Monthly Archives: June 2016

New Home A Hit For Popular Welland Triathlon

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Athletes wait for the swim portion of the triathlon to get underway. They set out on the swim course at five second intervals, as shown below. (All photos by Joe Barkovich)

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Volunteers, from left, Jim Watson, Shawn Fitzgerald and Jimmy Hope help swimmers out of the water.

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Looking across the waterway, from west side to east side, photo shows cyclists on Canal Bank Road.

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Heading for home: Cyclists on their way back to the transition area.

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Racked bikes in the transition area.

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A view down the flatwater centre course, showing the old railway swing bridge in the distance. The triathlon also featured a run component. The announcer for the event said the Welland International Flatwater Centre  just may be the best triathlon venue in Ontario. It’s the first time for the event to be held at this site.


Gadabout Gardener

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Something a little different for today’s Gadabout Gardener feature. What caught my eye is the tree in the centre, identified as a white lilac tree. It stands behind an assortment of bushes and shrubs and is flanked, sort of, by larger, older trees. If you’re wondering where this is to be found, wonder no more – Chippawa Park! More nice work by City of Welland horticultural staff. (Photo by Joe Barkovich. Gadabout Gardener is a recurring feature on the blog.)

Rob’s Rose Fest Parade Forecast

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City of Welland rose. (Photo by Joe Barkovich)

By Rob Paola


Rob Paola. (Supplied photo)

SPECIAL – Weather is looking good, very summer-like. That front I was concerned about earlier looks like it won’t go through until Sunday night or Monday, so Sunday afternoon is looking rain free.

Parade weather should be mostly sunny and quite warm… temperatures of around 28C with humidex in the mid thirties. There will be a southwest breeze of 20-30 kmh to make things a bit more comfortable, but overall, a typically warm summer day in Welland for the big parade! Enjoy!
I will update the forecast if there are any changes, but at this point, things are looking good!
(Former Wellander Rob Paola, still a Welland boy at heart, is a meteorologist with Environment Canada based in Winnipeg. He enjoys keeping a close eye on weather conditions in his hometown  and has done so for years.)

City Shorts: Try ’em On For Size


Welland Museum’s free summer movie schedule starts this Saturday, June 25. (Supplied graphic)

Compilation by Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

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City Shorts

City Shorts is a compilation, from various sources (government websites, news announcements, press releases, church bulletins, advertisements, 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:


GRANDEPARADEWELLAND – Each year the Rose Festival closes with the big parade. Community groups, bands and other participants create floats and put on a great show for the community.

The parade will take place on Sunday, June 26 starting at 1pm. This year’s theme is: The Spirit of Culture.

The parade starts from Canadian Tire Financial Services on East Main Street (1000 East Main St. at 406) and will travel along East Main St. to King Street to end at the Welland Arena.

A special Art Fair and Drum-off competition is scheduled following the parade, at the arena, from 2pm-6pm.

Note: Welland Transit will be collecting non-perishable food donations along the parade route for local food banks.


WELLAND – Friday is opening night of the 2016 Festival season, featuring the Caverners, a Beatles tribute band, on stage at the Merritt Park amphitheatre. The free concert series runs weekly, starting Friday, June 24, 7pm, to the end of August.


WELLAND – The City of Welland has announced its Canada Day hours (Friday, July 1.) FOR INFORMATION PLEASE CLICK HERE


WELLAND – The public library will be closed on Friday, June 24 for the annual Staff Development Day. Regular library hours will resume on Saturday, June 25. No items are due on June 24, and you can use the online catalogue to search, renew your items, place holds, check out e-books and more.


ride to readWELLAND – Welland Public Library is proud to partner with Welland Transit and the City of Welland for another summer of reading and riding to both library branches.

Ride to Read supports the TD Summer Reading Club and summer programs. This special service begins Thursday, June 30.

Those participating in Ride to Read 2016 will be entered into a draw for a special prize donated by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1633!

How it Works: Youth 14 years of age and younger can enjoy free rides to the library branches on Welland Transit all summer long by showing their stickered library card upon boarding any conventional service bus. Children, ages 4-9, must be accompanied by an adult (14 years and older). One adult accompanying the child can ride for free. Youth ages 10-14 are free and can ride alone. Stickers can be picked up at either library branch.

For more details or to get your sticker for Ride to Read 2016, visit either library branch starting Monday, June 27.


WELLAND – The Welland Recreational Canal Corporation (WRCC) in partnership with the City of Welland will be hosting a second public meeting on June 30 in the Community Room at Welland Civic Square to provide an opportunity for Welland’s citizens to share their thoughts on the mandate and governance structure of the WRCC. The meeting will be from 7pm to 9pm.

These public meetings are being hosted as part of a planned governance and operational review of the WRCC. Feedback from the meetings will be included in reports to the WRCC Board and City Council with recommendations on future policy directions of the organization.

