Monthly Archives: October 2019

More Than 20 Years Later, Still Serving Hot Meals And Hospitality

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

WELLAND – Works of charity are invaluable and, perhaps, irreplaceable in the Rose City and no doubt other communities.

Just one example is Harvest Kitchen, which opens another season Friday, November 1. Its lineage goes back to 1997 when the forerunner, Out of the Cold, had its start in Welland.

Rev. Bond

Something of significance in Harvest Kitchen’s 2019-2020 operations is that all nights are completely covered with the exception of Saturday, said the program coordinator, Rev. Robert Bond. The previous year, a Friday evening site was available only on the third and fourth Fridays of the month in the November through March annual initiative. Other years, it did not operate Friday evenings.

Bond, who works as Coordinator of Spiritual and Religious Care at Niagara Health, has been involved in Welland’s community supper/hospitality program from the time Out of the Cold started.

In late 1996, as hospital chaplain, he was asked by the clinical manager of Mental Health at Welland hospital if something comparable to Toronto’s Out-of-the-Cold could be made available locally. It would be “in response to the fact that discharges from 2 South (the hospital’s mental health ward) were being made onto the street.”

The request, according to Bond, led to a forum of local churches to explore the possibility, then the formation of a steering committee, then a meeting of trainers and then in-depth sessions for volunteers. Thank heaven for the interest of our churches!

On Friday, January 10, 1997, the first site opened in space at Holy Trinity Anglican Church. It ran weekly, Friday night through Saturday morning. By the close of program year at the end of March, there were three sites and nights: Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Oak Centre and All Peoples’ United Church.

The program grew over the years until the fall of 2002 when Hope House was opened and Out of the Cold’s overnight component was no longer needed. It then turned into Harvest Kitchen community supper outreach.

What’s remarkable is that this is a volunteer-based initiative anchored by several faith communities and one social agency, Hope Centre. The church sites do their own fundraising, for example, trivia nights,  and/or receive financial assistance from their respective churches. We should be thankful they are able to keep going year after year.

Holy Trinity returned as a venue in 2018-2019 after a lengthy absence. Bond earlier said this was  “like a reincarnation” because the site was involved the first year of the program’s operation. Others have been involved for many years, like St. Kevin, Sacré-Coeur and Central United while others are relative newcomers, like Sts. Peter and Paul and Southridge Church.

I asked Bond if he could provide comparative numbers showing turnouts from year-to-year but he could not because “we don’t keep a count.” However, some individual sites may keep track of the number of guests who visit.

Bond publicly acknowledged Welland Transit with “resounding thanks” for continuing to provide free service: “The guests are given a Harvest Kitchen-ONLY transit pass. This lets them use the bus system – with its established bus stops – to get to supper and then back home.” The importance of the complimentary passes can’t be overlooked because the sites are scattered throughout the city and not easily within walking distance for all or accessible to all, especially in inclement winter weather.

What would this program be without the involvement of so many faith communities here in the city? That it is still going after 20+ years is nothing short of amazing. Well done, low key and low profile Rev. Bond for your ongoing involvement, and well done participating groups and teams of volunteers! What would we do without you?

Here is the 2019-2020 Harvest Kitchen site schedule, full details are provided in the accompanying graphic:

Sunday night: Central United Church;

Monday night: Église du Sacré-Coeur;

Tuesday night: Hope Centre;

Wednesday night: St. Kevin Roman Catholic Church;

Thursday night: first and second Thursday of the month, Hope Centre; third Thursday, Holy Trinity Anglican Church (market door at the back of the church); fourth and fifth Thursdays, Sts. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church;

Friday night: Southridge Church.


HERITAGE LIVES: Recognizing A Local Veteran

Avro Lancaster. (Photo by Adam Wlodarczyk)

By Terry Hughes

I am sure that the expectation of our readers is to identify someone in the area who contributed to serving our country. Well, here is a surprise. It is not a person from here although local people were involved in the use of this machine in the past. It appears in our skies at least half a dozen times each year. The veteran is the Avro Lancaster.

Based at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, it is only one of two of this type of aircraft in flying condition on this planet. It represents the tens of thousands of aircraft used against Hitler during World War Two.

Along with Bomber Command and the RAF, Canadians flew with the Brits on many missions before our country created squadrons of our own using Canadian-built Lancasters in 1944. The mission known as the Dam Busters caused considerable flooding in Germany. Included in this effort were 30 Canadian crew members half of whom never returned.

This aircraft acts as an ambassador for this country when it often flies over the border to air shows in the U.S. It paid a visit to Great Britain several years ago illustrating the work that went into the restoration of the plane.

The reason for this aircraft being restored is revealed on the internet recognizing it as a memorial to Flying Officer Andrew Mynarski who attempted to save a crew member while sacrificing his own life before their aircraft crashed.

There are those people who have objected to the roar of the engines as the Lancaster passes overhead. Their concerns do not represent the emotions of those of us, however, who remember what a sacrifice the crews who flew these planes made to ensure our freedom.

