Tag Archives: Welland

City Issues Record-breaking Number Of Building Permits In 2021

WELLANDThe City of Welland concluded 2021, having issued 1,108 building permits, compared to 767 in 2020. Of those permits, 759 were for new dwelling unit starts.

The construction value for all 2021 buildings permits is approximately $245M, resulting in a 22 per cent increase from the estimated construction value for the 767 permits issued in 2020 (approx. $200.1M).

“What these 2021 numbers represent is a strength in the City’s economy and the confidence people have in making Welland a preferred destination for their homes and businesses,” said Grant Munday, director of planning and development services. “We knew coming out of the pandemic that numbers would naturally increase, but the types of permits issued, especially when it comes to apartments and other options for housing, tells you where the City is heading in its growth.”

Residential growth within the city’s built-up area finished at 85 per cent, a 10 per cent increase over the previous year. Built-up growth occurs in areas where municipal services and development already exist, helping the City and Region achieve economies of scale in service delivery and reduce urban sprawl.

The City collects development charges on building permits at the date of issuance. Those charges go toward recovering growth-related costs associated with the capital infrastructure needed to service new development and redevelopment within the City.

Some notable developments in Welland in 2021 include a 4-storey, 103-unit apartment building at 300 South Pelham Road, a 6-storey, 137-unit apartment building at 699 Niagara Street; a 37-unit townhouse development on the south-east corner of Broadway and Perenack Avenue (former Broadway School Site); 108-lot subdivision on the north-west corner of Webber Road and South Pelham Road (known Sparrow Meadows Phase 7) and a 98-lot subdivision on the north side of Sauer Avenue, west of Bradley Avenue (known as Waterways Commons Phase 2).   

It is anticipated that in 2022, the City will once again exceed totals in many categories, highlighting Welland as a premier place to live, work, play, and invest.

(Source: City of Welland news release)

Draft Community Trails Strategy Ready For Community Presentation

/City of Welland graphic)

WELLAND – The City’s draft Community Trails Strategy (CTS) will be presented at a second open house on January 13 from 7-8 p.m. via a Zoom webinar.

 The CTS enhances connectivity and accessibility of both on and off-road trails initiatives that the City and its partners have previously undertaken. In addition, the project aims to identify opportunities for several types of trails and active transportation trips, including commuting, recreation, fitness, and touring.

 “Given the growth the city will experience in the next few decades, now is the exact time to finalize a community trails strategy to guide us into the future,” said Rob Axiak, director of community services. “With a shift toward more active communities and creating spaces for people to walk, run, hike, and bike, this strategy is about as important as anything else going on right now.” 

/File photo Joe Barkovich

Creating an active future for Welland provides options for healthy, active living and more ways to reduce traffic, save money, improve local air quality, support local economies, and make travel easier and safer for those who can’t drive, especially children. Additionally, active transportation and trails support energetic lifestyles, improve physical and mental health, and protect the environment.

 The project will also aim to provide on and off-road connectivity to popular destinations within Welland and the surrounding area, including regional and provincial trails networks.

 Those wishing to participate can register to receive reminders about the event the day before and one hour before the session begins. Anyone looking to learn more can find more information about the project’s timeline and work completed up to this point on EnagageWelland (www.engagewelland.ca/community-trails-strategy)

(Source: City of Welland news release)

14 Images From 2021

By Joe Barkovich

A year-end compilation of selected feature photos from the year many of us would like to forget. But no matter how bad it is, some things are worth recording and remembering, one of the reasons we point our cameras or smartphones and shoot. Welland teems with beauty, nature, events, ceremonies, sports and more. With the year almost in the rear view, let’s not forget to say: thanks for the good stuff!

January: Early Thaw

February: White-breasted Nuthatch Plays Peek-A-Boo!

March: Lost And Found, Chippawa Park.

April: Brrr! Tulips Shiver In Bed

May: Splish, Splash I Was Taking A Bath (three photos)

June: On The Waterfront

July: After The Rain

August: View From The Bridge: Drifters

September: Balancing Act

October: Ouch!

November: Pausing To Remember

December: View From The Bridge: Family Swim

/Photos by Joe Barkovich

Heritage Lives: What Kind Of Year Will We Have To Look Forward To In 2022?

 By Terry Hughes

Our postcard from the past dated 1909 shows an image of a very young person representing the coming year, a symbol that often appeared in publications of the day as we welcome the New Year. And when you look at the times in which it was issued many events were about to take place that showed signs of hope.

 In Canada the passing of Victoria would be followed by the death of her son a few years later and begin the reign of George V that would last until 1936. All of their passings were due to health issues. 

