Monthly Archives: April 2015

City Shorts: Try ‘Em On For Size

CITY SHORTS ART: Be sure to include Riverbank Park, Niagara Street,  on your list of walking tours in the city. It gets prettier and prettier as leaves come out and seasons change. (Watch for a distinctively-Welland photo accompanying popular City Shorts every week! Photo by Joe Barkovich)

CITY SHORTS ART: Be sure to include Riverbank Park, Niagara Street, on your list of walking tours in the city. It gets prettier and prettier as leaves come out and seasons change. (Watch for a distinctively-Welland photo accompanying popular City Shorts every week! Photo by Joe Barkovich)

Compilation by Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

City Shorts

City Shorts

City Shorts is a compilation, from various sources (government websites, news announcements, press releases, church bulletins, community service information and events, bulletin boards, requests, telephone requests, web postings, email requests etc.) of short items (in most cases) about matters of local interest in Welland. Want to submit an item for consideration? Please send to:

Earth and Arbour Day celebrated at the college

Niagara College is inviting the community to its first-ever Earth and Arbor Day celebration.

DSC_3692 (2)The free family-friendly event will be held tomorrow, Saturday, April 25 at the Welland Campus Rd.) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Organized by the College’s Office of Sustainability, it will include a groundbreaking ceremony for the college’s edible orchard at 11 a.m. As DSC_4482 (2)part of the new biodiversity project, funded by Trees Canada, fruit trees will be planted on the southwest portion of the campus to provide food for local food banks, and be used as a living laboratory for college, elementary and secondary school students.

According to a news release, visitors can participate in 30-minute sustainable campus tours (beginning at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.), fly fishing demonstrations (9 a.m. to noon), check out a variety of displays, and drop into various workshops and activities (from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) where they can learn to build a seed feeder, start a bean garden, build a bee box, and more. Advance registration is not required.

A Re-Picasso Art Competition will challenge participants to build a structure out of recyclable materials collected on campus. The competition will begin at noon and judging will be at 2 p.m. Participants can register in groups of three or four at the registration table.

Snacks, refreshments and lunch will be provided free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis.

The news release said the event is a combined celebration for Earth Day (April 22) – which aims to broaden and mobilize the environmental movement – and Arbor Day (April 24) – which celebrates the importance of trees – with a focus on community outreach, education and engagement.

The event is being funded by a $3,520 grant the College received in March 2015 from the Niagara Community Foundation – a charitable organization that aims to improve the quality of life in Niagara through philanthropy (

It will be held rain or shine on campus grounds outside the Niagara Region’s Children’s Safety Village (workshops and activities will be held indoors in case of inclement weather). There will be free admission and free parking (in lot E2 or the gravel parking lot) for visitors.

Plant sale is a growing experience

gardenerGreen thumbs take note: Welland Horticultural Society has announced the date of one of its most popular events.

The annual plant sale is taking place Saturday, May 16.

It is being held at the Niagara Regional Exhibition grounds. Doors open at 9 a.m. and the sale ends at noon.

This is a great buying opportunity for local gardeners. Many different varieties of perennials will be available from members’ gardens and based on past experience – the price is right! Get some some good stuff for your flower beds and support Welland Horticultural Society at the same time.

 Curtain ready to go up

Theatre groupWelland’s amateur live theatre group is soon to present its next production.

Canalside Players will return to the stage with Last of the Red Hot Lovers, the big hit show written by Neil Simon. Director of the local production is Lee Moffatt.

The dates are: Friday, May 1 and Saturday, May 2 and Friday, May 8 and Saturday, May 9 at 8 p.m. and a matinee Sunday, May 3 at 2 p.m. The play is presented with special arrangements with Samuel French, Inc.

Tickets are $13 for passholders and $15 for non-passholders.

 Looking for a family physician?

doctor imageThe Physician Recruitment Program of Niagara has launched a new search function on where residents of Niagara can search for a family physician in their community, or a nearby one, if they do not have one.

If a person cannot find a doctor accepting patients they will also be able to register themselves and their family members to a database.

It is important to note that the decision to accept patients is solely at the discretion of the doctor.

