Monthly Archives: January 2018

Heritage Lives: Corner Was Downtown’s Start




This building at the high-profile East Main and Burgar street intersection was home to the local daily newspaper for a few decades. But earlier in its history, as the photo shows, it was actually a “mini mall” in downtown Welland. (Photo courtesy Brian Garrard)

By Terry Hughes

Time can dull our senses of persons, places and things that we have encountered over the years but for some of us certain places stand out. Growing up, this intersection marked the beginning of downtown Welland.

The structure that dominated this intersection (East Main and Burgar)  was Gram Bros. car dealership which sold a variety of cars. Pictured here, it stands as a Chrysler dealership and it would end as a General Motors business. It housed cars where they were repaired in a variety of situations. Cars could be stored on the roof by the use of an elevator. In 1954, it became the home of the Tribune until several years ago.

Next door was a Welland institution. It was the home of Ideal Fish and Chips. How many times did people stop in for a cone full of chips or an order of fish and chips wrapped in  newspaper, like after a ball game at nearby Burgar Park.

Across the street and to the right was Harry Holcomb’s Shoe Store and Hamilton and Ferguson’s Grocery. The latter became famous for their fried grasshoppers and chocolate-covered ants. Across the street on the south side stood a City Service Gasoline Station operated by the Baxter family. On the southwest corner for a long time were private homes but later, it  was occupied by Welland Glass and Paint. Next door was Mason Kells that sold Hudson and later, Ford products.

But the most intriguing part of the image is in the centre of the street. Just look at that stop light! Two lenses facing each street versus that  ‘Christmas tree’ of lights that adorn  streets today. I can recall a similar traffic light at the intersection of Main and Duncan streets where the new provincial offences court now stands. There were no lenses for caution. As the lights changed both lights remained on for a short time and then it went to red. For those who were colour blind the words stop and go were painted in black on the lenses. Imagine……eight lenses controlling an intersection as opposed to twenty four!

I guess this tells us something about our driving habits today. Oh, and by the way, we didn’t need hooded lights to cross an intersection.

Next column: Ninety years and counting!

(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.)

Snowfall Could Be ‘Heavy’ This Evening

POSTED AT: 3:19 PM EST Monday 29 January 2018
Snowfall warning in effect for:
Niagara Falls – Welland – Southern Niagara Region
St. Catharines – Grimsby – Northern Niagara Region
Snowfall of 15 to 20 is expected tonight.

snowSnow is moving into the region as expected and will be heavy at times this evening before tapering off overnight. Motorists and commuters should plan for challenging road conditions for the commute this evening, and allow extra time to reach their destination.
Be prepared to adjust your driving with changing road conditions. Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots may become difficult to navigate due to accumulating snow. There may be a significant impact on rush hour traffic in urban areas.

Snowfall warnings are issued when significant snowfall is expected.

Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada. To report severe weather, send an email to or tweet reports using #ONStorm.

Last Days Of A Once Proud Landmark

The former Ukrainian Cultural Centre on McCabe Avenue, off Southworth Street, is under demolition. Photo at bottom right shows the long-time cultural/social icon as it appeared Monday afternoon. The photographs were taken from outside the property through  the fence enclosing it because gates were locked. The hall was a hotbed of Ukrainian culture for decades, as it was for social events like wedding receptions, dances, community fundraisers, public meetings and more. The property has been earmarked for residential development for some time. (Photos by Joe Barkovich)

After A Spring-Like Sunday, Winter Weather To Make Its Return

POSTED AT: 1:30 AM EST Monday 29 January 2018
Special weather statement in effect for:
Niagara Falls – Welland – Southern Niagara Region
St. Catharines – Grimsby – Northern Niagara Region
Total snowfall amounts of 10 cm or more possible beginning Monday morning.

snowA cold front currently moving southwards across southern Ontario is expected to stall over the lower Great Lakes tonight. This frontal system is forecast to become active and generate appreciable snow.

Motorists and commuters should plan for challenging road conditions especially for the Monday afternoon commute.

It is now appearing that amounts may be more significant than earlier expected. Snowfall warnings may be issued overnight for the Hamilton and Niagara regions with this event.
Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada. To report severe weather, send an email to or tweet reports using #ONStorm.

