Monthly Archives: November 2021

Dan Patterson, Niagara College’s President Emeritus, Receives Minister’s Lifetime Achievement Award

Ontario’s Minister of Colleges and Universities Jill Dunlop presented Dr. Daniel J. Patterson with the Minister’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2021 Higher Education Summit in Toronto.

TORONTO – Dan Patterson PhD, Niagara College’s president emeritus, was recognized with the Minister’s Lifetime Achievement Award at College Ontario’s 2021 Higher Education Summit in Toronto on November 29.

Patterson, who led Niagara College from 1995 to 2020, accepted the prestigious award in front of world-renowned leaders in education, as well as family and friends.


“All of us at Niagara College are very pleased to see Dan recognized for his remarkable contributions to Niagara College and to Ontario’s college system,” said Sean Kennedy, president of Niagara College. “Dan’s legacy is reflected in our campuses, which are among the most unique learning environments in Canada, and his vision of building an innovative college of firsts has earned us a strong reputation as a trailblazer within the College sector.”

The Minister’s Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes the contribution of outstanding leaders in the Ontario College sector who make an enduring difference in the lives of students, to the communities they serve, and to the economic development of our province. The recipient is selected by the annual Colleges Ontario Leadership Awards selection committee, composed of representatives from the government, colleges and students.

Patterson, who led Niagara College for 25 years before concluding his tenure as president in 2020, was one of four award recipients who received a Minister’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the Summit. Among them, Ann Buller from Centennial College, Judith Morris from Lambton College, and Fred Gibbons from Northern College.

“What a wonderful honour,” said Patterson in his acceptance speech. “Thank you, Minister and everyone who was involved in my nomination. I would not be standing here today and receiving this Lifetime Achievement Award if it wasn’t for my late wife Saundra who walked with me every step of my twenty-five-year-journey as College President.”

Patterson’s partner Saundra, a dedicated ambassador for Niagara College and a champion for its students, passed away in January, 2021. Patterson also thanked his family and daughter Christine who joined him at the awards presentation in celebration of this milestone achievement, as well as friends and Niagara College colleagues in the audience.

During his tenure, Patterson was a catalyst for innovation and growth. He oversaw significant expansion, including the construction of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, the creation of innovative learning enterprises, including Canada’s first teaching winery, teaching brewery, and teaching distillery. Under his leadership, the College tripled its enrolment to 13,000-plus full-time students in over 130 programs with an operating budget surpassing $225 million. Patterson also led the largest capital expansions in Niagara College history with over $300 million of campus redevelopment, including a significant renewal of the Welland Campus in 2011.

He helped introduce trailblazing programs, including Canada’s first post-secondary credential in Commercial Cannabis Production and Commercial Beekeeping, responding to the needs of emerging industries, and advocated for experiential learning opportunities for students preparing for the world of work. Patterson was committed to student success, and his philosophy was to build connections between the classroom and the community, and to showcase the valuable role that colleges could play as leaders in economic development.

Jill Dunlop, Ontario’s Minister of Colleges and Universities, presented the award and thanked the four retired college presidents for their sage leadership over the course of their tenures and during unprecedented times.

“As a tribute to the college sectors’ nimbleness and tremendous capacity to respond quickly to this unprecedented challenge, we are honouring four retired presidents this year, whose leadership ensured colleges were well-positioned to succeed in these difficult circumstances and will continue to prosper in the years to come,” said Dunlop.

“It truly is a privilege and good fortune to work in the post-secondary education ecosystem,” said Patterson. “We in education are given the opportunity to make a difference, to enrich the lives and fulfil the dreams of our students, to open up promise and possibility, to tear down barriers, to link students to the world of work, build pathways to success, to improve the socioeconomic conditions to reduce poverty and open up job opportunities. It’s a noble calling – daunting but rewarding – and one that I have been blessed to participate fully in.”

“Dan has been a catalyst in transforming Niagara College from its very humble beginnings into one of Ontario’s leading post-secondary institutions. Through his energy and innovative leadership, Dan has created a place of higher learning that has inspired a generation of students to pursue their applied dreams,” said Del Rollo, vice president, Industry and Government Relations at Arterra Wines Canada and former chair of NC’s Board of Governors in his letter of support.

Niagara College, who nominated Patterson, received letters of support from other respected leaders across Ontario, including Peter Devlin, president of Fanshawe College, Denise Amyot, president and CEO of Colleges and Institutes Canada, Paula Burns, president and CEO of Lethbridge College, and Mark Frison, president and CEO of Assiniboine College.

