Ontario Lieutenant Governor Visits Welland Friday

Photo credit: lgontario

WELLAND – Her Honour, the Hon. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, will make an official visit to the City of Welland on Friday, May 3, where she will meet with Mayor Frank Campion and participate in a roundtable discussion with members of the community on: “Welland: A Sustainable and Resilient City in a Competitive Global Economy”.
The visit will focus on United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.
This will be Her Honour’s 80th official civic visit during her term.
Itinerary Welland, Ontario Friday, May 3:
13h00 – Meeting with Mayor
13h30 – Roundtable discussion at Welland International Flatwater Centre
14h30 – Reception with invited community representatives.

Badgers Sign Wellander Mike Rao To Three-Year Contract As Women’s Basketball Coach

Coach Rao “has worked tirelessly from Day 1 to improve and build a culture of excellence,” says Associate Director of Brock Sports Emily Allan.

ST. CATHARINES –  After guiding the Brock women’s basketball team to their first playoff berth since 2012, Mike Rao will remain the bench boss of the Badgers after signing a three-year contract with the University on Wednesday, May 1.
This year, Rao and the Badgers improved their win total to 11 victories and reached the OUA Critelli Cup quarter-finals.
“Mike has done a phenomenal job with the program,” said Associate Director of Brock Sports Emily Allan. “He has worked tirelessly from Day 1 to improve and build a culture of excellence. He is continually recruiting talented student-athletes to elevate this team, and he is producing results.”
Rao stepped into the role this past season as an interim coach and was tasked with revamping the women’s basketball team after the Badgers went 6-18 and missed the playoffs in 2018. In one season, the Badgers improved their win total and secured their first playoff appearance in seven years.
“I really do enjoy building, specifically in sport,” said Rao. “I love helping a team grow. Each season is built around a plan. This past season we emphasized an important element of our program, which is empowering women in sport and celebrating the immense talent our female student-athletes have.”
A Welland native, Rao coached the Notre Dame College School boys basketball team for 36 years before joining the Badgers in 2016.
Rao and the Fighting Irish remained a constant powerhouse in Niagara, and won the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations AAAA hoops championships in 2013.
At Brock, Rao played a key role as an assistant coach when the men’s team reached the U SPORTS National Championships for the first time in 10 years during the 2017-18 campaign.
When he took over the women’s basketball squad, the Badgers’ offence surged from 54.2 points per game to 63.1.
“I have always considered myself a teacher and not a coach. I like to get to know my players personally and build from there,” said Rao. “I feel that coaching, or teaching, has its foundation on the building of relationships.”
Off the court, Rao’s squad is the highest academic achieving team at Brock by GPA, and he is committed to supporting the experiential learning environment on campus.
“I always say that coaches or teachers who are not on you about your game or chasing you in the classroom don’t really care about you,” said Rao. “My instruction is constant and visible. I need players to buy into our plan and goal. This can only be done with the forging of a good relationship, which is built on honesty and respect. I tell recruits, come to Brock women’s basketball to become a better player, a better person and a Badger for life.”

(Story, photo source: The Brock News)

Ontario Regional Assembly of Development And Peace Comes To Welland

By Frank Fohr

WELLAND – The weekend of May 3rd to 5th will see close to 100 members of Development and Peace from across Ontario descend on Welland’s Niagara College campus for their annual Regional Assembly.

Delegates from as far away as Thunder Bay in the west and Ottawa in the east will come to hear about development issues in the Global South, elect new regional members to the National Council and pass resolutions for the National Council to consider.

In addition to working sessions over the three days, there will be opportunities for people to socialize and pray together. A dinner at Notre Dame College School on Saturday night and Mass as St Kevin Church Sunday morning are planned as part of the weekend.

The Ontario Regional Assembly coincides with regional assemblies in Quebec, the Maritimes, Newfoundland and the Western Provinces. It is hoped that there will be an opportunity at some point to link electronically with the other gatherings being held across the country.

The Ontario Assembly rotates around the province each year. The last time it was in the Niagara Region was 12 years ago when it was held at the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus of Niagara College.

Since the event is here in the Niagara Region this year, the local contingent has a full complement of 4 voting delegates and approximately 12 additional observers registered to attend.