Soup’s On! Was ‘Souper’: Participants

The 16th annual Soup’s On! fundraiser was held Friday, January 26 at St. Kevin’s parish hall. Soup teams from Blessed Trinity High School, Confederation Secondary School, Eastdale Secondary School, Notre Dame College School, Lakeshore Catholic High School, Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute and a local small business Stephanie The Lunch Lady prepared a variety of soups for a crowd of close to 400 soup lovers. The event is held annually, on the last Friday in January. (Photos by Joe Barkovich)

City Shorts, Try ’em On For Size


CITY SHORTS ART: A fundraiser for Welland’s Open Arms Mission is coming up. For details, see City Short , below. 


City Shorts

Compilation by Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large
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 – The deadline to apply for a seat on an important new city committee is fast approaching.
Members are being sought for the City of Welland Waterway Advisory Committee. It will have a total of nine members, including two members at large.
Applications and info are available on the city website or at the city clerk’s office. Deadline to apply is on or before 4:30pm Thursday, February 1.

DUZa-wWVQAAar3fWELLAND – The Coldest Night of the Year is a super-fun, family-friendly fundraiser for hungry, homeless, and hurting individuals and families across Canada. In Welland, the fundraiser benefits Open Arms Mission, an organization that has been serving the community of Welland for 30 years. Last year, the Coldest Night of the Year raised over $4 million for charities across Canada, including over $30,000 for hurting people in Welland. This year, we are looking to raise $45,000. We want to have 25 teams of 8-10 people who will seek to raise $200 each for a team total of $2000. Will you gather a team of friends, family, coworkers, church members or teammates to walk 2, 5 or 10km, fundraise for Open Arms Mission and feel a hint of the challenge faced by those experiencing poverty during the winter? To register your team, join a team or for more information, go to

WELLAND – An open house in the local French-Catholic high school is being held next week.
The open house, at Ecole Secondaire Catholique Jean Vanier is on Tuesday, February 6 from 7pm to 8pm. The school is located at 620 River Rd.

dementiaWELLAND – January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Dementia, a general term that refers to a variety of brain disorders, is caused by physical changes in the brain. Learn more about dementia, its impact on the brain, and how to keep your brain healthy with this information session presented by Denise Verreault, Director of Education for the Alzheimer Society of Niagara.
This session is scheduled for Saturday, January 27 at the Seaway Mall Branch from 1:30pm-3:00pm. Registration is required; please call the Alzheimer Society at 905-687-3914 or register online at

WELLAND – A speaker series, Healthy and Balanced Living for Seniors is being held at Welland Public Library’s Seaway Mall Branch starting Tuesday, January 30 at 2pm. Theme is Estate Planning and Financial Advice. It starts at 2pm.

WELLAND – A new feature column on the blog, intended for startup this month, is delayed.
‘Between The Covers’, a question and answer column about reading habits and interests, will have its start in early February.
The content will be fun, informative, interesting and of course – reader friendly!
Interviewees will answer questions ranging from: current book being read, favourite book read, favourite character, favourite author, worst book ever read, a book the reader started reading but never finished and why, and various other questions.
Between The Covers will feature an array of well known and not so well known Wellanders as interview subjects.
The series will have its start in early February.

WELLAND – It starts Saturday, January 27 from 6pm to 8pm at the Black Sheep Lounge, Niagara Street. Program runs 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 – T. Roy Adams was an eminent Niagaran, well known throughout the Region, Canada, and abroad for his service to God, his country and his fellow citizens.
In memory of the late councillor, Niagara Region initiated a memorial award in 2003 in his name to honour a resident of Niagara who best exemplifies his values and dedication to community service; a person who sees volunteerism as an integral part of their life. The 2017 recipient was Tom Rankin.
Application info and other details are available on on-line: Nominations close March 31.

WELLAND – Niagara Health Foundation is holding its annual Elimination Draw/Dinner hosted by the Croatian National Home, on Wednesday, January 31. Tickets are $75 each or $600 for a table of eight.
Now’s the time to enter to win your share of $3,000. The event is a fundraiser in support of surgical programs at the Welland Site of Niagara Health.
Buy your tickets:

WELLAND – The Welland Public Library has partnered with the John Howard Society of Niagara to offer a series of presentations designed to equip parents with tools for a better family life. All workshops are FREE and run from 6:00pm-7:30pm. The series will continue into spring 2018.
Register online, or call 905-734-6210 ext. 2521

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. Several Welland Public Library staff members contributed articles to this collection – the third of which, by Loraine Speck, can be read here.

