Monthly Archives: October 2018

Heritage Lives: A Remembrance Of Those Who Served

By Terry Hughes

Our picture with this month’s column signifies how Canada’s role during WW2 changed from a defensive posture to acts of an aggressive nature against Germany. Until 1943 the Royal Canadian Navy had been primarily defending convoys from U-boats using Corvettes, a small escort vessel of just over 200 feet long.

The navy in 1944 received the latest type of destroyer from British shipyards that were called the Tribal class. They were named after First Nation bands of Canada. The first four were Huron, Athabaskan, Iroquois and Haida.

Although they could be used as escort ships on convoy duty, these vessels were intended to take the fight to the Germans in an offensive role. They carried four turrrets with the main armament of eight 4.7 guns, four torpedo tubes and an array of anti-aircraft weapons. They could move through the sea at more than forty miles per hour. Later, they would be joined by four other ships of this class from Canadian shipyards.

By 1944 the Tribals would seek out and attack German convoys along the coast of France. Often, these convoys were escorted by German destroyers and needed to be engaged. Using a British cruiser to identify these convoys with star shells, the Canadians aggressively engaged the Germans often sinking or severely damaging their vessels. Unfortunately, during one of these engagements, HMCS Athabaskan was struck by a German torpedo causing an explosion and rapidly sinking her. Some 128 crew members died.

Word of the sinking did not reach Canada immediately but when it did two families from Welland were thinking the worst. Fortunately, Petty Officer Alec Love was on furlough and did not reach the ship before it sailed but the other Wellander had a more interesting encounter.

HMCS Haida had chased the two German destroyers after Athabaskan sunk, sinking one. She returned to the site where Athabaskan had gone down and dropped one of her motorized launches to pick up survivors. Because it was becoming light, Haida did not want to risk being hit by shore gun installations and left the small launch to fend for themselves. A Wellander, Signalman Thomas Eady was one of these people and thankfully, they made it to England.

The photograph (Department of National Defence) shows HMCS Nootka, somewhat “defanged” with smaller armament, knifing through the Atlantic Ocean during NATO exercises being used in an anti-submarine role. The surviving Tribal class ship, Haida, sits in Hamilton Harbour as a national war exhibit. Visit this ship because she has a big story to tell as Canada’s fighting lady!

Next Column: Celebrating Christmas with Family.


(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.)


This sign was posted at the east side of the Forks Road bridge in Dain City in April 2016. It followed by a few days the message on the city’s website: “Until further notice, Heavy Truck traffic is RESTRICTED from using the Forks Road bridge in Dain City. Any heavy vehicle caught travelling on the bridge may be subject to fines. Regular vehicular traffic will not be impacted.”  (FILE PHOTO  by Joe Barkovich)

WELLAND – The City of Welland is scheduling an indefinite road closure of the Forks Road Bridge located in Dain City. The closure will be in effect on Nov. 2, 2018, at 9:00 a.m. and will remain closed until further notice. Although pedestrian access will remain open to the public, no vehicular access will be permitted. City Council and staff understand the significance of traffic disruptions that occur with road closures, and are therefore arranging the most direct detour to minimize and prevent traffic congestion.

The city’s Engineering Division has routinely monitored the condition of the Forks Road Bridge since the bridge underwent a temporary closure in 2016. The 2016 closure involved three weeks of maintenance repairs by Rankin Construction and Black Creek Metal. Staff anticipated the maintenance would give the Forks Road Bridge several more years of life expectancy; however, during a recent inspection engineering staff discovered that the structure is deteriorating faster than anticipated.

“It’s not possible to determine how quickly the steel will continue to corrode, and the impact this will have on the integrity of the structure,” said Chris Anders, Manager of Engineering Services. “We aren’t able to control which vehicles cross the bridge, and whether or not they are under the posted load restriction, so we need to keep public safety first and foremost.”

A report containing several options will be presented to City Council later this year. In the meantime, city staff recommend the public stay informed through the City of Welland website at

(Source: City of Welland news release)

City Shorts, Try ’em On For Size

CITY SHORTS ART:  Ceremony in observance of 100th anniversary of Armistice Day (Supplied graphic)

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 – The 26th annual Welland Community Food Drive takes place Saturday, November 3. Canvassers will be going door to door, starting at 10am. Food should be left outside by the door. Non-perishable items please. Proceeds divided equally among Hope Centre, Open Arms Mission and Salvation Army food banks. More info to follow.

