Monthly Archives: March 2020

HERITAGE LIVES: Cooper’s Riverside Mill Still Jives In The Urban Landscape

The Riverside Mill (Supplied photo)

By Terry Hughes

In a recent article in the Tribune, Mark Allenov skillfully articulates the contribution made by David Cooper to Welland’s early industrial development and in particular, the Riverside Mill. He laments the fact that any evidence of this facility leaving a footprint on the urban landscape is no longer the case. However, this  may not be true and there is evidence that there are signs of this around the city.

If we go back to 1843 when the contract to build the second aqueduct was issued, the details of this effort indicated that the project included a lock on the northwest wall and a spillway on the southeast corner of the structure to allow excess water in the canal to be diverted into the river creating a potential hydraulic opportunity. (The second aqueduct later became the Cross Street Pool and the river ran underneath this structure) A facility that can be seen in the accompanying photograph shows wooden gates that were suspended below a catwalk supported on cut stone blocks that were part of the wall of the second aqueduct.

When the third canal expropriated property on which David Cooper’s mill was originally located on the west side of the second canal, a deal was made giving him the site next to the spillway enabling him to tap this head of water to operate the hydraulic engine found in the basement of his mill. Note the placing of sacks of flour on the horse-drawn wagon at the ground level. 

 When the route of the river was changed to its present course the former river bed had to be filled in but a small segment showing the large pipes from the mill were still uncovered. Since the beginning the city had been dumping its raw sewage into the river. Fast forward to the 1940’s and 50’s. When walking to the pool you would cross this catwalk and see the sewage coming from buildings on Main Street  oozing between the pipes of the mill! Fortunately, this situation was covered up.

The building of the civic centre created a threat to the pool as a historic structure. It was filled in and the need to place a drainage line to the canal caused the contractor to partially disassemble the wall that supported the pool and the catwalk near the former mill site. While conducting a tour for the World Canals Conference, we were passing by this site and a member of the tour asked who was supervising the disassembly of this piece of history. She said that in the U.S. each piece would be catalogued and marked with numbers so that it could be reassembled properly.  

The next day, I found out that the city considered these cut-stone blocks as landfill and it would be disposed of accordingly. Alerting the Tribune, a story critical of this situation appeared causing the city to place these cut-stones at their public works facility. In recent years these stones have been appearing at various spots in the city as part of floral displays. The accompanying photo shows one of these locations, at Riverbank Park at Niagara Street and Riverbank. A second site is along Catharine Street, the brick paved road from West Main Street to Bald Street.  So David Cooper’s footprint is still in evidence today.

Remnants from the old mill pictured here, Riverbank Park, Niagara Street.

(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.)

Lasting Image: Fred Turner, Forever A First-Class Guy

Fred Turner, pictured during Welland’s Centennial celebrations in 1958.

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

My lasting image of Fred Turner, the much admired, former City of Welland treasurer who died Saturday, March 21, aged 94, is from weekday lunch dates at The Rex. 

We were a foursome.

There was Fred, seated directly across from me. There was his wife Liz, seated adjacent to me. There was their son Paul, seated on the other side. For family guy Fred – their presence, the circumstances – was sheer joy. It was so evident. It lit up his face. A look of love. A lasting image if ever there was one.

Our lunch menu was always the same: a bowl of minestrone soup for Liz, pizza for Fred and me. Paul’s varied from week to week. He pre-ordered for all by telephone so the lunch would be ready when we arrived from Rapelje Lodge.

Oh yes. Liz had a glass of pinot grigio, a good selection to accompany the minestone that she near blanketed under frequent flurries of parmesan cheese, and Fred had a glass of beer, more if he wanted. Liz rarely finished her wine.

It was a simple lunch but one that was ritual laden.

There were always toasts: “Cheers!”, party girl Liz would say lifting her glass, and we would join in. There was clinking of glasses. Liz made sure Fred’s was first on her rounds, and then we joined in too. Once was never enough. “Cheers!” was the word of the day at our table, rising up six, seven, eight times, always followed by a chime of clinks. How sweet it was.

They – the Turners, Fred and Liz, were married 68 years. Liz made sure I didn’t forget it, reminding me once or twice during every lunch date. And then she would reach out, pick up Fred’s hand that was nearest hers, and give it a kiss. Always a soft, gentle kiss. Always. How sweet it was.

