WELLAND – This week’s City of Welland council meeting, Tuesday evening, began with a new land acknowledgement.
A land acknowledgement is a formal statement and act of reconciliation involving the recognition of the traditional territory of the Indigenous Peoples as traditional stewards of the land and the enduring relationship between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories.
“When we talk about Truth and Reconciliation, we have to do more than just talk; we have to act,” said Mayor Frank Campion. “On September 30, we saw the outpouring of acknowledgement to Truth and Reconciliation, and with it a necessary call to action. As the City of Welland acts, we begin with instituting a new land acknowledgement before each Council meeting.”
Updating the land acknowledgement improves local understanding and relationships with First Nations communities and those living off-reserve in Welland. It is enacted based on consultation, led by the Niagara Region, with the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, Six Nations of the Grand River Elected Council, and leaders from the Niagara Indigenous Community Executives.
The new land acknowledgement read before council meetings is as follows:
Welland is situated on treaty land. This land is steeped in the rich history of the First Nations such as the Hatiwendaronk the Haudenosaunee and the Anishinaabe, including the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. There are many First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people from across Turtle Island that live and work in Welland today. Welland stands with all Indigenous people, past and present, in promoting the wise stewardship of the lands on which we live.
(Source: City of Welland news release)
New sidewalk from Dorothy Street at the top of the grade, along Courthouse Lane and connecting with Cross Street at the bottom, is sure to be a welcome sight for foot traffic in the popular area. Sure beats walking along the side of the roadway. Photos by Joe Barkovich.
It’s end of season for Gadabout Gardener, an annual spring through fall feature on the blog. This selection was photographed late this morning, Sunday, October 3, during a steady drizzle from above. If the weather stays mild as forecast, this gardener is expecting to have blooms into November. The rose at bottom right is the floribunda Singin’ In The Rain, an appropriate capture for a day like today! Until next spring, let’s be thankful for our gardens and the good things found therein./ Photos by Joe Barkovich.
September 30 will forever take on new meaning, as this year, we honour Indigenous survivors, families, and communities on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
This day marks the long-overdue acknowledgement of the devastating effects of the residential school system. It also marks the opportunity to promote Indigenous history and culture and how the Indigenous community weaves their threads in the fabric of Canadian Culture and nationality.
Though it is impossible to fully understand the residential school system’s impacts on the Indigenous cultures and generations, it should not prevent us from trying. We must take time, not just on September 30, but at the turn of every corner, to learn about Indigenous culture in our community and beyond. We must open our minds to accepting new ideas and traditions of the past of cultures, not our own. And we must commit to calling out injustices toward Indigenous communities at the moment, not after the fact.
The City of Welland is proud to acknowledge and support the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and will provide staff with resources to learn more about Indigenous history and culture. Staff are encouraged to participate in Orange Shirt Day, whereby donations will support Indigenous organizations.
Additionally, the City will amplify information and resources about Truth and Reconciliation by posting content on its social media feeds on September 30 about this topic only.
The Welland Public Library is organizing a free presentation and Q&A session on September 30 from 6-8 p.m. They will be joined by Irene Goodwin and Teresa Edwards from Legacy of Hope Foundation (LHF). Irene is a Survivor of the Indian Day School System, and both Irene and Teresa are Intergenerational Survivors.
But this is just the beginning of our journey to understand and reconcile. We cannot stop here. We must not stop here. Each day is an opportunity, and as we move past the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we must build towards the next.
I invite Indigenous groups and organizations to connect with staff to assist the City in further embracing and incorporating Indigenous culture into the community.
Frank Campion, Mayor, City of Welland
Competitors wait for their start times this morning at the Five Bridges Fall Classic in Welland on the Welland International Flatwater Centre north course and hosted by the South Niagara Rowing Club. The view is from the Woodlawn Bridge./Photo by Joe Barkovich.
WELLAND – In celebration of Franco-Ontarian Day today (Sept. 25), the City of Welland recognizes and acknowledges Niagara’s Francophone population, holding a Franco-Ontarian flag-raising Friday at City Hall.
The City of Welland, with a community that is 11 per cent French-speaking, is one of Ontario’s 26 designated Francophone communities.
“It is the people who make up our community and what Welland embodies, and the Francophone community in Welland is a vital piece of who we are,” said Mayor Frank Campion. “I am proud to raise the Franco-Ontarian flag in recognition and support of our French-Canadian community here in Welland.”
Visiting Discover Welland — Decouvrir on the City’s website allows visitors a French-language section rich with information on the best places to see and visit in the City as well as highlight Welland’s attractions, history of Francophone culture, sister city Sorel-Tracy in Quebec, and relevant links to related news and resources.
The City of Welland continues to strengthen partnerships with organizations such as Francophone Employment and Resource Centre (CERF-Niagara), Centre de Santé Communautaire, Foyer Richelieu Welland, l’Auberge Richelieu Welland, Collége Boréal, and Paroisse Sacré-Cœur. These organizations are vital in supporting Welland’s French-speaking families.