‘Exploring Paths of Joy’

Catholic Education Week is being celebrated Sunday, May 3 to Friday, May 8.

The theme this year is Catholic Education: Exploring Paths of Joy.

The week provides an opportunity for inclusion of all the partners in the Catholic education triad – home, parish and school – to celebrate its publicly-funded Cathoic schools.

Spring branch collection dates

branchesThe Region provides branch collection in the spring and fall to residents living in single family homes and apartments with six units or less.

Branches must be tied into bundles, maximum weight of a bundle: 22.7 kg (50 lbs.); maximum size of a bundle: 1.5 m (5 ft.) in length, and 0.5 m (1.6 ft.) in diameter; individual branches inside of a bundle must not exceed 7 cm (2.8 in.) in diameter.

Stumps, large branches / limbs and tree trunks are not collected at the curb. Drop these off at a landfill year-round for free. Stumps can also be brought to the Walker Environmental Group Landfill site in Thorold. Tipping fees may apply.

Branch collection takes place for four weeks in the spring and four weeks in the fall, on your regular collection day. Place branches at the curb by 7 a.m.

Spring collection dates are: May 4-8; May 11-15; May 18-22; May 25-29.

Branches may be dropped off at any landfill year-round, free of charge

Garage sale at the Warehouse

Niagara Warehouse of Hope is having a garage sale tomorrow, Saturday, April 25, at its warehouse, 46 Broadway St., St. Catharines.

It starts with a barbecue breakfast at 8 a.m. and features home baking, handmade crafts, housewares, plants/flowers, electronics, tools, books and more. A hot lunch is available.

All proceeds to Niagara Warehouse of Hope: Helping People Help Themselves.

Don’t forget to bring old computers, monitors, printers, cell phones, I-pods, digital cameras etc. (broken or obsolete) to the Warehouse for proper recycling.

 Earth Day Evolution

greenhouse plantJoin the Welland Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee to help clean up along the canal and beautify a garden bed.

This event takes place in Merritt Park tomorrow, Saturday, April 25 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., organized by the Youth Advisory Committee. This is an excellent opportunity for students to earn community service hours!

 Concert celebrates spring

A popular choral group, the Velvetones, is holding its annual concert.

It’s Saturday, May 23 starting at 1 p.m. at the Welland Community Wellness Complex, Lincoln Street.

‘Melodies of Spring’ is the theme of this year’s concert.

According to an advertisement on the Civic Corner page, it will offer a selection of contemporary music including a medley from Les Miserables, and a celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music.

Tickets are $6 for passholders and $8 for non-passholders. Refreshments are included.

Tickets are available at the Wellness Complex reception centre.

(A former reporter and city editor, Joe Barkovich lives in his hometown of Welland, Ontario, Canada’s Rose City. City Shorts with City Shorts Art appear weekly.)

Benefit Concert At Welland’s Central United


By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

Opera and musical theatre duets will be featured in a benefit concert at Welland’s Central United Church.

The May 3 concert is a fundraiser for the Harvest Kitchen progam at Central. It starts at 1 p.m. $20 is the suggested donation to attend.

“I asked Chris what needs attention at the church, what needs some focus and that’s what he suggested, ” said Jen Carter, one of the performers and wife of Central United pastor Chris Fickling.

Jennifer Carter

Jennifer Carter

Carter, a soprano, will perform with mezzo soprano Kristine Dandavino and pianist Brett Kingsbury.

The name We Are Women is taken from one of the duets in the operetta, Candide. It is one of the pieces to be performed during the benefit.

Carter said she is a volunteer server with the church’s Harvest Kitchen outreach.

“It moved me to know that the need is right here under our nose and there are many people who rely on Harvest Kitchen,” she said.

Although Harvest Kitchen operates from fall through early spring, Central United has ventured into a monthly barbecue dinner and funds raised at the benefit will help with its cost.

