Ontario Leading COVID-19 Research in Canada

by The Niagara Independent

The Ontario government is quickly moving forward with innovative research to prevent, detect and treat COVID-19. These projects, part of the government’s $20 million Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund, focus on areas of research such as vaccine development, diagnostics, drug trials and development, and social sciences. Additionally, Ontario is leading the country with 22 clinical trials investigating COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.

covid research

Lincoln loses boys Canadian fast pitch championships due to COVID-19

by The Niagara Independent

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Softball Canada, in consultation with the 2021 Canada Games Host Society and the Provincial/Territorial Softball Organizations, has made the decision to cancel both the U14 and U16 Boys Canadian Fast Pitch Championships that were scheduled to take place from August 5 to 9, 2020 at Southward Park in Grimsby and at Jordan Lions Park in Lincoln.

Province closes schools until September and Brock convocation goes virtual

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara’s elementary and high school students won’t be heading back to the classroom. On Tuesday, the provincial government confirmed that Ontario’s schools would remain closed for the rest of the academic year.

The closures include public and private schools, licensed child care centres and EarlyON programs. The province said it is expecting a gradual reopening of child care services once public health indicators permit Ontario to transition to Stage 2 of its overall reopening framework. Emergency child care will continue to operate and provide support for health care and other frontline workers.

empty classroom

A brief history of the handshake

by The Niagara Independent

Congratulating a colleague, sealing a business deal, or concluding a round of golf: we have all shaken hands at some point in our lives.

But why — with a world of possible gestures and forms of physical contact — do we, particularly in the West, feel the need to clasp palms with everyone from close companions to strangers on the street?

The trend is our friend

by The Niagara Independent

Throughout the last few months, doctors, epidemiologists, mathematicians and everyone in between have started to advance graphs and formulas to try to explain where COIVD-19 spread has been, is currently and where it’s going.  There have been thousands of online debates about which measure is the best measure to determine which country has had the most success or the least success in dealing with COVID-19.


Will the Internet and Social Media Kickstart Business In Niagara?

by The Niagara Independent

COVID-19 has hit hard. Businesses shutdown, people have lost their jobs and are sitting at home waiting for the day they can restart their business and/or go back to work. Starting just last weekend across Niagara and the province, hardware and safety supply stores were allowed to open to the general public to shop, with safety measures laid out by the Government of Ontario.

smartphone screen

Canadian scholar, academic leader to be Brock’s next Provost

by The Niagara Independent

Lynn Wells, an accomplished scholar and academic leader, will be Brock University’s new Provost and Vice-President Academic, effective July 1, 2020.
Brock President Gervan Fearon made the announcement Monday, May 11, welcoming the scholar and researcher to Niagara. Wells is currently the Associate Vice-President, Students and Teaching at MacEwan University in Edmonton, and previously served as the Provost and Vice-President, Academic, and Acting President at the First Nations University of Canada, in Regina. She has many years experience as a professor, teacher and researcher in the Department of English, including scholarly work in contemporary British fiction.

Lynn Wells

A Cautious Light at the End of the COVID-19 Tunnel

by The Niagara Independent

On Wednesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that all retail stores with a street entrance will be permitted to provide curbside pickup and delivery, as well as in-store payment and purchases at garden centres, nurseries, hardware stores and safety supply stores.

garden centre

Niagara Taking the Fight to COVID-19

by The Niagara Independent

On Wednesday and in response to an emergency order issued by the provincial government, Niagara Health is taking new action to further support Niagara’s long-term care and retirement homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
New measures include clinical consultation, supporting retirement and long-term care home staffing needs and assistance in managing outbreaks to help stabilize care and the environment for residents and staff.


Province to Use Data Driven Approach to Staged Re-Opening of Economy

by The Niagara Independent

Instead of a hard date many had expected, Premier Ford along with several key ministers outlined criteria that Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts will use as a basis to begin a staged reopening of Ontario.

Premier Ford and ministers

Bills average A- grade overall amongst draft analysts

by The Niagara Independent

Despite lacking a first round pick (thanks to a blockbuster trade up for top-tier receiver Stefon Diggs), the Buffalo Bills managed to turn in a solid scorecard for this year’s NFL draft.

With the 54th overall selection, Buffalo nabbed 21-year-old defensive end out of Iowa, A.J. Epenesa. Standing 6’ 5”, weighing 280 lb., the former Hawkeye is massive. What he lacks in flash and burst, he makes up for in power and rush versatility.

A.J Epenesa

Business Community Working Towards Recovery Phase but Immediate Risks Remain

by The Niagara Independent

Businesses have been particularly hard hit from the widespread COVID-19 pandemic and are continuing to work closely with various levels of government to address the challenges of today and what an economic recovery could look like.

closed sign

Wrestlers top Badgers’ athletic awards

by The Niagara Independent

The Brock Badgers didn’t let the cancellation of their annual awards gala stop them from celebrating their student-athletes.
The Badgers took to social media to hold a virtual gala, hosted by Matt Bonomi of Brock TV, in order to recognize and pay tribute to Brock’s outstanding 2019-20 season.

Brock wrestlers, Clayton Pye and Hannah Taylor

COVID-19: Outbreak Declared in St. Catharines Inpatient Unit 4A

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara Health declared an outbreak of COVID-19 on inpatient Unit 4A at the St. Catharines Hospital Site on Tuesday after one of their healthcare workers tested positive for the virus.
The outbreak, which is on the unit that is dedicated for caring for COVID-19 patients, was declared after an investigation determined the case was healthcare-associated. The involved staff member is at home and currently self-isolating. Niagara Health along with Niagara Regional Public Health has said they will continue to monitor the situation closely and adjust their measures as required to ensure everyone’s safety.


COVID-19 and Niagara

by The Niagara Independent

The Niagara region continues to try and flatten the curve of the rising number of cases of COVID-19. As of last night there were a total of 189 cases in Niagara with 10 new cases reported on Thursday and 18 new cases reported on Wednesday. A total of 66 cases have been resolved and 10 people have died in Niagara as a result of the virus according to Niagara’s Public Health Department. There are more than 5,200 cases across Ontario and 174 deaths.


Bit of local history goes viral

by The Niagara Independent

At the end of last month, a Twitter thread about a locally invented snack went viral.

The series of tweets, posted by former Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon staff writer Sage Boggs, revealed the fascinating history of the word “Triscuit”.

Minister for Small Business holds soft launch of province-wide consultation in Niagara

by The Niagara Independent

In early March, Ontario’s Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction Prabmeet Sarkaria, formally announced the launch of a province-wide consultation to determine how the government can best help small businesses thrive and compete, both now and into the future.

Minister Prabmeet Sarkaria

Niagara and COVID-19

by The Niagara Independent

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect residents in Hamilton and Niagara, the Niagara Independent is committing to sharing up to date local information.

As of midnight Monday there were a total of 149 confirmed cases in Niagara with 33 of those cases being resolved and six deaths. Niagara Health has tested more than 2,200 people for the COVID-19 virus.  There were 13 new cases on Monday.


What’s next for North America’s ‘Big Four’ sports leagues?

by The Niagara Independent

Athletic events have all but disappeared amidst the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, leaving fans, players, coaches, and multi-billion dollar operations in limbo.

Will there be a return to relative normalcy any time soon? Or will sporting in Canada and the United States remain on indefinite hiatus for the foreseeable future?

major sports logos

Niagara and COVID-19

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara continues to wrestle with escalating cases of COVID-19 including outbreaks being declared at four Niagara long-term care homes. As of midnight yesterday, there were 21 new cases reported bringing the total number of infected Niagara residents to 82 (67 active cases). Four Niagara residents have died as a result of the virus.


While the City of St. Catharines tops Niagara’s list of highest paid chief administrative officers, the 2019 Ontario Sunshine List no longer includes its former CAO, Dan Carnegie who had continued to be paid despite his retirement in June of 2017.
The 2017 Ontario Sunshine List shows Carnegie collected $239,388 that year and $214,978 in 2018. Both the 2017 and 2018 records indicate that Carnegie was employed by St. Catharines as its chief administrative officer.

Canadian twenty dollars bills

Brock and Niagara College step up in fight against COVID-19

by The Niagara Independent

As the number of Niagara residents testing positive for COVID-19 continues to rise (as of last night there were 34 cases in Niagara with six resolved) local businesses and organizations have been stepping up to help in the fight of flattening the curve of transmissions. While on-campus classes have shut down at Niagara’s two post-secondary institutions, Brock and Niagara College, have joined others in refocusing their efforts to make critically needed supplies and help in other aspects as well.
Brock has made available supplies of gloves, masks and chemicals to Niagara Public Health, and researchers are also discussing ways to use the University’s Level 3 containment laboratory (CL3).

Brock University Makerspace Co-ordinator Tabitha Lewis

The $100k+ Club: Niagara’s Police, Fire and EMS Services

by The Niagara Independent

Both leaders and front-line workers employed in Niagara’s emergency services sector were well represented on this year’s Ontario Sunshine list.
The Niagara Independent would like to give a heart-felt thank you to all those serving in Niagara’s emergency services. The Independent recognizes your heroic contributions to the Niagara community in keeping our communities safe, particularly during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

fire station

Niagara’s $100k+ Club: Education, Health, Parks and Escarpment

by The Niagara Independent

Despite the dark times in Ontario, the province’s Sunshine List was recently released. The annual list of public sector employees making more than $100,000 per year is normally a topic of interest.
The top five earners in Niagara were all from Niagara’s post-secondary institutions and Niagara Health collectively earning $1,748,194.65.

Canadian twenty dollars bills

Crises make for strange political bedfellows

by The Niagara Independent

In the last few weeks, an understandable, yet strange, crossing of political divides has more and more frequently appeared in Canadian politics. This has taken the form of partisans on both sides of the political aisle handing out praise to otherwise mortal political enemies.

premier Ford and PM Trudeau

Bills make some big moves

by The Niagara Independent

Looking to build on last year’s 10-6 playoff-worthy season, the Buffalo Bills made some major moves recently.

Perhaps the most notable acquisition saw the Bills trade for wide receiver Stefon Diggs from the Minnesota Vikings. The Bills gave up their 2020 first, fifth and sixth round draft picks and a fourth in 2021 in the exchange. Diggs, who boasts 30 career touchdowns and is coming off of two consecutive seasons with over 1,000 receiving yards, will help beef up a lacklustre Bills receiving corps that ranked 26th in passing last season.

josh allen, quarterback for the bills

Provinces orders businesses closed

by The Niagara Independent

Effective today at 11:59 p.m. all Ontario businesses not deemed to be essential are being ordered to close up shop. The Ontario Government announced the decision yesterday in order to help further contain the spread of COVID-19.

closed sign

Niagara Falls tourism industry staying strong in hard times

by The Niagara Independent

Janice Thomson has stopped using the word “unprecedented”. The CEO of Niagara Falls Tourism has heard it too many times but she admits it’s hard to find another word to describe what has happened in Niagara, across Canada and around the world as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Thomson herself is in day six of self-quarantine after returning to Canada from a vacation abroad. She continues to work from home, speaking with tourism leaders and monitoring the situation on a daily basis. “The world has changed. Who would have ever expected something like this?”

Further Local Action Taken to Address COVID-19

by The Niagara Independent

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads, so does the actions taken by local health agencies and organizations across Niagara and Hamilton.
Niagara Health has indicated they will no longer be accepting patient visitors as part of their ongoing efforts to maintain a safe environment. To assist the public’s ability to keep in contact with loved ones, Niagara Health has provided all patients with free Wi-Fi, telephone and television service. Though case-by-case exceptions may be made, Niagara Health expects these restrictions to be in place for the next several weeks.