Minister of Francophone Affairs, the Honourable Caroline Mulroney, also wrote a letter of support to the City of Welland for advancing the Francophone community’s many contributions to the City and the province.
(Source: City of Welland website)
WELLAND – After a one-year absence because of pandemic-related protocols, the Head of the Welland ~ Five Bridges Fall Classic is back in town this Saturday.
Hosted by the South Niagara Rowing Club on the fourth Saturday in September every year (except 2020) since 1980, the popular rowing competition is run on the North Course of the Welland International Flatwater Centre and is in its 39th year. It is held in partnerships with the Welland International Flatwater Centre and the City of Welland.
According to information on Regatta Central, Saturday’s event (as of Wednesday morning, when this was prepared) has 215 entries from 16 participating clubs. The first race gets underway at 9 a.m.
Here is a list of participating clubs:
Argonaut Rowing Club, Toronto, 20 entries; Barrie Rowing Club, Barrie, 1 entry; Don Rowing Club, Mississauga, 29 entries; Georgian Bay Rowing Club, Midland, 1 entry; Hanlan Boat Club, Toronto, 12 entries; Hanlan Rowing Club, Toronto, 1 entry;
Leander Boat Club, Hamilton, 13 entries; London Western Rowing Club, London, 7 entries; Niagara Falls Rowing Club, Niagara Falls, 31 entries; Notre Dame Rowing Club, Welland, 28 entries; Ridley College, St. Catharines, 14 entries; Ridley Grad Boat Club, St. Catharines;
South Niagara Rowing Club, Welland, 23 entries; St. Catharines Rowing Club, St. Catharines, 28 entries; Tillsonburg Rowing Club, Tillsonburg, 1 entry; Unaffiliated (Canada), 1 entry.
The following info, written with clubs and athletes in mind, is found on Regatta Central and makes an interesting read even for locals:
The Race Course begins just south of the old Thorold Road boat launch (end of Thorold Road) with a naturally scenic 1.5 km stretch of open water running beside beautiful Merritt Island and over the historic Aqueduct to the Civic Square. It then proceeds under five bridges travelling 3.7 km south through the heart of the City of Welland to the Finish Line on the North Course of the Welland International Flatwater Centre.
The first bridge is the historic Main Street Bridge, with its towering frame, with the Division Street Bridge just 150 metres away as you pass through the City’s Downtown Core. Opening up after the Division Street Bridge the Recreational Waterway then affords you a 750 metre stretch of uninterrupted water before coming to the Lincoln Bridge. A quick pass under the main columns of the bridge takes you into the community recreation portion of the waterway with another 750 metre stretch of open water before having to navigate the historic Railway Swing Bridge and the Broadway Bridge. The waterway then immediately enters the North Course of the Welland International Flatwater Centre and competitors have approximately 1.2 km remaining to make their move!
There is only one way to pass under the Main Street, and Railway Swing Bridge. The Division Street, Broadway and Lincoln Bridge provide for alternate passage under each bridge within the buoyed course and either passage may be used when one passage appears congested.
(Source: Regatta Central. File photos by Joe Barkovich)
WELLAND – As of September 22, all entrants to some City facilities will need to be fully vaccinated (two doses plus 14 days) and provide their proof of vaccination along with photo ID.
This approach, as part of the provincial proof of vaccination program, focuses on higher-risk indoor public settings where face coverings cannot always be worn. For City of Welland facilities, this includes meeting and event spaces, facilities used for sports and fitness, and sporting events at locations such as:
- City Hall (meeting rooms only at this time)
- Welland Community Wellness Centre (WCWC)
- Welland Arena on King Street
- Welland International Flatwater Centre (WIFC)
- Chippawa Park Community Centre
- Hooker Street Community Centre
“We have followed the public health and provincial guidance throughout this pandemic, and complying with the province’s proof of vaccination system continues to ensure our resident’s safety as they enjoy our facilities,” said Steve Zorbas, CAO. “Staff are preparing for this added level of safety and will do everything possible to make it as smooth and uninterrupted a process as possible.”
For a limited period (on or after September 22, 2021, but before October 13, 2021), for indoor social gatherings associated with weddings and funerals (in meeting and event spaces), the negative result of a COVID-19 antigen test may be provided instead of proof of being fully vaccinated.
The province is developing an enhanced vaccine certificate with a unique QR code and accompanying verification app to allow users to securely and safely verify their vaccination status when scanned. The enhanced vaccine certificate and a verification app to enable businesses to read the QR code will be available beginning October 22. City staff will adopt this method when available.
For more on the City’s guide to reopening and the health and safety measures in place to keep visitors to all City sites and facilities safe, read the reopening document.
(Source: City of Welland news release)