Monthly Archives: March 2021

Julia’s Hope Cup: Escape From Quarantine Escape Room Edition

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

Leave it to the Turners, Paul and Tina. The well known Welland couple refused to let fundraising on behalf of Hope Centre be thwarted by the pandemic. Instead, they’re skating this year into uncharted territory, for them, with a virtual, escape room fundraiser. 

COVID-19 bears the blame for their Julia’s Hope Cup pond hockey tournament and festival not taking place. It would have been the ninth Julia’s Hope Cup, held in Chippawa Park on Family Day weekend in February. It has raised thousands of dollars for Hope Centre, a community hub offering a food bank, lunch program and housing support program. It is near and dear to the Turner family’s hearts.

Julia, aged 15, passed on December 23, 2011 from a brain tumour. For several years prior, she helped with the pond hockey tournament in Chippawa Park to raise money for Hope Centre. Two months after her passing, the tourney became Julia’s Hope Cup. The Turners will never forget how, in the middle of a blizzard that day in 2012,  family, friends and the community came together in memory of Julia.

Even though the hockey tournament could not go ahead this year, Julia would have wanted something done to help Hope Centre, Tina Turner says in a video promoting the new event. The idea of the virtual escape room came from Hope Centre’s Marcie Clarkson, Paul says. 

But the story, this time around, isn’t in the words written by reporters. The story, this time around, is in Tina’s and Paul’s spoken words. The story, this time around, is in the looks on Paul’s and Tina’s faces. That is the story.

Their two-minute video is very much worth a look and a listen. The video can be found at: juliashopecup          

You will also find on the website full details about the virtual escape room fundraiser, everything you need to know to be a participant, or how you can just make a donation to the cause.

Just for the record, the hockey tournaments, over the years, have raised about $200,000 for Hope Centre, Paul says. No small potatoes, that’s amazing! It’s why the Turners are always so appreciative for the kindness and generosity of their tight-knit hometown.

And more good news, the virtual escape room fundraiser is off to a surprisingly good start, raising just over $26,000 of its $30,000 goal. The campaign closes April 24.

Julia Turner, who made an “impact in the world” because of how much she cared about people, especially the vulnerable and children, would have been 25-years-old on Monday, March 29.

Heritage Lives: Did A Murderer Escape The Hangman?

In this photo from yesteryear, courthouse prison wall dominates the north side of East Main Street with Registry visible at far right./ Photo courtesy Welland Public Library

By Terry Hughes

Today, tabloid news dominates the media and yet if this particular case from 1858 were to appear, it would get top ratings by the viewing public. It involved two murders, more than a hundred witnesses and a wide variety of locales on both sides of the border. What makes this case so intriguing is that it happened right here in the Welland County Courthouse and left the public enraged with its outcome. 

The man, William Townsend, along with several accomplices, was accused of murdering a farmer in North Cayuga, robbing his household of its valuables and leaving the area. Several weeks later, a person matching Townsend’s description was seen in a tavern in Port Robinson by the local constable and was placed under arrest. Unfortunately, the officer was unarmed and Townsend turned around with his own gun and killed him. Several days later, Townsend escaped capture in Woodstock after arriving on the train but was finally apprehended in Cleveland, Ohio. 

The authorities had placed the suspect on trial in Cayuga but was acquitted because the jury could not agree on a verdict. The issue was whether or not the accused was Townsend or someone else.

By the time the trial was held in Welland there was no doubt that Townsend was guilty of two murders. Instead the Crown had to prove that the accused was Townsend.They had hoped that an overwhelming number of witnesses would guarantee a conviction To ensure that many people could identify Townsend, witnesses were entitled to a small fee for their credible evidence.Sixty-two people testified on behalf of the prosecution but the reward tainted the quality of their testimony and brought to the courtroom some unsavory people to boot. Their testimony was circumstantial and could not guarantee they saw the witness committing these murders. Finally, they failed to identify the accused sitting in the dock because their testimony about his appearance was conflicting.