Dogs done: OHL regular season shut down

by The Niagara Independent

Ontario Hockey League Commissioner David Branch announced on Wednesday that the 2019-20 OHL regular season is done.
Following a meeting with the OHL Board of Governors and consultation with medical professionals, it was determined that the remaining 56 games of the 2019-20 OHL Regular Season schedule will not played.

ice dogs playing hocking in the meridian centre

Changes to services in Niagara Municipalities

by The Niagara Independent

A number of municipalities across Niagara have closed public facilities and/or limiting or stopping services. This information will be updated regularly.
The City of Niagara Falls has made the decision to activate a full closure of all City facilities to the public, including City Hall. Effective at 4:30 pm yesterday, all City buildings are closed and remain closed to the public until further notice. The city said it anticipates the closures to last for at least two weeks.

service disruption

COVID-19 Updates

by The Niagara Independent

Information regarding the global pandemic of COVID-19 changes hourly. Traditional news articles are out of date as fast as the media can produce them. As such, this ‘article’ will provide some of the more prevalent recent news and notes at a glance from around Ontario and Canada.

covid-19 virus

COVID-19 and the impact on Niagara

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara Region Public Health and Emergency Services are investigating a third confirmed case of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the region. A 47-year-old male with a travel history to Europe tested positive yesterday.
According to Niagara’s Public Health Department, the patient is recovering at home in self-isolation and has interacted only with his immediate family during the time he may have been contagious, and has not exposed anyone in the community. Officials said all protocols were followed by health care providers resulting in no exposure of themselves nor other patients.

niagara region

Local Health and Community Agencies Respond to Emerging COVID-19 Situation

by The Niagara Independent

The last several days has seen a flurry of activity with local health and community agencies responding to the developing COVID-19 situation.
Niagara Health announced Monday that they are postponing elective procedures as part of that response. To protect patient safety and to increase capacity for healthcare workers, the Ontario government has requested that all hospitals ramp down elective surgeries and other non-emergent clinical activity.

st catharines hospital

UPDATED: Niagara Health prepared for COVID-19

by The Niagara Independent

While there’s no doubt things are changing around the world at a rapid pace as a result of the continuing spread of COVID-19 things remain business as usual at Niagara’s hospitals.
In an interview with The Niagara Independent Dr. Johan Viljoen Niagara Health’s Chief of Staff said they’ve been meeting and planning around the infectious disease since January. “We started in mid-to-late January when it was obvious it was going to be a when and not if situation,” explained Dr. Viljoen.

st catharines hospital

Open Your Wallets: Niagara’s Large 2020 Tax Grab

by The Niagara Independent

With few exceptions, Niagara homeowners didn’t fare that well in 2020 when it came to property tax increases.
As a benchmark, the rate of inflation over the past year was approximately 2.2%.

tax increase

After Raucous Start, Grimsby Council Approves Double Digit Tax Hike at 13.4%

by The Niagara Independent

Grimsby’s final 2020 budget is set after Town Council approved a 13.4% tax increase for Grimsby homeowners on Monday, after being reduced from a proposed 16.7%.
The increase will result in an additional $137 in local taxes and when combined with the regional and education levies, an average Grimsby home valued at $443,686 will see an increase of $317.

grimsby council

Getting Canada’s economic and climate house in order

by The Niagara Independent

Recent events demonstrate that Canada must urgently find common ground on how to balance climate policy with a commitment to support economic growth. Canadian businesses understand the serious need to address climate change and we urge you to use the upcoming federal budget as an opportunity to find a balance with our economic development.
The role of business is greater than just creating and providing the goods and services that people use. Business matters for other reasons: We invent. We innovate. We invest. We build wealth and, yes, we create the jobs that allow us to provide for ourselves and our families. We contribute to building strong communities and to addressing social problems, including climate change.

trevin stratton

Ioannoni Wants Apology after Breaking Code of Conduct, Losing Positions and Pay

by The Niagara Independent

It has been a turbulent two weeks or so for Niagara Falls City Councillor Carolynn Ioannoni.

City Council has stripped Ioannoni of 90 days pay and she’s been removed from the boards and committees for the duration of this term after the City’s Integrity Commissioner had found she had broken the confidentiality provisions of the Councillor Code of Conduct.  This is the maximum penalty a Council is permitted to place on a Councillor.

Ioannoni now wants a public apology from City Council and a reversal of punishment. 

carolynn ioanoni

Unknown allegations against CAO leaves Grimsby council divided

by The Niagara Independent

The past week has highlighted a significant divide on Grimsby’s Town Council over their support of their CAO, Harry Schlange. Schlange has been with the Town for just 5 months.
Last week, Mayor Jeff Jordan placed Schlange on administrative leave and scheduled a special council meeting to deal with the matter. A majority of councillors did not attend the meeting despite confirming their availability earlier that day. It is not known what prompted the Mayor to place Schlange on leave.

grimsby council chambers

Brock set to host U SPORTS Wrestling National Championships

by The Niagara Independent

The Brock Badgers wrestling team will be aiming for its seventh-straight national title as it hosts the U SPORTS Wrestling Championships at Brock University Friday, Feb. 21 and Saturday, Feb. 22.
Both the men’s and women’s teams head into the championships ranked No. 1 in the country, having recently won their fifth and sixth-consecutive provincial titles, respectively, in dominating fashion.

Brock university wrestler

Feds & Province Announce $2 million to support Ontario Grape Growers

by The Niagara Independent

On Monday, the provincial and federal governments announced $2.0 million for the new Marketing and Vineyard Improvement Program (MVIP) that will help vineyards across Ontario face new and emerging industry challenges. The announcement was made by Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Sam Oosterhoff, Member of Provincial Parliament for Niagara West and Chris Bittle, Member of Parliament for St. Catharines.
The program, which will begin accepting applications on March 5, 2020 and delivered through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, will provide industry support to grape growers by helping vineyards in Ontario adapt to ongoing and emerging growing challenges. Through a cost-sharing funding, the program will assist vineyards in implementing new technologies to supply high-quality grapes to Ontario’s wine producers.

Wine industry leaders and politicians at Pelham Estates Winery

NDP long term care claims don’t add up

by The Niagara Independent

At the end of last month, Niagara’s NDP MPPs held a press conference in Niagara Falls to address the shortage of long-term care beds in the city and region at large.

According to The Standard, “…the Ontario NDP reported no new long-term care beds were created in Niagara Falls from 2014 through 2019.” While accurate, the irony of the statement seemingly escaped the representative from Niagara Falls: Wayne Gates.

a room with a bed and a walker

Brock women’s soccer player to lace up for Trinidad & Tobago U20 squad

by The Niagara Independent

There will be a Brock Badger on the field when 20 international soccer teams clash at the 2020 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship in the Dominican Republic from Feb. 22 to March 8.
Brock midfielder Arnelle Douglas, a second-year Humanities student from Bowmanville, was recently named to the Trinidad & Tobago U20 squad that will compete for a chance to qualify for the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in August.

two university students playing soccer

Brock basketball honours seniors with a pair of wins

by The Niagara Independent

The essence of family was on full display during Seniors Night at Bob Davis Gymnasium.
The Brock men’s and women’s basketball teams celebrated their senior players with a pair of wins. The men beat the York Lions 94-81 in front of a sold-out crowd while the women defeated York 73-55..
The Badgers men honoured senior players Tyler Brown and Mitch Saunders, including Operations Coordinator William Gatchalian, during a pre-game ceremony prior to tip off.

Brock Badger basketball players

St. Catharines residents fed up with GM site

by The Niagara Independent

Bayshore Groups arrived in St. Catharines in 2014 to great fanfare. They purchased the former General Motors plant on Ontario Street for $12.5 million. Residents and local politicians at the time were thrilled thinking the plant would finally be demolished, cleaned up and sold to a developer who would bring the property back to life. It didn’t quite turn out that way.
At this week’s St. Catharines city council meeting, Coun. Karrie Porter brought forward a motion to take action on cleaning up the site after residents told council loud and clear that they’ve had enough of the eyesore and safety hazard.

general motors plant

Prettiest town gets pretty big tax hike

by The Niagara Independent

The Monday, January 20 meeting of Niagara-on-the-Lake Town Council saw an increase in municipal taxes of 8.62% representing $92 more for the average NOTL urban homeowner.
According to the Town, the significant increase was largely due to legal fees, staff salaries, a transfer to the capital reserve and flood mitigation. Council opted to transfer $650,000 from the parking reserve to the operating expenses on a one-time basis to mitigate the increase in taxes. This transfer is not expected to continue in future years and will need to be accommodated for in next year’s budget.

niagara on the lake town hall sign

Nearly 10 million for Niagara communities

by The Niagara Independent

A number of Niagara’s cities and towns recently received a financial shot in the arm from the province. Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff announced nearly $10 million in funding for 11 of the region’s municipalities.
The Ontario government has allocated $200 million through the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF) to 424 small, rural and northern communities across the province. The funding is designated for core infrastructure projects, including building and repairing roads, bridges, water and wastewater infrastructure.


Region’s CAO selection process begins soon

by The Niagara Independent

Last night before the Region’s monthly council meeting, a special meeting was held to discuss a few items, one of which was the selection of Niagara’s next Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). While many councillors were eager to get on with the process they also had many questions and suggestions for the CAO recruitment policy that was tabled for their review.
In the end council voted to send it back to staff stalling the search for the Region’s next CAO.

niagara region

Brock expands business program to U.K.

by The Niagara Independent

Brock University Business students now have the opportunity to study and work in the United Kingdom thanks to a new partnership with Lancaster University.
The agreement allows students from the Goodman School of Business to study at the Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) as part of Goodman’s Bachelor of Business Administration Co-op International Double Degree program.

The Charles Carter building

Kennedy is College’s new President

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara College has tapped one of its own to become just the sixth President since post secondary institution was founded in Welland more than half a century ago.
The College’s Board of Governors announced late last week the selection of Sean Kennedy as Niagara College’s new president after beginning its search back in July 2019.

sean kennedy

Local music legend passes away at 67

by The Niagara Independent

When word got out last week that drumming legend Neil Peart passed away at age 67, fans across Canada — and indeed the world — were equally surprised and saddened.

Peart kept news of his terminal brain cancer under wraps for the better part of three and a half years. Most people had no idea he was even ill.

neil peart

SNIP almost snipped from Region’s budget

by The Niagara Independent

Despite almost being snipped from the budget by Niagara Regional Council, the Niagara Region’s Smarter Niagara Investment Program (SNIP) was maintained thanks to passionate please from regional councillors whose communities have benefited greatly from the incentive.
The Smarter Niagara Investment Program at its core supports local municipalities in offering incentives to local businesses in order to attract new development or significant improvements to existing buildings. Investments made into façade improvements in downtown communities for example have brought public benefit via improved streetscaping and rising property values. The program also helps entice new developments that in the long run increase tax revenues.

frank campion

Niagara Health appoints new President

by The Niagara Independent

Tuesday, February 18 will be the first day on the job for Niagara Health’s new president Lynn Guerriero. Following a national search, Guerriero’s appointment was unanimous by the board that in a media release citied her, “unique set of skills, passion and vision for high-quality healthcare in Niagara” as making her the right choice.
Guerriero has more than three decades of leadership, management and clinical experience within a variety of healthcare settings, including multi-site acute care, rehabilitation and community care. She also has extensive senior leadership experience providing hands-on implementation and oversight of provincial programs, agencies and sectors of the health system.