Patterson continues to contribute to education and innovation in Ontario and beyond. He is currently serving as chair of the Ontario Centre of Innovation and he is a member of the board of trustees of Niagara University in Lewiston, New York. Since concluding his term as president of Niagara College, he has also worked in support of the Dan Patterson Legacy Campaign.

In November of 2019, the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus was renamed the Daniel J. Patterson Campus in recognition of his outstanding contributions to Niagara College.

(Source: Niagara College news release)

The Lower Trail’s Yellow Brown Leafy Carpet

Merritt Island’s lower trail was protected from the wind and cold compared to the earlier trek along the upper trail. The walk late this morning with outdoors lover Ron Lemon was enhanced by the hues of late fall, graciously painting fallen, wind blown leaves strewn across the (can I use this word?) iconic trail along the Welland River. Empty tree limbs, gloomy in their nakedness, and occasional dustings of snow atop the fallen leaves reminded us of what’s ahead, when cold winds howl and slate gray skies signal seasonal intrusions of countless flakes, soon to blanket the trail walker’s urban getaway, escapism at its enriching best./ Words, photos by Joe Barkovich.

Gender-Based Violence: Mayor Campion’s Message

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence
November 25, 2021 – December 10, 2021

I invite you to join me on November 25 and wear a white ribbon as we kick off the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual world-wide campaign that begins on November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) and culminates on December 10 (World Human Rights Day).

I would also like to recognize December 6 the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women. On this day we honour the memory of the 14 women who lost their lives during the tragic mass shooting at Polytechnique Montréal on December 6, 1989.

To mark our support and commitment to reducing gender-based violence, the City of Welland will raise the Wrapped in Courage Flag on November 25. As well, Red Dresses will hang in Chippawa Park to acknowledge and honour the many murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls. Gender-based violence impacts us all and goes against everything we stand for as human beings. We all must play a role in recognizing and preventing violence against women and girls.

We all deserve to live in a safe environment – let us unite and break the cycle of violence against women, children, and LGBTQ2 individuals in our community, across Canada, and the world.

Thank you.

Artist’s Stations Of The Cross ‘Speak’ To The Viewer

Captions: Clockwise from top left, 6th Station, Veronica Wipes The Face of Jesus; 7th Station, Jesus Falls A Second Time; 8th Station, Jesus Speaks To The Women Of Jerusalem; 10th Station, Jesus Is Stripped Of His Garments; 11th Station, Artist Aldo Parrotta pauses and ponders Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross; 12th Station, Jesus Dies On The Cross.

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

Aldo Parrotta’s name came into local prominence the summer just gone by. He was the impetus behind the Bell Box Mural Project, which turned 17 Bell Canada utility boxes in Welland into “canvasses” for some very talented artists, providing opportunity to publicly showcase their work. 

But Parrotta has left his mark on other art as well. One is Stations of the Cross at a Catholic shrine, Our Lady of the Rosary Shrine/Le Sanctuaire du Rosaire, a rustic property on Miller Road, Port Colborne. 

After dropping in on the grounds Thanksgiving weekend and viewing two of the stations (there are 14), I later reached out to Parrotta hoping he would be interested in talking about them. We chose a date to visit the site, where he guided me on a tour.

The stations are not among his recent work as an artist. Truth be told, they were done in 2009. But now, all these years later, I felt it compelling to share his artistry in photos and some words, the latter both his and mine. Impressed by what he had accomplished, I wanted an interview now rather than Lent, when it would be more timely — that is when the stations become a popular form of public and personal devotion for the faithful.

Parrotta is soft spoken, at times his voice is barely louder than a whisper. I see that as complementing his gentle nature and persona. I also found he has deep-seated reverence for spirituality and religious art, I share both with him. He is comfortably at home with the sacred. His reverence came through as we walked the grounds, with the artist commenting on the Marian grotto, the shrine’s chapel, the serenity of the sacred space.

It was a free-wheeling conversation. Parotta talked about why he took on the work, what went into it, and how it impacted him. He told me he wanted something other than Renaissance-era painted figures for his stations. He recalled that a shrine in New York State had etched glass stations, and that appealed to him.

 I later provided a few questions for him to ponder, assuring verbatim use of the answers. I guessed his responses would have an artistry of their own. I wasn’t wrong.

Why did you choose an art style so different from what can be considered typical for Stations of the Cross?