A short presentation will be made by WRCC interim management followed by an open floor for sharing constructive ideas and suggestions. Written submissions can be shared via email to until June 30. All members of the public are welcome to attend


PELHAM – Canadian Blood Services is holding a clinic July 1 in Pelham, at Pelham Fire Station, 177 Hwy. 20 West. Call ahead, 1-888-2DONATE. There is a critical need for Type O blood.


WELLAND – The City of Welland is inviting artists from all disciplines and mediums to participate in the Welland Arts Project taking place this August 27, 2016, in downtown Welland. Applications are now open to the arts community and can be accessed at or through the City’s website. The day of arts, performances, and festivities is made possible with support from Niagara Region and Black Lantern Experience (BLX).

The event is scheduled to begin at 1pm at Civic Square and end at 9:30pm. After that, the festivities will move into designated downtown businesses. The Mandevilles are scheduled to headline the event, along with Step Echo, Key Machine, and Sonic Arc. The event will also feature artisans, dancers, theatre performers, and food vendors.

The City has received $9,000 from the Region’s 2016 Niagara Investment in Culture Grant. Cassandra Magazzeni, Arts and Culture Coordinator for the City of Welland, says the grant will help showcase local talent and introduce a variety of arts to the community.

Artists must submit a vendor application to the Recreation and Culture Division by August 1. For more information and applications visit or find it on Facebook.


summer readingWELLAND –Welland Library has an incredible line-up of programs planned for the summer! The list includes the TD Summer Reading Club, Ride to Read, Splash ‘N Boots, Paws for Stories, pre-school and family programs, and programs for children 8 and up.

There are special events planned for the Main Library, Diamond Trail Branch, Seaway Mall, and other locations in the community. The Summer Reading Program Guide is available here.


WELLAND – The fourth annual Outdoor Mass will take place on Saturday, June 25 at 11am. at Holy Cross Cemetery, Niagara Street and Woodlawn Road. Bishop Gerard Bergie will be the presider. In the event of inclement weather, the Mass will be rescheduled for Saturday, July 9 at 11 am.


WELLAND – Meet Mayor Frank Campion at the Merritt Island parking lot Monday mornings at 7:30 a.m. for a 40-minute walk on Merritt Island.



Photographer To The Stars Recalls ‘Attractive And Glamorous’ Welland Couple


Katie and Bill Sim, photographed at their wedding reception July 8, 1955 by Douglas Kirkland, a staffer at The Tribune.(Supplied photo)

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

WELLAND – The headline over a story on social media last week caught my eye. Actually, it caught both of them.

It was: From Marilyn to JFK: Meet the Canadian photographer who’s captured the world’s most iconic figures (GLOBEANDMAIL.COM)

Being an old newshound it piqued my curiosity.

The piece turned out to be a good read. But more than that, it had a great local connection.

The photographer was Douglas Kirkland. I’d heard his name mentioned every now and then in the newsroom at The Tribune where I had toiled for a good chunk of my life, and where Kirkland had worked in the mid-1950s, pre-dating my arrival by about 15 years, give or take. Much of the reminiscing had been by long-time photographer Cec Mitchell, who worked with Kirkland in the ’50s.

Because of the local connection, I decided to ‘share’ this  story on social media, being eager to spread Welland-related “news” every opportunity that arises.

To my surprise, I subsequently heard from two social media ‘friends’ who read the story about Kirkland and had local connections of their own to share.

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Karen Wallace

Karen Wallace, well known as a cheerleading coach and mentor to many young athletes for many years posted this message:

“Thank you so much for sharing this article! Here’s an interesting story. My cousin Kim Walters and I were sitting at the first-ever synchronized swimming finals at the 1984 Olympics in LA and we had awesome aisle seats up front. A photographer wearing some pretty impressive credentials sat beside us on the stairs to shoot some pics. We said hello and asked who he was taking photos for. I believe he said TIME/LIFE magazines. I thought how cool is that?!!! He was so friendly and during our conversation he asked where we were from. When we said Welland, Ontario, Canada he said, ‘Really? I grew up in Fort Erie and worked at the Welland Tribune!’ And what a coincidence that of all the people he could have sat next to in that big venue, he sat next to us, who happen to be from  from his home town area. I thought that was pretty awesome, but it wasn’t ’til months after we came home and happened to see the cover of What’s Up Niagara Magazine with our photographer friend from the Olympics on the cover!!!! That’s when I realized magnitude and importance of his work. The photographer we met was DOUGLAS KIRKLAND. It was a very memorable moment during this once in a lifetime trip.”

I next heard from Linda Crouch, (daughter of distinguished Wellanders Stella and the late Philip Crouch) who’d seen Karen Wallace’s post.

She shared details of a treasured family experience in which Kirkland played a part.


Katie Sim,  at her 93rd birthday celebration June 10.

It involved her aunt, Katie Sim, sister to Mr. Crouch.