Lynn Guerriero headshot

Gallant helps Badgers into national rankings

by The Niagara Independent

When the Brock Badgers women’s basketball team return from the holiday break to start the 2020 portion of their season, their first home game of the new year will be the latest edition of the Paint the Meridian Red game back at the Meridian Centre on Saturday, Jan. 11.
The team has come a long way in the past two years. Brock’s women’s basketball team headed into the holiday break riding a six-game winning streak. Their 9-1 record has them ranked first in the OUA Central division and No. 9 in the nation.

Kristin Gallant and teammates

West Lincoln hospital moves to next step in new build

by The Niagara Independent

Good news over the holidays for the residents of west Niagara as the province has approved stage two functional program funding for the redevelopment of West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH) in Grimsby.
Local MPP Sam Oosterhoff announced the Ford government has issued approval for Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) to proceed to stage two of the Functional Program for the local West Niagara hospital.

west Lincoln memorial hospital

Falls ready to rock New Years

by The Niagara Independent

With the hustle and bustle of Christmas Eve and Christmas day now in the rear view mirror, the world’s most famous address gears up for its annual New Year ’s Eve bash.
Niagara Falls will once again countdown to the New Year at Queen Victoria Park in style as thousands are expected to fill the grounds in front of the large stage that will see Canadian rocker Bryan Adams headline with opening acts Juno Award winning, multi-platinum musical phenomenon Walk Off the Earth and rising pop-star, Niagara Falls’ own Valerie .

fireworks over the falls

Gift to College’s School of Business will help with business productivity innovation

by The Niagara Independent

Christmas came early to Niagara College’s School of Business as a gift from RBC Foundation will enhance opportunities for students while helping small- and medium-sized enterprises increase productivity.
RBC Foundation announced earlier this week a $150,000 – pledged over a three-year period – to support NC’s Productivity Innovation Lab (PiLab). The gift was funded through RBC’s Future Launch, a 10-year $500-million commitment to help Canadian youth prepare for the jobs of tomorrow.

rbc and niagara college representative

Niagara’s biggest tax hike in a decade

by The Niagara Independent

Residents in Niagara will see a sharp increase in the amount of taxes they will be paying next year as the Regional government passed its 2020 budget last Thursday night. The increases include a 5.92 per cent overall property tax increase, a 5.15 per cent hike on the water and waste water tax bill as well as a 9.9 per cent increase for waste management services despite a reduction in waste management services. It’s the largest tax increase in at least a decade.
For the average property assessed at $277,044, the Regional portion of the tax bill will increase by $86, totalling $1,602 in 2020 according to staff. This does not include local municipal taxes which will increase as well with the exception of Welland which is looking at a tax decrease for 2020.

Wayne Redekop

Welland residents to enjoy lower city taxes next year

by The Niagara Independent

After learning they’ll soon be hit with the highest tax increase in a decade from the Region, residents of the Rose City got welcome financial relief from their own municipality recently as Welland City Council has approved a tax rate decrease.
In fact, Welland council lead by Mayor Frank Campion has managed a decrease in city taxes while at the same time budgeting for a record $62 million in capital spending for 2020. Welland City Council approved the municipal 2020 tax-supported Capital and Operating Budgets on Dec. 10, 2019. The budget process took two-months and included budget deliberations and a public engagement campaign.

Welland City Hall

Scheer Steps down as Tory Leader

by The Niagara Independent

Around midday yesterday Andrew Scheer shocked many around the country when he resigned as Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.
“This was the most difficult decision I have ever had to make”, Scheer said. “I have announced my intention to step down as the Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada once a new Leader is elected. I am putting my party first and my family first.”

Andrew Scheer in the House of Commons

Region and municipal tax increases could impact renters

by The Niagara Independent

Those renting their apartments, condos or homes in Niagara could be in for a rude awakening given the sharp tax increase by the Region coupled with their local municipal tax increase (with the exception of Welland whose council passed a tax decrease this week). Region and municipal property tax increases should be a concern for renters because any tax increase more than 3.3 % allows the landlord to appeal for a rent increase above and beyond the 2.2% provincial guideline.
The Region has raised property taxes 5.85% on 44% of the tax bill, St. Catharines for example looks like its taxes will increase 3.65% on 44% of your tax bill (St. Catharines is set to vote on its budget Monday Dec. 16). The school boards make up the remaining 12%.

rent sign on a lawn

Waste Collection Woes

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara Region’s waste collection woes just keep getting worse.
Earlier this fall, the Region decided to reduce services to the public by moving to every other week garbage pickup, reducing some bag limits and discontinuing some services. Despite a reduction in service – under the guise of ‘cost-saving’ efforts – waste management costs are actually set to increase by 10% each year for the next three years.

garbage truck and worker

Construction contractor for Summer Games announced

by The Niagara Independent

The Niagara 2021 Canada Summer Games announced yesterday that Ontario-based Aquicon Construction has been awarded the contract to build two of the key legacy projects for the Games – Canada Games Park and the Henley Rowing Centre. Construction will begin immediately for the Canada Games Park project that will host a number of different athletic events for the Games in 2021.
“This is yet another significant milestone in our preparation for the Games,” explained Doug Hamilton, Chair of the Niagara 2021 Canada Summer Games Host Society. “We look forward to working with Aquicon to develop facilities that will not only greatly enhance the 2021 Canada Games, but will also leave a critical legacy for many years after the Games.”

summer games park

Premiers going nuclear

by The Niagara Independent

Yesterday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that they will work collaboratively to develop new energy producing technology. Canada’s provincial leaders are currently gathered in Mississauga for meetings.
“Ontario, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick agreed today to work together to explore new, cutting-edge technology in nuclear power generation to provide carbon-free, affordable, reliable, and safe energy, while helping us unlock economic potential across Canada, including rural and remote regions,” read the statement released by the three premiers.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe.

Updated: Ombudsman Report on region hiring released

by The Niagara Independent

The long awaited report into the hiring of former Niagara Region CAO Carmen D’Angelo was released late last week by the Ontario Ombudsman, Paul Dube. The 74-page report provides detailed information on the Ombudsman’s investigative process, background information and 16 recommendations to council moving forward.
“The Regional Municipality of Niagara’s 2016 CAO hiring process was an inside job, tainted by the improper disclosure of confidential information to a candidate – a candidate who was ultimately successful and became the region’s most senior administrator,” said Mr. Dubé in his report.

Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dube

Strong showing for Badgers at rugby nationals

by The Niagara Independent

On paper the Brock Badgers men’s rugby team were the No. 8 seed coming into the national finals tournament but they played like a much higher ranked team on the field. After dropping the first game to No. 1 ranked UBC, the Badgers powered their way past Guelph in the consolation semifinals and then flexed their durability against McGill.
“This win means a lot to us, we play as a family, we are brothers win or lose,” said senior Victory Eichie, about the McGill victory. Eichie was named the Man of the Match. “Coming from one of our worst seasons last year to one of our best this year is surreal, we owe it all the coaching staff, the athletic therapists holding us together and the strength and conditioning staff. We play a game with 15 players on the field, but our success this year took more than 50 individuals.”

badgers rugby

Young Niagara curlers rocking the house

by The Niagara Independent

The curling season has begun in Niagara and local curlers have had some early success in provincial competitions.
Last weekend the St. Catharines Golf and Country Club hosted one of two regional playoffs for the Under 21 Ontario Curling Championships. At stake were three men’s and three women’s spots in the Provincial U21 championships to be held just after Christmas in Guelph. Those championships will see just eight men’s and eight women’s teams qualify for a four-day championship bonspiel.


Local company gets merchandise contract for Summer Games

by The Niagara Independent

The Niagara 2021 Canada Summer Games has announced that local athletic wear company RegattaSport, will be the official licensed merchandising partner. Founded in 1988 and located in St. Catharines, RegattaSport is well known to the local rowing community for providing athletic wear and regatta merchandise.

In a statement, Games’ Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer Steve Katzman said, “The RFP process canvassed previous Games’ suppliers, in addition to suppliers from across Canada and Niagara. In the end, the proposal from RegattaSport embodied the logistics as well as the spirit we were looking for; they checked all the boxes. RegattaSport has an outstanding reputation for providing quality athletic merchandise, as evidenced by the fact that their founders are former world class rowers; and so they have a clear understanding of the importance of athletics and what these Games will mean to Niagara.”

RegattaSport announcement

Niagara Falls development still moving forward

by The Niagara Independent

The billion dollar development project planned for south Niagara Falls that has faced tiresome opposition from a loud handful of environmentalists, is still moving forward said that city’s mayor Jim Diodati.

thundering waters

Niagara College tops list in research report

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara College (NC) is celebrating two decades of applied research activity this year. To add to the milestone celebrations a recent report put the college atop a list of 50 other colleges across Canada when it comes to research.
In its annual report “Top 50 Research Colleges,” Research Infosource Inc. announced that Niagara College has secured the number one ranking in the country, based on total research funding numbers for 2018. In fact, this represents the fifth year in a row the College has made the Top 10.

niagara college research

Summer Games mascot unveiled on national stage

by The Niagara Independent

With any national or international sporting event one of the highlights leading up to the opening ceremonies and competition is the unveiling of the event’s mascot. This past Sunday the Niagara 2021 Canada Summer Games had a national stage to show the country who will be the fun face of the Games. Meet Shelly.

Shelly took the stage of Rogers Hometown Hockey with boundless energy and was greeted by smiles and thunderous applause. The giant green turtle decked out in white Games athletic wear immediately began to energize the crowd.


A life of service: Dinner honours Rob Nicholson

by The Niagara Independent

Rob Nicholson has served as the Member of Parliament for the riding of Niagara Falls for nearly a quarter of a century. Nicholson decided to retire this year and did not seek re-election paving the way for his former aide Tony Baldnelli to run in the riding which now encompasses Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Fort Erie. Baldinelli held onto the seat for the Conservatives and was one of many speakers at a retirement dinner held last Saturday to honour Nicholson’s long and distinguished career in federal politics.

Rob Nicholson joins his kids Rob Jr., Christine and Peter

Pratt to be recognized with Lifetime Achievement Award

by The Niagara Independent

Debi Pratt started keeping a scrapbook during her first days with Inniskillin Wines, then Vincor and Constellation Brands. It will come in handy as reference material for when Pratt writes her acceptance speech, one she will deliver this Friday night when she is presented the Lifetime Achievement Award for her four decades of leading public relations and marketing not only for the winery that employed her but Niagara’s wine industry as a whole.

Debbie Pratt at her 2014 retirement party

Walker Industries appoints new president and CEO

by The Niagara Independent

A fifth generation member of the Walker family has been appointed to take over the helm of Walker Industries, a company that has operated in the Niagara region for more than 130 years.
Walker’s board of directors has named Geordie Walker as President and CEO of the Niagara-based company, effective immediately. He takes over the position from John Fisher, who will remain with the firm through the end of 2019 to provide support and continuity. The leadership transition comes as a result of Mr. Fisher’s long-planned retirement.

geordie walker

Scrappy Bulldogs to battle powerhouse Myer for football championship

by The Niagara Independent

The two semi-final senior boys’ football matchups couldn’t have played out any differently. The end result however is a one game showdown for the Niagara Region High School Athletic Association Tier 1 championship this Friday between powerhouse A.N. Myer Marauders of Niagara Falls and the determined, hard working Winston Churchill Bulldogs of St. Catharines.

