Monthly Archives: January 2023

January 2023 Update From Central Station Education Initiative

/Supplied photo

Much has been accomplished since we successfully obtained a $500,000 Legacy Grant from Canadian Heritage in the spring of 2021 to help restore Welland’s unique and historic Central Fire Station. With further grants from the City of Welland of $50,000 in both 2021 and 2022 along with your individual and corporate donations, we were able to stop the deterioration of this grand old building and begin to bring it back to life.

The first order of business in 2021 was to stop the leaks that were damaging the interior features by installing new flat roofs. Exterior woodwork and gutters were repaired and/or replaced as were some rotted panels in the big garage doors. As Central Station is a designated property under the Ontario Heritage Act these were done by heritage professionals from Willowbank School of Restoration Arts following recommended standards for restoration.  The entire exterior of the building, including the clock tower, was painted, restoring its impressive face to the world.

Inside, the bottom of one of the solid oak staircases which had been damaged by the leaking roof was also restored to heritage standards.


A highlight of New Year, 2022, was seeing the Tower Clock once again fully operational and lit up at night after many years out of service.  Once again we were grateful to the people with special skills  – members of the Toronto Chapter 33 of the National Association of Watch   & Clock Collectors Inc, who donated their services and worked along with a local electrician and jeweller to restore the workings and make operational this 100-year-old electrical impulse clock. It is interesting to note that this is not the original tower clock which was lost in a fire in the 1960’s but a replacement of the same vintage from a now demolished public building in Perth, Ontario.

2022 saw us turn our efforts to repairing and upgrading the interior of the building.

As the building sat unused from the time it was decommissioned as a working Fire Hall in 2006 until 2021 with its original furnace removed and pipes rotting, it was time to look at upgrading the HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems.

In addition to making progress on those systems, another serious issue addressed in 2022 was the condition of the floors.  Both the main truck floor and portions of the second floor were rotted.  The main truck floor was reinforced with new rebar and concrete as was the second floor former locker room.  

Looking ahead to 2023, work on HVAC and other building systems are to be completed and safety upgrades added.  This spring the final major exterior problem will be addressed when all the exterior brickwork is repointed and missing bricks replaced.

When done, the main floor will be a Public Heritage Space and Education Centre demonstrating with original fixtures and artefacts how Firefighters lived and worked in the building over almost 100 years. It will also feature a wall of honour for firefighters and first responders and a donor wall.  

As visiting and learning at the Public Heritage Space will be free of charge for Wellanders and tourists alike, school classes and other groups, the second and third floors will be rented to small businesses and not-for-profits to make the project self-sustaining economically.  To accomplish this final hurdle we have launched a major Fundraising  Campaign to meet accessibility standards with a new entrance, staircase and elevator addition at the rear of the building.

Here is a message from Anna Olson, who is Honorary Chair of Central Station Education Initiative’s 2023 Fundraising Campaign: 

“I have been familiar with this grand old building with its irreplaceable history of firefighting in Canada for many years and am pleased to lend my support to the Central Station Education Initiative’s Fundraising Campaign.”

Please spread the word and be part of this once in a lifetime opportunity to save our firefighting history.  To donate, please go to or send your donation to Central Station Education Initiative, 30 Hellems Avenue, Welland ON L3B 3A7. To receive a Charitable Receipt for income tax purposes please include your full name and address.

Donors, volunteers and friends, we sincerely appreciate your past support and hope we can count on your continued support in 2023! 

Attribution: Central Station Education Initiative.

City Is Seeking Nominations For Annual Sports Awards

Don’t delay: Deadline for nominating is January 27

WELLAND – The City of Welland is seeking nominations to recognize local athletes, coaches and teams that had outstanding achievements in their respective sports in 2022. The honourees will be recognized at the annual Sports Awards ceremony on April 14.

The Sports Promotion Committee invites the community to complete the nomination form with a synopsis of the achievement. Awards within the Athlete, Non-Athlete, and the H.L. Cudney Memorial categories are open to Welland residents or Welland-based teams who excelled in their sport.

Categories will be judged based on nominating information. The following criteria for both individual athletes and teams are ranked in order of importance below:

  • Level of competition achieved: local, regional, provincial, national, international
  • Post-season or championship results
  • Regular season or qualifying competition results
  • Sport divisions, qualification standards for competition, number of competitors in any defined division
  • Competitive, intercollegiate

“The City of Welland has a long history of supporting and honouring sporting excellence in our community,” said Amanda Degazio, manager of business and community services. “The 2023 Sports Awards will honour both the individuals that have excelled in their sport and the ones who have contributed to advancing the sporting community within our city.”