The defence countered with the revelation that the accused was not Townsend but Robert McHenry! They introduced some 80 unpaid witnesses some of whom came from as far away as California. He had lived in Scotland before coming to Canada. The Americans said that he was working in California at the time of the murders. Others claimed that they saw letters from the accused that he had sent from California. 

After 11 days of testimony and cross examination, the judge charged the jury with whether or not the accused was Townsend or McHenry. The following day, the jury returned the verdict that the defendant was McHenry and was not guilty. Public outcry was so great that a petition was circulated demanding that the governor general intervene. It was hoped that a new trial could be held in Haldimand County. Apparently, no such trial took place.    

Our photo, compliments of the Welland Public Library, shows the austere wall that surrounded the courtyard where most hangings took place. They would not, however, see William Townsend nor Robert McHenry meet the hangman for the deaths of the farmer and constable. 

Next column:  Come to a 175th Birthday Celebrating Our Heritage!

(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.)

Niagara College Adds Its Voice To Movement Combating Anti-Asian Hate

Niagara College has added its voice to the global effort to combat and denounce anti-Asian hate and racism in response to the rise in incidents of racism, intolerance and violence directed at people of Asian descent.

“Niagara College fully supports inclusion on all dimensions and human rights for all people and we denounce racism, intolerance and injustice,” said Niagara College president Sean Kennedy. “We’re committed to creating a more inclusive, diverse, and culturally and globally engaged college community and we stand firmly with those combating anti-Asian hate.”

Niagara College’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is reflected in a range of supports and resources in academics and student services, to the recently created Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce that is creating a blueprint that will identify the actions that will support our commitment to provide a learning community that is respectful, and inclusive for everyone. Learn more at

Students who are struggling with recent events are encouraged to connect with a Niagara College counsellor by visiting the Health, Wellness and Accessibility Services webpage. Also, students who are encountering inappropriate behaviour should contact Niagara College’s Student Rights and Responsibilities Office.

Niagara College employees in need of support are encouraged to access Niagara College’s Employee and Family Assistance Program.

(Source: Niagara College news release)

Virtual Seniors’ Centre Offers Mix Of Diverse Programming

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

WELLAND – Kudos to the City of Welland and staffer Paul Orlando for offering a Seniors’ Centre Without Walls (SCWW) program over the next few weeks. In a short sentence: It’s amazing!

As the media release explains: “The SCWW program will provide a dependable, supportive group and learning centre by connecting seniors with a variety of essential programs and activities from the comfort of their home.”  

I’ve previewed what’s on tap during the month of April. I’m impressed by the diversity. Consider the following examples:

Memoir & Movement with Sara Porter – Come explore your body of stories. Be guided through movement exercises, creative writing, voicework, poetry, drawing, singing, dancing and discussion. Have fun and be engaged

60s & ‘70s Music Trivia and Name That Tune – Join a fun, interactive activity and some lively conversation.

Transportation Services & Grocery Delivery – Learn how Community Support Services of Niagara provides rides for medical appointments, banking, shopping and also a no-charge grocery pickup and delivery service. 

The natural tendency is to assume these are in-person activities requiring attendance in a classroom, gym area or other public space. But they are not. The interaction takes place over the telephone from the participant’s home! Don’t dismiss this with a “Haven’t we been cooped up long enough because of the pandemic?” reaction. In my view, there’s much to be gained from signing on and taking part in the conversation.

As for format, there’s nothing intimidating about it, in fact, it is very welcoming, said Orlando, the Seniors’ Centre Without Walls activity leader/instructor. 

“It’s completely telephone based.  There’s no technology aspect to it at all,”  he added.

The outreach originated in Ottawa a couple of years ago through a program called Good Companions. Here in Niagara, it started in St. Catharines in January and in Welland, it had its start March 22. Orlando described it as a mix of table talk activities, “all conversation driven.”


More examples:

Coffee, Tea & Conversation with EAPO – Share your voice and thoughts as you engage with Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario in interactive, supportive conversations about healthy relationships and communication. Join us to be a part of making your community a stronger place for all seniors.