There’s no question the Bulldogs are the underdogs heading into Friday night’s game under the lights at Myer. Head-to-head the Marauders have outscored the Bulldogs 76-12 in the two games the teams played against each other this season. The Bulldogs went 2-4 on the season while the Marauders went a perfect 6-0.

an myer football

Severe weather wrecks havoc on south Niagara

by The Niagara Independent

The high winds that battered Niagara communities did some significant damage over the weekend. In fact, at time of publication there were still about 30 homes without power in south Niagara. Port Colborne and Fort Erie were hardest hit by the storm and many properties suffered significant damage.
Larry Vaughan, president of Ground Aerial Maintenance Services Ltd. said his crews have been working around the clock with other utility companies to restore power as fast as possible. Vaughan’s team were first called out around 10 p.m. Thursday night. He said there were a large number of uprooted trees, broken hydro lines and hydro poles snapped in half. Between the various crews there have been about 80 workers running around the clock. By law, in an emergency situation crews can only work a maximum of 16 hours in a row before having to take eight hours off.

uprooted tree on house

Concern mounts over distracted drivers passing stopped school buses

by The Niagara Independent

Distracted drivers speeding past stopped school buses is becoming an increasing concern for parents of school-aged children across Niagara and cameras attached to the stop sign arm on the bus is what they recommend.

The Ontario School Bus Association estimates approximately 18,000 school buses travel two million kilometers in Ontario every school day.

school bus stop sign

The more things change…

by The Niagara Independent

There were some shocking upsets of long-time MPs in last night’s federal election, like Conservative Lisa Raitt and Liberal Ralph Goodale but here in Niagara nothing changed.

While there is a new face in the riding of Niagara Falls (includes Niagara-on-the-Lake and Fort Erie) in Conservative Tony Baldinelli who ran and won in place of retired MP Rob Nicholson, the rest of the federal faces stayed the same. Liberals Chris Bittle and Vance Badawey will return to Ottawa along with Conservative Dean Allison. For those keeping score Niagara is split with two Liberals and two Conservatives representing the region on parliament hill.

baldinelli nicholson

Is the National NDP Surge catching on in Niagara?

by The Niagara Independent

With a week to go in the federal election, the top news surrounds the national surge in the standing of the NDP.  A look at the major pollsters shows that this is a trend occurring in Ontario too.

Looking at the CBC Poll tracker, an aggregation of polling results of the major Canadian pollsters, it showed that the NDP stood at 12.5% nationally on October 1st, ahead of the only English language leaders debate and the French language debate.  In those debates, most pundits believed that NDP leader Jagmeet Singh won the day appearing more genuine, relaxed and reasonable to many Canadian onlookers.  As of October 14, the NDP on the poll tracker had climbed to 16.7% with the Liberals at 31.7% and the Conservatives at 32.4%. 


West Lincoln hospital getting upgrades

by The Niagara Independent

Earlier this week the province announced an additional investment of up to $2 million to support Hamilton Health Sciences with upgrades and renovations at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Grimsby so that all services can return to full capacity as quickly as possible. This investment is in addition to the $8.5 million in provincial funding provided to the hospital in November of last year. The government says it is committed to the redevelopment of the west Niagara hospital.
“This is a very important day for patients and families in the West Niagara region,” said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West. “Once renovations are completed, West Lincoln Memorial Hospital will have greater capacity to provide patients and families with access to care in a space that can better meet the needs of a growing community, until the new hospital is built.”

West Lincoln Memorial Hospital

Thanksgiving tradition continues at Ball’s Falls

by The Niagara Independent

More than 170 unique artisans, crafters, local farmers, and talented musicians from across the country will once again descend upon Ball’s Falls Conservation Area this long weekend, for the 45th Annual Ball’s Falls Thanksgiving Festival.
“We are thrilled to offer this family tradition for the 45th year in a row, where guests can experience culture, history, and fall harvest fun all in one unique place,” says Alicia Powell, Acting Manager of Strategic Initiatives at Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority. “The Festival has something for everyone; from live entertainment and local craft beer and wine, to family-friendly activities, historical tours, a farmers market, and unique craft vendors with one-of-a-kind products.”

Balls Falls Thanksgiving festival

Locals sleep cheap and charities reap

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara’s hoteliers and tourism operators are once again giving back to the community as reservations for the always hotly anticipated annual Sleep Cheap Charities Reap event can be made starting tomorrow, Oct. 9 beginning at 8:00 a.m.
Sleep Cheap will once again run for five nights this year beginning Sunday Nov. 10 running up to and including Thursday Nov. 14, 2019. Many of Niagara’s finest hotels will offer rooms only to Niagara residents during the event. Minimum donations for rooms remain the same as last year: $35 per night for a standard room, $45 for a Fallsview room, $65 for a whirlpool room, and $85 for a room with access to a waterpark. The new Municipal Accommodation Tax of $2 per night will apply. 2019 Sleep Cheap hotels are listed online at sleepcheapcharitiesreap.com.

hotel room

Hockey Canada heading to Niagara

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara Falls will host the nation’s hockey leaders next summer.
The Hockey Canada Foundation Gala & Golf is heading to the most famous address in the world to host the 17th edition of the annual event, June 15-16, 2020 at the Scotiabank Convention Centre and Legends on the Niagara golf course. Doug Goss, chair of the Hockey Canada Foundation, announced the organization’s single largest annual fundraiser was returning to Ontario at a news conference Tuesday at Fallsview Casino Resort.

The Hockey Canada Foundation Gala

Funding for festival of lights

by The Niagara Independent

It’s a sure sign that the holiday season is fast approaching. During a visit to Niagara Parks yesterday, the Honourable Lisa MacLeod, the province’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport announced $250,000 in funding for the OPG Winter Festival of Lights through the Celebrate Ontario program administered by the Government of Ontario.
The announcement was made overlooking the Canadian Horseshoe Falls at Niagara Parks’ Table Rock Centre and featured remarks by Niagara Parks Chair Sandie Bellows, Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff and Minister MacLeod.

celebration of lights annoucement

Chamber announces expansion of Trade Accelerator Program to Niagara

by The Niagara Independent

The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) recently announced the launch of the Trade Accelerator Program (TAP) in Niagara. Winner of the 2018 Ontario Export Award for Export Excellence, TAP will debut locally on November 18th with an intensive two-day workshop to orient participating companies to the program.
Operated in partnership with the Toronto Region Board of Trade’s World Trade Centre Toronto, TAP is an innovative, dynamic workshop that provides companies with access to Canada’s top exporting advisors, resources and contacts, giving them the training and support they need to scale up, develop and execute an export plan.

rainbow bridge

Wine festival weekend turns tragic in St. Catharines

by The Niagara Independent

What was supposed to be the wrap up to another festival celebrating Niagara’s grape growing and wine making industry turned tragic as six people, four males and two females were shot in downtown St. Catharines early Sunday morning. All six were transported to a local hospital. Two of the victims sustained more serious injuries and were later transported to an out of town trauma centre.
The incident has rocked the downtown core as police try and get answers to numerous questions. Niagara Regional Police (NRP) believe that the violence occurred following an argument between the two suspects outside of Karma Lounge located at 55 St. Paul Street at William Street.

suspects in St Catharines shooting

Party leaders visit Niagara

by The Niagara Independent

Clearly both Liberal and Conservative party strategists think Niagara’s seats are in play at least at this point of the 2019 federal election campaign. Both parties sent their respective Leaders Justin Trudeau for the Liberals and Andrew Scheer for the Conservatives to Niagara ridings yesterday. The response from supporters however was drastically different.

In St. Catharines, Scheer visited supporters at the Cat’s Caboose restaurant at the bottom of Glendridge Avenue.  It’s the second time that the party leader has been in St. Catharines to support local candidate Krystina Waler, a clear sign that the Conservatives have marked the St. Catharines riding as winnable. The riding is currently held by Liberal MP Chris Bittle. While many Liberal candidates have tried to distance themselves from Trudeau, Bittle has been a staunch supporter of his Leader.

High five – Welland opens fifth industrial park

by The Niagara Independent

The City of Welland, population 52,000, recently opened its fifth Industrial Park.  It is located in the north end of the city on River Road and Downs Drive and has quick and easy access to Highways 406 and 140.  In 2018, Welland City Council declared the 38 acres of property as surplus land, had it rezoned to fall under the Gateway Economic Zone and Centre Community Improvement Plan, and began servicing the land to make it shovel-ready for investors.

In order to attract more development and help boost the local economy, Welland staff have created a more efficient development process by streamlining and expediting planning approvals. The city claims that this more efficient process is building successful relationships between the city’s Economic Development team and current investors and developers.

mayor campion and Dan Degazio, Director of Economic Development

Badgers split games against two nationally ranked teams

by The Niagara Independent

The Brock men’s soccer team defeated the nationally-ranked McMaster Marauders to remain undefeated on Saturday. Unfortunately for Brock they had to turn around and play the No. 4-ranked York Lions (3-0-1) on Sunday, a game they lost 3-0.
Brock upended No. 8 McMaster by a score of 4-2 at Brock Alumni Field, on Saturday improving to 2-0-2.

brock soccer

IceDogs trade top defenceman

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara IceDogs’ General Manager Joey Burke pulled the trigger yesterday on what many fans speculate won’t be the only trade of the season that sees the Dogs in a rebuild mode.
Burke acquired four draft picks from the Peterborough Petes, three in 2021, in exchange for defenceman Jacob Paquette.


Steel Blade Classic becoming Niagara hockey tradition

by The Niagara Independent

The Brock Badgers are once again set to hit the ice for the legendary Steel Blade Classic in downtown St. Catharines Friday, Sept. 13.
The 21st annual event returns to the Meridian Centre as the Badgers men’s hockey team takes on the Guelph Gryphons in a 7 p.m. start.

steel blade brock hockey

Marotta Family Innovation Complex opens at Niagara College

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara College is calling it a beginning of a new era for research and innovation in region’s agri-food industry, with the opening of their latest addition to its Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus.
Earlier this week, federal, provincial and regional representatives, community donors and industry partners joined staff and students to mark the official grand opening of the new Marotta Family Innovation Complex, which will not only enhance student learning opportunities, but will support the region’s agri-food and agri-business sector.

marotta family innovation complex

St. Catharines awarded 2024 world rowing championships

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara is on a roll when it comes to securing high-end sport competition. On the heels of hosting the Women’s U18 World Hockey Championships, the Scotties national women’s curling championships, Pan Am Games events, the U18 Americas Basketball Championships and of course the upcoming 2021 Canada Summer Games, St. Catharines can also add the World Rowing Championships to the impressive list.
The FISA Congress, held annually after the World Rowing Championships, voted yesterday to decide what cities will host upcoming World Rowing Championships. Delegates at the FISA Congress voted overwhelmingly in support of the St. Catharines bid which was competing with Linz, Austria – which just completed hosting the 2019 World Rowing Championships this past week.

2024 world rowing championships announcement

Five things to do in Niagara this Labour Day Weekend

by The Niagara Independent

There are plenty of things to see and do this long weekend in Niagara. While the Labour Day weekend use to signal the end of tourist season, the so-called “shoulder seasons” have become a thing of the past as tourist visit Niagara year-round. While those visiting Niagara from elsewhere will no doubt be taking in the sights and sounds of the more heavily marketed tourist attractions here are some unique events being held across the region that locals can enjoy.

pumphouse school

St. Catharines—Niagara one of Canada’s safest metropolitan areas

by The Niagara Independent

Despite recent revelations of deep ties to biker gangs and a rare case of torture and abuse last year, St. Catharines—Niagara remains one of the safest urban areas to live in Canada, according to the latest data.

Last month, Statistics Canada released the results of its annual Uniform Crime Reporting Survey.

police cruiser

River Lions head west for championship weekend

by The Niagara Independent

It’s been a season of firsts for the Niagara River Lions.
After being the first team to register a Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) win, they were the first team to clinch a playoff spot. Now, they’re the first #1 seed in CEBL history, finishing the regular season with a 15-5 record.


