Monthly Archives: February 2019

Artist Ross Beard Mourned, Community Is ‘A Little Less Colourful’

Towpaths, at 1030 Niagara Street, is one of three murals created by the artist Ross Beard for Welland’s Festival of the Arts. (Photo by Joe Barkovich)

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

WELLAND – Facebook sites over the weekend commented about the passing of the distinguished local artist, Ross Beard.

According to one of them, Welland Bridge 18, Mr. Beard passed Friday, February 8.

The post is dated Saturday, February 9. It was made by Steve Falusi, chair of the Dain City Bridge 18 Committee. The post, provided here in its entirety, reads:

“Dear Friends, Neighbours, and Dain City Family residents, it is with deep sadness that we send you this evening’s notice.  Friday February 8, 2019 we lost a friend, a brother, and family member of our community with Ross Beard.

In his early years, Ross Beard began his legacy as an artist in the community of Dain City. He moved to city of Welland and with his wife Diane they raised their family but he never forgot his roots as was well illustrated in his paintings. Ross was one of the most gifted artists of our time and was a consummate professional and talented passionate artist whose paintings and prints graced Welland business walls and homes locally and internationally around the world. His love for our community and its history is well documented and celebrated with a lifetime legacy of work.

On this day we are indebted to you and pay respect to you Master Ross Beard. Your friendship and love of community will forever be in our hearts. With our deepest heartfelt condolences we send our love and prayers to your wife Diane, daughter Tesla, and immediate and extended family here and above.

Godspeed and paint the heavens with colour and light…”

Several comments were posted on the Bridge 18 site, including those by the city council member, Claudette Richard, and the former MPP, Cindy Forster.

Mr. Beard was a participant in Welland’s Festival of Arts murals project that had its start in 1986.
He contributed three high-profile works to the outdoor art gallery initiative.

One of them is on the wall of the former Tribune building at 228 East Main St. With the title Upbound at Midnight, the mural is a night scene of a ship travelling south towards Port Colborne along the Welland Canal, according to a description provided for a publicity brochure.

As Mr. Beard worked on it back in the day, people gathered ‘round and on the sidewalk across the street to watch the talented artist. Some of them stayed for minutes but others lingered for extended periods.

The other of Mr. Beard’s downtown murals was The Pond – New Year’s Day, on the wall of the former LCBO outlet. Now removed, it was painted in 1988 and depicted the Welland Junction (Dain City) area about 1970 with upturned earth suggesting construction of the Welland Canal bypass project. A photo on the Facebook site shows Mr. Beard touching up a portion of the mural, the towers of the two Dain City bridges standing in the background .

Towpaths, the third mural, is at 1030 Niagara Street North. Still in place, it features a sailing ship, the J. G. Worth, being pulled through the canal by a horse on the towpath in the mid- 1800s.

Wayne Creighton, who lived in Dain City for many years and has fond memories of Mr. Beard, commented: “He will definitely be missed.”

Contacted Sunday afternoon, Creighton said: “His murals of Dain City really resonated with those of us who grew up there.”

Creighton was a sportswriter at the daily newspaper at the time Mr. Beard was working on Upbound at Midnight.

“I really liked the one on the old Tribune building and always enjoyed seeing Ross every day as he painted it,” Creighton recalled.

In their growing up years, Mr. Beard was well known in the tight-knit Dain City community for organizing “kite wars” and ball hockey games at Bridgeview public school, said Creighton.

A weekend post on a second Facebook site, artist James Takeo’s The Art Space – Welland, provides this comment:

“We are just hearing word that one of the greatest and most prolific artists of the area, painter of three of Welland’s Festival of Arts murals, Ross Beard, has suddenly passed away.

We are deeply saddened to hear this, and offer our most sincere and deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.

Our community is a little less colourful today.”

Takeo said through email the passing was confirmed by a nephew of Mr. Beard. He also said  a Celebration of Life for Mr. Beard is being planned for Sunday, February  17 at the Legion hall, Morningstar Avenue, at 1 p.m.