Friend Paul made me part of this lunch experience what, two, maybe three years ago? Fred and Liz were still at Seasons Welland on First Avenue back then. On one of our first outings, Paul stopped by our house to pick me up. Fred was already in the front seat, it was a boys-only outing that day, Liz was not there. 

“How are you, Fred?” I asked while fumbling, as always, with the back seat belt buckle. 

“First class, Joe,” Fred bubbled, glancing over his shoulder. “I’m first class.”

I realized it instantaneously: On our way to lunch at The Rex, a nickname was born. From that day onward, Fred Turner became my forever pal, First Class Fred.

Lunches with the Turners. How sweet they were.

(Lasting Image is a recurring feature on the blog. Some others in the series: Gerry Berkhout: He Shone His Light On Others, January 4, 2019;  Ivan Zecchini: His Countenance Glowed From Wide-Eyed Appreciation, July 18, 2018; Steve Krar: Neighbourhood Nostalgia Buff, Visionary Leader, July 11, 2018; Mother Alba Puglia: Tireless Trailblazer, June 18, 2018; Martin Walsh: One Of Our Finest, March 2, 2018; Michael Santone: A Barber of King Street, January 23, 2018; Jimmy Roberto: September 11, 2015; Bob Fralick: May 7, 2014; Frank Addario: February 24, 2014.)


The Barclay Hotel as it was known in local parlance, a downtown landmark at King and Division streets. (Supplied photo)

By Terry Hughes

Our picture for this month was taken 120 ft. above the canal from the Main Street Bridge showing the newly constructed Barclay Hotel opposite the city hall on Division Street. In the past this site served as the location for Welland’s first hospital and later, the hotel would replace an establishment known as “Shady Anderson’s.”

Judging by the presence of one-way traffic noted by the parked cars and the city hall, dating this photo would be sometime after 1953. It was the first new hotel that was built in the downtown area since the Reeta Hotel that replaced the Arlington Hotel opposite the court house in the early 1930’s.

It reflected the spirit of the community because the local economy was thriving and out of towners would be attracted to it and the view of the canal and Merritt Park. It would also offer the locals an up-scale place for entertainment.

Time and changing economic conditions would erode the hotel as a place to do business and a change in ownership becoming known as the Dar Hotel only temporarily put off the inevitable.  

With the appearance of motels, hotels had to make major changes and many would be developed into apartments. The Dar, as it turned out, was to be demolished in 1989 and replaced with an apartment complex and retail opportunities on the bottom floor.

Next column:  Cooper’s Riverside Mills Still Lives In The Urban Landscape.

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.

In Memory Of: Cpl. Tyler Crooks, Port Colborne 'Boy', Hero

Cpl. Tyler Crooks Born: March 20, 1985 Killed in action: March 20, 2009

Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan was our country’s most significant military operation in recent years. More than 40,000 Canadian Armed Forces members would serve in the Afghanistan theatre of operations between 2001 and 2014.

It was very dangerous duty, and Ontario’s Corporal Tyler Crooks of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group lost his life alongside a fellow soldier as a result of an improvised explosive device blast while on foot patrol in the Zhari District, on March 20, 2009. He was 24. It was his 24th birthday.

Source: Canada Remembers (Photo: Department of National Defence)

Coronavirus Doesn’t Scare St. Joseph Parish From Praying

/St. Joseph Parish photos

By Father Rico Passero

GRIMSBY – While we cannot join at the altar physically – I have taken this idea from a wise Italian priest – Fr. Giuseppe Corbari from Milan, Italy who asked his parishioners to send in photographs so he can pray with them at Mass. I have done the same – along with my parish staff – have taken more than 400 family photos from our parish photo directory and kept my people here in church!
Now when I celebrate Mass – I get to keep all our people in the pews as they gather online and from home! Check out the daily Mass live here on my Facebook page and go to our parish YouTube channel for daily updates.
For those who didn’t get their photo taken in our parish directory, kindly email me a selfie of you and I will print your photo and add you to our pews! A good pastor always prays for AND with his flock! Send to
St. Joseph’s we are family! St. Joseph – pray for us!
God bless you all.