Jackfish swim into semis

by The Niagara Independent

For the first time in franchise history the Welland Jackfish have eliminated a team in the post season. Tuesday night saw the London Majors come to the rose city for the fifth and as it turned out final game of the opening series. Welland defeated London by a final score of 11-7 taking the series four games to one.
“It feels great, to win a series in our first year is terrific, however we’re not done yet,” said Jackfish manager Brian Essery. “We just have to continue to play our game. Pitching, defence and team speed. It is certainly positive the way our bats have come around at the right time.”


“A significant advancement for infant care in Niagara”

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara’s tiniest patients will have care closer to home thanks to the addition of five new beds in Niagara Health’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
According to Niagara Health officials the NICU can now care for sicker babies after the organization received provincial government support for the beds, supporting resources and equipment. The unit, at Niagara Health’s St. Catharines Site, will be able to provide care to infants with more complex health problems, including: premature babies born at 30 weeks gestation or more (previously it was 32 weeks or more); babies requiring ventilation; and babies needing advanced intravenous therapy.


UPDATED: “Exciting news” expected for Summer Games

by The Niagara Independent

Premier Doug Ford was in Niagara this afternoon making an announcement at a Home Hardware store in Pelham. While the announcement, a road improvement project, is no doubt important to local residents, it was Ford’s comments in response to a question by The Niagara Independent regarding Canada Summer Games funding that perked up many ears.

premier doug ford and sam oosterhoff mpp

The average Canadian family paid $39,299 in taxes last year

by The Niagara Independent

The numbers are staggering. According to a new study by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank, the average Canadian family spent more than 44 per cent of its income on taxes in 2018, more than housing, food and clothing costs combined. “Taxes—not life’s basic necessities—remain the largest household expense for families […]


Brock prof to enhance online learning with 3D classroom

by The Niagara Independent

Martin Danahay has led many classroom discussions in his career, but nothing quite like this.
The Brock University English professor will soon take his Life Writing course into a recently-completed online 3D space at the start of the winter term.
Students wearing virtual reality gear will gather in an experimental 3D classroom to discuss memoires, diaries and biographies, and interact with one another as their custom avatars.

Professor Martin Danahay through the controls used to navigate a new 3D classroom

Mr. D – From sandwiches to skyscrapers

by The Niagara Independent

He’s known affectionately by his staff as Mr. D.
Vincenzo DiCosimo arrived in Canada on July 12, 1955 to join his older brother who was already in Niagara Falls. He was just 19 years-old, had no money and didn’t speak a word of English. “I thought it was the biggest mistake I ever made. I wanted to go back right away.” History would show that it’s a good thing he stayed.

mr d

Brock Badgers score new men’s basketball coach

by The Niagara Independent

The Brock Badgers have reached into the powerhouse Carleton University basketball program to find the new head coach for the Brock men’s basketball team.
Willy Manigat, who has won three national university basketball titles as a player and two as a coach, will become the ninth coach in the history of the Brock men’s program. His appointment takes effect July 5.
Manigat spent the past four years with the Carleton Ravens, who have won 14 of the last 17 national championships. He served as lead assistant coach for the 2018-19 season.

willy manigat

Hamilton economy continues to grow with planned L3 HQ

by The Niagara Independent

L3 WESCAM announced this week at an official groundbreaking ceremony the construction of a brand-new, state-of-the-art headquarters facility, which will include 330,000 square feet of research and development, engineering, assembly and office space in Hamilton. By the expected move-in date in 2021, the new facility will be home to 1,200 employees.
“We are pleased to announce that L3 will continue to be a part of this region’s economic renaissance and has selected a location that embodies our mission to be the very best of the best in our industry,” said Jacques Comtois, Vice President and General Manager of L3 WESCAM. “Hamilton has a rich business legacy of transforming ideas into high-technology products and offers a skilled talent base with a deep knowledge of advanced manufacturing and applied research. We are thrilled to establish our new operations in Hamilton and continue moving forward with our growth plans.”

l3 office rendering

Trudeau fans the flames of Western Alienation

by The Niagara Independent

Several months ago The Niagara Independent started publishing articles from time-to-time about a piece of legislation that was getting little attention in Ontario but a lot of attention in Western Canada. Some readers thanked us for shedding light on the issue while others wondered why we cared so much about an “Alberta issue”.
Well, that Alberta issue has now become a Canadian issue which means it’s an Ontario issue. And people in this province should pay attention.

kenney and trudeau

Myer baseball earns OFSAA silver

by The Niagara Independent

After an impeccable regular season and divisional playoffs, soaring through SOSSA, and overcoming a gauntlet of Ontario’s 18 best high school teams at OFSAA regionals, the A.N. Myer Marauders baseball squad fell just one run short of provincial gold at the final four OFSAA tournament in London on Wednesday.

“I’m really proud of the boys and their ability to grind out many moments that allowed us to achieve something very rare in an OFSSA silver medal,” said coach Dave Buchanan. “There were many players that contributed to the process. We as a program work very hard in the off-season and I believe it allowed us to get through those tough tense moments.”

an myer baseball

Big week for Myer Baseball on and off the field

by The Niagara Independent

A.N. Myer’s baseball team spent the weekend in Whitby competing for a chance to play for a medal in the provincial championships later this week.
The team, coached by Dave Buchanan, was successful in their quest to play for a medal in London on Wednesday after going 4-1 this past weekend with their only loss coming to Mount Carmel in their second game which extended over two days. Tied 4-4 the game was called due to rain and play started again the following day. Mount Carmel ended up winning 6-4 to hand Myer their only loss of the tournament.

anmyer baseball

South Niagara Chambers of Commerce Welcome CannTrust CEO, Peter Aceto

by The Niagara Independent

On June 4 at Cardinal Lakes Golf Course in Welland, the South Niagara Chambers of Commerce will be hosting a breakfast seminar featuring Peter Aceto, CEO of CannTrust, a federally licensed and regulated global cannabis market leader. For Aceto, a noted speaker, this will be his inaugural speaking engagement in Niagara.
CannTrust is a publicly traded company that operates its approximately 450,000 square foot Niagara Perpetual Harvest Facility in Pelham and has been approved to construct an additional 390,000 square feet. of cannabis cultivation space. The company has garnered success as the 2018 Licensed Producer of the Year. The award criteria include commitment to customer service, positive feedback from employees and high standards of production.

peter aceto

Onex makes bid to buy WestJet

by The Niagara Independent

Onex Corp. has signed a friendly deal to buy WestJet Airlines Ltd. in a transaction that’s being valued at $5 billion, including assumed debt.
Under the agreement announced this past Monday, Onex will pay $31 per share for WestJet, which will continue to operate as a privately held company.
Shares in the airline jumped from $18.52 last Friday to $30.03 after the announcement.


IceDogs to play in Port

by The Niagara Independent

The Guelph Storm defeated the Ottawa 67s 8-3 to capture the Ontario Hockey League championship, the Memorial Cup, Sunday in game six of the best of seven series. For the third series in a row the Storm found themselves down two games to none and found a way to claw back and win the series. It’s the fourth time in franchise history that Guelph has won the Memorial Cup.
Montreal Canadiens prospect Nick Suzuki earned the Wayne Gretzky ’99’ Award as OHL Playoff MVP, leading all players with a Storm franchise record 42 points (16-26–42) in 24 games.
With the OHL season just barely wrapping up, teams from across the league are already preparing for next season, including the Niagara IceDogs who yesterday announced the team will be opening their home exhibition schedule at the Vale Health and Wellness Centre in Port Colborne.

Port Colborne Mayor Bill Steele (far right) welcomes Niagara IceDogs mascot Bones to Port Colborne.

Badgers ink women’s basketball coach to three-year deal

by The Niagara Independent

Brock University has shown their confidence in women’s basketball head coach Mike Rao by signing him to a three-year deal. Rao guided the lady Badgers to their first playoff berth since 2012.
This year, Rao and the Badgers improved their win total to 11 victories and reached the OUA Critelli Cup quarter-finals.
In a statement released earlier this week, Brock’s Associate Director of Sports Emily Allan said, “Mike has done a phenomenal job with the program. He has worked tirelessly from day one to improve and build a culture of excellence.” Allan went on to add, “He is continually recruiting talented student-athletes to elevate this team, and he is producing results.”

Brock University women’s basketball head coach Mike Rao

Gretzky adds beer to wine and whisky products

by The Niagara Independent

Wayne Gretzky Estates announced the launch of No. 99 Rye Lager, its first craft beer. The brew will be for sale across Ontario beginning this month at LCBO stores, Wayne Gretzky Estates, as well as select Ontario restaurants. The lager will be available more broadly across Ontario this fall.
“Our goal at the outset was to give hockey fans and beer fans something new to cheer about,” said John Peller. “As the name promises, No. 99 Rye Lager, brewed with rye grain delivers the crisp, clean taste of a classic lager with an extra layer of depth, zest and freshness. There’s nothing like it on the market.”
“It feels awesome to be back in the craft beer business” said Peller. Although the Peller family may be most known for their Canadian wines, Company founder Andrew Peller got his start in the beer industry. “My grandpa started his career in the 1930’s as a brewmaster at E.P. Taylor Canadian brewing, which led him to open his own brewery, Peller Brewing Company in 1947, in Hamilton, Ontario,” Peller explained.

gretzky beer

Toyota plans to produce luxury SUV in Ontario

by The Niagara Independent

It was a good news announcement for Ontario’s auto sector yesterday. Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC) announced they will begin producing their luxury SUV at its Cambridge plant moving production from Japan to Ontario. The plant will supply all of the North American market.
“Building on our recent Toyota RAV4 announcement and our recent facility modernization investments, we are excited to announce that TMMC has been selected to produce the popular Lexus NX and Lexus NX Hybrid models for the entire North American market,” TMMC President Fred Volf told Team Members and dignitaries.


Lacrosse will be part of Canada Summer Games

by The Niagara Independent

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, federal Minister of Science and Sport was in St. Catharines yesterday to announce the inclusion of Lacrosse as part of the upcoming 2021 Canada Games which will take place in Niagara. While there was some hope, given the federal government was sending a cabinet minister to Niagara, the announcement would include the feds portion for infrastructure funding for the Games it nonetheless was good news for sport and in particular the lacrosse community. The federal government is kicking in $1.7 million in order to add lacrosse as a sport to the Games.
With the Lacrosse Hall of Fame as a backdrop, Minister Duncan said that the lacrosse competition, a pilot project for the 2021 Games, will be box lacrosse format, and will feature both male and female teams. Lacrosse last participated in the Canada Summer Games in 1985. Lacrosse was named Canada’s National Game by Parliament in 1859. In 1994 Parliament passed the National Sports of Canada Act which declared lacrosse to be “Canada’s National Summer Sport” and hockey became the nation’s national winter sport.

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, federal Minister of Science and Sport announces lacrosse will be included as a sport in the upcoming Canada Summer Games 2021 to be held in Niagara.

Grimsby company acquired by Horizon North

by The Niagara Independent

Horizon North Logistics Inc. (TSX: HNL.TO) recently announced that they have entered into a binding purchase and sale agreement with respect to the acquisition of NRB Inc. (Canada), a full-service modular construction provider based in Grimsby.
Horizon North has agreed to purchase all of the outstanding shares of NRB Canada for $16.5 million, payable in a mix of common shares of Horizon North and cash. The Binding Purchase Agreement is subject to certain conditions, including the receipt of all necessary and required consents, including those from the Toronto Stock Exchange. The transaction is scheduled to close in early April 2019.

nrb canada

Town of Pelham could be on the hook for millions

by The Niagara Independent

It’s not often that a company from one of Niagara’s quaint municipalities gets featured on a national
news program, but last week saw one of those inauspicious occasions.

