Monthly Archives: September 2019

Century-Old Former Fire Station Showcased At Culture Days Open House

At Five Bridges Fall Classic, All Things Welland

Two Bridges Of Five

Main Street bridge appears to be resting on the Division Street crossing in this photo from the concert stage in Merritt Park during Saturday’s Five Bridges Fall Classic. Rowers passed beneath five bridges along the waterway in what is by tradition a beautiful event to watch. More photos to follow. (Photo by Joe Barkovich)

Culture Days Brings Visitors To Iconic Fire Station

Claire Masswohl, left, of the Central Station Education Initiative and Rose Dzugan of the city’s Heritage Advisory Committee, check out the interior of a 1957 LaFrance quad pumper. They were at the Culture Days open house at former Central Fire Hall, sponsored Saturday afternoon by the Education Initiative. Visitors streamed in and out of the former  fire station for tours, informative chats with committee members and encounters with firefighting memorabilia. More photos to follow. (Photo 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.

Council Meeting in Committee-of-the-Whole in Camera ≫
5:10 PM Tuesday Oct. 1 2019 –
Personal matters about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees:
-Complaint regarding an employee.
-CAO’s Performance Evaluation.
-Non-Union Position.

Proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land by the municipality or local board:
-Youngs Sportsplex lease update.
Litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the municipality or local board:
-Contracts within City of Welland.

Council Ante Room

Council Meeting in Open Session ≫
7:00 PM Tuesday Oct. 1 2019 –
Council Chambers

City of Welland Heritage Advisory Committee Meeting ≫
5:00 PM Wednesday Oct. 2 2019 –
Room 108, Civic Square, 60 East Main Street

North Welland Business Improvement Area ≫
4:00 PM Thursday Oct. 3 2019 –
Ye Old Squire Restaurant  Seaway Mall

(Source: City of Welland webpage)

Five Bridges Fall Classic Showcases The Skill And Beauty Of Rowing

WELLAND – Hosted by the South Niagara Rowing Club in late September every year since 1980, the Head of the Welland is run on the North Course of the Welland International Flatwater Centre. In its 38th year, the Head of the Welland – Five Bridges Fall Classic is a “must attend” event for clubs, athletes, and fans of rowing.

This year’s program takes place Saturday, Sept. 28.

Taking part are 31 clubs and 284 entries.

Local participants include: Notre Dame Rowing Club (16 entries), South Niagara Rowing Club (18 entries), St. Catharines Rowing Club (23 entries), Niagara Falls Rowing Club (26 entries), Niagara Rowing School, Vineland (19 entries) and Ridley College, St. Catharines (9 entries).

Some other clubs include: Argonaut Rowing Club, Toronto (28 entries), Detroit Waterfront Rowing Association, Detroit (6 entries), Hanlan Boat Club, Toronto (17 entries), Canisius High School, Buffalo (7 entries) and Three Rivers Rowing Club, Pittsburgh (11 entries).

The race course begins just south of the Thorold Road boat launch (end of Thorold Road) with a naturally scenic 1.5 km stretch of open water running beside Merritt Island and over the Aqueduct to the Civic Square. It then proceeds under five bridges travelling 3.7 km south through the heart of the city to the finish line on the North Course of the Welland International Flatwater Centre.

The first bridge is the historic Main Street Bridge, with its towering steel frame, with the Division Street Bridge just 150 metres away. Opening up after the Division Street Bridge, the Recreational Waterway then affords a 750 metre stretch of uninterrupted water before coming to the Lincoln Street Bridge. A quick pass under the main columns of the bridge leads into the community recreation portion of the waterway with another 750 metre stretch of open water before having to navigate the railway swing bridge and the Broadway Bridge.

The waterway then immediately enters the North Course of the Welland International Flatwater Centre and competitors have approximately 1.2 km remaining to make their move.

The event has a detailed, highly informative website, Regatta Central:

(Source: website)

Heritage Lives: Of Parks, Monuments And Moves

‘X’ marks the spot of the intended site for the Welland-Crowland War Memorial in Merritt Park. Nearby is the park bandshell and to the south, the Welland Club. (Supplied photo)

By Terry Hughes

The recent announcement about moving a Workers Monument from its original location, Dain Avenue, to Merritt Park, led me to a photo in my file of another monument that was to be destined for this location.