Carter, Dandavino and Kingsbury have collaborated together previously with Tryptych Opera, Carter said. They have rich musical backgrounds, as these brief excerpts from their biographies attest:

Carter earned her Masters of Music degree from the University of Manitoba and also holds an Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University. She has continued her development with the Canadian Operatic Arts Academy, Queen of Puddings Music Theatre’s Songs and Scenes program, Opera on the Avalon, and the Neil Semer Vocal Institute. In concert, she has been featured on Brock University’s Encore! Professionals concert series.

She teaches singing lessons to children, teens and adults here in Niagara and has prepared students for auditions, competitions, and Royal Conservatory of Music examinations. She offers small group classes such as Singing as Relaxation (for adults who sing but are looking to find more ease in their singing); Sight Singing and Musicianship (for students looking to take intermediate and advanced RCM examinations who need help with the musicianship requirements of those exams); and Young Voices (an introduction to singing and rudiments of music for ages 7-9).

Christine Dandavino

Christine Dandavino

Dandavino has appeared on stage with Cathedral Bluffs Symphony, Opera Tunities Ottawa, Etobicoke Philharmonic, Opera York and Toronto Opera Collaborative, among many others.

She is founder and director of Opera Oshawa, as well as a graduate of the University of Ottawa. She resides in Oshawa with her husband and their daughter.

Kingsbury is well known as a member of the Madawaska Quartet & Ensemble.

In his career he has been featured as both a soloist and collaborative artist.

Brett Kingsbury

Brett Kingsbury

He performed recently to great acclaim in his debut season as a member of Seraphine Piano Trio with violinist Sarah Fraser-Raff and cellist Amber Ghent and has appeared with many other ensembles and performers including the Borealis and Penderecki string quartets. This past summer, he performed in numerous cities across China on tour with soprano Deirdre Fulton.

He is currently assistant professor of piano at Western University, sessional lecturer at the University of Toronto Scarborough, and formerly a faculty member at Brock University. In 2002, while a student at the University of British Columbia he was named R. Howard Webster Fellow at Green College. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 2006.

(A former reporter and city editor, Joe Barkovich lives in his hometown Welland, Ontario, Canada’s Rose City.)

From The Pages Of Welland’s History

Front page of the Travel section of The Washington Times, September 25, 2004.

Front page of the Travel section of The Washington Times, September 25, 2004.

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

I enjoy going through pages from yesteryear.

At the top of the list are stories from newspapers. But also on it are commemorative books, magazines , other publications and other sources.

While going through my local history archive on the weekend, I opened a hardcover text and re-discovered this page from the (recent) past, a visual look at Welland’s storied past, re-told in this newspaper feature about the Festival of Arts murals.

The coverage appeared in The Washington Times, in September of 2004. It was the main piece for the newspaper’s Travel section, occupying most of the front page and turning to page 4. The second story on the front Travel page was about icewine and its growing importance in Niagara’s viticulture industry. A third story was also written, appearing on page 3 of the same section, about the Welland Canal and its 175-year history.

The reporter provided several photos of the city’s murals to accompany her piece. The murals – in better condition then than they are now – made a favourable impression on her even though the city itself, at first glance, left something to be desired.

There were some good written descriptions, with the one about the brick mural on one of the exterior walls at Holy Trinity Anglican Church probably being most striking. The reporter wrote:

“One of the most distinctive murals, by the late Dutch artist Bas Degroot, is a mosaic of 12,000 bricks in seven colours that, without even one stroke of paint, depicts people moving to a “New World” – the name of the piece – as white doves about half their size flutter around them.” I decided to include this reference as a reminder of the magnitude of that project – 12,000 bricks in seven colours, wow. In my eye, that’s some work of art.

She also gave considerable ink to commentary about the canal and its place in Welland’s story.

“Welland’s history is inextricably linked with the Welland Canal, a man-made shipping route that connects Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

“The labor involved in the five-year hand-digging and construction of the first canal, which opened in 1829, plus the development of its successors, a Welland bypass created in the 1970s, and the three tunnels and 11 road and rail bridges that cross it, had to be intense.

“Much of the work was performed by immigrants, who also worked in the industries created by and supporting the waterway.”

I guess my purpose in focusing on this paean to the ill-fated murals was to remind us they did attract attention over the years.