WELLAND – Welland’s Harvest Kitchen program starts its 23rd season on Thursday, November 1 at Hope Centre, 570 King Street, 5pm.
The weekly schedule is:
Sundays: Central United Church, 12 Young St., 5pm, starting November 4; Mondays: Eglise du Sacre-Coeur, 72 Empire St., 5:30pm, starting November 5; Tuesdays: Hope Centre, 570 King St., 5:30pm, starting November 6; Wednesdays: St. Kevin Roman Catholic Church, 307 Niagara St., 5pm, starting November 7; Thursdays (5pm for all): first Thursday of the month, Hope Centre, second Thursday, Southridge Community Church, 414 River Rd., third Thursday, Holy Trinity Anglican Church (use the market square door at the back), fourth and fifth Thursdays, Sts. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church, 300 Chaffey St. and new this season, third and fourth Fridays, 5pm, Southridge Community Church.
For emergency shelter please call 905-714-5007.

WELLAND – Koats for Kids will take place this year from November 1 until December 15. Needed are new or good used winter coats for men, women and children, these donations can be dropped off at any local cleaner. Koats for Kids is based at Central United church house on Young Street on Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. from Thursday, November 1 to Saturday, December 15. Koats for Kids is done in partnership with the Hope Centre.

WELLAND – Join a wave of men, women, youth and children Saturday, November 3 as you walk to WIPE OUT domestic violence in support of the local women’s shelters operated by Women’s Place. Put on some beachwear, come in from the cold and join for a 5 km mall walk and beach party. By raising pledges and walking, you will be helping women and children to transition to lives free of abuse. The event is perfect for walkers of all ages and abilities. Encourage your friends, family and coworkers to put on some sunscreen and register for this fun event. Time: 9 a.m. (check-in starts at 8 a.m.) at Seaway Mall.

WELLAND – Niagara Region provides branch collection in the spring and fall to residents in single family homes and apartments with six units or less.
Fall branch collection dates are: Oct. 29 – Nov. 2; Nov. 5 – Nov. 9; Nov. 12 – Nov. 16; Nov. 19- Nov. 23. Branches must be at the curb by 7am on your regular collection day.
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.

WELLAND – An evening of Kindred’s Celtic to Cajun Journey, and some reflections of the Christmas season. The popular local group performs Saturday, December 1, in the theatre at the Welland Community Wellness Complex at 7pm. Tickets: $12 for passholders and $15 for non-passholders. More Information: 905-735-1700 Ext. 4000 or

WELLAND – Want some great exposure on your organization this November? Join in one of Welland’s most celebrated events. On November 17, the Welland Santa Claus Parade will open the holiday season and entertain families with floats, festivities, and treats.
Applications are open until November 12. Come be a part of the excitement and join the 2018 Welland Santa Claus Parade! You can apply on the city’s website.

WELLAND – Boo! Search for ghosts in a spine-tingling scavenger hunt, listen to some scary stories, and try your hand at a spooktacular craft. And yes, there will be candy! You’re invited, Wednesday, October 31, 5pm to 7pm at Welland Public Library’s Seaway Mall Branch. Costumes welcome. No registration required.

WELLAND – Think you know music? Come on out and show what you’ve got in support of your library! The 4th annual Trivia Night Fundraiser will once again feature music trivia by Shawn McCart from “Name This Tune.” If you missed it last year, now’s your chance to experience the fun that everyone is raving about! Join in at the Croatian National Home, Broadway, on Friday, November 2 for their penne and meatballs dinner. Gather a few friends – or enter as a team of up to 10 – for some friendly competition! Prizes for the top three tables. Tickets are on sale for $25 each at all library branches.

WELLAND – Welland Public Library has announced that the Main Branch is  open Sundays 1pm-5pm.
These special Sunday hours will run to April 28, 2019. The library’s main branch is at downtown Welland’s Civic Square.