(Frank Fohr is South Western representative on the National Council of Development and Peace.)

Themes Announced For City’s Display Beds

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

WELLAND – Themes have been selected for the city’s floral display beds.

These outdoor works of floral art year after year can be counted on to show off the creativity and design talent of the City of Welland parks division horticulture crew.

This year’s themes are:

St. David’s Anglican Church 75th anniversary tribute: Prince Charles Drive West (corner of Prince Charles and Colbeck Drive);

D-Day 75th anniversary tribute: Prince Charles Drive East (Prince Charles and First Avenue);

A spider and fly design: Broadway (Prince Charles and Broadway), by Dave Steven, the city’s forestry foreman;

Canadian flag design: Riverbank (Niagara Street and Riverbank);

A lizard design: Triangle Park (Ontario Road and Southworth Street).

In e-mail correspondence, landscape technician Craig Danys said only one bed request was received this year, that from St. David’s Anglican Church. But he said “a few” have already been received for 2020.

The theme chosen this year at Triangle Park follows the trend of having a child friendly, animal design for the bed. In previous years there have been a turtle and a snake so Danys decided on a lizard for this year.

The spider and fly are an original design by Dave Steven.

“It is really interesting and should be a real eye-catcher with some bright colors in both insects and webbing,” according to Danys.

A variety of plant material is used in the displays to provide rich colour and texture. Examples are alternanthera, santolina, begonia, duranta and helichrysum. The hues are yellows, different greens, reds to burgundy, silver and white and blue.

By tradition, the floral display beds receive annual acclaim from passersby who admire the eye-catching design and array of colour.

They have been praised in letters to the editor of the  daily newspaper written by local residents, but also visitors to the city who are taken with their attractiveness.

Work on the display beds will begin after removal of the tulip bulbs, around mid to late May.

THE WEEK AHEAD: Meetings In Welland

Meeting Calendar
Meetings are open to the public unless otherwise noted. Information is obtained from the applicable agency, board, committee, or commission and downloaded to this calendar as it becomes available. Information is subject to change. Please check back often for the most up-to-date information, including cancellations.

Special Council Workshop ≫
7:00 PM Tuesday Apr. 30 2019 –
in the Council Chambers, Civic Square, 60 East Main Street

North Welland Downtown Business Improvement Area Meeting ≫
4:00 PM Wednesday May. 1 2019 –
Boston Pizza, 934 Niagara Street

City of Welland Heritage Advisory Committee Meeting ≫
5:00 PM Wednesday May. 1 2019 –
Room 108, Civic Square, 60 East Main Street

HERITAGE LIVES: National Monument Designation Again Recommended For Second Aqueduct

By Terry Hughes

While looking through my notes from my time serving on the heritage committee back in 2008, two structures that were mentioned along with others were the Cross Street Pool and Feeder Lock. Today, these two structures still appear on the agenda and minutes of the heritage committee in 2019!

Since being declared as a site to be developed as a national monument by the MacLaren Report back in 1984, many efforts have been made to pursue this goal.

For example, In 1990 city council endorsed the idea and when the Welland Recreational Canal Corporation (WRCC) came into being after 2005, they endorsed the idea several times. Two years ago we thought that city council had supported the designation of the pool but the city clerk informed me that a last minute agreement was reached not to pursue the idea.

Our MP, Vance Badawey, last year said that he would support the effort. Since then a list of 25 prominent citizens has endorsed the proposal for the pool explained below:

The accompanying picture shows the structure in the form of a reflecting pool enclosed with an iron fence and a shower of water cascading at its centre. This project would recognize the 75 years it served as an aqueduct and the nearly 40 years as a swimming pool. In winter because it is only 18 inches deep, it would serve as a skating rink that would replace the small ice pad in front of the civic centre. This would recognize the winter days when people skated on the old canals and river. No hockey would be allowed. Appropriate historic signage would be placed on site. (Inscription in white at far right says: Second Aqueduct 1851-1926)

So what is your opinion? If you like the idea, tell your city councillor about it and tell the folks to hurry up the proposal now languishing in the heritage committee!
We’ll deal with the Feeder Lock Park issue another time.

(Image Credit: Darlene Kisur de Pagter)

(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.)