Creative Community Chat with Holly Treddenick – A conversation series about Welland’s history and your favourite sites, experiences and locations from around the city. You are welcome to join, chat and share your stories and memories.

Orlando was genuinely enthusiastic about the Creative Community Chat program.

He said participating in it is a great way of learning and understanding “the history of your community.”

He said the “ultimate goal” of every activity is to give people who want to talk the opportunity and ability to share their thoughts.

Programs are scheduled Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The entire calendar for the month of April is found at: Wellness Online Seniors’ Centre Without Walls (

All the instructions one needs to know are also available on the site.

I asked Orlando why people should get involved in the Seniors’ Centre Without Walls initiative.

“Why not?” was his response. “It’s something new…. I’m an advocate of change, of trying something new.”

One thing that must be stressed: participation is not limited to the seniors demographic, despite the initiative’s name. Anyone can take part. 

Explained Orlando: “This program is named Seniors’ Centre Without Walls (SCWW) in Welland and all other municipalities offering it because it originated from a partnership between the Older Adult Centres’ Association of Ontario (OACAO) and The Good Companions Seniors’ Centre in Ottawa, with funding support from the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility. Rebranding the name was not a possibility. Despite the word ‘seniors’ being featured in the title, registration is open to all individuals, regardless of age, and all are welcome to sign up for programming.”


Last two examples:

Conversations with MYAC: Pandemic Stories – Join the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council for some laid back, casual conversations as we swap stories from the pandemic.

James Powell Presents Colonel Joe Boyle – The Historical Society of Ottawa highlights Colonel Joe Boyle, an unsung Canadian hero whose thrilling real life adventures make James Bond look like a minor leaguer.

Enticed? You should be. To register, call the Welland Community Wellness Complex at 905-735-1700 ext. 4000 or email and provide your name and phone number and all activities you wish to join. All programs are free.

Once registered, follow these steps to connect with your activity:

  1.  Dial 1-866-279-1594
  2.  Enter Participant Code 567987
  3.  Record your name

A Provincial Seniors Community Grant of $20,650 to the city’s Recreation and Culture Division helped make the program possible.

Plans Take Root For Saundra Patterson Memorial Garden At Niagara College

President emeritus Dan Patterson holds a rendering of early plans for the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus and its vision of it becoming a ‘living laboratory’ prior to its opening in 1998. After his 25-year tenure and the evolution of the campus as one of the most innovative and beautiful in the country, Patterson stands in the courtyard where the Saundra Patterson Memorial Garden will be created in honour of his late wife who was by his side from the beginning. True to the spirit of the ‘living lab’ vision for the campus, Saundra’s garden will continue to create applied learning opportunities for students./Supplied photo

Members of the Niagara College community are planning a special way to honour the memory of one of their most dedicated long-time champions, which combines her love for students, passion for horticulture and support for student learning.

With spring in the air, budding plans are in the works for a memorial garden in honour of NC’s long-time ‘first lady’ Saundra Patterson who passed away in January 2021. Saundra was not only known as the devoted partner of NC’s former president Dan Patterson – who served 25 years at the College – but as a College supporter in her own right who left an indelible mark on the NC community.

The Saundra Patterson Memorial Garden will be created in the upper courtyard of the Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The initiative stems from NC’s School of Environment and Horticulture whose faculty and students – along with staff at its Teaching Greenhouse – have forged a special connection with Saundra over the years.

“Our Horticultural staff and faculty immediately agreed that a memorial garden would be a meaningful way to honour Saundra, who loved gardening and loved our students even more,” said Alan Unwin, dean of Business, Tourism and Environment. “This project will beautify our campus, support student learning, and be a special way for our College community to remember Saundra for many years to come.”

Applied learning will flourish with the memorial garden project. During the Spring term, students from a variety of horticulture programs will have an opportunity to design the memorial garden as part of their landscape design course, and the winner will be selected by the end of the term. Students are expected to begin the building phase in September and complete the garden by the end of Fall term. By the time the garden is in full bloom, about 150 students will have had their hands in the project.