COVID-19: A Message From Mayor Frank Campion

(Photo by Denis Cahill)

I would like to take this opportunity to let you know that the City of Welland is closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak in Niagara and across the country.

While Niagara Region Public Health is advising that the risk of contracting the virus is still low, the city is focused on efforts to protect staff, their families, and the public from potential exposure to COVID-19. 

Welland’s Leadership Team which meets daily, has partially activated the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to give full attention to mitigating any issues or concerns with providing essential emergency services to Welland’s residential and business communities.

City Hall, fire halls, public works building and transit buildings, with exception of the downtown Transit Terminal are closed to the public as of 4:30 p.m. March 17. The City’s team of dedicated staff continues to work and is committed to provide essential/emergency services and stay connected to the public. All departments can be reached via telephone or email during regular office hours. City staff will continue to issue building permits for new construction and asks applicants to make appointments by telephone to the Building Division.

The City’s Emergency Management Team is in close contact with upper-tier governments and public health agencies and is compliant with all provincial, federal and public health directives and advice. Staying connected to, and working together will ensure the best outcome and limit the spread of COVID-19.

Our team is constantly monitoring the evolving science and best practices coming from public health agencies and all levels of government. We are aware, flexible, efficient and effective in administering practices and procedures that ensure public safety, delivery of essential services, and business continuity at City Hall.

For more information on City of Welland facility closures and how to reach staff, visit or for more information on how to protect yourself from COVID-19, visit

Local Diocese Cancels Sunday Masses Until April 18, Announces Other Measures Due To Covid-19

Statement from the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Catharines issued March 16, 2020:

The situation surrounding the COVID-19 virus is fluid and changing on a daily basis. Please continue to pray for those affected and for our healthcare workers and facilities. We have yet to see the full onslaught of the disease and the full impact on our people. Effective immediately, the following Pastoral Practices in the Diocese of St. Catharines are in effect. 

Sunday Liturgies, Chrism Mass and Holy Week:

Out of an abundance of caution, all Sunday Masses are cancelled immediately until April 18th, 2020. Bishop Bergie grants all the faithful a dispensation from their Sunday obligation.

Holy Week Liturgies are cancelled.

The Chrism Mass, scheduled for April 7, 2020 is cancelled.

Arrangements are being made to live stream one Sunday Mass from the Cathedral. Liturgies for Holy Week will also be live streamed from the Cathedral. Further information will be forthcoming.

All non-essential parish meetings, outside groups, educational seminars and social events are cancelled until further notice.

Daily Mass:

The celebration of daily Mass is permitted until further notice with the following stipulations: persons attending shall sit a minimum of two (2) metres apart front to rear and side to side. Those persons over the age of 60 and/or those with underlying medical conditions should remain at home.


The setting of dates for new marriage celebrations is postponed until further notice.

Marriages already scheduled may take place but are limited to immediate family only: parents, siblings, Best Man and Maid of Honour and one other attendant each. No more than Fifty (50) persons in total are permitted to attend, sitting a minimum of two (2) metres apart from front to back and side to side. Those with underlying medical conditions should remain at home.


The celebration of Baptisms shall be postponed until further notice unless the child or person is in danger of death.

Sacrament of Reconciliation:

The Sacrament of Reconciliation may continue with the following changes. Priests should wear an N-95 mask or other approved mask to prevent the transmission of the virus and/or remain a minimum of two (2) metres away from the penitent. Where possible a secure and sanitary cover may be placed over the confessional screen.


Funerals may continue to be celebrated but attendance at funeral Masses shall be limited to immediate family of the deceased, or no more than fifty (50) persons sitting a minimum of two (2) metres apart front to back and side to side. Priests should travel in their own car to the place of committal. Those persons with underlying conditions should remain at home.


All confirmations scheduled up to and including April 18, 2020 have been rescheduled. Dates for confirmations after April 18 may need to be rescheduled as circumstances dictate.

We will continue to monitor the situation, and be attentive to the direction and advice of our public health officials. If further measures are required or recommended, we will communicate this to our parishes and post the information on the diocesan website

In its email to parishioners, my parish, St. Kevin, added these updates specific to it: 

    All social groups (Senior Cards, Bridge Club) are cancelled until further notice.

