Monthly Archives: April 2020

Museum Extends Date For Submissions To ‘Neighbour’ Campaign

WELLAND – Thank you to everyone who has submitted to the  “All Welland Good” Neighbour campaign. So far our community has shared some great ideas and stories. For example, one of our neighbours has submitted a poem while another family has shared how they’re staying connected and having fun.

Originally we asked for all submissions to be emailed to us by April 30th but we’re having so much fun reading your stories – they really cheer us up and we can’t wait to share them with you – that we’re going to extend the deadline. For us to share the stories on Tuesday, May 5 we need to have your submissions by Monday, May 4.  

Send your good news stories and uplifting activities and messages to

#GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.

While donations to non-profits are a big part of the day, #GivingTuesdayNow will also focus on sharing the good work individuals and organizations are doing during this time, just like our “It’s All Welland Good” Neighbour campaign. 

As board chair, Greg D’Amico said in a recent Welland Tribune article, our “It’s All Welland Good” Neighbour campaign is a way to keep the museum engaged with the community during the pandemic as community engagement is one of the key aspects of the museum’s mandate.

The Welland Museum is a non-profit and relies on grants and donations to stay open and to provide a space for our community to come together to learn and have fun. We hope that, if you’re able, you will consider making a donation for #GivingTuesdayNow so we can get back to sharing our history with you when we reopen.

Until then, the Welland Museum board and staff hope you stay safe and healthy. 

(Source: Welland Historical Museum news release)

HERITAGE LIVES: Watersport Racing, A Canal Tradition

Circa 1912: Canoe race held during the Welland Old Boys Reunion. (Photo/Welland Museum archives)

By Terry Hughes

In a recent message to his constituents, Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey sent a mailing in the form of a calendar featuring historical scenes from around the riding. One of the pictures shown for the month of February is titled the Canoe Race.

The photograph was taken about 1912 on a Sunday as the canal was closed for the Sabbath. They were celebrating “the Old Boys Reunion” and it looks as though Welland has put out the red carpet judging by the decorated bridge, flags and canal-side tents.

At that time this portion of the waterfront was a popular gathering place in a day when people’s fashions made summertime uncomfortable and canal-side breezes were welcomed.

Terry Hughes

A public dock was located near the swing bridge and just out of the right side of the picture was a bandstand across the street from the town hall. The circular bandstand in Merritt Park was still several years away.   

Several postcards had been printed showing races being held on the canal in Welland so this event was included for this special celebration. It’s interesting that people at that time saw a potential for using the canal for waterborne sports like canoeing and rowing.

Fast forward to a century later when a task force led by Arlene Whyte from the Ministry of Recreation and Culture on developing activities on the recreation waterway, spurred the Welland Recreational Canal Corporation (WRCC) to investigate and develop waterborne sports after 2005. Visitations to a wide variety of venues helped them to develop the Welland International Flatwater Centre (WIFC) course that would receive international acclaim from its users. The accompanying photo shows action in a race held at the present facility.

The south reach of the canal beyond the railway plug was enhanced by the intervention of our MP Gib Parent who gained the permission of the Seaway Authority to utilize this area for rowing. Although the WRCC had hoped to develop this area with better accommodations and an additional lane for returning rowers, Port  Colborne owns the property on the west bank and the Seaway still needs that portion of the canal for some purposes. Investing in this area was considered to be risky. If it were to happen, our rowing course would be better than the Henley Course in St. Catharines.

2015: Action during the World Dragonboat Championship held at the Welland International Flatwater Centre course. (File photo/Joe Barkovich)

Next Column: 1984, The Thrill Of Victory and the Agony of Defeat for Welland. 

(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.)

Welland Projecting $4.4 Million Loss From COVID-19

WELLAND – At Tuesday night’s virtual meeting, Welland City Council approved a staff report showing that the City will see a significant operating loss and reduced revenue over the next three months as a result of the financial impact of COVID-19. The City’s COVID-19 Financial Impact Report, prepared by Steve Zorbas, Welland’s Chief Financial Officer/City Treasurer and General Manager of Corporate Services, is projecting a $4.4 million operating loss and a $549,300 deficit between April 1st and June 30th.  Staff will be providing similar reports to Council in May and June based on updated financial information.

The staff report outlined a detailed list of cost containment initiatives totalling $3.9 million implemented by the City’s Corporate Leadership Team to help mitigate the loss, including the temporary layoffs of 109 full-time and part-time staff.  

The report also summarizes 13 recommendations, all approved by Welland City Council, including compassionate and supportive policy changes to assist Welland residents and business during this unprecedented event. There are also several recommendations calling on Niagara Region to defer payments and cancel interest charges, as well as for the federal and provincial governments to provide additional stimulus and support to municipalities through operating grants and infrastructure programs.

“I appreciate the diligence shown by our leadership team in mitigating the unprecedented financial impact of dealing with COVID-19. Tough but necessary decisions were made in order to reduce the impact,” said Welland Mayor Frank Campion. “Municipalities are not currently allowed to run deficits so any shortfall would have to be made up by increasing the 2021 property taxes proportionately.”

“The decisions we make now will help to soften major financial impacts later this fall when we initiate the 2021 budget process and help us make a strong recovery, minimize the impact to our taxpayers, and maintain Welland’s competitive advantage,” said Welland CAO Gary Long.  “Our leadership team has started to have some preliminary discussions about a post COVID-19 recovery plan and ways to work with staff, our community stakeholders, and businesses.”

(Source: City of Welland news release)

Sign Language

Wesley United’s street sign message is still timely, in more ways than one. April 19 is the 2nd Sunday of Easter so we are still in Easter season and will be for a few more weeks; and social distancing remains relevant and important as we live through the days of the coronavirus. (Sign Language is a recurring feature on the blog. /Photo by Joe Barkovich)

Museum Seeks ‘All Welland Good’ Neighbour Projects

Welland, we want to know how you’re doing. The Welland Museum would like to share the great work being done by our community neighbours and we are asking you to tell us about an “All Welland Good” neighbour. What kind of good news have you been seeing?

We join all of you in thanking our community for working together during this time of need. Over the next few weeks, we want you to send us your uplifting stories, your hopes and wishes, your good news, favourite family activities, and even recipes and we’ll share our favourites on Tuesday, May 5.

Send your stories to

On May 5, we will be joining organizations around the world and taking part in #GivingTuesdayNow. We hope you will join us and show your generosity in a variety of ways during #GivingTuesdayNow and beyond.

Many organizations, like the Museum, rely on donations to stay open. We may be closed right now, but we are committed to being here for you when all of this is over to provide a community space for you to learn and visit with each other.

Other non-profits are still open and working hard to make sure everyone in the community is safe and taken care of. We salute those organizations and everyone working on the frontlines.

Remember GivingTuesdayNow will look different for everyone and that’s OK. There are many ways for us to support each other. Whether it’s helping a neighbour, advocating for an issue, sharing a skill, or giving to causes, every act of generosity counts.

Stay strong, stay safe, stay healthy and let’s all do our part to be an “All Welland Good” neighbour!

(Source: Welland Museum news release)

Spring Convocation Cancelled, College ‘Exploring Alternative Opportunities’ To Acknowledge Graduating Students

Niagara College’s in-person spring convocation ceremonies are cancelled, it was announced today in a message to graduating students. The message follows:

As we prepare to conclude the winter term while navigating through the extraordinary challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize that many of our students are nearing the end of their academic journey.

Marking this significant milestone for our graduates and their families is important to us – it’s the highlight of our academic year – however, the health and safety of our College community remains paramount, and we continue to be guided by measures and government directives related to COVID-19.

Due to the importance of physical distancing and our continued campus closure, Niagara College will not  proceed with plans to host Spring Convocation Ceremonies on campus, as scheduled, in June.

While our traditional, in-person ceremonies have been cancelled, we are currently exploring alternative opportunities to acknowledge the achievements of our 2020 graduates in a meaningful way. Further details will be provided in the weeks ahead.

Those who have fulfilled their academic requirements can also rest assured that they will receive their credentials over the course of the spring term.

Please watch the Niagara College website and your student email for further information.