Monthly Archives: March 2022

Niagara College Joins Ontario Colleges To Support The Ukrainian Crisis Fund

Captions: Left, Student Anastasia Bobrova, who is from Russia, pens her message of support for Ukraine at NC’s Welland Campus with a powerful message “We are all one family. Ukraine, we are with you.”; top right, Mexican student Denisse Garcia Escalante writes her message of support for Ukraine for the display at NC’s Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake.; bottom right, Brewmaster student Apoena Endyara De Souza Becker from Brazil brews NC Teaching Brewery’s Resist – Ukrainian Anti Imperial Stout. /Supplied photos.

Niagara College has partnered with a number of colleges across Ontario to make a joint donation of $200,000 to UNICEF’s Ukraine emergency fund.

“Niagara College stands with the people of Ukraine,” said NC president Sean Kennedy. “We are proud to contribute to a fund that will help provide vital necessities and services for Ukrainian families who are experiencing hardship and loss.”

Donations to the Ukraine emergency fund will support the organization’s ongoing programs and response to the escalating need in Ukraine by providing communities with safe water, urgent medical aid and health-care services, child protection and education. UNICEF has been working in Ukraine since 1997.

In addition to other supports, 18 colleges contributed to the joint donation, along with contributions from Colleges Ontario (the sector’s advocacy organization) and the Ontario College Application Service (OCAS).

Some colleges have opted to make significant contributions solely as individual institutions. These include supports such as tuition relief programs, new scholarships, counselling programs, community partnerships and more.

“So many Ukrainian men, women and children are either displaced or living through the terrible situation in Ukraine,” said Linda Franklin, the president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. “This tragedy has affected everyone on our campuses and created a strong desire to help.”

At Niagara College campuses, support for Ukraine has been on display throughout the month of March, with students and employees showing their solidarity.

Handwritten messages of hope and support penned with care upon notes bearing blue and yellow hearts – the colours of the Ukrainian flag – are on display inside NC’s Welland campus and the Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The displays are located outside the College’s International division at both campuses – hubs for students from around the world, including Ukraine, who have left their homelands to study at the College.

During this challenging time, NC International has been working with the students who have been impacted by recent events to ensure that they have mental and emotional supports in place and that there are no financial hardships incurred.

“As the world watches Ukraine, we recognize that the tragedy hits close to home for our own students, staff and faculty members,” said president Kennedy. “I am proud of how our college community has come together to show that they care.”

NC’s Teaching Brewery has also taken the conflict in Ukraine to heart.

Earlier this month, Brewmaster professor Jon Downing and students from the Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program brewed a new beer to show support and promote awareness: Resist – Ukrainian Anti Imperial Stout. Developed by displaced Ukrainian brewers, the Resist recipe was shared by Drinkers for Ukraine with hopes that brewers worldwide will brew it in solidarity with the beer community in Ukraine whose livelihoods and, in some cases, whose businesses have been destroyed by Russian attacks. Downing and students will also brew a Ukrainian Golden Ale, using a recipe developed from Pravda brewery in Lviv, Ukraine.

The Teaching Brewery’s Resist – Ukrainian Anti Imperial Stout is expected to be available in early April and Ukrainian Golden Ale is expected to be released to the public in mid-May. Both will be available at the College’s Wine Visitor + Education Centre ($3.75 per can) while supplies last.

(Attribution: Niagara College release)

NC Brews Solidarity

By Julie Greco

Niagara College Brewmaster Jon Downing will be among brewers from Ukraine and around the world to be featured in a Drinkers for Ukraine fundraiser video which will be live-streamed on Saturday, March 26. (Supplied photos, graphic)

Support for Ukraine is brewing at the NC Teaching Brewery.

In addition to rolling out two solidarity beers this spring to show support for Ukraine, College Brewmaster Professor Jon Downing will be part of a fund-raising event livestream on March 26 organized by Drinkers for Ukraine, an international effort to raise funds for Ukraine.

Downing has joined brewers from Ukraine and around the world who are participating in a Drinkers for Ukraine Fundraising Livestream on March 26. The video will be live-streamed during the fundraising show, profiling the stories of breweries in Ukraine and raising funds for the relief effort.