Horticulture professor Dena Gavin noted that the entire department has embraced the idea of having a dedicated memorial garden and it will be incorporated into many classes – from designing and planting to maintaining it.

“Saundra loved gardening, the College, and our department. She treated us all like her closest friends and spent time with our students,” said Gavin. “I was honoured to have known such a strong woman. This garden will be an amazing tribute to her and will be loved by many for years; her passion and story will be talked about by many.”

President emeritus Patterson was moved to hear about the initiative.

“Saundra was so pleased to see the way the campus has developed into becoming one of the most beautiful learning environments in the country … it’s so extraordinary to think that a memorial garden will be created in her honour,” said Patterson. “I am so pleased that her legacy and her love for the College will continue on for the enjoyment of students, faculty, staff and visitors to the College.”

The memorial garden will be completely funded by donors who contribute to the Saundra Patterson Memorial Garden and Horticultural Bursary Fund. More than $7,000 has been raised to support the initiative to date, and Carol and David Appel of Niagara-on-the-Lake have generously committed to match every new donation up to $10,000. With the Appel’s gift of $10,000 matched by new donations, the fundraising initiative would be more than halfway to its $50,000 goal.

“The fact that the memorial garden will be completely funded through the generosity of donors is a testament to how important and loved Saundra was in our College community,” said Marc Nantel, vice-president, Research and External Relations. “With our donors’ support, the Saundra Patterson Memorial Garden will blossom into a beautiful place of special reflection on campus for everyone to enjoy, while continuing to create learning opportunities for our students.”

Funds raised that exceed the $50,000 goal for the permanent memorial garden will support student learning through the Saundra Patterson Horticultural Bursary. A tireless supporter of student learning, Saundra contributed to many bursaries for students over the years. She established an endowed bursary fund in 2006, which has disbursed almost $10,000 in bursaries to date.

Bonnie Rose – a close friend of the Pattersons who has held senior executive positions at Niagara College and served two terms on its Board of Governors – was delighted to hear that the initiative to honour Saundra’s memory will focus on student involvement.

“Saundra truly nurtured students as she did her own garden, with respect for their potential, with empathy for their worries and sorrows, with challenges to spur them to do their best, and always, with great joy in their successes,” said Rose.

For more information or to make a donation visit the Saundra Patterson Memorial Garden and Bursary page on the NC website.

(Source: Niagara College release)

Footnote In History: Downtown Welland Bank Branch Closes

Closed: RBC branch, 41 East Main./Supplied photo.

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

WELLAND – Last of the so-called ‘Big Five’ banks still with a presence in downtown Welland pulled up its roots today.

The RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) branch, 41 East Main St., moved its services to a north Welland branch, 571 Niagara St., at Roger Dr. The end of the business day, and the end of business after several decades in the prime location, came around noon, according to two downtowners. 

Some may still recall this, Royal Bank had a third Welland location when in-person banking was in its prime. It had a branch on East Main St., at Scholfield Ave.

Today’s event is one in a long line of financial institution departures from the downtown core, not at all unlike those in other communities. Hangers-on on Main Street include a National Bank branch at 469 East Main St., at Crowland Ave., and a Pen Financial Credit Union branch at 247 East Main St.

In the mid-1950s,  Welland counted eight bank branches in the business core area of East Main, West Main and King streets.

Over the years, while some branches were shuttered outright, others opened in new locations, for example a stand-alone TD branch on Niagara St., and other branches in the mall.

Names of other financial institutions lost include trust companies like Lincoln Trust, Canada Trust and Guaranty Trust to name three that operated in the downtown.

The accompanying graphic comes from a 1956 Vernon City Directory, listing the bank branches that operated in Welland’s downtown and one that was located on King, near Ontario Road.

Scribbler’s Column: Your Invite To Mr. Morrison’s Shamrock Inn

By Joe O’Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

Could I go to the Guinness one more time for a St. Patrick’s Day toast and reminiscence of T. N. Morrison, the managing editor at the local newspaper who hired me back in April of 1969?

Well, why not.