Forecast In A Word Or Two: Ugh!

POSTED AT: 4:31 AM EST Monday 11 February 2019
Special weather statement in effect for:
Niagara Falls – Welland – Southern Niagara Region
St. Catharines – Grimsby – Northern Niagara Region
Several hours of freezing rain Tuesday.

Precipitation will begin as snow overnight. Snow will change briefly to ice pellets, with 2 to 5 cm accumulation, before changing to freezing rain. Freezing rain will continue for several hours before changing to rain Tuesday afternoon. Travel is likely to be affected.

Additionally, strong easterly winds gusting up to 80 km/h are expected Tuesday.

This freezing rain is associated with a Colorado low that will cross Southern Ontario Tuesday and Wednesday.

Freezing rain warnings may be required as this event draws closer.
Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada. To report severe weather, send an email to or tweet reports using #ONStorm.

HERITAGE LIVES: Council Meets An Unexpected Fork In The Road For Bridge Replacement

By Terry Hughes

Recent announcements concerning the Forks Road bridge indicated that replacement was to occur in 2020. Rapid deterioration of the substructure forced the city to close the bridge several months ago. It would seem that the east portion of the span was the area where most of the damage was done according to the city engineering department. Replacement time will have to be accelerated.
The cause may be found in the fact that eastbound traffic has to come to a complete stop at Kingsway and the salt solution dripping off the vehicles over time has reached the substructure eating away at the steel like a cancer. Westbound traffic after turning onto the bridge does not have to stop and therefore, the western portion of the span suffered minimal damage.
Initial inspection on the abutments under water of the present span indicate that the new span will be able to be placed on them thus reducing the cost of replacement. It was brought to the attention of the city that when being built, the lift bridge had some concerns over unstable banks requiring the bridge approach spans had to be lengthened and the slope of the canal bank increased to a 3 to 1 ratio.

Present span after decommissioning having its counterweights removed. Notice the debris piles on the ice below the bridge.

Photographs shown here give some interesting background on how the present canal impacted on this community. Looking south, the first photo taken from the year old railway lift bridge shows the old swing span being dismantled in 1928. The canal has been widened to twice its width and both sides of the predecessor span at Forks Road is now available for shipping. Notice how close the road of the day was to the canal on the left side of the photo. The road had to be moved to its present location when the present span was built and that is why the road, today, swings away from the canal at the Dain City House. The large building near that swing span was probably Bridgeview School.
The second photo shows the present span after decommissioning having its counterweights removed. Notice the debris piles on the ice below the bridge. This must have accumulated over time and hastened the deterioration process of the substructure. One could make the argument that this is the reason for our present problem and this structure’s replacement should be funded by the federal government. A picture appearing in the city’s 150th anniversary photo book, made by former Tribune photographer Bob Chambers, shows all of the bridges up. The closest bridge was at Broadway and you can see the duct work that would carry away water and debris that does not show on the photo of the Forks Road Bridge thus supporting this argument.
Finally, the only bridge on the canal that was never painted silver was the railway bridge. It was the first lift bridge built on the canal in 1927.

(Source: Celebrating 150 Years/Photo by Bob Chambers, Welland Tribune)

Next Column: Welland’s Best-Looking City Hall

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

Author To Speak On Welland Canal Construction Accident That Claimed Three Lives

Shown is the cofferdam built for salvaging a caisson at Bridge No. 13 (Main Street Bridge) in Welland, December 1927. (Major P.J. Cowan photo)

THOROLD (Special) – Melanie Battell, author of several Welland Canal Fallen Worker profiles that appeared in local newspapers in 2017 (and will be included in the forthcoming book), will be speaking at the next meeting of the Thorold & Beaverdams Historical Society. Her topic is:
A Cold Saturday Afternoon in Welland – The Accident at the Main St. Bridge, 1927.
The meetings of the Thorold & Beaverdams Historical Society are open to the public. Admission is free. Battell will speak Monday, February 25, 7:30 pm.
Meetings are held in the main meeting room of Chestnut Hall (next to the Thorold Public Library on the corner of Ormond and Vine Streets, 14 Ormond St. N.). Snacks and conversation follow.
And, if you missed them before, here are additional upcoming presentations from the Fallen Workers series:
Monday, March 25, 2019: Debra Antoncic – “Art and Poetry on the Welland Canal”
Thursday, April 11, 2019: Dr. Andrew W. Panko, PhD., P.Geo. – “The Welland Canal Construction Railway”. Admission $4.