Drinkers for Ukraine make the recipe for Resist – Ukrainian Anti-Imperial Stout available for brewers worldwide.

The invitation to participate in the video came after the Teaching Brewery answered a call to brew  Resist – Ukrainian Anti-Imperial Stout in early March. Developed by displaced Ukrainian brewers, the Resist recipe was shared by Drinkers for Ukraine in a call for breweries worldwide to participate in brewing it in solidarity with the beer community in Ukraine whose livelihoods and, in some cases, their businesses have been destroyed by Russian attacks.

Lana Svitankova, co-founder of Drinkers for Ukraine – who is also a writer, translator, educator and Ukraine’s first certified Cicerone – said that the main goal of Drinkers for Ukraine is to raise funds for a cause, get people informed, and give them one more outlet to show support. She noted that while it has been difficult to track how many breweries have hopped on board the initiative, she is aware of 55 so far who have brewed or plan to brew the beer as a show of support.

“First of all, huge thanks for Niagara College’s support,” said Svitankova. “Being Ukrainian, this means so much to me that people are being vocal in their support. This brings me faith in humanity, hope and solace in these difficult times.”

For information about the fundraiser or to view the livestream on March 26  (2 p.m. EST):

Downing led students from the Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program in brewing Resist – Ukrainian Anti-Imperial Stout at the Teaching Brewery in early March. They are also brewing a Ukrainian Golden Ale, using a recipe developed from Pravda brewery in Lviv, Ukraine, which has halted beer production to make Molotov cocktails during the war. Pravda released a few of its beer recipes to raise funds and spread awareness and is encouraging brewers around the world to join in brewing their beers.

Brewmaster student Apoena Endyara De Souza Becker from Brazil assists with brewing Resist – Ukrainian Anti Imperial Stout at the Teaching Brewery on  March 7.

For Downing, support for Ukraine is both professional and personal. During the early nineties, he was instrumental in launching two microbreweries in Ukraine (in Dnipro and Haivoron). In 1993 – just two years after Ukraine became an independent country – he became the first North American to work in Dnipro where he installed a microbrewery in a former missile factory.

His experiences from Ukraine have seeped into the Teaching Brewery’s solidarity brews.

He recalled how a brewer he trained at the first microbrewery, named Sasha, had previously designed rockets for the factory. It was Sasha’s wife Galina – a name which means ‘calm, healer’ – who inspired the Teaching Brewery’s choice of hops for its Resist beer: 91 grams of Galena. The Teaching Brewery’s Resist was also brewed with a 9.1% ABV in recognition of Ukraine’s independence in 1991.

The Golden Ale brew is also significant, Downing noted, as the Ukrainian beer community has been trying to get Ukrainian Golden Ale recognized as a regional style up until February this year. It is also a walk down memory lane for Downing since, 30 years ago, when he worked on the first two microbreweries in Ukraine, he brewed a Canadian Golden Ale at each of them.

When he looks back on his memories from Ukraine during the early nineties, the College Brewmaster recalls the reconstruction and modernization that was taking place during that pivotal time, as well as the people who were embracing freedom and rebuilding their country.

NC Teaching Brewery displays its Beer 101 series beers featuring the colours of the Ukrainian flag as a show of support.

“Having seen the country being rebuilt once, I know it’s going to be rebuilt again. I know that the strength of Ukrainian people will make it happen,” he said. “Brewing is a part of it. Brewing is a part of the economy locally here in Ontario, worldwide and in Ukraine as well.”

The Teaching Brewery’s Resist – Ukrainian Anti-Imperial Stout is expected to be available March 30 ($3.75 per can) while supplies last. Ukrainian Golden Ale is expected to be released to the public in mid-May ($3.75 per can).

