Chambers’ Corner Revisited

Tribune Tournament action,1965. /Tribune photo Bob Chambers

By Bob Chambers

This is Chambers’ Corner ….. the occasional occupant of a corner of this blog, where Bob Chambers, an Evening Tribune photographer from 1957 to 1970, will present some of his photographs from that era …… 

Here from 1965 at a packed Eastdale Gym, Thorold Fonthill #22 goes up very high against Port Colborne. It looks to me as if the players are as athletic then as now, and in fine shape. Remember, this is FIFTY years ago, and none of these guys are thinking they’ll be a Toronto Raptor.

I don’t think this was the final night but a prelim.

I like the shot, even though I never called myself a sports photographer, I somehow managed to get a few good shots. Of course you took one shot at a time and wound the film by hand.

I wonder where these guys are now?

Bob Chambers, Tribune photographer 1957-1970

Your comments are invited and appreciated by the photographer/author. You can comment directly on the site.

Editor’s note: Chambers’ Corner appeared on the blog a few years ago as a recurring feature, this submission in November, 2015. It is presented here unchanged. The series has been rebranded Chambers’ Corner Revisited and is appearing at the request of readers. It appears on the blog Wednesdays.

Niagara College’s Teaching Winery Strikes ‘White Gold’ In National Wine Competition

College winemaker Gavin Robertson stands in the NC Teaching Vineyards with a bottle of Balance Blanc de Blanc Brut 2014 that won a Double Gold trophy and was named Best Sparkling Wine of the Year at the 2020 All Canadian Wine Championships.(Supplied photo)

Excitement is bubbling up at the Niagara College Teaching Winery after two wins at a national competition – including a trophy for Best Sparkling Wine of the Year.

Two wines which won awards at the 2020 All Canadian Wine Championships are pictured on the patio of the Wine Visitor + Education Centre, overlooking the College’s Teaching Vineyards: Balance Blanc de Blanc Brut 2014 and Les Marmitons Gastronomy Chardonnay 2017. (Supplied photo)

The All Canadian Wine Championships (ACWC) awarded the NC Teaching Winery’s 2014 Balance Blanc de Blanc Brut the coveted title of Best Sparkling Wine of the Year, along with a Double Gold trophy in the Sparkling Wine (Traditional Method category), while its 2017 Les Marmitons Gastronomy Chardonnay won Gold in the Chardonnay Under $20 category.

ACWC director Bev Carnahan noted that this year marked the 40th running of the wine competition – one of the oldest in the world. The 2020 competition drew 805 wine entries from 130 participating wineries across Canada. Judging was held in Prince Edward County beginning July 20 and results were posted on July 25.

Carnahan applauded the NC Teaching Winery for being among three first-time trophy winners this year.

“This is a testament to the calibre of program being headed by Gavin Robertson,” said Carnahan. “It bodes well for the future of Canada’s wine industry.”

News about the wins was well received at the NC Teaching Winery.

“These latest award-winning wines truly celebrate the knowledge, skills and creativity of our winemakers, faculty and students at the Niagara College Teaching Winery,” said Steve Gill, general manager of NCs Learning Enterprises. “This outstanding national achievement continues to raise the bar for high-quality wine education across Canada.”

First released in early 2019, 2014 Balance Blanc de Blanc Brut was the Teaching Winery’s first venture into the style of Sparkling made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes. The traditional method, bottle-fermented Sparkling was made from high quality, handpicked, bunch sorted Chardonnay grapes fermented in steel tanks and neutral oak barrels, and aged for 36 months on yeast lees before disgorging.

2017 Les Marmitons Gastronomy Chardonnay is an estate-grown, barrel-fermented Chardonnay, which spent 11 months ‘sur lie’ in French barriques and underwent malolactic fermentation with monthly lees stirring. The wine appears as a bright straw colour in the glass and the nose offers ripe pear, apple, Meyer lemon, vanilla and oak flavours. The palate is rich and creamy with more stone fruit flavours, and undertones of caramelized brown sugar, nutmeg, and a lively acid backbone that structures the wine.

The awards add to previous hardware won by both wines, including a gold for the 2014 Balance Blanc de Blanc and a silver for the 2017 Les Marmitons Gastronomy Chardonnay from the 2019 WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada.

College Winemaker Gavin Robertson noted that College Chardonnays tend to do well in competition.

“The campus vineyard Chard block produces really beautiful fruit that we’re able to spend a lot of time working on in the growing season: pruning, shoot thinning, tucking, cluster thinning, and handpicking,” he said. “Students are involved in all of these activities because we use the vineyard as a living classroom for labs that support the viticultural sciences that they are exposed to in lecture.”

The College has won numerous awards from the ACWC over the past few years for many different wines – from Icewine, Brut, and Semi-Dry Riesling, to Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier and Pinot Noir.

“It’s important that we win in diverse categories. We endeavor to produce wines in as many styles that are available in the Ontario industry as possible, to showcase as many production techniques to students as we can,” said Robertson, who is a graduate of the College’s Winery and Viticulture Technician (2011) and a Nuffield Canada scholar.

The wines are available for purchase at the Wine Visitor + Education Centre (Niagara College Daniel J. Patterson Campus, 135 Taylor Rd, Niagara-on-the-Lake), or online at  Proceeds from sales support student learning.

For info about the ACWC visit

Niagara College’s Teaching Winery is the first and only commercial teaching winery in Canada. It is located at the College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, along with the NC Teaching Brewery and the NC Teaching Distillery, which were also the first of their kind in Canada.

(Source: Niagara College news release)

Scribbler’s Column: A Kid And His ‘Board

/Photo by Joe Barkovich

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

WELLAND –  I saw this kid on a Sunday evening in July. Our paths crossed on the long sidewalk that leads into the college campus, off Woodlawn Road.

It was nice to have company. I’m used to seeing walkers from various backgrounds: students, fitness buffs, young lovers hand in hand, neighbourhood folks. But since the pandemic began, the walkers have been few and far between.

I miss the multicultural makeup of this space. When school was in, I relished the potpourri of colours: turbans that were orange, blue, red, yellow, among others. I liked eavesdropping – without understanding a spoken word – on phone conversations with folks back home, or the chatter among small groups of friends as they waited to be picked up by one transit bus or another or as they walked back down the long sidewalk to the nearby residences along First Avenue they called “home”.

But this is now almost a deserted, empty space. You know the expression: you could shoot a cannonball down the sidewalk and not hit anything. 

That’s why my spirits lifted upon seeing the kid and his ‘board.

I watched him make a couple of passes and jumps back and forth, back and forth along the sidewalk. Once he came close enough for me to see his face, lit up with a smile that stretched ear to ear. In language of yesteryear, I would say: “Gosh, he’s having a ball!” because that’s exactly what it was. “Having a ball!”

So, it felt good that evening to once again find someone on the sidewalk into the campus. I lost sight of him as I made a left turn onto a dirt/gravel trail but somehow I had the feeling that for the kid on his ‘board, it was a liberating, full-of-joy outing. 

Back home, I dug out a book of verse and gave Walt Whitman a read:

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,

Healthy, free, the world before me,

The long brown path before me

Leading wherever I choose.

Pandemic woes in mind, I wished it can be that way for this skateboarding kid encountered on the long sidewalk into the campus.

(Scribbler’s Column is a new feature on the blog.)

Chambers’ Corner Revisited

Chippawa Park pond, photographed Wednesday morning, January 10th, 1962/Tribune photo Bob Chambers

This is Chambers’ Corner ….. the occasional occupant of a corner of this blog, where Bob Chambers, an Evening Tribune photographer from 1957 to 1970, will present some of his photographs from that era ……

By Bob Chambers

This picture of a Welland city employee clearing snow from the Chippawa Park pond, ran in The Evening Tribune about five hours after it was taken. It illustrates how the Tribune of that era had current items in the paper. Often front page photographs and lead news items were not chosen until just after one pm, when the managing editor, Tommy Morrison, returned from lunch.

I took the picture Wednesday morning, January 10th, 1962 after an overnight snowfall piled more snow on the area. And it was not only a winter with snow, but cold temperatures, because you can’t walk out on Chippawa Park pond pushing a heavy snowblower, without there having been many days of sub-freezing temperatures to provide ice thick enough. It was certainly a winter unlike the one we’re having currently, as the weather forecast until Jan 10, will provide us a touch of snow, but little more than thin ice on the pond.

DSC_3363 (3)
T.N. “Tommy” Morrison

The picture received the most prominent position the paper could provide …. top left corner of Page One, with an impressive size – 8 1/2 inches wide by 7 1/2 high, but with an even rarer touch – its header was two lines from a poem, And out of the frozen mist the snow . . . In wavering flakes begins to glow. And credited to the poet simply, Bryant, was surely a Tommy Morrison touch, as he would have been one of the few Wellanders to be able to source these lines out of the middle of a circa 1855 poem by the prominent New York City newspaper editor, William Cullen Bryant. Knowing Tommy, I believe he could have quoted lines of poetry from memory and he certainly would have known about Mr. Bryant. Under Bryant, The Post was New York’s most influential newspaper.