Welland City Shorts, Try ’em On For Size

CITY SHORTS ART: Tina, left, and Jackie Turner remind us that Julia’s Hope Cup is just a week away. The Chippawa Park pond hockey tournament, named after their daughter and sister Julia Turner, takes place Saturday, February 16. The Family Day weekend connection emphasizes that this a family event with games, food and activities that will appeal to all. For full details please visit: (Photo by Joe Barkovich)

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 City of Welland is moving forward with designing a comprehensive Parks, Recreation, and Culture Master Plan that will reflect the public’s needs and Council’s strategic priorities.
Welland City Council approved Monteith Brown Planning Consultants to manage the project process and facilitate the design of a 10-year Master Plan that will evolve through public engagement. The Parks, Recreation, and Culture Divisions last implemented a Master Plan in 2006, which was designed successfully due to extensive community engagement.
Welland staff will work closely with Monteith Brown Planning Consultants to ensure the city’s Master Plan is community-driven and responds to the unique character and needs of Welland’s demographics. A complete and thorough public engagement strategy will be made available on the city’s online public engagement platform YourChannel.
“This plan will be a foundational document that will inform Council and staff decision making and will ensure the city’s parks, recreation and cultural programs and facilities continue to be a cornerstone of the quality of life enjoyed by Welland residents and appealing to the new residents moving to our City,” said Gary Long, Chief Administrative Officer.
For more information about City of Welland Parks, Recreation, and Culture visit

WELLAND – A World Day of Prayer service on Friday, March 1 will be hosted by Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Division Street. The service will start at 1:30pm.

WELLAND – Are you ready for March Break? Welland Public Library is! The library has taken a ton of great programs and activities to keep your kids and teens busy all week long. Take a look at all of the exciting things going on!
Program guides are now available at all branches and online.
Registration for programs begins Monday, February 11. All programs require registration unless otherwise noted.

WELLAND – Do you have memories of Atlas Steels? Welland Historical Museum wants to hear from you. Share them by calling 905-732-2215 to set up an appointment.

WELLAND – Looking for something to do on Family Day? Have some fun with the family at the Welland Community Wellness Complex and the Welland Main Arena. Donations of non-perishable food items are appreciated. This is a free family-friendly event. Monday, February 18, 10am-2pm. More info on city website.

WELLAND – Join Mayor Frank Campion at the Welland Community Wellness Complex for coffee and an update on what’s happening in Welland. This is a free event. Pre-registration is required. Thursday, February 21, 10:45am to noon.

WELLAND – The city is looking for performers for the 2019 Friday Night Live Concert Series. Fill out an application today online or pick one up at the Welland Community Wellness Complex Located at 145 Lincoln Street.

WELLAND – Hosted by the Visual Artists of Welland, Tuesday, February 19 at 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, in the upper meeting room at Chippawa Park, 90 First Ave., Welland. Open to the public and anyone interested in becoming a member (membership is $35), or registering for the Spring Fling Art Show and Sale (April 5, 6, 7) – Registration package on the website: Contact: Deedee Alexandre, co-president via phone: 905-732-4782 or email:

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 his memory, Niagara Region initiated a memorial award in 2003 to honour a resident of Niagara who best exemplifies Roy’s values and dedication to community service; a person who sees volunteerism as an integral part of their life. (Welland resident Paul Turner was the 2016 recipient of the award.)
Nominations are now open for the 2019 T. Roy Adams Humanitarian of the Year Award. Nomination info is available online at:

WELLAND – La Boîte à soleil is holding a skate-a-thon Sunday, February 10, 3:30pm to 4:30pm at the Jack Ballantyne Memorial Youth Arena, 501 King Street, Welland. Don’t forget your gloves and helmets for the little ones. Free snacks and hot chocolate. La Boîte à soleil will accept monetary donations at the door. Receipts will be available for donations of $ 20 or more. Bring your family and your friends.

WELLAND – Welland’s Harvest Kitchen program is in its 23rd season. The weekly schedule is:
Sundays: Central United Church, 12 Young St., 5pm; Mondays: Eglise du Sacre-Coeur, 72 Empire St., 5:30pm; Tuesdays: Hope Centre, 570 King St., 5:30pm; Wednesdays: St. Kevin Roman Catholic Church, 307 Niagara St., 5pm; 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 – Put your best foot forward! Meet Mayor Campion at the Merritt Island parking lot Monday mornings at 7:30am for a 40-minute walk on Merritt Island.

(City Shorts is a weekly feature on the blog appearing most often on weekends.)

Phoenix Rising

Sacade Kasamba of St. Francis Phoenix goes up for two against St. Marguerite D’Youville of Brampton at their All Ontario Catholic Classic game played at Notre Dame’s Dillon Hall this morning. D’Youville won, and next play St. Thomas More of Hamilton today at 5 at Dillon Hall. The Phoenix play Notre Dame at 3:30 pm. (Photo by Joe Barkovich)

Up, Up And Away

Notre Dame’s David Jones goes airborne for a shot on St. Thomas More Knights of Hamilton at their All Ontario Catholic Classic senior boys tournament game this morning at ND’s Dillon Hall. The Irish lost 79-73 and face St. Francis Phoenix of St. Catharines, who were downed by St. Marguerite D’Youville Panthers of Brampton, 66-47. The Irish and Phoenix play today at 3:30 p.m. at Notre Dame’s Belcastro Gym. (Photo by Joe Barkovich)

‘We Want To Prepare For The Future’: Campion

WELLAND – Mayor Frank Campion addressed a crowd of 100 people today at Welland Public Library in his annual year-in-review fundraiser, highlighing the city’s growth and development agenda.

“We don’t want to just build blocks of suburbia. We want to create communities, while we embrace our small town approach, and enjoy city amenities.”

Campion was pleased to review last year’s capital projects that make living in Welland more accessible and enjoyable. In conjunction with roads, sidewalks, and water infrastructure, city staff focused on better social infrastructure and connecting communities with the city’s new BMX and Skateboard Park. The city also completed the Veteran’s Memorial section at Woodlawn Cemetery and made progress in connecting Niagara through inter-municipal transit. Campion was pleased to report the city invested more than $8.5 million in infrastructure renewal last year.

Other city highlights included record-breaking economic development and building activity. The city also issued a record number of building permits in 2018 and sold $9.2 million in city-owned land. Campion credited the city’s economic development team for fostering a relationship with developers and builders and simplifying bureaucratic procedures.

Campion covered the city’s 2018 achievements and finished the presentation with a glimpse of where the City of Welland is going over the next several years. Population forecasts project an influx in new residents; therefore, managing and maintaining growth will be a city priority. He said the city exceeded expectations in 2018, and intends to further surpass goals well into the future by maintaining strong economic development, stimulating job growth, investing in the Welland Recreational Corridor, and providing a quality of life second-to-none.

“We want to prepare for the future and protect the livability and workability in our city,” said Mayor Campion. “We don’t want to just build blocks of suburbia. We want to create communities, while we embrace our small town approach, and enjoy city amenities.”

Guests filled the library to enjoy a catered breakfast, with proceeds benefiting United Way Niagara.

For more information on United Way Niagara, its programs and support services visit For more information on City of Welland programs, services, and projects visit

(Source: City of Welland news release)