(Attribution: Niagara College release)

Being Taken Under Wing Provided Learning Opportunities About Owls And Life

Captions: Top left, an image of the second Great Horned Owl that we spotted on our outing; below, Clements gesturing at a hard-to-spot nest in the treetops; next, a heronry with no birds in nests this particular day; next, a stick nest in a hydro tower. Top right, Clements scours the bush with binoculars looking for nesting owls; below, Clements keeps detailed accounts of his travels and findings; next, sticks and branches obscured our view of the first owl we sighted; next, more record keeping; and adjacent, Brad Clements, face of a devoted birder. / Photos by Joe Barkovich.

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

VINELAND – After numerous flings with Blue Jays, Cardinals, Red-breasted Nuthatches and Black-capped Chickadees, the invitation to a possible date with a Great Horned Owl was too hot to pass up.

It came from Wellander Brad Clements, a birder for more than 50 years.

I’d known about his interest in our feathered friends for some time but not the depth of his experience. Not just local, Clements has a birding profile that is national and international.

In January, this rank amateur reached out to him by e-mail to identify a bird photographed on Welland’s Merritt Island.

 “From the length of the bill & the fact that there is no red on the head this is a female Downy Woodpecker. Feel free to contact me anytime,” was his polite, accommodating response.

Later he wrote about going out one day to look for nesting Great Horned Owls and asked if I’d come along. 


We drove to one of the acknowledged “birding hotspots” in Niagara, Victoria Avenue and environs in Vineland. Some of the  roads we travelled include: Quarry Road, Saan Road, Tufford Road, Merritt Road and Cream Street.

“Hawkeye” as I started calling him, scanned tree tops as we drove along these country roads and highways.

He pulled to the side of the roads two or three  times and we stepped out to study lofty heights in the distance. Based on previous outings, and tips from other birders, he knew where to look for nests. What he didn’t know was whether they would be occupied. These were not.


Great Horned Owls are not nest builders, Clements told me. They “expropriate” the nest builders, often Red-tailed Hawks, taking over their properties. Clements said the Red-tails build large stick nests high in the trees and they appeal to Great Horned Owls.

He pulled over at two other sites. Using binoculars for closer scrutiny of the tree limbs, he found a tree with a nesting Great Horned Owl. But even with binoculars and camera lens it was barely visible because of so many sticks and branches between our vantage point and the nest.

But the second site was better, especially after shuffling up and down the roadside, inches at a time,  jockeying for the clearest view. And there she sat in her grandeur, high above the ground, two tufts at the top of her head that look like horns – the visual giveaway for this novice – and eyes so piercing I could feel her looking through us. Unforgettable!

Clements said he starts his “driving around” in search of the nesting owls early in the new year, usually February. 

“They want to have their young when the mice and voles have been born, when the food is at its maximum.

“Once she gets on the nest she can’t leave. If she leaves, the eggs would freeze. She won’t leave until the young have enough feathers, that’s when she can leave and do some hunting on her own. Until then the male feeds her by bringing her his catch every night.”

A female can lay from one to five eggs, Clements said. 


The veteran birdwatcher’s interest took flight back in the 1970s while his family was on vacation at the Geneva Park Y Conference Centre near Orillia. One day, he went to the nature station, took out binoculars and a book and went to see what he could find. His liking of the experience was immediate.

But it wasn’t long before he found himself “frustrated” not knowing what he was looking at in the trees or flying by. So he went out and joined the Niagara Falls Nature Club and you might say it opened the skies to a lifetime of adventure and learning.

For Clements, there’s more to birdwatching than driving around in search of species, or watching a gathering of feathered friends at the front-yard birdfeeder through the living room window.

It also involves detailed note taking and record keeping, something he has done over many years for Royal Ontario Museum’s Ontario Nest Records Scheme. Also, according to the authoritative compilation, Niagara Birds, he worked on two Ontario Breeding Bird Atlases involving trips to northern Ontario and participation in Niagara. Clements has taken part in various  inventories, surveys and studies of various bird species. A member of the Ontario Eastern Bluebird Society, he is co-author of a scholarly piece in Niagara Birds titled The Eastern Bluebird In Niagara.


I asked him why he does so much paperwork and wouldn’t he rather be out and about devoting all his time to travelling the great outdoors looking for birds.