When Merritt Park was built over a garbage-infested body of water called McCarthy’s Pond, a beautiful bandshell was erected near the centre. A cannon was placed on the site, near the Welland Club, but was later removed in favour of the Branch 4, Royal Canada Legion building located at the time on East Main Street.

With the end of the First World War, local politicians from both Welland and Crowland Township felt a monument should be built celebrating the end of the war to end all wars as it was known and honouring those who gave up their lives in it.

Funding was very slow in coming and was further hindered by the onset of the Great Depression. The design was finally complete and the location that was initially selected was Merritt Park. Here in this photo taken from the Main Street bridge, circa 1935, the location is marked with an “X”.

However, the decision-makers of the day for various reasons felt recently-completed Chippawa Park would be more suitable. The monument, the Welland-Crowland War Memorial, was completed there and dedicated in 1939, just after the Second World War began.

Now, moving back to the Workers Monument at Dain Avenue on the former Lakeside Steel (Page-Hersey) site. Although arrangements have been made and supported by city council to move it to Merritt Park, a better location may have been Memorial Park, not far from a cenotaph paying tribute to those from Crowland Township who gave their lives in the two world wars.

Eli Turonski, a parks board member and long-time Crowland booster back in the day, wanted Crowland to have a park that would compete with Chippawa Park in Welland. That was why Memorial Park had the first swimming pool separate from Cross Street pool. It was in the shape of a figure eight, complete with underwater lighting for night swimming, one-metre and three-metre diving boards and a concession stand to serve refreshments.

But changes occurred over the years particularly with construction of the canal bypass and now the park is the site of baseball diamonds and other recreation features. Placing the Workers Monument here would have made more sense, in my opinion, because most of the industries were situated in Crowland Township and the majority of workers who were employed there were from the township.

Maybe next time this park could be looked upon as a site where appropriate monuments might be placed.

Next column: Oh, Henry And It’s Not The Candy Bar!

(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.)

Mayor Shares Fond Childhood Remembrance Of Parkway’s Brick Archways

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

WELLAND – The heritage plaque unveiling Saturday morning at the Brick Archways, Parkway and Niagara Street, was like a homecoming for Mayor Frank Campion.

Campion grew up on Parkway, he said to a small gathering. It had assembled for the opening of a heritage designation tripleheader: in addition to the Brick Archways, also being designated were the Welland Canal Memorial Monument, Merritt Park and the Canal Construction mural, on an exterior wall of the Welland Museum, 140 King St.

The archways, constructed in 1913, were part of a gated entranceway to Parkway Heights, a new subdivision built as Welland was experiencing an industrial boom and rapid growth thanks to the arrival of industries like Plymouth Cordage, Electric Steel and Metals, Page Hersey Iron Tubes and others. The subdivision became home to prominent industrialists, business owners, merchants and professional people.

The mayor had fun with the “elite subdivision” reference to Parkway Heights in the printed program.

He said he grew up on the “elite street”, with all its unique people.

“And then there were the Campions.”

The archways became important to him in childhood days.

Campion recalled being walked to the corner of Parkway and Niagara Street by his mother. As a kid, he attended nearby St. Kevin School.

Going to school was easy, he said, with his mom there to send him off. But coming home was a tad more challenging.

He was afraid he’d get lost, the mayor said.

But when the archways came into view, he knew he was on the right track home.

That was “about 57 years ago”, Campion reminisced. And just as she was then, his mom was there for Saturday’s ceremony at the corner of Parkway and Niagara Street, still graced by those landmark brick archways.

The Welland Canal Memorial Monument in Merritt Park “commemorates the people from Canada and around the world who came to the Niagara Peninsula to build the Welland Canal,” according to background info in the commemorative program. It was unveiled September 27, 2001.

The Canal Construction mural, painted during Welland’s Festival of Arts in the late 1980s, “depicts the construction of the Welland Canal bypass in the 1970s and expresses the relationship between man and machinery.” Its theme, Construction of the Welland Canal Bypass – Machinery, “relates it to the 200-year-history of the Welland Canal which was central to the inception and growth” of Welland.