Residents can review the complete nomination criteria and submit entries at this link The deadline for nomination submissions is Jan. 27, 2023. 

(Attribution: City of Welland media release)

Barky’s Billboard

(Please support/attend/participate in this outstanding community event)

Pleased to announce that the 12th annual Julia’s Hope Cup will be returning to our traditional annual pond hockey tournament and carnival on Saturday, February 18th, 2023 at Chippawa Park Pond. Learn more at:

(Barky’s Billboard is a recurring feature on the blog.)

Heritage Lives: The Impact of Comics On Our World As A Form Of Entertainment

By Terry Hughes

The world of comics has impacted us in a variety of ways too numerous to detail here.

Their roots are found in political cartoons found in newspapers in the late nineteenth century but became more mainstream by the nineteen thirties. 

The Depression had hurt the spirit of people who were looking for some kind of relief at that time. Heroes and heroines using fictitious characters became the subjects of interest. That would include Little Orphan Annie, the crime-busting Dick Tracy or the intergalactic good guys, Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon illustrated here. They would sell a lot of cereal products, radio programs and movies. Remember watching Flash, Dr. Zarkov and Dale Ardon against Ming the Merciless in serials broadcast in the early days of television?

The first superhero would emerge from a novel published in 1914 from a novel called Tarzan of the Apes written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. By the 1930s Tarzan was found in a variety of media making his famous scream and the line “Me Tarzan, You Jane!” Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmuller would win much fame playing that movie role. Newspapers had a section called “the funny papers” where comic strips can still be found today. Blondie and Dagwood, Henry, and the Captain and the Kids of yesteryear are now replaced by Peanuts or Garfield. 

Fast forward to more recent times, our next comic hero taken from a 1988 Time Magazine shows Superman celebrating his fiftieth birthday surrounded by his newspaper colleagues and a host of super heroes spawned by his image. Can you name who makes up those characters in the background? They would emerge after 1938 as the thirst for more super heroes grew.   

Comic heroes since the numerous Superman sequels have followed with many of their own such as Batman. They are real money makers. Presently, Spiderman tops the list for many people. Compared to comics of the past the musculature and body language emphasize the stunts and actions required by these individuals. The simplistic story lines of yesterday have been replaced by much deeper themes with some stories having a darker side.

The author of the magazine article concludes with the hope that Superman will reach one hundred years of age. Well here we are in 2023 and he is well on his way to reaching that milestone.

Next column: The former Robin Hood mill in transition.

(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.)

Championship Will Be Remembered As A Classic

Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs Down Eden Flyers In Tribune Tourney Overtime Thriller, 66-65

Mazen Yagubi of Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs drives toward the basket in the Welland Tribune Basketball Tournament championship game Saturday. The Bulldogs defeated Eden Flyers 66-65 in overtime. Yagubi was the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. / Joe Barkovich photos.

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

WELLAND – Wow, what a memorable Welland Tribune Basketball Tournament this year’s turned out to be.

Saturday’s championship game, won by Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs, can be defined by a single word: heart-stopping is my choice. And a second half comeback by the opposing Eden Flyers will forever live on as epic. Whatever did Eden’s coach tell his young charges during the break to resuscitate sagging spirts and waning hopes in order to avert a hardcourt meltdown?

Tournament sponsor Mountainview Building Group

Eden trailed 36-22 when the third quarter started but valiantly fought back to narrow the gap, it was 50-42 when the third ended. A back-and-forth battle was highlighted by a resurgent Flyers team and breathtaking three-point shooting by players from both. A three-pointer by Eden with four seconds on the clock deadlocked the score at 59 and overtime (or in terminology of the recent World Cup championship, ‘extra time’ as some fans were calling it) was necessary. Eden went ahead after a three pointer, then the tenacious Bulldogs vaulted into the lead with two successive threes. Another three by Eden knotted it at 65 with 1.24 left. Sir Winston’s Mazen Yagubi went to the foul line, making one of two shots putting his team ahead 66-65 with four seconds to play. A last gasp shot by Eden bounced off the rim. And the game was over. Wow! What a barn burner! What a rollercoaster ride for the fans!