“One of the things I’ve enjoyed doing most was finding nests and recording them, with the Royal Ontario Museum. 

“Some people just go out and see the birds. I want to make a contribution to our knowledge, that’s why I do backyard surveys, nesting counts, Christmas counts. All these things add to our knowledge. I accept the fact compiling data is an essential part of why I go out and see something. I want to share it with others.”

Of course, the conversation would not be complete without asking Clements to name a few of his favourite species. Here is what he chose:

  1. Diademed Sandpiper Plover. This “stunning” shorebird was sighted in Peru by Clements and his group in the 1990s. They were at about 12,000 feet in the Andes and had to go up to 15,000 feet to find it. A white diadem, or crown, encircles the top of the bird’s head.
  2. Painted Bunting. With its green, yellow and red colours, one of the “prettiest” birds Clements has come across. Found in Florida and other southern states.
  3. Great Horned Owl. Clements looks forward to seeing the Great Horned Owl every year. “Nothing argues with a Great Horned Owl. They will even take a skunk.”

So many stories, so many adventures in a lofty pursuit that first took wing decades ago. Clements talked about finding 29 of the 31 indigenous (birds that can be found only in that particular country) species in Dominican Republic,  three weeks in Peru in pursuit of 700 species, birding visits to Goa in India and to Bahrain, Dubai, Myanmar, Nigeria and Morocco among others. Stories and adventures for another day here in this space.


Now 80, Clements still looks forward to his outings as much as he did earlier in life. He hits the road once a week (the week I went with him, he was back at it next day!) and doesn’t mind in the least.

Asked how much longer he can keep going, Clements winged it with an open-ended answer: “As long as I can get around, I’ll continue to do it.”

But he gently groused about losing a “considerable amount” of his hearing in recent years and how it impacts his work in the field.

“There are now a lot of bird songs I can’t hear or can’t hear very well,” he said and I could tell that it saddens him.

My long-time friend the bird watcher turned philosophical.

“One of the things I’ve learned in life: ‘Listen to yourself! What turns your crank, what makes you feel good?’ As long as it makes me feel good, that’s how long I’ll keep doing it.”

Heritage Lives: Public Access To The Court House

By Terry Hughes

As we entered the new millennium, public sentiment about downtown Welland was waning and the overall municipal feeling was the city was in need of an uplift. A group that later was called Partners For Community Pride had been working on some strategies to change that feeling. A focus on getting people downtown required the teaming of city hall and the downtown merchants to close East Main Street from the bridge and Cross Street to traffic, cleaning  the street and having some merchandise placed on the sidewalks for people to see and purchase. Thanks to Cindy Forster, the city placed city equipment and fire trucks on Cross Street so that people and their children could get a close-up look at where their tax dollars were going to work. 

But one area of attraction that had never been available for tours was the court house. Having had a private tour as a teacher from Gordon School, the lack of opportunity for the public to see and hear about this facility was baffling. After making some enquiries as how to make this happen we learned that the building was leased to the province and we needed to negotiate with them. That required some legal help so George Banks, the city solicitor, went to bat for us and it was not until two weeks before the big day that word came that we could use the facility….but with conditions!

Security was the main concern so the auxiliary police volunteered to help. Management of the crowds that we expected was a second issue and who would help us with conducting the tours was also considered. Thanks to the Welland Historical Society that goal was achieved. Dividing the tours to stations at which each guide had a script to use and explain what was happening was also needed. The accompanying diagram shows how the flow of the tour evolved. Fortunately, most of this preparation was in place so that the day when tours were to start we were ready! The other shows rules in place for the visitors.

Additional help would come in the following years. Joe Mocsan and L.A.C.A.C (Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee) joined us in the building while Diane Grenier from city council had her ponies available for children to ride across from the courthouse. The Arts And Culture people joined in with activities in Merritt Park and night time music and dancing occurred at the Market Square.

But the response to the court house tour was AWESOME! 


