Monthly Archives: May 2020

Marathon Of Hope 40 Years On: Terry Would ‘Appreciate The World Has Taken Up His Quest In The Fight Against Cancer’

Life takes many unexpected or unexplained twistsBill Vigars

Above: Dinner at the French River Trading Post south of Sudbury. Clockwise from left: Patrick, Doug Alward Terry’s friend and van driver, Marleen Lott a local volunteer, Terry, Kerry Anne and Bill. Below left, Terry and Bill in a familiar scene – on the side of a highway; bottom right, hijinks with the kids at the end of the day. (All photos by Gail Harvey)

By Bill Vigars, Special to the blog

Pinehurst and Trelawn Parkway. The corner house was our first home in Welland. I think the “tree fort” I built in the spring of 1975 still stands in the backyard. At least that is what Google satellite tells me.

I had moved my young family from my hometown of St. Thomas to become the manager of the Welland Chamber of Commerce. We enjoyed five memorable years in the Rose City. Many friendships made, many still intact.

Life takes many unexpected or unexplained twists. Five years later, almost to the day that I had moved into the house in Welland, I joined Terry Fox in what would become a historic event in our lifetime and I was able to be there.

I had left Welland in January of 1980 to take the position of Canadian Cancer Society’s director of fundraising and public relations in downtown Toronto. My first couple of months I was deeply involved in the annual April Cancer Society campaign. That all changed abruptly when my boss handed me a one page letter and said, “There’s a kid running across Canada with one leg, go see what you can do for him.”

The first time I met Terry was in Edmunston, New Brunswick, June 7 at 5 in the morning. By mid-morning I knew this kid was something special. I saw the drive, the determination. I heard him speak to small crowds about how he watched the kids in the hospital back in Vancouver fight the disease. He spoke from the heart. He moved people. He was genuine.

I spent that summer with him playing the role of organizer, publicist, dad, clown and listener. I was fortunate enough that the circumstances allowed me to take my children, Kerry Anne, 9 at the time and Patrick, 8, along with me for the adventure. Terry liked to relax with the kids at the end of the day. On the weekends, the three of us would jump into the car and drive back to the peninsula so Patrick could continue playing with his soccer team.

2020 marks the 40th anniversary of the Marathon of Hope. Two years ago I was able to go to a Terry Fox run in Guanzhou, China, where Patrick teaches at an international school. I stood on the stage and looked out at 8,000 kids running for Terry’s cause. He would smile and appreciate that the world has taken up his quest in the fight against cancer.  If you want to see how your support is working, check out the Terry Fox Research Institute,

There is a little bit of Terry Fox in every Canadian.

(Editor’s note: I’ve kept in touch with Bill over the years through email and social media. When I spotted a recent post about the 40th anniversary, I asked him to provide a reflection about his involvement with Terry and the Marathon of Hope. Thanks, Bill!)

Welland Eases Some Public Access Restrictions

WELLAND The City of Welland is moving forward with re-opening some public spaces. City Council and staff want to remind the public that as access to outdoors areas open, physical distancing and wearing a face-covering helps curb the spread of COVID-19.

Beautiful Chippawa Park (File photo/ Joe Barkovich)

Residents must abide by restrictions that limit groups to no more than five people and maintain a two-metre physical separation. Passive activities are now permitted in these areas:

  • Welland BMX and Skate Park
  • All City Parks (excluding playground equipment, pools, splash-pads, sports fields, & washrooms)
  • River Road Boat Launch
  • Canal Lands Trails
  • Lincoln St. Docks
  • Dog Park: No more than five people and their dogs allowed in the large dog area. No more than three people and their dogs in the small dog area. Residents are also reminded to clean up after their dogs to help keep the park clean for all to enjoy 

It’s recommended that anyone taking advantage of these spaces follow the best practices to limit the spread of COVID-19 as outlined by Niagara Region Public Health. These include frequent hand washing, physical separation, avoiding touching of shared surfaces, and staying home if displaying symptoms or having been in close contact with cases of COVID-19.

City of Welland By-law Enforcement will continue to enforce gatherings larger than five people in public areas.

(Source: City of Welland news release)

May 28: When Tulip Bulbs Have Their Day In The Rose City

Used tulip bulbs from beds like this one will be distributed gratis to local gardeners May 28 at the Sports Complex parking area. (File photo/Joe Barkovich)

WELLAND –  If you want free, used tulip bulbs courtesy of the city, don’t go to Chippawa Park to stand in line and wait your turn as in previous years. There won’t be anyone there.

The popular rite of spring with a robust following by hundreds in the Rose City’s  “green thumb” community won’t be cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions although it is being transplanted to another site.

The date is Thursday, May 28, Peter Boyce, manager of parks, planning and maintenance, wrote in an email communication. There will be no rain date.

The drive-up event will be held at Quaker Road Sports Complex, 90 Quaker Rd., from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., time based on bulb availability. A limit of one bag per vehicle will be in effect.

“All staff /residents must respect physical distancing rules and regulations,” is one of the stipulations in the email.  

“All staff must wear required PPE including, gloves, medical masks, safety vests etc.,” is another.

Bulb seekers will drive into the parking area via the east entrance, a queue will be set up with barricades and delineators.

The pick-up area will be set up on the west side of the parking lot. 

A bag will be deposited on the ground or a table by staff at the pick-up location. In compliance with physical distancing, staff will back away from the drop area. The driver or passenger will exit the vehicle, pick up the bag from the drop area, place it in the vehicle and then get back into the vehicle which will then drive away. The vehicle will exit the parking lot from the west entrance.

The used bulbs come from Welland’s eye-popping floral showcase beds found in several locations in the city. Some examples are the two beds on Prince Charles Drive near West Side fire station and one in Riverbank Park off Niagara Street at Riverbank.

As in previous years, about 8,000 used bulbs will be available. They come in a variety of colours.

The bulb giveaway has a huge following among local gardeners, with 300 or more “green thumbs” showing up for it many years. 

It was previously held outside Chippawa Park’s maintenance building, Fitch Street and First Avenue. In past years bulb distribution didn’t begin until 8 a.m. but that didn’t stop early birds from arriving an hour or more before start time, just so they could be at the front of the line.

File shot shows gardeners waiting in line at Chippawa Park for used tulip bulbs. This year’s giveaway has been moved to the Sports Complex, Quaker Road.

City Cancels 2020 Concerts On The Canal Series

The Eagles tribute band, Epic Eagles, performs at a July, 2019 Concert on the Canal, viewed here from the west side of the waterway. (File photo/ Joe Barkovich)

WELLAND – The City of Welland is cancelling the Concerts on the Canal music summer series at Merritt Park due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Welland is committed to following provincial and federal guidelines to help curb the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety of event planners and Niagara’s residents. Welland is currently under a state of emergency order and has cancelled all public events, closed public facilities, and cancelled programs until June 30, 2020. Concerts on the Canal is a celebrated event that has been hosted by the Welland Downtown Business Improvement Area over the past few years. This year’s event line-up was set to launch on June 26 and continue throughout the summer with eight musical performances.

“Everyone looks forward to the Concerts on the Canal series in Welland and across Niagara, said Kelly Jones, Welland BIA Chair. “We know this is the right decision to protect our community and everyone’s health. We are looking forward as a BIA to create new ideas that will help our community this year and beyond.”

“It saddens us to see another one of Welland’s festivals cancelled this year; however, we need to take the well-being of the community first and foremost,” said Richard Dalton, Manager of Recreation and Culture. “I’m positive that the Downtown BIA will come back with an impressive line-up in 2021.”

Concerts on the Canal is an annual music festival that entertains locals from June to August. The event brings thousands of people to Merritt Park for live entertainment and award-winning vocal artists.

Stay Connected to @Concertsonthecanal on Facebook for updates on the 2021 series. Stay connected to @wellandrecandculture on Facebook for updates and the status of re-opening special events. For more information on the City of Welland’s response to COVID-19, visit

(Source: City of Welland news release)

Horticultural Society Holding ‘Physical Distancing Plant Sale’

WELLAND – Welland Horticultural Society (WHS) has changed the date and format of its annual plant sale.

The popular, annual event and fundraiser had been scheduled for Saturday, May 16 at the Niagara Regional Exhibition site on Niagara Street where it has been held for years. But according to a recent posting on the society’s website, a “Physical Distancing Plant Sale” is being held over several days, in Fenwick. The changes are being made because public health rules won’t allow large gatherings due to COVID-19.

According to the updated information about the show: “The Welland Horticultural Society is in a unique position to be still hosting our plant sale, with major changes of course. We will be hosting the plant sale at 715 Chantler Road, Fenwick, over a few weekends. Starting Monday May 18th we have 30 minute appointments available for the public.” 

Appointment times Monday May 18 are from 12 noon – 5 pm, then Saturday May 23, from 8 am – 5 pm, Sunday May 24, 10 am – 5 pm, and Monday May 25, 9 am – 5 pm.

Appointments will also be available Saturday May 30, 8am – 5 pm, Sunday May 30, 10 am – 5 pm and Monday June 1, 9 am – 5 pm.

“You can book an appointment via phone at 905-892-8586 or email with a block of time. We will send you a confirmation email with the time booked for you,” according to info on the website.

“We ask that there are only 2 people per visit, and physical distancing will be observed.”

Payment can be made with cash, debit and credit card (contactless).

You can go to to find the info about the plant show and other WHS events and activities, including the annual rose and flower show scheduled for June. A decision to host that event is “pending”.

City Discourages Yard/Garage Sales, Backyard Fireworks

WELLAND –  As the spring weather inspires residents to begin their annual spring cleaning, the City of Welland reminds residents that Niagara remains in a state of emergency and continues to follow social distancing guidelines of two metres distancing. 

Spring is a typical time for residents to host garage and yard sales; however, under strict guidelines that allow for no more than five people gatherings, city staff are strongly recommending that all garage or yard sales be postponed to a later date. 

Welland Fire and Emergency services is also strongly recommending that residents do not have backyard fireworks displays until further notice. The city is prohibiting the sale of fireworks for the Victoria Day long weekend to deter residents from setting off fireworks, which have the potential to harm users and also place stress on first responders and the health care system. 

The city is currently under a state of emergency order and has cancelled all public events, closed public facilities, and cancelled programs until June 30, 2020. For more information on the City of Welland’s response to COVID-19 and pertinent resources visit 

(Source: City of Welland news release)