Monthly Archives: December 2017

HERITAGE LIVES: Our National Monument

DSC_8321 (3)

By Terry Hughes

It is hard to believe that in nearly 40 years some ten thousand of us would learn to swim at the Cross Street Pool and that it would feature swimming competitions that entertained us as well as being a summertime meeting place before going downtown to a show or frequenting a restaurant. But important as it was for us, the real importance of this structure was as part of the Second and Third Welland Canals serving as an aqueduct.

DSC_0653 (2)


This early photo shows the structure opened at both ends that carried the ships of the day over the Welland River. Construction started in 1846 with Scottish stone masons and Irish labourers cutting and shaping large pieces of limestone weighing some two tons in many cases. It is estimated that between 18,000 and 22,000 cut stone blocks were used to build it. When completed in 1851, it measured 315 ft. long, 45 ft. wide and handled vessels with a draft of 9 ft. and featured four arches allowing the river to flow underneath it. By controlling the depth of the canal, vessels with a 10 ft. draft could pass through it.

The photographer is pointing his camera north from the old wooden Main Street Bridge. The east bank shows a small wooden structure over a sluice way just before reaching the aqueduct. This spot would allow a location for a power site for milling in later years. Some of you may remember the Maple Leaf Mill that occupied this spot until it burned down in the 1950’s.

The wooden bridge in the photo acted as part of the tow path on which horses or mules pulled sailing vessels or barges until the coming of steam operated tugs. Some of us will remember using a similar structure to cross here on our way to the pool and seeing two large pipes used by the mill below. What we all try to forget was the human waste that emptied into that depression that was once part of the river from the buildings on the west side of Main Street. Until the 1950’s the river was an open sewer for human waste coming from the city for over one hundred years.

Below the bridge is a wooden fender preventing any boat or vessel from going over the edge of the canal into the river. In the 1950’s this was a popular spot to dive into the canal. Save for one building, there are no structures to be seen in the background.

On the opposite side of the canal there seems to be some activity along what would be the river. Construction of a third aqueduct seems to be underway with the multiplicity of derricks seen nearby.

In recent years a number of attempts have been made to save this structure from the hands of progress. It is the only structure of its kind in Canada. Having had some discussions with our MP Vance Badawey, he is supportive of an idea that was supported by the Liberal government in 1984 of completing this site as a national monument. So far a list of prominent Wellanders also agrees with this designation. Let’s let the present government finish the job!

Next Column: The corner of Burgar Street and East Main Street.

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


2017 In Focus: Some Favourite Photos

Top row, left: high flyers (January), sunset over north Welland (February), solo flight (March), Chippawa Park-pond nibblers (June), early Saturday morning at Welland market (August), Toronto Argo Chris Van Zeyl shows the Grey Cup to his nephew while on a visit to friends at St. Kevin Church (December), poppies left behind in Welland-Crowland War Memorial (November), catching the wind at Sherkston (October), boats arriving for the Head of the Welland race (September); sunset through pine branches (July), spring tulips: one white among many red (May); bath time! (April)  (Photos by Joe Barkovich)

THE WEEK AHEAD: Meetings In Welland

Meeting Calendar
Meetings are open to the public unless otherwise noted. Information is obtained from the applicable agency, board, committee, or commission and downloaded to this calendar as it becomes available. Information is subject to change. Please check back often for the most up-to-date information, including cancellations.

City of Welland Heritage Advisory Committee Meeting ≫
5:00 PM Wednesday January 3, 2018 –
– Civic Square

Welland Community Wellness Complex Advisory Committee Meeting ≫
3:00 PM Thursday January 4, 2018 –
Welland Community Wellness Complex, 145 Lincoln Street

City Shorts, Try ’em On For Size

DSC_1159 (2)

At hockey night on a neighbourhood rink, a lone skater takes a break as he sits and waits for friends to return to the ice. Will be looking for more of this in days ahead. (File photo/Joe Barkovich)  

Compilation by Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large


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:

WELLAND – Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey is having a free community skate Saturday, December 30.
Billed as ‘Skate With Your MP’, the event is at Welland’s Main Arena, or as affectionately known by some, the ‘King Street Ice Palace’, 501 King Street, from 130pm to 3pm.

WELLAND – Two locations, twice the fun! Sunday, December 31, 4-6pm. Celebrate the New Year with the family at the Welland Community Wellness Complex and the Welland Main Arena. There are plenty of activities at both locations and fireworks along the canal at 5:50pm. Donations of non-perishable food items to assist local food banks are appreciated. This is a FREE family-friendly event.

WELLAND – A New Year’s Eve party is being held at the Croatian National Home, sponsored by the home and Veseli Hrvati music/dance group.
Music is by the well known popular group, Introduction. Doors open 6pm, dinner at 7pm. Tickets are $75 per person and the fare includes a midnight buffet! Check for ticket availability through: Cathy Connor 905-734-6533, Kathy Turkovich 905-735-5089, or Barb Turkovich 905-788-6991.

24852487_10155530207383393_5061518548082516611_nWELLAND – A trio of talented top performers is scheduled to entertain at Welland Public Library’s Loud In The Library event.It is scheduled to take place Thursday, January 4, starting at 7pm in the main branch.
Here is the lineup, all Welland talent:
Revive the Rose, 7pm to 745pm; Street Pharmacy 8pm to 845pm and Jessica Wilson 9 to 945pm.