WELLAND – Welland Hydro Electric System Corporation on Friday, November 9 presents Hometown Culture – an evening with Mayor Campion. An evening of great food, music and more. Proceeds go to the following organizations: Niagara Community Foundation Welland Mayor’s Children & Youth Fund; Niagara Nutrition Partners; Family and Children Services Niagara; and YMCA Pro-Kids. Hometown Culture is being held at Croatian National Home, 6 Broadway Avenue, Welland. Doors open at 6pm, casual dress. Tickets are $150 per person (all inclusive). Please call 905-735-1700 Ext. 2338 or email

WELLAND – Put your best foot forward! 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 most often on weekends.)

Catholic High School Pilgrims Put Their Soles To Work For Social Justice

Notre Dame pilgrims walk the route (File photo)

October 28 is pilgrimage Sunday for Catholic high schools across the Niagara Catholic District School Board jurisdiction.

It is now a 43-year tradition that had its start at Welland’s Notre Dame College School, where the first was organized by Rev. James T. Mulligan CSC. (see earlier story elsewhere on the blog)

In a nutshell, the annual pilgrimage promotes solidarity and the common good.

In 2017, the pilgrimages raised $160,000 in support of diverse projects in the developing world.

Here is a rundown of 2018 pilgrimages by the board’s eight secondary schools, with details about times, routes and fundraising.

Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary School, Grimsby
The BT Pilgrimage will begin with mass at 9 a.m. in the gymnasium with Father Ronald Angervil as celebrant. Following mass, at approximately 10 a.m., students will proceed west on Livingston Ave. to Casablanca. South on Casablanca to Main St., east on Main to Centennial Park in Grimsby, the halfway point where students will be provided with food and drinks courtesy of Pillar’s grill team. Students will then proceed back down Main St. back to Blessed Trinity.
Raising funds for: A variety of projects in Las Pajas, Dominican Republic

Denis Morris Catholic High School, St. Catharines
Pilgrims will leave DM at 9 a.m. to walk to Market Square. They will follow Glen Morris Drive to Glenridge Avenue, then follow Glenridge to Westchester Avenue, and from Westchester to King Street. They will be joined by students from Holy Cross and Saint Francis Catholic Secondary Schools and celebrate Mass at Market Square with Bishop Gerard Bergie. All three schools will then process through the downtown area, return to Market Square for lunch and then leave from there at approximately 12:30 pm.
Raising funds for: Ecole Immaculee Conception in Pilate, Haiti, and Wells of Hope in Guatemala

Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School, St. Catharines
Pilgrims will meet at Holy Cross at 7:30 a.m. and depart for Market Square at approximately 8:00 am (or shortly thereafter). Mass at Market Square is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. After Mass, there will be have lunch and participation in an inner-city walk. Students should be en route back to the school by 12:30 p.m.
Raising funds for: Regina Assumpta elementary and secondary Schools in Cap Haitien, Haiti, Immaculate Conception School in Pilate and Holy Cross Elementary School in Thibeau Haiti

Saint Francis Catholic Secondary School, St. Catharines
Registration will begin at 7:45 a.m. for the Saint Francis Pilgrimage, and will be followed by a short prayer service at 8:30 a.m. Pilgrims depart Saint Francis for the 15-kilometre walk down Lake street at 9:30 a.m. to join Holy Cross and Denis Morris for mass at Market Square. This is followed by a downtown loop with all three schools together that moves along King St., Ontario St., St. Paul St., Geneva St., Russell Ave. to Lake St. and back to Market Square for lunch and departure.
Raising funds for: Marie Immaculeé School and Marie Porte-du-Ciel Orphanage, run by the Holy Cross Sisters in Haiti, Fogquest and the Centre for Hope in Guatemala, the Dominican Canadian Community Development Group and various local charities.

Lakeshore Catholic High School, Port Colborne
Registration will take place between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., followed by a prayer service at 9 a.m.
Pilgrims will walk from 10 a.m. – noon from the school on Janet Street to Killaly Street, turning onto Fares Avenue, left on Reuter Road (which becomes Lakeshore Road East), then left onto Lorraine Road and from there onto the Friendship Trail. They will follow the Friendship Trail back to Fares Street, and back to Killaly and to the school.
Raising funds for: A variety of programs for youth and seniors in Dominica