I chose a style of art that I felt could speak to a diverse group of people, a universal style that seemed iconic and classic yet transparent in a way that would move and speak to people doing the stations or just going to see outdoor art, so to speak.

I was hoping the visual representation of each station would speak to the viewer. I like to think of it as a bit Byzantine, two-dimensional but the etching would give some sense of how rough and brutal the way of the cross can be.

Do you think your stations challenge a viewer to look closer at what each represents? 

I do think the art challenges a viewer to look deeper as they recite the stations. For myself when I look at the representation and recite the station it is difficult at times to see what is happening but that’s what I wanted, I wanted people to understand this is different, it’s not an easy path or journey – just like the art it may not come to you and soon with the negative space created by the glass and etching with the light shining through.…it may come to them then.

When you look at the images what jumps out at you, personally? 

When I look at the images, I think back to how the project all started – from my wife coming home that night and telling me the story of how the stations need to be restored – and how I could help with my art background, to the hours of research and design work, to selecting the glass and delivering it to be etched and to the framework being built and then finally seeing them on the property.

 And I thank God on how it all came together – it was fun to be creative in this way to share the art and make sure people had outdoor stations for our faith journey.

What do you hope they give to people?

I hope the stations give people a sense that they too are outside, just like Jesus, feeling the elements. You never know when the sun will shine through a station and give you light to see through it all and then, you may feel a bit chilly from the wind out there. I guess a connection to the stations and the art and elements and Jesus all in one – that’s what I get.

Postscript: Not long after our visit to the shrine, its annual fall clean-up was held and the stations were taken down and placed in storage for the winter. They will be put back before Good Friday, April 15, 2022.  A return here next spring is merited, there is much more to be shared about this sacred space. Oh, but before then: it is essential to say Parrotta got his wish: his Stations do “speak” to viewers, I can attest to that.

‘A Growing Sense Of Living As Jesus Did And Serving As He Did Especially The Most Vulnerable’

Sermon’s Theme Today, Christ The King Sunday, At Holy TrinityCaring For The Homeless: The Values Of A Christian Community Following Jesus.

Rev. Vaughan/ Supplied photos

By Rev. Thomas Vaughan

Here at Holy Trinity within this beautiful church lies a community that has been here for a really long time. Longer than Canada if you can believe that. Here in Welland, Holy Trinity has been gathering to follow Jesus and serve the community for that long. So many have called this community home over the years and now many more are engaging and finding a new home in our community of faith, friendship, and loving service to our neighbour.

In these last number of weeks I have been so blessed to be getting to know people who have been praying with us online and starting to come in person to our services. Through coffees in person, telephone calls, email exchanges, and yes, texting, I have been hearing from a wide array of people.

These times have been filled with wonder for me because I am seeing and hearing things that help me understand more deeply what God is doing here at Holy Trinity. These conversations have helped me see and understand more deeply the values present here.

I am going to quote some of those people here today but will not give you away. This is simply a collection of the things that I have heard from people who are newer here than some. We are blessed to have people here who have been learning to follow Jesus with each other for a long time and those who were looking for a community whose values lined up with theirs.

These are some of those things:

“ I have found a community that reflects our values.”

“ What a special place, the people are amazing.”

“ The Bible is held up in all its love and challenge to live as people trying to figure this life out.”

“ This is a place that gets the work done that all people should be connected to.”

“ My time with you on the recorded service is my time with God and learning about my new community.”

And now for those of you newer here, there are a few things I have heard from our folks who have been praying here awhile. For example:

“ You can live as Jesus did here serving people in need.”

“That’s my church,” someone else said, “doing the work of helping one person at a time.”

And herein lie some of these deeper Christian values that are present here and that people are being drawn to in our community. So thank you for all the sharing that you have done with me as you continue to connect here. It’s really important today because of what is going on.

Well, one of the things that has been happening over the years here is a growing sense of living as Jesus did and serving as he did especially the most vulnerable.

Mark McGill, right, who was ordained a deacon at Christ Church Cathedral, Hamilton, was installed as deacon at Holy Trinity today.

For a number of years now at Holy Trinity, Mark McGill has been training and forming to be a Deacon in the church. This is one of the ordained historic orders of the Anglican Church with a particular emphasis on serving the poor, the vulnerable, and those society has forgotten. A journey that has been a part of Mark’s heart as a long and winding road nearly his whole life.

These two things have come together — a community living more the servant heart of Jesus and a humble servant of God ready to serve. It’s powerful, and it’s something that so many are sensing about our community right now.