Bloomberg’s “Business News Network”, Canada’s renowned 24-hour business news program, featured a Niagara company from Pelham last Monday. The network runs a one hour stock pickers program twice a day. A stockbroker, or other qualified guest, takes phone calls from the public and gives his or her informed opinion about the future of each stock.

Last Monday, an Edmonton caller asked guest Robert McWhirter, president of Selective Asset Management, about Leviathan (CSE: EPIC-CN), a local cannabis company currently endeavouring to begin construction on Foss Road in Pelham.

pelham townhall

River Lions roster takes shape

by The Niagara Independent

The Niagara River Lions recently announced their thirteen selections in the 2019 Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) Entry Draft, including Canadian National Team member, Kaza Kajami- Keane as first regional round pick, followed by Kassius Robertson, Guillaume Payen Boucard and Tyrone Watson.
“I’m excited for the Niagara region to watch Kaza Kajami-Keane and Kassius Robertson play,” said Head Coach and General Manager, Victor Raso. “They are two young professionals with a lot of potential who will make our country proud.”


Falls native signs with Leafs

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara Falls native Mac Hollowell has done what many budding young Niagara hockey players dream about, sign a contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The 20-year-old, the 5.10, 163-lb defenceman who currently leads all Ontario Hockey League defencemen in goals (23) and points (73) with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, signed a three-year future entry-level contract. In 254 regular season games over five OHL seasons with the Greyhounds, Hollowell has collected 178 points (41 goals, 137 assists) while recording 23 points (three goals, 20 assists) in 47 playoff games.

Mac Hollowell has signed a contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs

Development in Ontario – A Delicate Balance

by The Niagara Independent

As part of its ongoing work to streamline government operations and reduce red tape, the Ford government recently shut down a little-known government entity called the Local Planning Appeal Support Centre (LPASC). This office was set up in April 2018 by the previous Liberal government, ostensibly to help the average Ontarian fight development projects that were “inappropriate, unreasonable, misplaced or designed without considering various planning guidelines”. One person’s “inappropriate” or “unreasonable” could very well be someone else’s perfectly “appropriate” or “reasonable”, and having such subjective goals could be seen to create problems for such an agency from the outset. Basically, the LPASC was intended to provide financial and other resources to enable Ontarians to sue their own government over development projects someone decided they didn’t like. As the office was established at a time when the Liberals had to be pretty sure they were going to voted out of office in a mere couple of months, it is tempting to think of this as just another poison pill planted by the Liberals for their likely Conservative successors, as so many other things the Liberals rushed into being late in their tenure have turned out to be.


Powerhouse Ravens end Badgers’ season

by The Niagara Independent

Probably the greatest Canadian university sports program continues its roll, this time right over the Brock Badgers.
The Carleton Ravens men’s basketball team nearly doubled up on the Badgers Wednesday night in the nation’s capital with a 86-44 victory in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) semifinals. The Badgers, who had a strong season with an overall record of 18-9 were simply no match for the powerhouse program at Carleton. Brock could only manage 25 first half points while the Ravens poured in 44. Carleton never let up outscoring the Badgers 24 to nine in the final quarter. The Badgers shot 27.8 per cent from the field compared to Carleton’s 46 per cent.

Brock's Tyler Brown (left) defends Troy Reid-Knight of the Carleton Ravens during the OUA semifinals in Ottawa on Wednesday.

New radar detection system will keep boaters safer on Niagara River

by The Niagara Independent

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and New York Power Authority (NYPA) have launched a detection and alerting system that will help add a layer of safety for boaters around the vicinity of the International Niagara Control Works in Niagara Falls.
Boaters can at times fail to stay clear of marked exclusion zones and therefore end up exposing themselves to a real risk because of the high turbulence and very strong currents in the waters near the International Control Dam. “While this additional tool will help ensure the public’s safety, it’s important to remind boaters that they are responsible for their own navigation safety and must obey warning signs and buoys,” said Mike Martelli, OPG President, Renewable Generation.


Swimming is his life

by The Niagara Independent

Swimming isn’t just what Gokhan Bozyigit does for fun, or for the thrill of competing. It’s who he is.
Swimming is what brought Bozyigit to Canada, and specifically to Brock University, from his native Turkey. The sport is also what has given him clear career goals, both as an athlete and as a coach.
“Without swimming I am pretty sure I would have never thought about coming to Canada,” he said. “All I can say is swimming is my whole life. It is a part of who I am and without it I would be lost.”

Brock swimmer Gokhan Bozyigit recently competed in the national championships this past weekend.

Summer Games Society makes Wright choice for CEO

by The Niagara Independent

Doug Hamilton, Chair of the 2021 Canada Summer Games Host Society has announced a number of staff appointments as the organization begins to ramp up planning for the national amateur sporting event to be held in Niagara. Chief among the recent hiring’s is Brock University associate business professor Barry Wright as the organization’s new Chief Executive Officer. Wright will join the summer games organization as a secondment from the university.
In this role, Barry will oversee organization of the 2021 Games including human resources, volunteer programming, finance, and sport & athlete services. As the former Dean of the Goodman School, Barry brings a wealth of experience and research focused on leadership, planning, and organizational performance. Barry will join the 2021 Canada Games on May 1, 2019.

barry wright

Cannabis is just another crop

by The Niagara Independent

After new government regulations commercialized medical marijuana in 2013, federally licensed cannabis cultivators, processors, and sellers began cropping up all across Canada.

Prairie Plant Systems Inc. in Saskatoon led the way as the first certified producer. Tweed Farms in Niagara-on-the-Lake followed closely behind.

Since that time, some 150 applicants have successfully received a federal license to grow, prepare, and/or sell cannabis.


Questions Abound on D’Angelo Departure from Region

by The Niagara Independent

Regional CAO Carmelo D’Angelo’s Statement of Claim, filed in a Hamilton court, outlines a concerning timeline of events that add to the intrigue surrounding his wrongly assumed departure.  The statement claims that after a summer of leaks of his personal and confidential information and a multitude of media reports of this information, D’Angelo was advised by his physician on Dec. 11, 2018 to take a medical leave from work.  The claim states, “It was envisaged that Carmelo would return to work approximately eight (8) weeks later.” 

The claim continues that just three days later the “Region replaced the acting CAO that Carmelo had arranged to act in his place during his medical leave.”  And then, “On or about Dec. 14, 2018, the region cut off Carmelo’s access to his work email account, his work voicemail and his corporate credit card.”

region chambers

When will it end?

by The Niagara Independent

Another week, another Ford government policy announcement, another virulent public sector union-backed protest. This week the subject was autism funding. The announcement was made by Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Lisa MacLeod, and the essence of the new policy is to alter the funding model so that funds go directly to the parents of autistic children and not to the regional service providers as was previously the case. Another key – and hugely controversial – change was that funds will in future be distributed to all Ontario parents with autistic children. Currently, only about 25 per cent of affected families are receiving government funds, while the other 75 per cent – representing 23,000 children – sit on waiting lists. Overall funding would actually be slightly increased in the new policy.

Protestors gathered outside MPP Lisa MacLeod's office in Nepean to voice their opposition to the new autism funding plan.

Niagara College to host women’s volleyball national championships

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara College (NC) is set to host the 2019 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Women’s Volleyball Championship.

The event will see the top eight women’s volleyball teams from colleges across Canada face off at NC’s Welland Campus Athletic Centre next month from March 6th to the 9th.

Fred Batley, CCAA Women’s Volleyball Convenor said, “With world-class athletic facilities and the Niagara area hospitality and attractions, the student-athletes, coaches and spectators will be in for an amazing and exciting National Championship.”

knights volleyball

Bellows is new chair for Parks Commission

by The Niagara Independent

The province’s, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Michael Tibollo, has appointed St. Catharines resident Sandie Bellows as the new Chair of the Niagara Parks Commission. Bellows will begin her four-year term immediately.

Bellows is in her first term as a Regional Councilor, after representing Grantham Ward as a St. Catharines city councilor during the past four years (2014-18). “I am very excited and honoured to be appointed Chair of the Niagara Parks Commission,” said Bellows. “I am looking forward to working with my fellow board members and all the amazing staff at this great organization.”

niagara parks

Busy shipping season on seaway

by The Niagara Independent

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) recently released its figures for the past year and it was a busy one. The total tonnage on the waterway during the 2018 navigation season was 40.9 million. That’s the highest result in more than a decade. The Corporation said much of the credit for the increase can be given to healthy movements of grain which was the best on record since the turn of the century. They also pointed to the continued marketing of the seaway as “Highway H2O” as helping to serve as a catalyst to spur increased movements of a broad range of cargoes including grain, road salt, stone, cement, gypsum and refined fuels.
“We are very pleased with the results recorded over the past year” said the SLSMC’s President and CEO, Terence Bowles. “After completing the first year with Hands Free Mooring installed at all of our high-lift locks, it is gratifying to see that our efforts to boost system efficiency and heighten our competitive position are bearing strong results. This new mooring technology eliminates the need for special vessel fittings, enabling the St. Lawrence Seaway to welcome a broader range of ships from the world fleet.”

welland canal

Best Whiskey comes from Niagara

by The Niagara Independent

In a region known primarily for its wines, Niagara-made beverages such as craft beer and spirits are gaining national and international recognition. In fact, the best whisky in Canada is an all-rye whisky, distilled 22 years ago in Grimsby at Forty Creek Distillery.

Ten independent whisky experts blind taste tested more than 100 whiskies and declared Forty Creek 22-year-old Rye as Canadian Whisky of the Year in the ninth annual Canadian Whisky Awards recently held at the Hotel Grand Pacific in Victoria, BC. The Canadian Whisky Awards recognize the very best whiskies produced in Canada.

Canadian Whiskey Awards

Brock Curlers in the Mix at Canadian Junior Championships

by The Niagara Independent

Two of Brock University’s curlers, women’s varsity team third Jessica Humphries and freshman men’s varsity team skip Sam Steep, have won the junior provincial championships and are currently competing for their respective teams at the New Holland Canadian Junior Curling Championships in Prince Albert, SK.
Steep, a first-year recreation student at Brock, spent his holidays leading his hometown rink to the Ontario U21 championships title in Ajax.


Niagara to host Canadian wrestling trials

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara will be hosting another national sporting event. This time the sport is wrestling.
Wrestling Canada Lutte, the 2021 Canada Games Host Society, and the Brock Wrestling Club will host the Canadian Wrestling Trials in December of 2019.
The trials will serve as a selection event for the opportunity to represent Canada at international qualifying events for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Niagara has a strong history of wrestling and has developed significant wrestling talent that has gone on to represent Canada successfully in numerous competitions around the world.


Curlers earn berth to provincial finals

by The Niagara Independent

Some of the top female curlers in Ontario put their skills on display at the Niagara Falls Curling Club this past weekend. Up for grabs was the two remaining spots to compete in the provincial finals and a chance to play in the Scottie’s national women’s championship.

Six teams from around the province have already secured a berth to the provincial championships. In total, eight teams play in the Ontario final, leaving just two spots remaining. “It was very high calibre curling,” said Niagara Falls Curling Club general manager Bob Garvin.

Chelsea Brandwood

Minister meets with Niagara tourism leaders

by The Niagara Independent

The province’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Michael Tibollo, was in Niagara yesterday meeting with Niagara’s tourism leaders to get their feedback on the government’s tourism strategy.
Minister Tibollo was seeking the advice and input on issues affecting the tourism industry. Some of the key points discussed were the role of government in the sector, the industry workforce challenges and regulatory burdens. Ontario’s tourism sector has an economic impact of about $34 billion.

nf tourism

Brock hockey teams making a push to playoffs

by The Niagara Independent

The Brock Badgers men’s and women’s hockey programs enjoyed a strong first half to the OUA season and have begun the second half equally as impressive.