So fitting that the inaugural Caesar Hajdu Coaches Award was presented after this championship game. Its namesake, the late Julius “Caesar” Hajdu, was watching from high above, even higher than the bleacher nosebleeds in Notre Dame’s Dillon Hall, a shrine of high school basketball in the Rose City since the 1960s when it was built.
Mr. Hajdu, who passed October12, 2020 in his 100th year, missed only two of the 65 Trib tourneys played before this weekend’s 66th. He would have revelled in the competitiveness of the championship. He would have enjoyed the excitement at both ends of the court. He would have celebrated the superior shooting, close checking and beautiful passing from players on both teams. He would have been in, well, basketball heaven.

Wife Pearl, daughter Cheryl and son Dale were at the game as they were in so many past tournaments, this time keeping alive their cherished family tradition. They sat where the family sat year after year. They presented the award (a $200 bursary and keeper trophy to the winning coach, and a permanent trophy for the tournament) to the Bulldogs’ Martin Cook.

In brief remarks, Dale thanked the tournament committee, noting it was a great honour to present it on his dad’s behalf.

“He loved this game,” Dale said.

A Notre Dame basketball alumnus in his own playing days, he praised the hardcourt drama and heroics fans had been treated to.

“This is what good, high school basketball is all about.”

The tournament’s consolation final pitted Holy Cross Raiders against St. Paul Patriots, with the Raiders scoring a 51-39 win.

For more detailed results from the tournament, including more award winners, all-star teams, game reports and scoring stats see online coverage by and in the Welland Tribune by regional sports editor Bernd Franke.

Dwayne Osbourne of Holy Cross Raiders goes up for a shot during the tournament’s consolation championship game against St. Paul Patriots.

Championships Settled Today At Tribune Tourney

Matteo Scaglione of Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs goes up for the shot against E.L. Crossley Cyclone during a Friday night semi-final game. The Bulldogs won, putting them into tonight’s championship final. /Joe Barkovich photo.

WELLAND – Teams in the Tribune Tournament’s championship pairings were determined Friday at semi-final matchups at Notre Dame’s Dillon Hall.

On the consolation side of the bracket, St. Paul Patriots defeated Governor Simcoe Redcoats 73-32 and Holy Cross Raiders got by St. Jean de Brebeuf Lynx 40-33.

St. Paul, a Niagara Falls school, and Holy Cross from St. Catharines meet in the tournament’s consolation championship game today at 5:30 p.m. at ND.

On the championship side of the bracket, Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs defeated E. L. Crossley Cyclone in a nail biter, 53-48 and in another exciting match, Eden Flyers bested A. N. Myer Marauders, 63-57.

Churchill and Eden, both St. Catharines schools, meet in the tournament championship game at 7 p.m. at ND.

In December, the Bulldogs won the St. Catharines Standard Tournament by defeating Eden, 50-43.

A check of the Tribune Tournament Past Winners compilation showed this is the first time since 2004 that a Welland school has not participated in the championship final. (note: the tournament was not played in 2021 and 2022 due to pandemic restrictions). In 2004, Governor Simcoe, St. Catharines, won the championship beating St. Paul, Niagara Falls.

“Happy to be back in the gym after a two-year absence hosting the Trib Tourney,” Don Larman, chair of the Tribune Tournament Committee, commented today.

“Teams have been competitive all week and the level of play has been excellent. Great semis on Friday setting the stage for a fantastic Saturday night at ND. Players, coaches, the basketball community and our tournament committee are in for some exciting games tonight.”

The tournament is sponsored by Mountainview Building Group. This year’s is the 66th.


Notre Dame’s Owen Phillips (10) waits for the ball after a pass from Adam Ponting (23) during an opening round game Wednesday between the Irish and Governor Simcoe Redcoats in the Tribune Tournament. Notre Dame won, 90 – 42. The tournament is sponsored by Mountainview Building Group. /Joe Barkovich photo.

Thursday’s games:

Championship  Round, At Notre Dame:

3:30 p.m.  St. Michael vs Sir Winston Churchill

5 p.m.   A.N. Myer vs Greater Fort Erie Secondary School

6:30 p.m. Denis Morris vs Eden

8 p.m.    Notre Dame vs E.L. Crossley

Consolation Round, At Centennial, Brebeuf:

12:45 p.m.  Port High vs St. Jean de Brebeuf at Brebeuf

2:15 p.m.  Governor Simcoe vs Westlane at Brebeuf

3 p.m. Centennial vs Holy Cross at Centennial

4:30 p.m. St. Paul vs Blessed Trinity at Centennial