    Pasta Take-Out for March 24th has been cancelled.

    Our Lenten Bible Study (How Not to Read the Bible) has been cancelled. We will consider resuming this at a future date.

    All evening Lenten Masses and Stations of the Cross have been cancelled.

    All Mass Intentions booked will be honoured and said by our Priests.

    Parish Ministries (CWL, Holy Name, St. Vincent de Paul, Choir, Ladies Bible, Bereavement, Secular Franciscans) will not meet during this time period. Future meeting dates will be considered.

    Our IGNITE evening scheduled for March 28th has been cancelled. 

    RCIA and RCIC sessions have been cancelled for the time indicated above. The reception of the Sacraments of Initiation for those catechumens and candidates will be rescheduled to a further date not yet determined. 

    First Communion Class Celebrations will be rescheduled to a further date not yet determined.

    Harvest Kitchen will continue for the last two Wednesdays (March 18th and 25th) take-out only. 

    The operation of our Food Pantry will be assessed and further information will follow.

    The Parish Team will consider modified office hours. Additional information will also follow.

Welland Announces Facilities, Events Closures Due To COVID-19

Among the list of city facilities closed, for more info see list below. (File photo/Joe Barkovich)

WELLAND – The City of Welland is taking the health and wellbeing of Niagara’s residents into consideration with a decision to temporarily close public facilities and cancel city hosted special events until April 5, 2020. Welland’s City Corporate Leadership Team is taking precautions to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID -19) in Niagara, which now has one confirmed case in the City of St. Catharines.

Welland Civic Square remains open during regular business hours. Hand sanitizer stations are available, and visitors are encouraged to use them when entering and leaving the facility. Welland Transit is operating with the same hours of service.

The Province of Ontario has also initiated preparedness plans, including school closures, to avoid spreading COVID-19; and the City of Welland is working in collaboration with upper and lower-tier governments for the best outcome.

Niagara Region Public Health is encouraging residents to practice proper handwashing, to cover coughs, and to stay home from work when feeling unwell. Although risk levels remain low in Niagara, the City of Welland is focused on efforts to protect front-line staff and the public from potential exposure to COVID-19.

Effective immediately, the following facilities and services will be closed until April 5, 2020:

  • The Jack Ballantyne Memorial Youth Arena & Main Arena
  • The Welland Community Wellness Complex
  • The Welland Public Library (all three branches)
  • The Welland Museum
  • The Welland International Flatwater Centre
  • Welland Market Square (including Welland Farmers’ Markets)
  • Youngs Sportsplex
  • Youth Innovations

The following city hosted events are cancelled:

  • Luck of the Irish, March 14, at the Welland Farmers’ Market
  • All March Break Skates, March 16 to 19, at the Welland Arenas
  • March Break Special Events, March 19 to 21, at the Welland Community Wellness Complex and the Welland Public Library
  • All Welland Farmers’ Markets, March 14, 21, 28, & April 4, At Market Square
  • Recreation and Wellness Expo Welland, March 28, at Welland Community Wellness Complex

City staff recognize that closures will impact a host of users and organizations; however, these measures are necessary to lessen the spread of COVID-19. All individuals or organizations affected by these closures will have their facility rental fees refunded without penalty and staff will work to reschedule events. For more information, please visit the City’s website at

For updated information regarding COVID-19 and preventative measures, visit the Niagara Region Public Health website at

(City of Welland news release)

THE WEEK AHEAD: Meetings In Welland

/File photo Joe Barkovich

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.


18Committee of Adjustment Hearing(s)  ≫5:00 PM Wednesday Mar. 18  2020 –
Council Chambers

18Market Square Advisory Committee Meeting  ≫6:00 PM Wednesday Mar. 18  2020 –
Welland Community Wellness, 145 Lincoln Street

19Senior Citizens Advisory Committee Meeting  ≫9:30 AM Thursday Mar. 19  2020 –
LOCATION: Welland Community Wellness Complex, 145 Lincoln Street

19North Welland Business Improvement Area Meeting  ≫4:00 PM Thursday Mar. 19  2020 –
MT Bellies, 871 Niagara Street

(Source: City of Welland website)