Tribute: Vance Millar, Stellar Hockey Player


    The Niagara sports community has lost another member

     Vance Millar, a well-known and talented hockey player, died August 5. He was no stranger in Niagara’s arenas back in the 1950s, the 60s and the 70s. He played three seasons (1955-56 to 1957-58) with the Stamford Kerrios of the Niagara District Senior B Hockey League. He also spent three seasons in Welland. Mr. Millar played for the Intermediate A teams when they were known as the Merchants in 1962-63 and again in 1973-74 seasons. He was also a member of the Welland Burloaks in 1963-64 when they were a Senior B entry.

    Mr. Millar was captain of the Merchants team in 1962-63 when they captured the John Ross Robertson Trophy, emblematic of the OHA Intermediate A championship. It marked the first ever OHA title won by a Welland team and nearly six decades later still remains the only Welland team to win an OHA championship.

    It was April 24, 1963 at the Welland Arena when the Merchants put the finishing touches to their first-ever championship disposing of the Bradford Expressmen 8-1 in game five of the provincial final. He had a large helping hand in clinching the victory by scoring twice.

  Mr. Millar would play on two more championship squads playing with the Galt Hornets of the Senior A ranks. In fact Galt not only won the provincial title twice (1968-69 and 1970-71) but added the Allan Cup each time making them Canadian champions. Mr. Millar was captain of the 1970-71 squad. With winning the Canadian title twice he and his teammates also got the opportunity to represent Canada at international tournaments.

  In all, he spent seven seasons with the Hornets. He also played one season (1966-67) with the Woodstock Athletics.

   Mr. Millar was a solid two-way player and gave 100 percent every time he stepped on the ice. As it said in his obituary, “Vance made friends everywhere he played, many of these were as strong in the end as they were the day he made them. His hockey family was vast and cherished.”

 To his family and friends, I express my condolences.

(Wayne Redshaw has covered sports in Niagara for over 50 years, 33 and a half at the Welland Tribune. He was publisher of the FORE! Golfers Only for 12 years and also wrote for many national newspapers and magazines in Canada and the United States. He can be reached at

Heritage Lives In Pictures: Getting Ready To Bridge The Great Dain

By Terry Hughes

Our first image, at left, shows the north end of the rowing course looking south from the “plug” toward Bridge 17. Soon construction will begin on a new crossing at Forkes Road and federal changes that could enable the city to acquire the remainder of the old canal for competitive rowing. It would offer a venue that could successfully compete and perhaps surpass the Henley course in St. Catharines.

The second photo, right, goes back to 1927 showing the same area being bridged in a similar way. The lift bridge is the same structure seen today being tested after its construction and built next to the swing span it is replacing. The size is significantly different and shows us the major improvement between the third and fourth canals. In the background the second swing bridge was located at Forkes Rd. and would be replaced with the lift span three years later.   

Next Heritage Lives In Pictures:  Controversial Area Of Dispute Between Rail And Residential Neighbours

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

Niagara College Captures Four Medals At U.S. Open College Beer Championship

U.S. Open College Beer Championship medalists (from left) Aaron Grandguillot, Matthew Hand, Courtney Nuttley and Ian Morrison celebrate their success at this year’s competition./Niagara College photo

Winning a gold medal at this year’s U.S. Open College Beer Championship has given second-year Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management student Ian Morrison a little extra incentive to keep brewing up new ideas.

“I was very excited to hear the results of this competition,” Morrison said. “I am also happy that my hard work paid off and that it is being recognized at an international event such as the U.S. Open. This award has motivated me to continue to challenge myself and to grow as a brewer.”

Morrison’s saison beer, “Saison du Temps Presse,” was one of four Niagara College entries to earn a nod at the annual championship. Aaron Grandguillot’s American porter “Lights Out” was also awarded a gold medal, while Matt Hand’s dark Belgian strong “Strong Hand” earned a bronze. “Changing Lanes,” a white IPA beer brewed by the class, also brought home a bronze.

“Being able to apply all that I have learned instantly and create something that seasoned brewers determine as better than the rest, is the best I could have hoped for,” said Courtney Nuttley, who led the class brew. “This [win] means a lot to me as a starting brewer.”

Now in its sixth year, the U.S. Open College Beer Championship is open to colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada that offer courses in brewing. A total of 11 schools participated in the 2022 edition, which premiered a new hybrid format that combined last year’s modified format with aspects of the competition from 2019 and earlier. Winners were announced July on 15.

Each college was allowed to enter up to four beers of their own choosing, plus a beer from a specific category to be judged head-to-head according to the U.S. Open Style Standards. The category this year was German Kolsch.

“The ability for students to be able to enter a competition which includes other schools from across North America is an amazing opportunity, said Niagara College Brewmaster Jon Downing. “Being judged by some of the best beer judges in the world, who are responsible for judging professional competitions, gives the students great feedback and experience in an international competition.”

For Grandguillot, the win was completely unexpected—and somewhat validating.

“Brewing will be my second career, and it was a bit of a leap of faith to enter the program in the first place,” he said. “To have one of my first original recipes earning some recognition in an international competition is something I never saw coming, but shows that maybe I’m on the right track with my new profession.”

Likewise, Hand, who said his brew was inspired by his love for the yeast character of dark Belgian strong ales, said he was excited to hear of his bronze-medal win.

“I put a lot of thought and care into this brew and I’m happy that my efforts were noticed.”

The U.S. Open College Beer Championship, held at the U.S. Open Event Centre in Oxford, OH, is the only beer competition for beers exclusively from college and university brewing and fermentation programs. Entries can be brewed on any system on or off-campus that is approved by the professors/instructors.

Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs, as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, distilling, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit

Attribution: Niagara College news release

Welland And Quebec Partner For Canada Summer Games 13 For 13 Cultural Event

WELLAND The City of Welland welcomes Quebec, its partner province, for the 2022 Canada Summer Games, on Friday, August 19, from 6 to 10 p.m. at Merritt Park as part of the 13 for 13 cultural events.

Throughout the games, from August 7 to 20, the cultural festivals enable each of Niagara’s municipalities (including the Region) to collaborate and showcase the unique cultural heritage, entertainment, art, and experience of their paired province of territory.

“We are proud to be hosting the athletes and supporters of Team Quebec, and everyone, for our 13 for 13 festival,” said Rob Axiak, director of community services. “Throughout the region, we all have an opportunity to explore and appreciate the cultural identities of our country and, with our strong Francophone community, hosting the province of Quebec and showcasing the French culture is a perfect fit.”

The evening celebration will feature music and performances highlighting artists from Quebec, including Le Vent du Nord and Grosse Isle and local contemporary circus group Femme du Feu Creations and Dance Place Welland.

In addition to the entertainment, RBC Olympian James Dunn, Betty Loo photo booth, caricature artists, food trucks, and other partner vendors will be on site.

About the 13 for 13 Cultural Festival

The Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games’ 13 For 13 Cultural Festival is a free event being held on select evenings between August 7 to 20, 2022. Rotating nightly during the 2022 Games, changing from one municipality to another, this festival pairs each of Niagara’s 13 municipalities (including the Regional Municipality of Niagara) with one of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories as co-hosts to this cultural event. During their special evening, each municipality will showcase the unique entertainment, art, and culinary experiences of its co-host Canadian province or territory — allowing visitors to both travel across Canada without leaving Niagara and experience the distinct cultural heritages that define different areas of our nation.

Welland accueille le Québec aux Jeux d’été du Canada – Festival culturel 13 sur 13 

Welland (Ontario) – La Ville de Welland accueille le Québec, sa province partenaire, à l’occasion des Jeux d’été du Canada 2022, le vendredi 19 août, de 18h à 22h au parc Merritt, dans le cadre des 13 activités culturelles.

Tout au long des Jeux, du 7 au 20 août, les festivals culturels permettent à chacune des municipalités de Niagara (y compris la région) de collaborer et de mettre en valeur le patrimoine culturel, le divertissement et l’art de leur province jumelée.

“Nous sommes fiers d’accueillir tout le monde, y compris les athlètes et les partisans d’Équipe Québec, et tout le monde, pour notre 13e festival”, a déclaré Rob Axiak, directeur des services communautaires. “Partout dans la région, nous avons tous l’occasion d’explorer et d’apprécier les identités culturelles et avec notre forte communauté francophone, d’accueillir la province de Québec et de mettre en valeur notre culture.”

En soirée il y aura de la musique et des spectacles mettant en vedette des artistes du Québec, y compris Le Vent du Nord et Grosse Isle et le groupe de cirque contemporain local Femme du Feu Creations et Dance Place Welland.

En plus du divertissement, l’athlète olympique RBC James Dunn, le photomaton Betty Loo, des caricaturistes, des camions-restaurants et d’autres fournisseurs partenaires seront sur place.

À propos du festival culturel 13 sur 13 

Le festival culturel 13 sur 13 des Jeux d’été du Canada 2022 à Niagara est un événement gratuit qui aura lieu certains soirs du 7 au 20 août 2022. D’une municipalité à l’autre, en alternant tous les soirs pendant les Jeux 2022, ce festival jumelle chacune des 13 municipalités de Niagara (y compris la municipalité régionale de Niagara) avec l’une des 13 provinces et territoires du Canada à titre d’hôte conjoint de cet événement culturel. Au cours de leur soirée spéciale, chaque municipalité présentera des expériences de divertissement, des performances artistiques et des expériences culinaires. Ce qui permet aux visiteurs de voyager partout au Canada sans quitter Niagara et de découvrir les patrimoines culturels distincts qui définissent les différentes régions de notre pays.

Attribution: City of Welland news release

Heritage Lives: Not Just The Smells And Tastes But The Attractions And Rides Enhanced The Crystal Beach Experience

By Terry Hughes

Whether as a youth attending an Atlas Picnic, looking for girls as a teenager or accompanying your best girl, it was part of a ritual many of us experienced going to Crystal Beach each year. Each time we attended, the anticipation of being there was enhanced when entering the grounds and seeing two attractions – pictured above, centre panel, the Magic Palace and “Loff in the Dokk”, as we called it.

Originally, the Magic Carpet was so named because the attraction was concluded by sitting on a collapsing seat that flattened under you and you ended the ride on a rug carrying you and others to the exit. Safety became an issue and the rug was removed causing the attraction to have a name change.

A play on words here, the Laugh in the Dark was unusual because how could you not break into laughter standing in front of that rotund mechanical woman who continually laughs at everyone? The ride itself was jerky and noisy and the darkness covered the worn out mechanical scenes designed to scare you.  

Everyone enjoyed riding the Comet, shown above, right, but I would have liked to be on the Cyclone, the ‘coaster the Comet replaced in 1946. It had steeper climbs and sharper curves. A neighbouring ‘coaster called the Giant Coaster was almost just as fun if you rode alone in the seat. Sharp curves caused the occupant to be tossed from one side of the seat to the other. 

Walking down the Midway you passed the arcade and many facilities selling those delicious suckers, caramel popcorn, etc  You passed the former dance hall that hosted the big bands and now made for a great roller skate experience. 

Some newer rides that came along were the Sky Ride and the Wild Mouse. 

But what were some of your experiences? We look forward hearing from you!

Next Heritage Lives Column:  How did you spend your summer holidays and keep busy while attending elementary school?  

(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.)