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

(City Shorts is a weekly feature on the blog appearing Thursdays or Fridays)

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.

Committee of Adjustment Hearing(s) ≫
5:00 PM Wednesday Jan. 31  –
Council Chambers

Welland Community Wellness Complex Advisory Committee Meeting ≫
3:00 PM Thursday Feb. 1  –
Welland Community Wellness Complex, 145 Lincoln Street

Lasting Image: Michael Santone, A Barber Of King Street

By Joe Barkovich,  Scribbler-at-large

WTPR4959020Lasting images of Michael Santone? Can’t forget his presence in brother Peter’s barber shop on King Street many years ago. One or the other, but mostly it was Mike, cut my hair. They were always short brush cuts in warm weather months, they were big in the 1950s.

Sitting in Mike’s chair was always an experience. He could talk about neighbourhood folks and Crowland and Welland stories. He tended to be soft-spoken and liked asking questions: How’s your grandfather? How’s your father? How many years did you go to Maple Leaf School? Sometimes it seemed the questions were never ending, ‘Inquisitive’ could have been his middle name. But I appreciated that, especially after figuring out that it went to show Mike had an interest in me. Made a kid feel good.

In those days, he and wife Lillian lived across from us on Fifth Street. Mike liked going for strolls, stopping to chat with folks who were sitting on their stoops or out in front of their houses. As I recall, Mike could strike up a conversation with anybody.

He was a friend of Bill W. and Dr. Bob for more than 50 years.  He was well respected and highly regarded for the help he gave those struggling with addiction. Its been said the word “can’t” was never part of his vocabulary when it came to answering a call for his help.

Monday morning I let a friend know Mike, aged 94, had passed. I knew that mutual friend would be saddened by the news. “He was a great person and certainly helped me with my alcohol struggles,” was his response.  Many who attended the funeral Mass Wednesday morning were friends of Mike’s from 12 Step meeting groups.

Our paths crossed on occasion at breakfasts or dinners. I sat next to him at an ARID House anniversary in Thorold a couple years back. He chatted about the old neighbourhood, local history, asked about how our kids were doing. He talked about how much he enjoyed cooking, about how good his home-grown garlic and his tomato sauce were. An invite to stop by for pizza went unfulfilled, regretfully I must say.

Mike’s death notice said he had an affable nature, which is gospel. He also had a warm, winning smile. It was a million dollar smile. It shows in the accompanying photograph, another lasting image of Michael Santone.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. – Serenity Prayer.

(Lasting Image is an occasional feature on the blog.)

Wanted: Applicants For Welland Waterway Advisory Commitee


A waterway advisory committee is being formed by the city. (File photo/Joe Barkovich)

WELLAND – The city is in the process of recruiting members for a new committee, the City of Welland Waterway Advisory Committee.
A posting about it was on the Civic Corner page in Thursday’s Tribune.


Your chance for a seat at the table of this important new committee.

The new committee will have nine members. The make-up will look like this:
One rep from an affiliate sport club situated along the waterway;
One rep from the community of recreational waterway users, not connected to an affiliate sport club situated along the waterway;
One representative from Welland International Flatwater Centre (WIFC) event partner community (ex-officio);
Two members-at-large;
One representative from the emergency services community and risk profile of the waterway;
One representative from the hospitality industry;
Two Welland business community members-at-large.
According to the posting, applications and information is available at the city clerk’s office in city hall or on the city’s website, https://www/ Applications should describe what assets you feel you can bring to the committee.
Applicants must be an eligible elector in the City of Welland in order to fill these vacancies; eligible electors from outside of Welland in accordance with the committee’s terms of reference will be considered.
Eligible elector means: You are a resident in the City of Welland or the owner or tenant of land, or the spouse of such owner or tenant; a Canadian citizen; and at least 18 years old. All applications must be on the prescribed form and should include a brief resume.
Applications must be received in the city clerk’s office on or before 4:30pm, Thursday, February 1, 2018.