The men’s hockey team climbed into the national rankings a handful of times during the first half of the campaign. They roared out of the gate with four consecutive wins and currently sit with one of the lowest goals against in the league.

This past Saturday Brock was back in action as Ayden MacDonald scored the game-winning goal and the Brock Badgers slipped by the York Lions 4-3 on the road. The Badgers have now won four consecutive games.

“We had a great third period to find a way to win.” said head coach Marty Williamson.

brock goalie

Niagara curling tradition continues

by The Niagara Independent

For over forty years now, Niagara’s curling clubs have banded together to put on an annual Niagara Region bonspiel. For many years it was known as the Labatt’s Standard; then the Winmar but is now sponsored by Young’s Insurance and so aptly named, ‘The Youngs’.
In January teams from around the region enter the week-long bonspiel that lets curlers experience playing in the Niagara Falls Curling Club, the St. Catharines Golf and Country Club, the Welland Curling Club and the St. Catharines Curling Club in Grantham.
While the spiel used to have 64 teams and a waiting list, attendance has suffered a bit in the last few years as it competes against other competitive curling events and club nights. But the event, which also used to require that each team have on it one new curler, is a great way for curlers all around the region to play in each other’s clubs and meet other curlers. Kelly Hopkins, an organizer, sponsor and participant said this year the numbers are up. “We are at full capacity with 48 teams and a waiting list so next year I think you will see us expand the number of teams.”

annual Niagara Region bonspiel.

Top 10 predictions for 2019

by The Niagara Independent

While some media outlets prefer to look at the past and compile a list of what’s already happened, writers at The Niagara Independent decided to play prognosticators. In no particular order, here is our Top 10 list of what we think is likely to happen in Niagara, Ontario, Canada and beyond in 2019.

top 10

Team Canada win first two as expected

by The Niagara Independent

Gold medal defenders usually get a good draw in the following years tournament and this year in Vancouver proved no different for Team Canada.  Canada started the tournament with an overwhelming defeat of an overmatched Denmark squad.  In the 14-0 affair, 18 of Canada’s 20 skaters hit the scoresheet.

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds centre Morgan Frost led early on with a quick hat trick.  He ended the game with 3 goals and two assists.  Max Comtois, expected to lead this team in all aspects, didn’t disappoint as he followed up Frost’s hot start with four goals of his own.  His linemate, the very slick centre Cody Glass, had four helpers.  Evan Bouchard led the backend with three assists of his own.

While he didn’t face many shots, just 14 in all, starting goalie Mike DiPietro was perfect throughout the night pitching the shutout.  “It was a game where I made as many saves as our team had goals, it was crazy”, said DiPietro.

hockey canada

World Juniors 2019: Checking out Canada’s Competition

by The Niagara Independent

As usual, this year Canada is expected to face its stiffest competition from Russia in Group A. Group B has three teams that are all highly competitive; Sweden, Finland and the U.S.A. Here’s a look at each of these four teams.

canada denmark

Brock’s Chancellor named to Order of Canada

by The Niagara Independent

It’s a Christmas she won’t soon forget. Brock University Chancellor Shirley Cheechoo, an award-winning actress, artist, playwright and filmmaker, has been awarded the Order of Canada. The announcement came on Boxing Day from Governor-General Julie Payette.
One of the country’s highest honours, the Order of Canada recognizes Canadians whose service shapes society, whose innovations ignite imaginations and whose compassion unites communities.
Cheechoo said she was shocked when she received the call notifying her she was to receive the honour. “I didn’t know what to say, it was a very moving moment,” she said earlier this week. “It’s absolutely a tremendous honour to be given the Order of Canada.”

Niagara Falls set to ring in the New Year

by The Niagara Independent

The Niagara Parks Commission and the City of Niagara Falls, along with its Niagara Falls New Year’s Eve event partners, will once again host Canada’s longest running New Year’s Eve festivities and concert series, taking place in Queen Victoria Park.
“New Year’s Eve in Niagara Falls is an amazing tradition. We are thrilled to offer an exciting show again this year and we want you to come and enjoy it with us,” said Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati. “We look forward to celebrating the traditions of the season, like the Winter Festival of Lights, and the true Canadian experience of a New Year’s Eve outdoor concert, complete with outstanding entertainment and ringing in the New Year.”
This year’s concert features an all-star line-up of Canadian talent and will open with Niagara Falls-based band and winner of band of the year at the Niagara Music Awards, Avenue Inn. Avenue Inn has carved a unique space in the Canadian music scene since their formation in 2012 and have carefully crafted their own alternative rock approach, with their brand-new album “Tonight”.

A Door Closed and a Window of Opportunity Opened – A Niagara Success Story

by The Niagara Independent

Since opening their doors in 2016, Georges Greek Village Restaurant in St. Catharines has been dedicated to bringing the highest quality and freshest authentic Greek cuisine to diners in the Niagara Region.
The journey for owner and chef George Kountourogiannis to this point has been a long but rewarding one. One full of uncompromising hard work, a passion for food passed down through his family and now the satisfaction of owning a successful restaurant that bears his namesake.
It all started in 1975 at the Pine Centre Restaurant in Thorold, where his mom and dad owned a family restaurant.

Hamilton and Haldimand shift balance of power on NPCA Board

by The Niagara Independent

While the new crop of Niagara regional councillors jumped into the NPCA debate with both feet at their inaugural meeting last week, passing a motion to appoint 12 regional councillors to the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) Board, their counterparts in Hamilton and Haldimand have said not so fast.
Haldimand passed a motion on Tuesday stating they would be appointing two members to the NPCA Board. Current NPCA board member Rob Shirton was reappointed. He will be joined by Bernie Corbert. Their neighbouring counterparts in Hamilton stated they will be appointing four members – two councillors and two citizens. Hamilton selected city Councillors Brenda Johnson and former MPP Brad Clark. Hamilton council will ratify that recommendation at their Dec. 19 meeting.
Johnson told Hamilton media after she was recommended for appointment at committee meeting; “If anything else there will be some sort of equalization in voting,” said Johnson. “Any time they (Niagara) wanted to approve something, against the City of Hamilton, there were 12 voters saying too bad to be you.”

New manufacturing facility announced for St. Catharines

by The Niagara Independent

Another private company has decided to invest in Niagara, this time in St. Catharines. After Welland recently announced that insurance giant, Kanetix Ltd. would be opening a new office and creating up to 100 jobs within a year, Steelcon Fabrication Inc. announced the company plans on opening a new $40 million manufacturing facility in the Garden City. The plant will produce its leading SIN-beam product for the North American market.
A family-owned company based in Brampton, Steelcon uses advanced technologies to produce construction beams that are lighter, use less steel, and have less of an impact on the environment while making construction more efficient.
“The decision on the site was an extremely smooth one. St. Catharines brims with manufacturing facilities and when you can infill a location that fits so well for Steelcon, it makes for a great transaction,” said Ralph Roselli, Partner and Sales Representative at Colliers Niagara.


Badgers bring Christmas cheer to kids in hospital

by The Niagara Independent

The Brock men’s hockey team had an experience so heartwarming Wednesday it could melt the ice they normally play on.
The Badgers paid a visit to the Children’s Health Unit at Niagara Health’s St. Catharines site, on a mission to bring holiday cheer to the little ones inside.
Head coach Marty Williamson accompanied forwards Jared Marino (Niagara Falls), Ryan Burton (Thunder Bay), Frankie Pucci (Sault Ste. Marie), Ayden MacDonald (Langley, B.C.) and defenceman Connor Walters (Welland) as they went room to room while handing out high-fives, Brock apparel and water bottles, but more importantly, spending time visiting with children.

The surprising, and surging, Buffalo Sabres

by The Niagara Independent

No one.

Not a single person could have predicted this.

From worst to first, started from the bottom – however you want to word it – the Buffalo Sabres are for real.

In fact, according to the Elias Sports Bureau the Sabres are the first team ever to finish the previous season with the worst record and then lead the National Hockey League outright in points after 25 games.

Impressive to say the least.

So what’s been the difference?

First and foremost, it starts in goal with Carter Hutton. Hutton has played like a number one goaltender, and his leadership off the ice has definitely made a difference in the Buffalo dressing room.

Ford sets Path to Deal with Red Ink and Red Tape left by Liberals

by The Niagara Independent

Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli released their first formal economic statement at Queen’s Park Thursday. Dubbed “A Plan for the People”, the statement was the first formal budgetary step in the Ford government’s implementation of its campaign commitments to provide tax relief to Ontarians, make the cost of living more reasonable, stop provincial government wasteful spending and deficits and restore trust, transparency and accountability to Ontario’s finances.
The statement was made amid the backdrop of Ontario’s auditor general, the Fiscal Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) and the special Financial Commission of Inquiry all concurring that the previous Liberal government had not balanced the books in 2017-2018 (as they had claimed). The Commission of Inquiry pointed to a $6.7 billion deficit – and worse – that the Liberals had set the province on a path to a $15 billion deficit for 2018-2019.

Women’s Rugby Player earns National Community Service Award

by The Niagara Independent

U SPORTS recently presented Brock University women’s rugby player, Katelyn Heyens, with the Student-Athlete Community Service Award during the annual women’s rugby All-Canadian gala in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

“I am honoured to receive this award and am incredibly humbled by it. However, this was a team effort. I would not be here if it wasn’t for the support from all the amazing people in my life,” said Heyens. “I am truly thankful for all the people who have encouraged me to get involved, and for all those who have helped me grow as an athlete and individual over that last few years.”

Last month, the OUA also awarded Heyens the Russell Division Community Service Award.

Mobile Cancer Screening expands to Fort Erie and Port Colborne

by The Niagara Independent

Starting this month, the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Regional Mobile Cancer Screening Coach will begin offering free, regular cancer screening services at Bridges Community Health Centre locations in Fort Erie and Port Colborne.
The Coach has been providing cancer screening services in St. Catharines since July 2017. Expansion to Fort Erie and Port Colborne is part of the Regional Cancer Program’s efforts to increase cancer screening rates among Niagara residents who face barriers to screening.
The Coach will bring state-of-the-art breast, cervical and colon cancer screening to Fort Erie and Port Colborne for a full day each month, beginning on November 7 in Port Colborne and November 13 in Fort Erie. Going forward, the Coach will visit Port Colborne the first Wednesday of each month and Fort Erie the second Tuesday of each month.

Entire Pelham council turfed, an upset in Fort Erie, and other election happenings

by The Niagara Independent

Pelham While it was a night of change in several spots across the region, nowhere was this more apparent than in Pelham. Voters there, fed up with a huge debt, tax hikes, strange land deals and a tone-deaf council, took the opportunity to throw the whole lot out. Mayor Dave Augustyn, with dreams of becoming […]

The changing face of Regional Council

by The Niagara Independent

While a lot of voters stayed home once again this municipal election, especially in St. Catharines and Welland where turnout was a paltry 33%, those that did make it to the polls had an appetite for change.

With 8 members of the 2014 Niagara Regional Council deciding not to run in the 2018 elections, a revamped Council was assured from the get go.  Mayors Bentley (Grimsby), Maloney (Port Colborne), Augustyn (Pelham) and Jeffs (Wainfleet) all declined to seek another term as Mayor’s in their communities.  Councillors Hodgson (Lincoln), Maves (Niagara Falls), Burroughs (NOTL), Barrick (Port Colborne) and Petrowksi (St. Catharines) all also decided not to run this time around.  With a new regional councillor added for West Lincoln, 10 new faces were guaranteed.