Notre Dame College School, Welland
Notre Dame’s Pilgrimage will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m., followed by a prayer service in Dillon Hall. The route will head south along the Welland Canal Trail to Dain City Bridge and return. Mass and Candlelight Liturgy will begin at approximately 1 p.m.
Raising funds for: Development and Peace, Yancana Huasy in Peru, and the Dominican Canadian Community Development Group

Saint Michael and Saint Paul Catholic High Schools, Niagara Falls
Once again, Saint Michael and Saint Paul Catholic High Schools will walk in together in Niagara Falls. This year’s Pilgrimage is hosted by Saint Paul Catholic High School. It will begin at 10:15 a.m., immediately after Mass at Saint Paul. Pilgrims will walk south on Dorchester Road to Lundy’s Lane, to Montrose Road, north to Thorold Stone Road, then east to Dorchester Road, back to Saint Paul.
Saint Michael is raising funds for: Hope for Rwanda Children’s Fund
Saint Paul is raising funds for: The Immaculate Conception School in Haiti.

(Source: Niagara Catholic District School Board news release)

Post-pilgrimage Mass and candlelight liturgy at Notre Dame’s Dillon Hall. (File photos/Joe Barkovich)

Sesquicentennial Committee Departs With Final Legacy

WELLAND – Canada’s 150 in Welland Committee met in downtown Welland for one last final legacy celebration. The ad hoc committee was created in 2015 to inspire Welland’s residents and stakeholders to join Canada’s 150 birthday celebrations in 2017. Although they have not gathered to develop projects and special events for nearly a year, the members were pleased to decommission the group with a final sesquicentennial legacy project in Welland.

150 Committee (Supplied photo)

The committee gathered at Welland Civic Square to take a photo with one of the eight Welland 150 decorative benches. The benches are a reminder of Canada’s 150 celebrations, and a tribute to Welland’s dedicated volunteers that made 2017 a year of community connectivity and collaboration. City staff are installing the Welland 150 benches in public spaces for everyone to better enjoy city parks, green spaces, and facilities.

Canada’s 150 in Welland Committee group steered a list of commemorative projects in 2017. The committee spearheaded horticultural projects, legacy endeavours, and community festivities that inspired civic pride throughout the city.

“I speak for the whole committee in saying thank you to Welland for helping to make last year’s Canada 150 celebrations something to remember,” said Debi Katsmar, Chairperson of Canada’s 150 in Welland Committee. “We were honoured to bring so many great events to the city and leave not one, but two legacies for all to remember for many years to come. The Trail 150 Tree Legacy in 2017 and the recent Welland 150 Bench Project will be cherished by the community for years to come. We thoroughly enjoyed bringing these events to the residents of Welland.”

For more information on City of Welland projects and special events visit

(Source: City of Welland news release)

Shame! A New Low For Welland

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

WELLAND – Welland voter turnout hit a new low in yesterday’s  municipal election campaign.

A study of turnouts in the past six campaigns shows a downward spiral over those six municipal elections, a record that’s not to be proud of.

It was thought by some that heightened interest in municipal politics, particularly at the regional government level, would have had marked impact on voters, sending more of them to the polls in this campaign. This isn’t scientific by any means, but several coffee klatch attendees reported voters became “fired up” about local politics during this campaign. Alas, it didn’t turn out that way come election day. So much for being “fired up”!

So, where are people on election day, why aren’t they voting?  Difficult to understand. I wish I had the answers.

Here are  stats from the past six election campaigns in Welland:

(% of eligible voters who cast a ballot):

2000  55%

2003  44.8%

2006   42.4 %

2010   41.%

2014   35.8 %

2018   34%

(Note: Source – 2000 – 2014 results: Municipality websites. Table compiled by Niagara Connects, Living in Niagara–2017 report.)

(Note: Source – 2018 results: City of Welland election returns compilation, City of Welland website.)


Live In The Lounge

Local stars ready to shine! (Supplied graphic)

WELLAND  – Are you a performer hoping to make music your career? If you don’t know where to start or have hit some snags along the way, this afternoon event is for you!

Local mega-talents, Jessica Wilson and Barbara Mantini, will each perform a set and then answer questions on what it’s like to make a living in the music world.

This is an all-ages event that is open to anyone who loves music. Refreshments provided by The Black Sheep Lounge.

Be there! Saturday, October 27, 2pm, at Welland public library’s main branch.

(Source: Library release)