In Canada the criminal courts are based on the British model. While we see the operation of courts in the U.S. and each state has their own model, our system is far more formal. As you enter the main court room the audience is seated at the back of the room. The front of the room has a coat of arms with a picture of the Queen just behind the magistrate’s bench. Officers of the court and the lawyers are dressed in garb and based on rank can only approach the bench to speak to the presiding magistrate. The accused is placed in the prisoner box and if required can be restrained with a steel ring in the floor of the box. During the proceedings, the utmost quiet is required or you can be removed from the court room. The jury sits on the right and lawyers are not allowed to communicate with their client during the proceedings. Witnesses are not allowed in the court room until they testify and leave immediately afterwards. 

 Unfortunately, because of security reasons, we were declined access to photograph and show the beautiful restoration that was done. The total cost of restoration for the exterior as well as the interior and addition of extra court rooms and security features was eleven million dollars. Based on what the visitors saw, they felt the facility was worth it!  This building was rated as in the top ten facilities in the province at the time it was reopened.


The jail portion of the county building held seventy-two prisoners….twelve women and sixty men. Each prisoner was confined to a five by seven foot cell that you could not stand up in and without heat or light. Natural light came from outside windows and a few light bulbs hung from the ceiling in the hallway running parallel to the cells. Heat came from a radiator along the corridor wall. Toilet facilities were provided at the end of the corridor opposite the last cell without walls for privacy. If you gave the jail staff any trouble you were given that jail cell opposite the toilet as a reward. Food was prepared in kitchens located at the opposite end of the corridor. Those prisoners who were the worst offenders had to eat in their cells. 

At the time of restoration, the decision was made to leave the jail cells and their facilities in their present state. At the time of its closing in 1973 that portion of the facility had served one hundred and eleven years and was declared unfit for habitation. The jail was a multi-floored building with cells assigned to prisoners based on the offence with which you were charged. The greater the offence, the lower the cell placement you’d be housed……a very cold and damp place! The top level was for women prisoners and painted pink.

(Captions: Top left, Side view of the court house, 2015 file photo by Joe Barkovich); Bottom left, Frontal view, supplied photo courtesy Welland Historical Museum; Exterior plaque, file photo by Joe Barkovich.)

Next column: Capital punishment at the courthouse and some jailhouse trivia. 

(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.)

For St. Paddy’s Day, A Last Toast To Shamrock

(A reminiscence written for St. Patrick’s Day, March 2014)

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

For this scribbler, it became a tradition to reminisce on or close to St. Patrick’s Day about the newspaper editor who gave me my start in the business.

He is, of course, T.N. Morrison, who hired me at the Tribune way back in April, 1969. He was best known as Tommy Morrison, although I always called him Mr. Morrison, out of deep-seated respect, I guess. That, and because he was my boss.

He hired me on a whim and a prayer, I’ve said this before. The whim was his; the prayer, mine. I’m forever thankful it worked out for both.

You couldn’t ask for a better boss, a better teacher, a better cheerleader, a better friend. Mr. Morrison was all this – not just to me, but to everyone who had the opportunity to work for and with him, I daresay.

He and his wife Marg lived at 66 Regent St., in the east-side King Street neighbourhood for many, many years. Their home was known as the Shamrock Inn and it was the venue of many parties – St. Paddy’s Day parties and otherwise. A confrere, Louis J. Cahill, former St. Catharines newsman turned public relations communicator, would tell me about some of those good times over dinner. Both these storied practitioners of the printed word are gone now, but both live on in memories.

On St. Patrick’s Day, you could count on Mr. Morrison to arrive in the newsroom wearing a green sport jacket, white shirt, gray slacks and green bowtie or tie. “Top o’ the mornin!’” he might say while walking by.

Fortunately, I’m not the only former newsroom staffer still with memories about the much-loved Managing Editor. Another is Bob Chambers, one of the newspaper’s two full-time photographers back in the day (Chambers was on staff 1957 to 1970). He comes into this story on a whim and prayer – both mine.