It’s best shared in Linda’s own words: “Douglas Kirkland took my Aunt and Uncle’s wedding photos in 1955 when he was working for the Welland Tribune. In 2013, I emailed Douglas’ agent to see if he remembered taking this photo. What a fabulous reply: ‘Dear Linda, Of course I remember taking this picture, how could one forget such an attractive and glamorous couple. I have photographed a lot of people since but this is as meaningful to me as any of them. Please give your aunt my warm regards and best wishes. Douglas.’ What a humble, charming, talented man. He deserves all the success that he earned.

I learned more in a subsequent note, it explained how Kirkland came to be the wedding photographer: “My aunt had an evening wedding at All Peoples Church and they were married by Reverend Fern Sayles. A simple but lovely outdoor reception followed at the Country Gardens in Welland. Her friend Doreen Johnson worked at the Tribune as the social editor and when she learned of Katie’s wedding, Doreen took the initiative and booked Douglas as her wedding photographer. All my life I have always thought that my aunt’s wedding photographs have always been the most beautiful wedding photos that I have ever seen…and I thought that long before I knew that they were taken by someone who became so accomplished. He just perfectly captured their radiance and happiness. Taken on July 8 1955.”

I had a brief but fruitful telephone chat with Katie Sim late Tuesday afternoon. Now 93, she talked about the wedding reception and, of course, Kirkland.

I asked if she had known him prior to the wedding. She hadn’t.

She said he was very good at what he did, photography.

“He was very helpful. Bill (her husband) and I were very nervous. He set us at ease, he took very nice pictures.” And she added: “He was a very pleasant chap.”

For your reading enjoyment, I’m providing, below, the link to ‘From Marilyn to JFK: Meet the Canadian photographer who’s captured the world’s most iconic figures’:

Also, the link to a video in which Kirkland refers to the Welland newspaper and the camera he used for his work while there:


Life Experiences Inspired College’s Top Grad

WELLAND – Inspired by her young son and her own childhood, where she saw first-hand the power of social work, Sarah Danielle Greig graduates from Niagara College’s Social Service Worker program on Thursday, June 23 at the head of the class.

With a 98.78% grade-point average, Greig is this year’s recipient of the Governor General’s Academic Medal, presented to the student with the highest overall academic average.


Sarah Danielle Greig

A Welland resident, Greig was born in Toronto and spent four years as a child living in South Africa, where her parents worked in an orphanage with an on-site hospice, sparking an interest in humanities and community development that eventually led her to pursue social service work as a career.

“My passion started in South Africa and maybe even before,” she said. “My mother worked at community development agencies and brought me to events where I would see the impact of her work. My interest started very young.”
Her own life experience has also contributed to her desire to help others. After becoming pregnant as a teen, she lived in Hannah House, a maternity home for young mothers in Niagara Falls, before returning to Brampton, ON, to complete high school. She was drawn to Niagara College by the hands-on nature of its Social Service Worker program, which she feels has prepared her well for her new career.

Over the summer she will work part-time as a crisis pregnancy options support worker at Elisha House in Welland, while preparing her young son for kindergarten in September. In the fall she will pursue a full-time position, and she is especially interested in the aboriginal community and community development.

To achieve such a high academic standing while raising a young son is a significant accomplishment, and Greig credits her professors and family for helping her to realize her goals.

“It’s such an honour and privilege to receive this award,” she said. “It’s taken a lot of hard work and dedication, but I cannot say that I did it all on my own. This accomplishment would not have been possible without the people in my life that have equipped me and assisted me along with way.”

The Governor General’s Academic Medal was established by Lord Dufferin, Canada’s third Governor General after Confederation to encourage academic excellence across the nation. They are awarded to the student graduating with the highest average from a high school, approved college or university program. Greig will receive the award during the Thursday, June 23, 3 pm ceremony.

Niagara College’s largest-ever graduating class will receive diplomas, certificates and degrees during Spring Convocation Ceremonies June 21-24 at the Welland Campus. Learn more here:

Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Continuing Education 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, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit

(Source: Niagara College media release)

A Close Eye On Rose Parade Weekend Weather


Centennial Secondary School/ McGill University grad Rob Paola. (Supplied photo)

Welland-born meteorologist Rob Paola, though based  in Winnipeg, is passionate about following his hometown weather story, stats and  other weather-related details, and has done so for years.

The Environment Canada meteorologist knows just how important Rose Festival parade weekend is here in the Rose City. With that in mind he prepared a short look-ahead, below, at this early stage of the week and will follow-up later as the Sunday, June 25 parade date draws nearer. Here’s what he provided:

“Still early to give a definitive forecast for this year’s parade. VERY preliminary data suggests it will be warm, breezy and humid with highs in the upper 20s. There’s a cold front expected to go through later in the day into Sunday night with showers and thunderstorms, but the timing of that front is very uncertain at this point. Will have to monitor it this week to get a better idea of when it may go through. Hopefully any inclement weather holds off until after the parade.”

But Rob also compiled an amazing history of Welland’s Rose Festival Parade weather over the past 50+ years, comparing temps, conditions, etc., for those June  parade dates. It’s an amazing read. To have a look, follow the link that appears below: