. Regulated by the Niagara Regional Police in terms of enforcement, the City would like to know about incidents to respond quickly and accordingly.

(Source: City of Welland news release)

‘Terry Did Not Care To Be Called A Hero’

Terry Fox on the road for his Marathon Of Hope

By Bill Vigars

Bill Vigars

The end was really the beginning. It truly was. 

Terry, holding back tears, lying on the stretcher, surrounded by media as he announced he had to end his run as the cancer had returned. That image, that moment in time, became embedded in the Canadian psyche.

After 143 days on the road and running 3,338 miles (5,373 km) Terry broke the news he had to return home. I was there. 

After spending three and a half months on the road with him I was now trying to find a way to get Terry home the fastest way possible. Looking back, I now know I was operating in a state of shock. “It wasn’t supposed to end this way,” I kept telling myself over and over and over.

The hours became a blur as we worked to get the Foxes a flight back to B.C. before Terry’s lungs could fill with fluid and he would be unable to fly. The ambulance ride to the airport still plays out in memory like it was yesterday.

 I recall Rolly saying to Terry: “This is so unfair. This is so unfair.” And Terry answering gently: “No, Dad. It’s not. I’m no different than anybody else. People get cancer. Cancer comes back….. Maybe now, people will understand why I did this.”

Terry Fox, Bill Vigars, photographed near French River, by Gail Harvey.

Terry had become concerned that the hoopla around the run had become too much about him, about Terry Fox the hero. He never thought of himself as that, not ever. Terry didn’t want that; he wasn’t like that. But he knew that because of his situation, the public would follow him as he went through treatment. The chemotherapy. The radiation. The fight.  

At the airport I hugged him as he lay in the plane. Holding back tears and with a broken heart I said, “I’ll see you soon.”

As the plane began to roll down the runway I was called back inside the terminal and handed a phone. It was CBC’s “As it Happens”. Through tears I remember saying, “This is not the end of the run; this is just the beginning.”

That same day — Sept. 2, 1980 — Isadore Sharp, chairman and CEO of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, told the Fox family he was committed to organizing a fund-raising run that would be held every year in Terry’s name. It’s still going strong.

Today, 41 years later Terry’s legacy is everywhere. The massive advances in cancer treatments because of the millions raised in his name have saved countless lives. And thanks to our teachers and the education system, Terry’s example of selflessness, determination and never-give up attitude have inspired our youth, shaped their future.

Terry was an average, everyday kid who demonstrated the power of one. He set an example for all of us: one person can make a difference. I still speak about Terry at schools, which I enjoy because it gives me the honor of making him real to today’s generation. I like to say: “He did not care to be called a hero. He’s just like you, each and everyone of you. But he decided to dare to do something.”

So, September 1, 1980 was not the end of Terry’s Marathon of Hope, it was the beginning of the fight. Now we can say with confidence: “One day cancer will be beaten!”

Terry gave us that hope.

(Written for the Victoria Times Colonist newspaper, the column appears here with permission of the author. In 1980 Mr. Vigars was Director of Public Relations and Fundraising for the Canadian Cancer Society’s Ontario Division. He was Terry Fox’s public relations organizer, his close friend and confidant spending many weeks on the road with Terry. Mr. Vigars is a former Welland resident who was manager of The Chamber of Commerce. He is scheduled to do a video link presentation about Terry Fox for students at Notre Dame College School this week. The annual Terry Fox Run will be a virtual event this year on Sunday, September 19.)

On-Campus Vaccination Clinics For Students, Staff And Public To Be Held September 13, September 20

The GO-VAXX Bus is coming to Niagara College. 

Niagara College students, staff, and members of the public will be able to receive a first or second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on campus this September.

GO-VAXX bus, a mobile vaccination clinic, will be on campus for drop-ins on the following dates: September 13 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. @ the Welland Campus in parking lot A (east side); September 20 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. @ the Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake in parking lot A (south side).

Maps of campus lots can be found on the NC website. Parking is free for those visiting the GO-VAXX bus.

The GO-VAXX bus operates as a fully functioning vaccine clinic with the necessary supplies and trained staff to provide assistance to people and ensure vaccines are administered safely.

 All COVID-19 safety precautions will be followed on board, including the required pre-vaccination screening and post-vaccination monitoring. A tent will be set up where you will be asked to wait for 15 minutes after your vaccine. The GO-VAXX bus is administering the Pfizer vaccine.