 Here in Welland we were just beginning to enjoy the availability of hydro-electricty for both home and industrial use due to our proximity to Niagara Falls. With the promise of significant traffic, Michigan Central railway was double tracking their lines to Buffalo, Niagara Falls to the east and Detroit to the west that would require a new double track swing bridge across the third canal. Until this was done, the N.S. & T. line was halted just across the Welland River. 

Merchants on East Main and West Main streets were enjoying the placement of a steel swing bridge across the canal that would join these two entities after a thirty year absence. It was christened the Alexandra Bridge after a member of the royal household. 

Our neighbours to the south were going through a change of leadership in a manner that was significantly different than here in Canada. Thanks to an assassin’s bullet, President Teddy Roosevelt would become the new leader and one has to wonder whether this would set a precedent for gun violence in the coming years!  This decade would also mark the growth of the United States as a major industrial giant along with “Jim Crow” in the south. 

Today, we have had to deal with the COVID that has had a negative impact on how we interact with each other. Common courtesies have fallen by the wayside because our daily routines have been interrupted. The imposition of rules and regulations that once were observed by my generation as set down by the authorities are subject to questions by so-called experts through a variety of media today. In an effort to gain respect of the general public we, instead, are confused and tired of long-term solutions that don’t work because we are not pulling in the same direction. And what really has clouded our judgment is that this health issue has become political in both countries! Needless to say, patience is in short supply.

Race and gun issues are very much a part of daily life in the U.S. While doing an interview with a reporter over the devastation of the tornadic storms earlier this month, a local politician was wearing a holstered revolver on his belt. Would you believe that in this day and age, making lynching a federal offence is still opposed by some local politicians in the south. Major cities in both countries but in particular the U.S. are seeing ballooning crime due to gun violence.  

The two hundred-year experiment in democracy is in doubt because extreme right and left wing groups have opposing agendas. Every institution is now questioned and consensus building is now a thing of the past. 

Here in this country political games have led to disruptive feelings of doubt. The resignation of two federal cabinet members because they questioned the leadership is unnerving. In the meantime the opposition is unable to develop clear and common proposals that are agreeable to all of its members

And then we have our own race problems. For too long issues involving treaty, health issues and natural resources have been neglected.  

And what do we say about how the indigenous populations who have had their dignity taken away and placed in residential schools that were supposed to bring them the benefits of Christianity.  

The answers may be found in the many spiritual teachings that we all have been exposed to and mixing them with some common sense, compassion and civility we may eventually find some answers.


Next column: Hanging Out In the 1950s. 

(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.)

A Penny For Her Thoughts Was A Rewarding Encounter

Penny Morningstar points to a notebook kept by her father when he worked at the Welland Union Carbide plant. It is part of a Carbide exhibit at the museum. /Photos by Joe Barkovich.

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

WELLAND – While we were on a whirlwind tour of Welland Historical Museum exhibits a few days before her retirement, museum manager/curator Penny Morningstar stopped at one that is near and dear to her heart.

Inaccessible because it is behind glass, Morningstar shared details about the book, a book that was her father’s.

Her father, George Procter, was a foreman at the Union Carbide plant.

The book on display was a meticulous record of commentary and observations he made while going about his duties on shift. 

“That’s one of the great things about museums,” Morningstar said, gesturing at the keepsake. “They help keep certain things alive.”

The 32-year veteran staffer turned pensive for a while before adding: “This is so good to have, it’s like he’s talking to you.”

Modelling Union Carbide memorabilia.

Welland girl Morningstar attended  Gordon  School, Fitch Street Senior Public School and Centennial Secondary School. In Grade 8 at Fitch Street, Morningstar said her history teacher was Terry Hughes, known to this day for interest in local history and heritage issues.

“He fostered my interest in history,” Morningstar recalled, “as he did with many other students.”

Morningstar loved the work at her hometown museum right from her earliest days on the job in 1989, she said.

Later in her career, she became the museum’s public face in the community, relishing the opportunities that came along. Two recent high profile examples: the annual Remembrance Day community commemoration at Chippawa Park, and a few years ago, ceremonies in Welland cemeteries for workers who were killed on the job during construction of the Welland Ship Canal. Morningstar’s knowledge of local history made her ideal as the museum’s liaison with outside groups and projects. 

Curator/manager for the past six years, Morningstar earned solid footing in the museum field through a gamut of job responsibilities such as educational programmer, archivist and collections person and assistant curator.

More than three decades of experience make Morningstar qualified to talk about museums and their importance to a community.

“Museums are critical to the health of a community. They can be the only voice there is about a particular ethnic group or about various social issues, for example. They tell the whole story and from that perspective they have a major responsibility to be the voice of the community.

A job with opportunities for meeting famous people

“Our biggest gift to the community is to create opportunities where people who haven’t been heard will be. We can create opportunities for them to become a voice.”

Assistant curator Tami Nail worked with Morningstar about six years. She says Morningstar influenced her to pursue museum studies at school.