DSC_6948WELLAND – Some tickets for Soup’s On!, Friday, January 26, at St. Kevin parish hall, still remain.
The sitting at noon is sold out. But tickets for the 11am and 1pm sittings  are still available.
They are sold from the parish office Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm (the office is closed January 1 and January 2) and before and after weekend Masses (Saturday 5pm, Sunday 830, 10 and 1130am) resuming January 6. Tickets are $10 per person. The luncheon raises funds for social justice scholarships.
Soup prep teams are from Blessed Trinity, Confederation, Eastdale, Lakeshore Catholic and Notre Dame high schools, Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute and a local small business, Stephanie the Lunch Lady.

pageWELLAND – This fantastic opportunity allows participants to write a play and enjoy the rush of presenting it to the public! Learn techniques for creating effective characters, dialogue, and setting, and learn how to enhance it all with a great beginning and ending. Auditions, the casting process, and the performances are all included. Imagine the thrill of seeing your finished play in a formal reading before an audience! Location: Seaway Mall Branch, for ages: 11-14 years. Dates: Jan 18-Mar 1,Time: 5:30pm-8pm
Register online here or call 905-734-6210 ext. 2521.

WELLAND – Need help with technology and digital media? A library staff member will be at the Welland Library’s Diamond Trail Branch (on Southworth) the second Wednesday evening of each month, starting Wednesday, January 10 at 5:30pm to assist you. This is a great opportunity to learn how to download eBooks from the library, learn some iPad and Android basics. Each session is 30 minutes starting at 5:30 p.m. and running until closing at 8pm. Space will be limited so please register. For more information, please call Jason Redshaw (Coordinator of Adult Services) at 905-734-6210 ext. 2503 or email to book your appointment.

WELLAND – It’s starting, Saturday, January 27 from 6pm to 8pm at the Black Sheep Lounge, Niagara Street. Poetry Takes the Night is being held the last Saturday of the month, from January 27 to November 24. Poets and spoken word artists from all over Niagara will be performing and putting on a brilliant showcase of diverse talents using words and literature.

WELLAND – Welland Hospital Gift Shop is seeking volunteers and auxiliary members. Interested? Call 905-732-6111 ext. 33141 or email

WELLAND – “Triumph and Tragedy: the Welland Ship Canal” profiles the fallen workers whose lives were lost during the construction of Welland’s waterway. The book is slated for an early 2018 release. Several Welland Public Library staff members contributed articles to this collection.

library banterWELLAND – Welland Public Library is ready to launch into another exciting year full of dynamic programs, community events and outreach.
Be sure to check out all of the latest news and changes coming to the library in 2018!
The newest issue of the Boardwalk Banter is now available at all branches and online.

WELLAND – Welland Horticultural Society invites new members. The society’s meetings offer guest speakers, demonstrations, lessons and projects. More info, call 905-329-4217.

WELLAND – It’s back! After grounding to a halt for the holidays, the walk returns Monday, January 8. Meet Mayor Campion at the Merritt Island Parking Lot Monday mornings at 7:30 a.m. for a 40-minute walk on Merritt Island.

‘Total Snowfall Amounts Of 5 to 15 cm Likely…’

POSTED: 11:30 AM EST Sunday 24 December 2017
Special weather statement in effect for:
Niagara Falls – Welland – Southern Niagara Region
St. Catharines – Grimsby – Northern Niagara Region


DSC_1341 (2)

More white stuff on the way/File photo

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the Ontario Storm Prediction Centre
Not a creature was stirring, except the meteorologists
As all eyes were transfixed on jolly Old St. Nick, his herd of furry friends, and an approaching snow storm just in time for Christmas.


Total snowfall amounts of 5 to 15 cm are likely across much of Southern Ontario.

So, for those dreaming of a white Christmas, you will get your wish. A Texas low is gathering strength this morning and will race towards us approaching the speed of Rudolph later today. It will transport snow into Southern Ontario beginning this afternoon. As the low pressure centre dashes just south of the lower Great Lakes tonight, snow will intensify across Southern Ontario this evening. Somewhat heavier snow is likely in some areas, especially in the Greater Toronto Area where a snowfall warning is in effect. Visibility may be limited likely making travel challenging. Snowfall totals of 5 to 15 centimetres are expected by the time it tapers off overnight or on Christmas Day in Eastern Ontario. Travelers are encouraged to adjust their plans if possible.

The forecasters at the Ontario Storm Prediction Centre wish you warm holiday greetings and a happy, healthy and safe 2018!
Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada. To report severe weather, send an email to or tweet reports using #ONStorm.

‘Ho, Ho, Ho’: Christmas Eve Snowfall

Special weather statement in effect for:
Niagara Falls – Welland – Southern Niagara Region
St. Catharines – Grimsby – Northern Niagara Region
Widespread snowfall of 5 to 10 cm Christmas Eve, with higher amounts possible near the Lake Ontario shore.


DSC_0290 (2)

Winter wonderland forecast. (File photo)

A developing low pressure system will track south of the Great Lakes Sunday night, bringing another round of snow for much of Southern Ontario. Snow will begin late Sunday afternoon, with the bulk of the snow falling Sunday night. General snowfall amounts of 5 to 10 cm are expected by the time the snow ends early Monday morning. Higher amounts up to 15 cm are possible with lake enhancement in the easterly winds off Lake Ontario.


While the winter wonderland will be lovely to see come Christmas Day, it could contribute to challenging travelling conditions for those visiting family and friends over the holidays.
Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada. To report severe weather, send an email to or tweet reports using #ONStorm.

Let There Be Lights


Outdoor Nativity scenes. Clockwise from top left: Niagara Street, between Merritt and Riverbank; Eglise Sacre-Coeur, Empire Street; Colonial Street, off Cabot; Crowland Avenue; Eastdale Crescent. (Let There Be Lights is a recurring feature on the blog, this is the last part of the series. Photos by Joe Barkovich)