I was hoping for a photo of Mr. Morrison – one that had not been in circulation for a while, out of the public view. Chambers e-mailed an eloquent response, part of which appears below:

“So do I have a photo of Tommy? Not that I know of. Even the Tribune Staff photograph of the entire editorial department including all the district offices – Dunnville, Port Colborne and Fort Erie – that ran in the newspaper’s Centennial edition (1962) doesn’t include Tommy. He didn’t want to be in it. He said that the staff did all the work. So, he took the picture – well, clicked the shutter of the tripod-mounted camera, after Cec Mitchell and I set everything up. He even refused a photo credit line.

No, I’m afraid that all my pictures of Tommy are filed in my memory bank. Like every day, at 1:15 as I remember, the good ship Morrison sailed majestically through the newsroom, as back from lunch at home with Marg, he was ready to Captain our ship for the afternoon, including putting his final stamp on that day’s Page One and writing one or more of the next day’s editorials. Often his office door was closed for the writing bit, but basically it was never closed at any other time. How do you photograph things like that. But how I wish I did.”

Mr. Morrison gifted me with some mementoes a few days before he retired in September 1972, after setting aside this and that from deep in his desk drawers for personalized keepsakes. One is a draft copy of the story he had written for the newspaper’s 100th anniversary special edition. I still have it, tucked away in one of the hard-cover compilations about The Tribune’s history.

Then there is photographer Cec Mitchell’s contribution to this reminiscence.

Mitchell, known affectionately as the “Happy Snapper” by newsroom staffers, has a photo of Mr. Morrison on file somewhere, but he could not place his fingers on it in time for this post.

He did, however, turn a memory into a lasting image, so alive is it in its conveyance:

“I’m sure it was before your time there but for a few years the gang decorated Tommy’s office for St. Patrick’s Day. One year Tommy arrived at work to find his chair already occupied – by himself!

The gang had borrowed a mannequin from his brother’s store (Morrison’s department store, 603 King St.) and his wife Marg had sneaked out some of his clothes to dress the dummy. A balloon for the head, a hat and a life-sized cut-out photo of his face completed the figure. A bottle of Irish whiskey and a glass on his desk completed the scene. After the surprised Tommy had his photo taken with the scene, he left it and worked at a desk in the newsroom until Mr. Foster (Henry J. Foster, the publisher) arrived to view the scene.”

Could this be the photo that lensman Mitchell might have amongst his files? I wish! Where is that picture – what a pile of gold for a St. Patrick’s Day remembrance it would be!

Thomas Nixon Morrison’s career at the newspaper started in November, 1929 as sports writer/editor. He was the newspaper’s longest-serving Managing Editor, 1952 to 1972. In total, 43 years and then some – what a headlined career!

For this scribbler, old traditions die hard. For St. Patrick’s Day, I will again drive by the old homestead that used to be known as the Shamrock Inn and call to mind one T. N. Morrison – “Tommy” to most people, Mr. Morrison to me.

Then I’ll have a Kilkenny or two, as in past years and maybe a shot of a choice Irish blend with a friend, savouring for one last time the warmth of the experiences and the memories left us by the gentle man and gentleman who liked being known as Shamrock.

CAPTIONS: Top left, The clipping on the keyboard of this old manual typewriter was Mr. Morrison’s “Au Revoir” piece to the newspaper’s readers, published Sept. 13, 1972. It’s part of the memorabilia I’ve saved over the years. The photo shows Mr. Morrison interviewing the comedian Jack Benny. Top right, Shown is an excerpt from the story that was written by T.N. Morrison for the newspaper’s 100th anniversary edition in 1962. The draft was given to me as a parting gift shortly before he retired in 1972. Bottom right, photo of Mr. Morrison from a plaque on the Welland Sports Wall of Fame, where he is enshrined as a “Builder”. /Photos Joe Barkovich.

Ukraine Vigil: Spoken Words, Silent Reflection, Peace Lyrics

Captions, clockwise from top left: Greetings from Rev. Christina Paradela; Irene Newton speaks at the vigil; windy conditions made it challenging to keep candles lit; at the side of First Avenue, peace anthems were sung as traffic passed by the vigil venue./Photos by Joe Barkovich.