“My mom was Penny’s nurse and she would talk to Penny about undergraduate studies and what I should do. Penny suggested I look into museum studies.”

She’s happy she followed that advice.

She attended Algonquin College in Ottawa and after graduation found jobs at a few local museums before starting in Welland.

“Penny’s name is synonymous with the museum here in Welland,” Nail said. “Everyone who comes in knows Penny. If they don’t know her by name they know her by her hair colour. And Penny knows everything about Welland. Not only museum staff but the community is going to miss her.”

Nail was effusive in her praise of Morningstar’s leadership skills and style.

“Penny’s  great in giving instructions and then stepping back. She gave me space to spread my wings and I will always be thankful for that. Not all curators are like that. ”

History teacher Hughes had no trouble recalling his eighth grade student when asked about her.

“Penny was a keener,” Hughes said. “She was always very focused when it came to history. I remember her being one of those students who have a feeling for history. She was always focused on what was going on in the classroom, a great participant.”

That interest turned out to be an on-going, lifetime characteristic.

“Even after, when I’d bump into Penny here and there, that enthusiasm was still very good, very strong,” Hughes said.

Morningstar told me she will take it easy for the next couple of months now that the museum has become part of her past. As for the future there are decisions to be made, but travel with her husband seems to loom large.


As she prepares for retirement after more than 30 years of service, the Welland Museum extends a profound thanks to long-time team member Penny Morningstar.

Penny’s retirement (December 23 was her last day at the museum) marks the final leg of a career that began in 1989. In her current position as General Manager and Curator, she was the driving force behind the creation and installation of incredible exhibits and programming, as well as the daily operation of the museum.

“I truly believe museums play an important role in our way of life,” Morningstar said. “They are places to explore, to share our stories and to reconnect with each other. They’re places where we can all be given a voice.”

Among a wide range of accomplishments, Morningstar was instrumental in building an ongoing dialogue with the Métis community in Niagara. This work resulted in the creation of a Métis permanent exhibit, which was developed and created by the Niagara Region Métis Council.

Morningstar has been recognized with a certificate of achievement from Dale Carnegie and has received numerous community involvement awards. These include recognition from the City of Welland, the Heritage Welland 1812 Bicentennial Committee, the Canada 150 committee and an acknowledgment from CERF Niagara for the museum’s partnership with Welland’s Francophone community.

“Welland is a historic community, and Penny has worked amazingly hard over the years to bring that history to light. We hope to carry on her legacy by continuing to preserve that history and bring it forward to new generations,” museum board chair Greg D’Amico said.

The Board of Management is presently accepting applications for a new Operations Manager for the museum, carrying on Penny’s achievements for the future.

Penny Morningstar pictured with part of the Métis permanent exhibit


/Photo by Joe Barkovich

A near the end-of-the-year look at what’s ahead on the blog:

Tuesday, December 28: Penny Morningstar, above, Welland Historical Museum’s curator/manager who retired last week after 32 years at the museum, will be missed, says a former co-worker. Morningstar will be missed not only by museum staff, but by many in the community, where she was well known and highly regarded.

Wednesday, December 29: The Heritage Lives columnist, Terry Hughes, enjoys writing about yesteryear, particularly local history, heritage, culture and occasionally, politics. But he steps out of his comfort zone for Wednesday’s column, where he tries crystal balling what may be ahead in 2022. 

Thursday, December 30:  My picks of some of 2021’s favourite pix.

Thanks for reading and following fromareportersnotebook.wordpress.com

The Poignancy Along The Merritt Island Trails

Part 3 in the ‘Christmas Presents’ series

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

WELLAND – Spots along Merritt Island’s trails have been decorated with love and remembrance this time of year.

It is so poignant.

No matter how many times we walk the trails, especially the upper one, I take a few minutes to admire the tinsel, tree ornaments, memorabilia and other items put in place by family and/or friends of those who have passed.

Some Christmases there have been many of these decorated trees and benches, some years not so. This year is one of the latter. Not all displays are seasonal, some are for extended periods or even year round.

I returned Tuesday morning for a last-minute walk of a portion of the upper trail after not having been there for maybe a couple of weeks.  

Good to see  that many decorations still were in their places, withstanding high winds and rain that came earlier in the month. But I remember talking to another walker who said at least one of the decorated sites was taken down last month after being buffeted by angry winds.

I know these beautiful, moving tributes to passed loved ones touch the hearts of others on the trail because I am not the only one who gives them pause and thought.

Tuesday,  I watched as a couple of walkers who were ahead of me stopped to gather up two decorations that had fallen from branches and return them to the tree.

“Love lives here,” the young woman said as I stopped nearby. “This is such a special place.”

Next in the Christmas Presents series: Exclusive! Meet Mrs. Claus!!!! Publication: Thursday, December 23.