This has been said by others before but  bears repeating: It’s sad and too bad that some kind of infrastructure wasn’t set up right at the get go to look after their maintenance and upkeep. For some reason, Wellanders never did see the art treasure we had in our midst, in open view and free to all for viewing.

It wasn’t even a case of them being taken for granted after a period of time, it was more a case of just not being taken to by us local folks.

(A former reporter and city editor, Joe Barkovich lives in Welland, Ontario, Canada’s Rose City.)

Breaking News: Rose Show Moving

City of Welland rose (File photo/Joe Barkovich)

City of Welland rose (File photo/Joe Barkovich)

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

Welland Horticultural Society has a new venue and new day of the week for its venerable Rose Show.

The Society’s 96th annual rose show will take place Wednesday, June 17.

The rose show will be at Wesley United Church, 244 First Ave. North, Welland.

It’s a departure from a long-standing tradition of holding the show on Saturday and at Seaway Mall.

This year, the rose show will be on the same weekday as the Horticultural Society’s June meeting.

The Horticultural Society’s website says more information about the rose show will be “coming soon”.

Also according to its website, Rene Schmitz of Palatine Fruit and Roses, Niagara-on-the-Lake, will be guest speaker at the June meeting.

The topic of his address is New Rose Varieties.

Another key date in its event schedule is Saturday, May 16.

That’s when the annual plant sale is being held at the Niagara Regional Exhibition grounds with doors opening at 9 a.m.

The show boasts many varieties of perennials from members’ gardens. It’s a popular event for gardeners in the Rose City and beyond, drawing huge crowds each year.

(A former reporter and city editor, Joe Barkovich lives in his hometown Welland, Ontario, Canada’s Rose City.)

Market Watch: Locals Are Up About Their Weekly Visits

The Marshalls, Dan and Mary, have been market shoppers for years. Mary buys fresh flowers for  herself and her mother,  Anna Elders, every week from Aafke and Laura, background, of Pelham's Flower Man.

The Marshalls, Dan and Mary, have been market shoppers for years. Mary buys fresh flowers for herself and her mother, Anna Elders, every week from Aafke and Laura, background, of Pelham’s Flower Man.

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

Dan Marshall and his wife Mary have been weekly marketgoers for 30 years, maybe longer.

“It’s all about being fresh – fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, fresh berries, a favourite of my wife,” Marshall said. “You get into a habit, you get used to it. I have my few people I see all the time, every week it’s the same. And Mary gets fresh flowers for herself and for her mother every Saturday.”

Lillie Desjardins notices a more positive attitude on the part of Wellanders.

Lillie Desjardins notices a more positive attitude on the part of Wellanders.

The Marshalls were making the rounds when stopped by Market Watch. First Dan, who had purchased his favourite pastry, then Mary, who came over from another vendor where she had stopped.

Mary Marshall said the weekly visit is like a ritual to the Welland couple. She said it has become a regular part of the lives and their routine.

She buys her flowers here because “the price is really good. It doesn’t break me. “

And there are other reasons for the weekly market visit: “It’s convenient, it’s local and it’s good.”

Across the way, Lillie Desjardins was on duty selling t-shirts. Not just any t-shirts, but ‘It’s all Welland good’ t-shirts. The catchy slogan has caught on with many Rose City residents.

Desjardins said Wellanders are showing a more positive attitude about their city, based on conversations she has with them.

“They wear this t-shirt with pride.”

Early Saturday morning when we strolled the market, there appeared to be more people walking about than the previous Saturday.

And why not. It was a beautiful morning, a great day to visit the market and meet old friends. It was all Welland good. The market was definitely up today.

Safe to say his warm and inviting  personality helps Reinhold from Maria's Deli bring in customers. He's a treat to listen to. (All photos by Joe Barkovich)

Safe to say his warm and inviting personality helps Reinhold from Maria’s Deli bring in customers. He’s a treat to listen to. (All photos by Joe Barkovich)

(A former reporter and city editor, Joe Barkovich lives in his hometown Welland, Ontario, Canada’s Rose City. Market Watch is a recurring feature on the blog.)