Bring your health card. If you do not have a health card or if it’s expired, bring another form of government-issued photo identification such as a driver’s license, passport, status card, or birth certificate. Please do not visit the GO-VAXX bus if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

To learn more about the GO-VAXX bus, visit

(Source: Niagara College news release)

Gadabout Gardener

Late-summer roses. Clockwise from top left: Selfridges, Double Delight, 1812, Tournament of Roses, unknown. (Photos by Joe Barkovich)

(Gadabout Gardener is a recurring feature on the blog. The focus is on randomly selected or recommended garden spaces in the city. Do any sights or sites come to mind as photo suggestions? Contact Gadabout Gardener at

Heritage Lives: The Excitement And Trauma Of Starting Grade 9

By Terry Hughes

In 1954, my first year in high school, the requirement to start high school was to pass an entrance exam. This was the last year that this requirement was necessary.

You had a choice of taking one of three courses: General for those taking post-secondary education, Commercial for those entering the business world and Technical for those entering the trades and engineering. We waited for the summer to pass by and figure out what our first day was going to be like at WH&VS.

 The use of bicycles was on the wane. It was more “cool” to walk.  And once the winter came, riding the bus via Erie Coach Lines and wearing winter boots gave way to running shoes and penny loafers.  

Rotary was the rule when going to high school. The building was a maze of rooms on multiple floors and while you struggled with your timetable, you did not want to be late!

While those of us who took General and had subjects different from those in other parts of the school, we did get a chance to dabble in typing and penmanship along with woodworking and auto mechanics. Boy, those venerable Underwood typewriters must have been there for decades and were prone to losing their carriage onto the floor if pushed too hard! And we did find out the difference between six and eight-cylinder engines in auto class.

Four teachers come back for having made long-lasting impressions on this Grade 9er: Helen Grenzebach, a pint-sized dynamo who did a great job as a teacher of history; Bill Duncan, he was a master at teaching math; Flav Botari, the art teacher who brought a great deal of understanding from his previous experience of teaching at the elementary level; and Mary Sylvain, for her passion for teaching English.

Initiation Day was utter confusion for Grade 9ers. Being put on top of  a water fountain or pushing a penny across the cafeteria floor with your nose was embarrassing. Grade 13 students made you carry their books to their next class and then, getting to your own class without being late was dirty pool. 

While style of dress was optional and differed depending on what side of town you were from, blue jeans for the guys and tight sweaters and skirts for girls were becoming more common. Girls were not allowed to wear slacks or jeans to school until the late 1960’s.  

Welland High was about to go through a major change because climbing enrolments were overwhelming the school. Our first year entitled us to a half day off. Construction continued into early spring for new facilities. Memories of hammering and the smell of hot tar being applied to nearby roofs as the outside temperatures increased were common.

Fortunately, this hub-bub was replaced with extra classrooms and a new gymnasium. But the older part of the school like the dark basement classrooms of B1 and B2 along with the commercial and technical wings and that venerable auditorium still prevailed.


(Terry Hughes is a Wellander who is passionate about heritage, history and model railroading. His opinion column, Heritage Lives, appears on the blog once or twice monthly.)

Join In The NPCA Merritt Island Nature Walk

WELLAND – Come take a walk-through Merritt Island with local naturalists from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and a birding expert to learn about the species that call Niagara home.

 We will learn about and native trees and plants, local birds and other wildlife as well as how to identify them, how to start noticing them and the different ways to keep records. 

Nature is all around us and Niagara is home to some pretty incredible species of flora and fauna. 

No rain date, bring umbrellas and dress for the weather. Meet at the entrance to Merritt Island Trail.

September 11 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

RSVP Now     Free

(Source: Welland Public Library)

Welland City Hall And Other Facilities Reopening To The Public September 7

WELLAND City Hall and other city facilities are reopening to the public beginning Tuesday, September 7. 

Closed to the walk-in public since the spring, the City’s Emergency Control Group (ECG) developed a plan to welcome back visitors to in-person services in a safe and measured manner. 

“We follow the best public health advice from the province and the region,” said Adam Eckhart, fire chief and community emergency management coordinator. “Our reopening plan adheres to the provisions set forth by the province and goes beyond in some areas, such as increasing frequency of cleaning and continuing to promote virtual and non-essential in-person visits.”

Outlined in a city document titled Welcome Back Welland, the City has carefully constructed a plan emphasizing and ensuring health and safety for employees and visitors to city facilities. Each City department has included protocols and preferences for booking appointments, services available without appointments, and posted capacity limits for all community and meeting rooms.

During facility closures, staff installed building modifications to meet the standards and guidelines provided by public health. As a result, installing floor markers, service counter barriers, and establishing entry and exit points facilitating safe traffic flow is in place when doors open Sept. 7.

The City’s safety plan is also available as part of the Welcome Back Welland document, available online at With uncertainty amid the Delta variant, the City’s ECG will monitor changes to protocols and guidelines and adjust as necessary.

All staff and visitors must complete and pass a passive screening questionnaire, and visitors entering the building and non-staff will check in with security upon entry. A face-covering is required, with limited exceptions.

The City is excited to welcome back residents and visitors to its buildings and encourages everyone to get their vaccination to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

(Source: City of Welland news release)