Tommy did not have the ability, that I have today, to Google multiple references to Bryant’s poems. By Googling, I believe that his use of the lines could have been from memory, as there is one word wrong, although it may also be a typo. The Tribune of 1962 was seemingly on a much higher intellectual plane than most of today’s publications, as just 11 days previously they had published another snow picture of mine with a caption that was entirely a poem …. written, anonymously, by “HFH”, the district editor at the time.

The paper not only dignified itself that Jan 10th, by running poetry on the front page, but elevated me a notch with a credit line that read, ” ……… an enchanting composition by Robert Chambers, Tribune photographer”. Sure beat the, “Tribune Photo by Bob Chambers”, that I received ALL of my other 13 years at the paper. Jeez, was it my only really good picture?

 – Bob Chambers, Tribune photographer 1957-1970

Comments are invited and appreciated by the photographer. You can comment directly on the site.

Editor’s note: Chambers’ Corner appeared on the blog a few years ago as a recurring feature, this submission in December, 2015. It is presented here unchanged. The series has been rebranded Chambers’ Corner Revisited and is appearing at the request of readers. It appears on the blog Wednesdays.

Scribbler’s Column: In Memoriam

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

WELLAND – I’ve Ivan Zecchini to thank for this Folklore rose.

Ivan, who passed two years ago, asked if I wanted it in my garden. He said it wasn’t doing well in his and maybe the change in surroundings might help it flourish. This was several years ago, maybe as many as 10.

Well, we moved it and planted it here in the backyard, along a fence. It survived. Now it is like an old friend.

But it had me worried this summer. May and June came and went without a single bud. I began to think Folklore might go flower-less this season.

Then earlier this month a bud appeared. Just one.

Its timing was late, but you can’t rush Mother Nature.

A rose in full bloom would have been nice for Ivan’s anniversary. It is July 11, 2018. The accomplished rose grower had turned 89 a couple weeks before.

I’m thankful for Ivan’s Folklore rose. It is a great way to remember him. It also serves as a valuable teaching point: Don’t give up on an old friend turning up.

(Scribbler’s Column is a new feature on the blog.)

HERITAGE LIVES: Here Comes The U.S. Navy!

USS Macon with Welland’s Main Street Bridge in the background. (Photo by George Shook)

By Terry Hughes

It’s 1959 and after thirty years of opposition by special interest groups in the United States, the St. Lawrence Seaway has finally been completed and opened. In June, Queen Elizabeth II on board the Royal Yacht Britannia joined President Dwight Eisenhower in officially opening the Seaway to lakers and salties to the Great Lakes. This effort would include a huge hydro-electric system for both Ontario and New York State.

Rumours persisted that the United States would send a flotilla of naval vessels to show the flag at American ports. And sure enough, they came stupefying those of us who watched them from the shore of the canal revealing the armament that most of these vessels carried.

USS William Lawe (Supplied photo)

Along with several submarines, many of the vessels were destroyers like the one pictured here, the USS William Lawe, but the most awesome vessel was the Baltimore-class heavy cruiser, the USS Macon.

She brandished nine eight-inch guns mounted in three turrets, twelve five-inch guns mounted in six turrets and a variety of anti-aircraft guns in twin mounts and Regulus missiles capable of carrying atomic warheads. Her dimensions just fit the canals and locks she encountered but needed to reduce her aerials on her masts to fit under the lift bridges.  

Having secured summer jobs at Nickel Beach, our staff could see these vessels sitting on Lake Erie awaiting their turn to move through the canal systems to the Atlantic Ocean. When the Macon was due to pass through Lock 8, the girls on staff were allowed to pile into cars and greet the ship as it entered the lock.

The interaction between our girls and the sailors on board the ship was very interesting. An exchange of coins and sailor hats was followed by a lesson in geography for the American sailors.

“What side of the canal is the United States?” some of them asked. “You have to go 13 miles to the east to get to the U.S.,” replied our girls. “You’re in Ontario.” The sailors yelled back, “What country is that!” 

 Pictured here is the Macon passing under the Main Street Bridge in a photo taken by George Shook from the syphon as she moves downbound to Lake Ontario.                                        

Next Column:  Ghosts of the Welland Recreational Canal Corp. (WRCC).

(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.)