Next Column: A Christmas Wish

(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.)

‘Milestone’ Fall Convocation Friday At College’s Welland Campus

Two outstanding Niagara residents and a visionary leader in the Ontario college system will receive special honours from Niagara College, as its historic Class of 2019 gains 1,300 new graduates this fall.
The pomp and circumstance will mark NC’s 2019 Fall Convocation ceremonies, to be held on October 25 at the Welland Campus Athletic Centre, with a morning ceremony to begin at 10 a.m. and an afternoon ceremony to begin at 3 p.m.

Fall Convocation honorees will include:
Ann Buller, past-president of Centennial College, who will be awarded an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies in recognition of her leadership in postsecondary education. Buller will also deliver a convocation address (morning ceremony);
Shane Malcolm, executive director of Leadership Niagara, who will receive a Distinguished Alumni Award and deliver a convocation address (afternoon ceremony). Malcolm, who graduated from NC’s Culinary Management (Co-op) program in 2011, and Bachelor of Applied Business Hospitality Operations Management program in 2014, is a former president of the Niagara College Student Administrative Council (2014-2016) and was the College’s first international student to hold the position; and
Niagara business leader Vince DiCosimo, founder of Hospitality Fallsview Holdings (Hilton Niagara Falls Fallsview Hotel, and Days Inn Fallsview Niagara Falls) who will be recognized with an Honorary Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Studies for his leadership in Niagara’s hospitality and tourism sectors (afternoon ceremony).

The morning ceremony will celebrate approximately 600 new graduates from the School of Allied Health, School of Justice and Fitness, and School of Nursing and Personal Support Worker. The afternoon ceremony will recognize approximately 700 new graduates from the School of Business and Management; School of Environment and Horticulture; School of Hospitality, Tourism and Sport; the Canadian Food and Wine Institute; School of Academic, Liberal and Access Studies; School of Technology; and School of Trades.

Milestone for NC community
As the ceremonies denote the end of a chapter for graduating students, the fall ceremonies will mark a special milestone for the College community as the final convocation for Dan Patterson as president of the College. The dynamic and visionary Niagara leader, who has been NC’s longest-serving president, announced earlier this year that he plans to conclude his tenure as president in spring 2020. Over the past 25 years, Patterson has led the College through significant transformation – including a three-fold growth in enrolment, and the development of trailblazing programs and unique learning environments that have shaped NC as a leader in Canada’s post-secondary landscape.
“For almost 25 years, I have had the privilege of congratulating thousands of our promising new graduates and shaking their hands as they cross our convocation stage. I treasure each and every one of them as part of Niagara College’s legacy of student success,” said Patterson. “Like our faculty and our staff members, I take tremendous pride in the achievements of our students and our highly-skilled graduates who are succeeding and leading in every sector of the economy. There’s a bright future ahead for our graduates and our College and I look forward to seeing what they will accomplish in the future.”
In June, more than 5,100 students graduated as part of NC’s Spring Convocation ceremonies, making the College’s Class of 2019 its largest to date. The June ceremonies also marked the College’s first graduates to earn a postsecondary credential in Commercial Cannabis Production and Artisan Distilling. Both postgraduate certificate programs launched in September 2018 as the first of their kind in Canada.
Niagara College’s Spring Convocation Ceremonies are streamed live, and may be viewed at

Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, distilling, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit

(Source: Niagara College news release)

Sunday Pilgrimage To Raise Funds For Social Justice Initiatives

Niagara Catholic school board’s annual Pilgrimage is one of the most important dates on the school year calendar. This very popular – and very public – event raises tens of thousands of dollars annually for programs at home and around the world.
Again this Sunday, thousands of students and staff, trustees, alumni and family members will walk through the streets across Niagara in solidarity with our brothers and sisters at home and in developing nations, raising awareness of, and funds for, social justice programs to support people in need.
Here’s an overview of what’s taking place in Sunday’s 44th annual pilgrimage. The first was at Notre Dame in 1975, led by Rev. James Mulligan, CSC.

Notre Dame College School
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 1:00 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

Lakeshore Catholic High School
Registration will take place between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. followed by Mass in the auditorium celebrated by Bishop Gerard Bergie. Pilgrims will leave the school after Mass, to embark on their walk along a new city route. They will leave the school and walk south on Janet St. and cross Killaly St. and continue south on Fares St. and then cross the Clarence St Bridge. Left (South) on West St. and Right on Victoria St. Right on King St. and straight along King St. to Main St. Right on Main and cross the Main St. Bridge. Right on Clarke St. and back to Lakeshore Catholic for lunch and fellowship.
Raising funds for: Lakeshore Catholic has been supporting three organizations in Dominica for the past 20 years. These include: St. John’s Public Elementary school, The Grange‐ a Nursing Home for Seniors and CALLS‐ Centre where Adults Learn to Love & Serve.

Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary School
The BT Pilgrimage will begin with mass at 9:00 in the gymnasium. Following Mass, at approximately 10:00 a.m., students will proceed west on Livingston Avenue to Casablanca Boulevard, south on Casablanca to Main Street, east on Main Street 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 Street back to Blessed Trinity.
Raising funds for: A variety of projects in Las Pajas, Dominican Republic through the Dominion Canadian Development Group.

Denis Morris Catholic High School
Pilgrims will leave DM at 9 a.m. to walk to Market Square. They will follow Glen Morris Drive to Jacobson Avenue, turn right on Jacobson and proceed to Glendale Avenue. From there, they will proceed 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 Mass will be celebrated at Market Square. 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
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, they will have lunch and participate 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
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 Street, Ontario Street, St. Paul Street, Geneva Street, Russell Avenue to Lake Street 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.

Saint Michael and Saint Paul Catholic High Schools 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 Michael Catholic High School. Registration will take place at 8:00 a.m. with Mass beginning at 9:00 a.m. Pilgrims will walk beginning at approximately 10:15 a.m. and will proceed east on McLeod Road, North on Kalar Road, east on Lundy’s Lane to the Millenium Trail towards McLeod Road., and then west on McLeod Road back to the school.
Raising funds for: Saint Michael is raising funds for Hope for Rwanda Children’s Fund, Saint Paul is raising funds for Ste. Croix de Milot, in Milot, Haiti.

(Source: Niagara Catholic District School Board news release)

Dance To Raise Funds For Fire Station Campaign

By Wayne Campbell

WELLAND – Rescue Me!, a night of blazing rock music by the popular band Stonewall, will fire up fundraising to preserve Welland’s classically designed Central Fire Station.

The Saturday, Nov. 2 dance at Welland’s Royal Canadian Legion hall, at 383 Moringstar Ave., will feature the popular band Stonewall leading a fun-filled night of dancing. It will include tasty snacks and great prizes.

Tickets are $10 at the door or in advance from members of the Central Station Education Initiative. Doors open 7:30 p.m. for a party that continues until midnight.

Rescue Me! is the latest event in a campaign by CSEI to enhance the almost century-old fire station building at Division Street and Hellems Avenue. Opened in 1920, the unusually designed Central Fire Station served Welland until its closing in 2006. Its classic features make the building unique for the Niagara region.

Central Station Education Initiative, a volunteer not-for-profit society, has leased the three-storey station from the City of Welland. CSEI is raising funds to upgrade the structurally sound building to ensure accessibly, safety and continued use of this downtown gem.

It plans to convert the first-floor into a historical display of firefighting life in the mid 20th century.

The fire station contains many items – fire truck, call box board, response map, dispatch centre, fire poles, hose tower, lockers – of significance to local firefighting over the years.

The second and third floors will become rental space to continue to serve the community. It will provide income to sustain the operation of the centre. Fire station offices, locker room and bedrooms fill the second floor. The third floor has a large recreation and meeting room used by generations of volunteer and full-time firefighters.

Central Fire Station is a cornerstone of downtown Welland landmarks that include the Welland recreational canal, Main Street Bridge, Welland Museum, 1856 Courthouse and Civic Square.

(Wayne Campbell is a member of the Central Station Education Initiative.)

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.

Waterway Advisory Committee ≫
5:30 PM Monday Oct. 21 2019 –
LOCATION: Welland Community Wellness Complex, 145 Lincoln Street

Special Council Meeting in Committee-of-the-Whole (Closed to the Public) ≫
5:25 PM Tuesday Oct. 22 2019 –
Personal matters about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees:
– Compensation review

A trade secret or scientific, technical, commercial or financial information that belongs to the municipality or local board and has monetary value or potential monetary value:
– Regional Governance Review Update.

Council Chambers

General Committee Meeting in Open Session ≫
7:00 PM Tuesday Oct. 22 2019 –
Council Chambers

Senior Citizens Advisory Committee Meeting ≫
9:30 AM Thursday Oct. 24 2019 –
LOCATION: Welland Community Wellness Complex, 145 Lincoln Street

(Source: City of Welland website)

Memorabilia-Inspired Musing Shows Time Travel Is Possible

WELLAND – Marilyn Blazetich Sarkis is in possession of a vast cache of memorabilia from her late father, Michael Blazetich.
It is rich in its diversity: items from his career as a firefighter, instructor and deputy chief; gifted athlete, particularly baseball; time in the military during the Second World War; personal life and more.
It came into her care when she and her husband Ray purchased, then moved into, the Blazetich homestead last year.
Here’s a small sampling:
Fire department records, scrapbooks of black and white fire photos, concrete marker from the Crowland Fire Department circa 1935, nozzles, ambulance call records from when firemen had that duty, playday ribbons and medals from the 1930s, OBA cards of all the players from the 1950s, ball mitt, cleats, lunch pail from Page-Hersey days, military dog tags, Morse code notes, and more. Poring over the contents shows time travel is possible, Marilyn says.

She talked about the collection, her emotional attachment to it and the responsibility that comes from having it, for a newspaper interview published recently. It can be accessed at: