Today (May 8) is the 75th anniversary of V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day) commemorating the end of the Second World War in Europe. Seventy-five years ago the arrival of peace was enthusiastically and joyously celebrated.
Today I urge everyone to once again celebrate this momentous part of our history. At the same time I invite you to remember and be grateful to the many people who endured extensive hardship and sacrifice at home and abroad during the war.
There would be no celebration of peace without the personal sacrifices made by so many, not so long ago.
While channel surfing the other day, a program called A Park for All Seasons appeared that was focusing on Bruce Peninsula National Park and Five Fathoms National Park here in Ontario. Suddenly, it brought back memories on how these two facilities would in part, have a negative impact on our city as we were about to reduce our reliance on smokestack industries and consider tourism.
As will be shown here through clippings of newspaper accounts and government reports, a campaign of deceit and denial was used against us while development of parallel projects were allowed elsewhere.
As the city entered 1984, it did so with a feeling of optimism because proposals found in the Maclaren Plan, as shown on the above map, would bring tourism to our community and help replace the industrial base lost in the past. A combination of private and public funding would help syphon tourists visiting the peninsula to us by offering a wide variety of themed activities that would complement and not compete with established centres in Niagara.
Of the nearly 8 million dollars provided by the federal government, more than 3 million had been spent on three nature trails and administrative building on Merritt Island, canal bank stabilization, preparation of the former Cross Street Pool as a national historic site, landscaping of lands along the abandoned waterway and placement of bollards to secure a laker, the Fort Henry, to the west bank of the island.
The next step was to secure funds to purchase the ship from Canada Steamship Lines and move her to Port Weller Drydock for preparation of the hull before her arrival here. But that was not going to happen! With the defeat the Liberal government in the September, 1984 federal election, all projects were frozen and to the surprise of all, Public Works under the new government took a new direction.
The new canal board, first of all, went into a state of denial in that they were not in the tourism business and later, suggested that the canal lands be privatized and sold off.
As shown through the accompanying headlines, the federal government launched a media blitz stating that the canal lands issues were contributing to the national debt. A plan costing thirty thousand dollars was released showing how the lands could be privatized. But government documents of the day show the direction of park development and why the city was justified on insisting that the lands be placed under Parks Canada!
Now while all this controversy was going on, the federal government had arranged to acquire control of both parks in the Bruce Peninsula for development of their Parks Canada expansion. Like here in Welland, a board was appointed to oversee a plan on how these parks should be developed and, as that television program, A Park For All Seasons showed, they did an excellent job!
But remember, back here, we were being told that the lands are a burden on the national debt even though the plan developed for us had been recognized as realistic and a financially sound project.
The document titled Diving and Shipwrecks, Fathom Five National Marine Park, contains a text on how this operation evolved, how it paralleled the project going on here and later, would indirectly lead to the loss of the canal lands as a Parks Canada project.
Next Column: What was going on in Niagara in 1818?
(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.)
Who would have thought a captivating read during these trying days of lockdown living would have been a book about lockdown living. I mean, after trying to live with this for weeks, shouldn’t that be the last thing one would want to do?
But that’s exactly what New Zealander Laura Bruce has accomplished with Lockdown Living: 101 Ways to Stay Positive During the Pandemic.
Bruce, a former Welland girl (love that hometown connection, a little more about it later) has written a breezy, lighthearted, idea-laden, project-pregnant 128-page book that has me asking: ‘Now why didn’t I think of that? I might not be feeling lower than a rattlesnake in a wagon wheel rut right about now.’
I considered doing a long, long-distance interview with the Christchurch resident, but a media release she sent along is so polished and media friendly it provided just about everything I wanted to know. A writer and public relations consultant, Bruce probably wrote it herself.
One sentence, “From encouraging readers to pick up the musical instrument leaning in the corner of their living room, to tidying the junk drawer, and from developing material for a stand-up comedy debut, to having “locktails” with friends via Zoom, the book has something for everyone,” shows the rich diversity of Bruce’s ideas to be found between the covers.
Her 101 “tips, tasks and tactics” will keep readers “physically active and mentally agile,” according to the release. And based on what I’ve read, I have to agree.
Bruce, who wrote the book during her first three weeks in lockdown, hopes its content will get readers “over the hump”, keeping them “engaged and positive until we get back to some semblance of normalcy.”
As for the local connection referred to earlier, Bruce was born in the Rose City and attended St. Mary elementary school and Notre Dame College School. She describes herself as “the youngest, and funniest, in a family of eight.”
Her bio also says she studied at McGill University, Montreal and graduated from Brock University. She was President of the Niagara Symphony from 1998 – 2001, including during its 50th anniversary celebrations and worked as a teaching assistant and seminar leader in the Communications Studies program at Brock.
Her first job in PR was a job share at St Catharines Museum in September 1994.
Bruce joined OEB International in St. Catharines as a Consultant in 1995, was promoted to Senior Consultant in 1998, and worked there until 2002 when she emigrated to Northern Ireland. She founded her own firm in Belfast in 2006, then moved to New Zealand last year. Prior to the lockdown, she was performing stand-up comedy almost nightly.
According to the media release, Bruce is donating $1 from the sale of each book to women’s shelters: “Being in lockdown is bad enough if you’re in a happy relationship. I can’t imagine what some families are going through, stuck inside with a violent or abusive partner.”
Lockdown Living is available from Amazon in Canada as a Kindle or e-book. Bruce is looking forward to receiving the hard copies in New Zealand once international shipping resumes.
I have a shortlist of favourite tips, tasks and tactics but, save for one, won’t spill the beans about them here. The ‘one’ is number 29 in Bruce’s list of 101, titled Daydream. It’s amazing.
Bruce writes: “When you were a kid, you daydreamed. When I was a kid, I daydreamed. I believe that the daydreaming we did as kids was the early version of the visualising many of us do now. Because what is a visualisation other than a positive construction of the future we would hope to experience? I believe that all our accomplishments, all our best achievements – these things are born in visualisation. That is where the seed of success is sown. Sorting and sifting an infinite number of variables to create the ideal outcome. So get daydreaming. Think about the future you would like to have. Think about the next trip you would like to take. Think about the person you would like to marry. It all starts with daydreaming.”
WELLAND – Niagara Catholic District School Board is working with organizations in the community to provide urgently needed personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers.
The Board has eight advanced technology 3D printers, obtained through a grant from the GE Additive Education Program, which have been mobilized to create visors for protective face shields, as well as ear savers, to ensure the comfort of individuals required to wear masks on the job.
When schools closed in March, Director of Education John Crocco reached out to Dr. Andrea Feller, Niagara’s Associate Medical Officer of Health, and offered them the use of Niagara Catholic’s advanced 3D printers to produce PPE supplies for health care workers in Niagara hospitals, Emergency Services and long-term care facilities. Niagara Catholic subsequently partnered with 3D PPE GTHA on the project in this endeavour to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
The organization was founded by medical students from McMaster University, including students from McMaster’s Niagara Regional Campus, and the University of Toronto. It has now grown significantly to include more than 140 student-volunteers, including Niagara Catholic graduate Larissa DellaVentura (Saint Francis Catholic High School), who will enter her third year in Brock University’s Medical Science program in September. This partnership with students will optimize the logistics required to assemble and distribute the PPE to hospitals affiliated with McMaster University, the University of Toronto, Niagara Health, Hotel Dieu Shaver, and Hospice Niagara. Currently, the group is working on providing approximately 7,000 face shields for emergency medicine physicians in Niagara.
“As we have heard so often throughout this pandemic, we are a community and we come together to assist one another,” said Crocco. “As a proud community partner, Niagara Catholic has leaned in to support our colleagues in the health field. We know there is a critical shortage of personal protective equipment and accessories to support frontline workers in our hospitals, emergency medical services, care homes, and essential businesses. This project is an excellent example of the collaboration between Niagara Catholic and the community – in this case, members of our Information Services Technology team and the Board’s Technology Enabled Teaching Consultant and our K-12 Digital Learning Coaches.
“The staff eagerly embraced this opportunity, and have brought their expertise to the table for the benefit of our community. I am extremely proud of the initiative shown by our staff to mobilize the advanced 3D printers into use, to assist the many individuals who put their lives in harm’s way daily to ensure that we and our loved ones are healthy, safe and fed.”
Five Niagara Catholic staff members will use the 3D printing machines at their homes to produce the necessary PPE supplies.
The program is in the final stages of the prototype phase, which should be completed within the week. The pilot phase will begin May 4, and the initial delivery of 450 ear savers and 100 frames is expected to take place by May 11.
WELLAND – A message from Open Arms Mission prior to Saturday’s pop-up food drive in various parts of Welland:
Before COVID-19, we were sending 1 skid of food from our warehouse to the food bank to fill up the shelves for the week. Now, we are sending 2 full skids of food. We are distributing twice as much food as before.
Tomorrow, if you received a flyer in your mailbox for a door-to-door food drive in your neighborhood, please place a donation in a location visible from the road (and please check best-before dates before donating) by the time indicated on the flyer.
If you did not receive a flyer, you can donate at one of our 7 drop off locations:
1. Seaway Mall hosted by Welland BIC outside the former Target location, 10am-12pm
2. Wellspring Church, 370 South Pelham Rd., 10am-12pm
3. Rice Road Community Church 10am-12pm
4. 191 Thorold Rd., 10am-2:00pm
5. 322 McAlpine St., 10am-12pm
6. Mama Misfit’s Cheesecakery, 77 West Main St., 12-5pm
7. Grumpy Gramma’s food truck at Canadian Tire 11:30am-6pm
Thank you in advance for your generosity tomorrow!
Leslie Bellingham, Director of Development and Communication, Open Arms Mission