Now why is this important?

The problem, diagnose it: The world does not live that way. The world teaches you that you succeed at your own merit and to leave people behind. Fierce competition reigns in many workplaces and professions.

It’s important to “be” the church and to practice the upside down kingdom.

Remember when your mom or dad would turn you upside down as a kid, the world was, well, upside down. That’s what the Kingdom of Jesus looks like to the world sometimes.

Here, you will see the hungry fed, and not just any meal. It is the heart of the people here that the meals from the kitchen be the equivalent of anything served at our dinner tables because that’s what Jesus would want us to do.

The church all around the world is gathered to celebrate Jesus Christ as our King this Sunday, some call it the Reign of Christ. It’s a day to look at how that should make a difference in the lives of those who follow him. What values are found in our communities where people who follow him are? To find these, we have to look in the Bible and spend time with Jesus the one we follow.

As Jesus remarked to Judas Iscariot, ‘You always have the poor with you’ (John 12:8).

Looking around at the city of Welland, we might say out of sadness ‘we always have the homeless with us.’ In fact we might say we have even more of those who are homeless coming out of this pandemic. Jesus had some powerful things to say about the situation of the homeless, and did many things for them. He was also a homeless person himself. You might be quite surprised to hear that.

Jesus did not start life with a home. Jesus was born in a stable surrounded by noisy animals. That’s how his life began, as a homeless baby, born to parents who were sleeping and waking outside. In fact in the story we learn there was no room for them.
As a baby his parents fled for Egypt, the refugee experience that so many today have.
We observe this soon at our Christmas services 7:00 p.m. Christmas Eve and 9:30 a.m. Christmas morning, the birth of Jesus, at 77 Division Street.

During the years when he was growing up in Nazareth, Jesus lived in a home for a time as many homeless people have. But, once he was baptized by John and began his public ministry, he became again a homeless person. God knew homelessness. This is significant for us to sit with.

Jesus says this: ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’ (Matthew 8:20; Luke 9:58).

What is Jesus saying here? He is telling us unlike foxes and birds he had no safety, he was exposed to the elements and dangers of the night. This is the same experience homeless people have.

Jesus’ treatment as a homeless person was horrific. He was struck and beaten, arrested, tried and convicted. He died largely alone, and as a criminal. He suffered horribly. This is often the narrative of the homeless where life on the streets is brutal in all kinds of ways.

Have you ever thought of it this way before?

Jesus repeatedly showed his practical concern for homeless people. In keeping with the Old Testament teaching of caring for the poor, the widow, and the orphan all of whom were often homeless, Jesus shows us God’s intended care for them.

Let me mention only two of many examples:
Mark’s Gospel tells at length the story of a man in serious distress. We can see this walking down the streets of Welland today. Someone yelling, in deep emotional and spiritual pain, dislocated with untreated mental health and addiction.

This man was scaring others in this story. He lived among the tombs according to the reading (Mark 5:1-20) and lived as an outcast from society in a cemetery.

This was a man suffering tremendously and Jesus healed him and restored him to community. From cemetery living in great distress scaring others, to a life restored.
In two very challenging stories in the Bible, Jesus puts the homeless experience as a measuring stick of values integrity.

In the parable of the well known Good Samaritan story (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus told the story of a traveller who had been robbed and was left beaten in a ditch at the side of the road.

In a second parable, that of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), Jesus presents with a homeless person in terrible need. The rich man ignores a homeless person in need right in front of him.

This is a hard story to read and yet it is repeated in Welland and around the world in towns and cities all the time.

Lazarus is suffering outside the gate. No one does anything for him, no hot meal to show basic human decency. At the end of the story in death we learn Lazarus is taken away by angels and is comforted while the rich man is left buried. It makes you think.
The whole Bible shows the care for homelessness as a way to our true humanity and a way to bring the ways of heaven here to earth while we are here with the gift of the life we have to offer.

These values are being shared by a wider community of people in Welland who are joining us in all kinds of ways. From the over two hundred volunteers that make up the daily breakfast program, to the people who have been here a long time, to those who have just arrived we welcome you in this community that cares for the homeless, where the values are lining up with so many of God’s people in Welland and beyond. A values system that comes from our example this day our King Jesus who reigns not with power and might and royal corruption that most kingdoms bring. This king reigns with a crown of thorns, who identified himself with the homeless, who lived as a homeless person despised and abused and in need of a meal himself.