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

WELLAND – Ukrainians and their supporters are living through “a very painful time,” says Irene (Irka) Newton, president of Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Niagara branch.

She was in Welland Sunday evening as a guest speaker at Wesley United Church’s outdoor candlelight vigil for Ukraine. The short but moving service began when Wesley’s signature chimes pealed over the neighbourhood shortly after 7 p.m.

Newton said the lives of millions have been an “emotional roller coaster” since the start of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war, February 24. 

But countering that, it has been “overwhelming” to see the outpouring of support for the country, she added.

About 60 people attended the vigil in the church parking lot. Some were congregants of the First Avenue church and others were members of the local community.

Newton thanked them for coming out on a cold evening. She cautioned about becoming complacent as days go by and the war goes on because complacency can erode the powerful solidarity that has kept them united thus far. Their active interest and concern should not be allowed to wane because it is so important.

“If Putin wins, he’s a threat to the rest of the world,” Newton said. An unbridled Putin could have designs challenging Canada’s Arctic sovereignty, she warned, worrying that Canada would not be able to defend it.

Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey (Liberal) said Ukraine was attacked by Putin, “a very, very evil individual.”

He said the Russian president is bent on destroying democratic-style governments.

“When we look at history, history will not be kind to Mr. Putin. He will go down in history as an evil individual.”

“We’re all in this together, it’s not just one country,” Badawey added.

After minister Christina Paradela read a prayer, she asked participants to walk to the street where they would be better seen by traffic. 

There they sang peace anthems like We Shall Overcome and Let There Be Peace on Earth. Several drivers showed solidarity with the group, honking horns as they passed by.

One was heard to shout out, ‘Slava Ukraini’, which means ‘glory to Ukraine’.

The vigil prayer as read by Rev. Christina Paradela:

O God, we pray. 

God of ploughshares, pruning hooks, and peace-making,

translate such old archaic words into hope today in Ukraine

that your promise to shatter bows and arrows, spears and shields be manifest.

We pray for the people of Ukraine, that they be spared trauma, violence and death.

We pray for Ukrainian soldiers doing what they can to hold off Russian advances.

We pray that peace may come and we may silence the air-raid sirens in Kyiv, which will then indicate an end to the horrific missile strikes and other violent attacks.

We pray for those who flee; help them to know that you are with them, remembering in particular the orphaned children who have no understanding of the root of this violence. 

We pray for those who are taking shelter in various targeted cities near Russian borders. 

We pray for Ukrainian troops and allies already exhausted from their long watching.

We pray your wisdom continues to inform NATO in their decisions, knowing that they are being constantly threatened and baited. We pray fervently that you guide the global democratic leaders, that they hold strong to their unity and stand on the values of diplomacy rather than violence and hold strong the diplomatic boundaries set for the purpose of weakening Russia rather than escalating further violence

We pray the Russian people rise up and say, “No!” to violence, aggression and war.

We pray for Germany and Poland, Romania and Slovakia as they open borders to fleeing refugees; and we pray that Canada’s doors will be open sufficiently wide to offer safety and sanctuary. 

God, we have studied war for so long, let it be no more, no more.

Teach us a new peacemaking, 

teach us ways to ensure that home is always home;

removing the need to take sanctuary elsewhere.

Strengthen them to do all that they can to protect innocent human life.

O God, may you hold gently in your heart the many who have lost their lives; bless those who love them and who grieve their loss. 

We pray in the name of your all the world’s many faiths, all of which call us into peace.

We pray for safety.

We pray for retreat.

We pray for peace.

God, in your mercy, hear our prayers.


(Adapted from a prayer composed by Rev. Maren C. Tirabassi.) 

Bird Man Brad

/Photo by Joe Barkovich

Spent part of a day recently with well known Wellander Brad Clements, above, a birder with more than 50 years experience locally, nationally and internationally.

We visited a Niagara birding hotspot where Clements scoured tree canopies, from afar, for nesting Great Horned Owls. The search was interesting, but so were his stories about birding trips to places like Peru, Dominican Republic, Dubai and India in search of indigenous birds.

Watch for this story, and photos, later this week here on the blog,