T.N. Morrison, retired in 1972 after a 43-year career at The Tribune.

Mr. Morrison – Tommy to almost everyone – was known near and far as a respected, first-rate journalist. He did it all: covered and wrote sports, interviewed stars of stage and screen as the paper’s entertainment columnist/reviewer, stayed on top of local news 24/7 and wrote editorials, to provide a few examples of his diverse talent.

Decades ago he had a well-read sports column in The Trib. It was authored by his alter-ego, I suppose, a writer with a one-word pseudonym for his byline, Shamrock. It gave him connection to his roots across the pond, in Belfast. The local sports community loved it.

Old hands in the second-floor newsroom at 228 East Main St., where I came aboard, loved to say you could set your Timex by Mr. Morrison’s Monday through Friday comings and goings. He arrived in the newsroom at precisely the same time each and every day, left for lunch at the same time each and every day and returned in the afternoon at the same time each and every day. It was clockwork personified.

Being gifted the Tribune’s market (no, not the stock market) beat my first summer at the newspaper, I can recall Mr. Morrison and wife Margaret making their Saturday morning rounds at Welland farmers’ market. I went each and every Saturday to check prices of lettuce, tomatoes, eggs, asparagus and more, harvest comments from a few market goers, then rushed to the newsroom to write a piece for that day’s edition.

 The Morrisons liked local veggies and fruit, not to mention the opportunity to cross paths with friends from across the city and to chat about this and that. But for Mr. Morrison, it was more: he received many a news “tip” in these encounters, he told me. While socializing was important, so was keeping his finger on the pulse of the community. There wasn’t much that got past the dogged newshound, T. N. Morrrison. That became a lesson for me.

I daresay he read everything his reporters wrote. He never failed to be complimentary, whether it be with a pat on the back or with words of praise. He also let you know when he wasn’t pleased with or had issue with incorrect reporting or an errant word. But as I recall it wasn’t with temper flaring or with ear-singeing rebuke. He didn’t have that in him.

I recall a St. Patrick’s Day when he summoned staffers to his corner office that overlooked part of Welland’s main drag. He broke out a bottle of fine Irish nectar from one of his desk drawers, offered shots to anyone who wanted one and toasted St. Paddy. He was resplendent in emerald green sports jacket and green bowtie.

Mr. Morrison’s annual observance of St. Patrick’s Day, at his home, was legendary. He did it with a party at his Regent Street residence-turned-inn, always on a Saturday “within the octave of St. Patrick’s Day”, according to one of the invitations. It was the night casa Morrison became the Shamrock Inn.

I have photocopies of several invitations from over the years, this thanks to one Michael Tenszen, a widely known, retired journalist who grew up in the Rose City, graduated from Welland High and ‘Rye High’ – Ryerson – and had a storied career writing for various newspapers. Mike’s father was Peter Tenszen, a Welland photographer back in the day and of course a dear friend of Mr. Morrison. He attended many of those celebrations and his invitations became keepsakes of the  “annual homage” to St. Patrick.

Mr. Morrison took pleasure in creating his personalized invites, so much so that it became one of the highlights in celebrating the annual ritual. They were often penned in verse: “Fun and frolic; chit and chat,/ Sauce enough to fill your hat;/ Friends of old; some quite new,/ Simply stated — an Irish stew!” and occasionally, hugely humorous through hyperbole, “Latecomers must be careful not to step on any bodies piled on the verandah.” 

Obviously, I enjoyed the invitation that accompanies today’s column as a photo. But this one, too, ranks as a favourite, for what it shows about managing editor T. N. “Tommy” Morrison,  the man:

“Ireland may be in turmoil with demonstrations in Ulster and strikers in the Republic.

 But there’s still a bit of Ireland where bigotry is banned and harmony reigns.

That would be Shamrock Inn, Regent Street, Welland.

Come and join in this agreeable spirit Saturday, March 15, when the annual tribute to the dear saint will be observed.

Please confirm with T. N. Morrison, Innkeeper.”


(Scribbler’s Column appears occasionally on the blog.)