Our growing community of people of faith, friendship, and loving service gather at Holy Trinity Welland at 77 Division Street in a variety of ways. On Sunday at 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. and live-streamed at Holy Trinity Welland Facebook available for all in the public domain. Then it’s December 1st with the start of the daily community breakfast and every day thereafter.

There is a growing group of people who care for the homeless, whose values line up with our own as we continue to be people just figuring out how best to follow Jesus. Amen.

(Rev. Thomas Vaughan is rector of Holy Trinity Anglican Church, 77 Division St., Welland. The text was his sermon at today’s Christ the King Sunday services, provided to the blog in response to a request.)

Fire Sale At The Fire Hall

Welland’s iconic Central Fire Station, now being restored. /Supplied photo

By Wayne Campbell

It started out as a simple fundraiser.

 A homeowner wanted to donate furniture and other items from the sale of her home to a local cause before the end of November. She asked the Central Station Education Initiative, a not-for-profit group restoring Welland’s Central Fire Station, for its help.

 It arranged for a “fire sale at the fire hall” event in the Central Fire Station at Division Street and Hellems Avenue. It will be from 8 a.m. to noon, this Saturday, November 20.

 Once the word got out, other people added donations to the garage sale and fine furniture event including hand crafted items, Christmas decorations and a painting. Money raised during the sale will go toward restoring the century-old Central Station, Welland’s main fire hall until 2006. 

Central Station Education Initiative (CSEI) plans to set up a firefighting heritage display on the first floor of the historic three-storey building. It will rent out the upper floors to sustain the preservation project, which has so far received a federal heritage grant and local support. Work has begun on the building.

 Donations can be made through the CSEI website

(Wayne Campbell is a retired journalist and a member of the Central Station Education Initiative board of directors.)

A Commitment To Ensuring The Cenotaph Is ‘Never Left Alone And Abandoned On Remembrance Day’

Ken Czaplicki, left and Roger Demers check out the inscribed signature of Elizabeth Wyn Wood, sculptor of the Welland-Crowland War Memorial in Chippawa Park./Photos by Joe Barkovich.

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

A remembrance never-ending is inscribed in the cold granite of the Welland-Crowland War Memorial in Chippawa Park:

“At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Will Remember Them,” are Brit poet Laurence Binyon’s words from his 1914 Ode of Remembrance

You won’t know they are there unless you train your eyes on the front base of the monument, where they stretch from beginning to end.

Ken Cassavoy, a co-organizer of Thursday’s Remembrance Day Community Commemoration honed in on remembrance in his remarks to onlookers. 

“We are gathered here today to remember and honour, in particular, the 207 service members from Welland and Crowland who lost their lives in the two World Wars and Korea. The 207 names are all inscribed on the other side of this monument, ” he said.

But remembrance must also extend to “all the others” who in one way or another served or sacrificed for their country. This includes the two world wars, Afghanistan and UN Peacekeeping duties in many countries, Cassavoy said.

“I’m sure each of you will have some of your own personal thoughts and memories at this time.”

Cassavoy said the community commemoration was started by Wellander Jean-Luc Clin who was in the park one November 11. He was struck by the fact nothing was going on and, on this day of all days, the monument was alone. 

“He designed the service so that it would be kept very simple, with no speeches, just a thoughtful gathering of friends, family and the public…a few moments of Remembrance.”

Mr. Clin passed in 2018 but before he did, asked Betsy Warrankie to keep it going, which she has done. Then Cassavoy joined in and working together the two have ensured that “our magnificent Welland-Crowland War Memorial is never left alone and abandoned on Remembrance Day.”

A highlight of the service is joining CBC Radio for the live Remembrance Day broadcast from the National War Memorial in Ottawa, followed by co-organizer Warankie’s reading of In Flanders Fields. 

Cassavoy said Welland Museum has a First World War and Second World War exhibit featuring artifacts and other information from the wars. The museum will be re-opening Dec. 4  for its Christmas Open House.

He also referred to Friends of the Cenotaph, a group whose sole objective is the service’s continuance. Those interested in joining could sign up. 

“There are no meetings, no formal activities, the Friends just help to make sure there is always a service here at our magnificent Cenotaph every November 11th.”

Cassavoy said about 250 people attended the service, a record.

Welland Branch 4, Royal Canadian Legion, held its Remembrance Day service at the legion on Morningstar Avenue also Thursday morning.

A wreath from the City of Welland was the lone adornment at the Welland-Crowland War Memorial until after the service when dozens of onlookers affixed their poppies to the storied monument.