In addition, in the politically tumultuous St. Catharines, new well-known candidates such as Jim Bradley, George Darte and Sandie Bellows all decided to run for a regional council seat.  If those three were successful, that left only three spots for incumbents Tim Rigby, Bruce Timms, Kelly Edgar, Brian Heit, the embattled Alan Caslin and the quiet Debbie MacGregor.

North and West Niagara see plenty of changes at council

by The Niagara Independent

Walter Sendzik will return to the Mayor’s office in St. Catharines with an overwhelming victory that saw the incumbent mayor win just over 70 per cent of the vote. Sendzik’s vote total of 21,574 was more than three times that of second place finisher Richard Stephens who grabbed 5,834 total votes. Of all the Mayor’s races across the Region this one was as close to a sure bet as one could find. Despite some significant challenges with projects that never came to fruition, like the General Motors factory site cleanup, the Port Dalhousie tower still at a standstill and the compassionate city slogan that has been tarnished with multiple acts of violence, Sendzik never really faced any credible opposition during the campaign and cruised to an easy victory.

Campaign Trail Tidbits

by The Niagara Independent

With just three days to go until municipal Election Day there have been some interesting developments as candidates make one last push to convince voters they are the right choice to represent their respective municipalities.

Niagara Falls

Some very positive news out of Niagara Falls earlier this week when incumbent Mayor, Jim Diodati, released a statement saying his oncologist gave him very good news regarding his battle with Classical Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Diodati, who is well on his way to completing his treatments, says he is feeling good and looking forward to Election Day. “I have a great team of volunteers and we will be focused on getting out the vote.  Signs, advertising, flyers, none of it matters if your supporters don’t actually vote,” he said.

Also in Niagara Falls, former NHL player and coach, Steve Ludzik, is back in the race for a Niagara Falls city council seat. Ludzik said he was going to step aside early in the campaign but is now back in the race. Ludzik established the Steve Ludzik Centre for Parkinson’s Rehabilitation at Hotel Dieu Shaver and has done yeomen’s work to raise money and awareness for the Centre and the disease.

Friday Night Lights is back in Niagara

by The Niagara Independent

Last Friday night at A.N. Myer’s new turf sports field, 300 people braved the cold to sit under the lights and watch a heavily favoured Myer senior football team handily defeat visiting Grimsby Secondary.

It was eight degrees but felt like four. The grandstand was jammed; the cheerleaders were dressed for warmth but braved the elements to cheer on their home team. The home team delivered, ultimately winning handily over an overmatched Grimsby team.

Brock Men’s hockey begin Quest for Queen’s Cup

by The Niagara Independent

The Brock Badgers men’s hockey team is looking to build off last season’s impressive playoff run when they open their season at home tonight. The Badgers will host the York Lions at 7:15 p.m. at the Seymour-Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre.
Brock is coming off a successful season where they posted a record of 14-9-5 and upset Guelph, York and Laurier in the playoffs. They reached the U SPORTS National Championships in Fredericton, New Brunswick, but were eliminated in the first round.

Interesting Candidates throughout Niagara

by The Niagara Independent

With hundreds of candidates running across Niagara in municipal, regional and school board elections – there are some interesting stories about many of the candidates. We profile a few below.

Flyboy is back in Welland
In the 2014 municipal election, Wellanders had to look up to see one candidate’s ‘lawn signs’. Graham Speck, a businessman – owner of Speck Industries, a communitarian and a Rotarian – had a unique way of getting voters’ attention for his 2014 campaign – he hand-glided above the city with his sign visible from the ground trailing behind. In the 2018 campaign, ‘flyboy’ is back, this time running for Welland City Council in Ward 5.

Niagara College opens Canada’s first Teaching Distillery

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara College welcomed their first batch of students into their Artisan Distilling (Graduate Certificate) program, a first-of-its-kind program in Canada.
The 2,500 square-foot state-of-the-art Teaching Distillery, housed at the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus, is directly adjacent to the college’s unique Wine Visitor + Education Centre, and is based on the college’s successful teaching winery and teaching brewery – also Canadian firsts. The fully operational distillery houses five stills, four mash tuns and ten fermenters that allow for on-site production of a wide variety of distilled products, including vodka, gin, whisky, brandy, rum and more.

Campaign Trail Tidbits

by The Niagara Independent

Current Regional Chairman, Alan Caslin, released a statement following his appearance on TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paiken, saying he is in favour of less government for Niagara; particularly when it comes to municipal politicians. Caslin pointed out that Hamilton has about 100,000 more people than Niagara but has just 16 politicians. By comparison, Niagara has 125 politicians.

Caslin said in his statement: “Not surprisingly, most politicians are tone deaf to residents’ shock when they are told Niagara has 125 politicians. Reducing the number of politicians in Niagara will reduce the cost of government. While this decision may not be popular with the political class or media establishment, it is the right thing to do.”

Brock research indicates strong manufacturing sector in Niagara

by The Niagara Independent

A recent Brock study may have just put an end to the doom and gloom scenario often painted about the Region’s manufacturing sector. Turns out there isn’t a need to plan a manufacturing funeral just yet. In fact, according to Sean Calcott and Charles Conteh there’s actually some good news.
Conteh, an Associate Professor of Political Science at Brock University and Director of the Niagara Community Observatory (NCO) admits the sector doesn’t look like it once did and it has gone through some challenging times. “But the general trend is that manufacturing has been very resilient, has stayed in the region and, in fact, has seen an upswing since 2012, so there’s a bit of a wind in our sails.”

Campaign Trail Tidbits

by The Niagara Independent

Things have heated up in Pelham as the election date gets closer. The town’s new arena, the Meridian Community Centre, recently had a not-so-smooth opening. The development of the facility was pushed hard over the years by Mayor Augustyn and seen as a legacy project for the Town’s Mayor. There was much discussion as to the actual cost of the celebratory grand opening pomp-and-circumstance as well as how the tickets were sold (or not sold) for a hockey game. Just three months ago the projected cost for the celebrations were pegged at $85,000. Since that time the estimated cost has gone from the original $85,000 to $70,000 to $48,000.

Public Relations and Marketing Specialist Marc McDonald was asked by the Town’s local newspaper, The Voice, to clarify the actual cost. MacDonald’s explanation was; “The net cost of the event is expected to be $48,225.”

Niagara High Schools on inflated marks list

by The Niagara Independent

It’s one list that Niagara’s high schools would prefer not to be on.
Global News reporter, Patrick Cain, recently broke a story on how for years, the University of Waterloo has been comparing the marks of high school graduates with their marks in the University’s engineering program. Some matched and some didn’t. What Waterloo have been finding is that marks from students coming out of three different schools aren’t reliable indicators on how those students will fair in their post-secondary studies. Some students were getting really good grades in high school and continued to do so in university while others had their marks drop as much as 30 per cent.

Region’s Police Chief Earns National Recognition

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara’s Chief of Police will soon don a new insignia atop his black Eisenhower jacket.

Bryan MacCulloch, who has been at the helm of the Niagara Regional Police Service for just under one year, has been awarded the Order of Merit of the Police Forces for 2017/ 2018.

The accolade is one of the top honours any police officer can receive in Canada and is only conferred upon those who illustrate “exceptional merit” and produce career-long “contributions to policing and community development”.

Exciting Future for Niagara-on-the-Lake Glendale District Taking Shape

by The Niagara Independent

Regional Planning Committee unanimously endorsed Phase 1 of the Niagara-on-the-Lake and St. Catharines Glendale District Plan this week. After several public meetings, workshops, charrettes, a social media campaign and consultations, renowned planning consultants, “The Planning Partnership”, presented the results – a visioning and conceptual development plan.
The Glendale Niagara area, is the confluence between the southern boundary of St. Catharines and the west boundary of Niagara on the Lake. It is the area that currently encompasses Niagara College, the Outlet Collection mall, White Oaks and the Seaway on the west side of the QEW and two hotels, commercial and industrial employment zones, and the QEW roadside rest area.

Steel Blade Classic brings Brock Badgers back to Meridian Centre

by The Niagara Independent

The Brock Badgers are set to take over the Meridian Centre again for one of the biggest shows in Canadian university hockey.
The Badgers men’s hockey team, which made it to the U SPORTS National Championships last season, will open the 2018-19 pre-season with their annual Steel Blade Classic to be held Friday, Sept. 21 in downtown St. Catharines.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the tournament, a single-game, winner-take-all matchup between the Brock Badgers and Guelph Gryphons.

Waste collection

by The Niagara Independent

In the worst weather last winter, and again this past summer during the heatwave, many Niagara residents were frustrated by not having their garbage or recycling picked up on the appointed day.
The Region re-tendered garbage and recycling collection several years ago, and current operator Emterra Environmental won the bid. In fact, their contract saves the Region’s taxpayers over $4 million per year.
Bart Maves, Chair of the Public Works Committee at the Region explains, “Emterra has actually done a spectacular job over most of the life of their contract with the Region. It is only over the last year that they have had some issues. The core of the problem has been aging trucks that they are trying to refurbish while maintaining service, some staff turnover, and other staff issues like people calling in sick on the hottest or coldest days of the year.”

St. Catharines Hockey Legend Stan Mikita Remembered

by The Niagara Independent

Chicago Black Hawks and St. Catharines Teepees legendary centreman Stan Mikita died last week, he was 78 years old.
Mikita was born in Sokolce, Czechoslovakia in 1940 but moved to St. Catharines as a young boy where he lived with his aunt and uncle and took on their last name of Mikita. He was a star centre for the Teepees from 1956 to 1959. At the end of the 1959 junior season he went up and played three NHL games with the Black Hawks. He would play every season after that with the Hawks until his retirement in 1980. Only three players have played more games while playing their whole careers with the same team.

Ontario Power Generation signs agreement to purchase Eagle Creek Renewable Energy

by The Niagara Independent

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has signed a purchase and sale agreement to acquire 100 per cent of the equity of Eagle Creek Renewable Energy LLC in the U.S.
The purchase price is US$298 million, subject to customary working capital and other adjustments on closing, OPG said.
OPG has stated that no taxpayer dollars will be used to fund this acquisition. Instead, the investment will be financed through OPG’s corporate public debt program or other available credit facilities.

Local Conservative MPs consult with Niagara business leaders on U.S. Tariffs

by The Niagara Independent

Over the last month, Conservative Party MPs have been meeting with business leaders, labour groups, and employees across the country to discuss the impact of Canada’s decreasingly friendly economic relationship with the U.S.

On June 1, President Donald Trump imposed a 25% tariff on imported steel and a 10% tariff on incoming aluminum.

Despite a feeble attempt to remedy the situation, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was unable to secure an exemption from the duties: unwittingly launching Canada into a trade war with the U.S.

Brock coach heading to Raptors’ organization

by The Niagara Independent

After leading the Brock Badgers men’s basketball team to a record setting season in terms of wins in 2017-18 and mading it to the National Championships for the first time in 10 years, head coach Charles Kissi is taking his development as a coach to the next level.
Kissi has been named an assistant coach for Raptors 905 — the NBA G League affiliate of the Toronto Raptors — by Raptors 905 head coach Jama Mahlalela and ownership group Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.

Tiny robot designed in Niagara could be game-changer in fight against tuberculosis

by The Niagara Independent

Creating a microscopic robot that has the potential to identify drug resistance to tuberculosis faster than conventional tests is something most Niagara residents would assume happens at post-secondary institutions like University of Toronto or Queen’s University or even McMaster University down the QEW in Hamilton. However, this type of game-changing scientific research and development is happening here in St. Catharines at Niagara’s own Brock University.
The Brock team’s latest technology builds on an earlier version of the microscopic robot — called the three-dimensional DNA nanomachine — they created in 2016 to detect diseases in a blood sample within 30 minutes.

Who’s in? Who’s out?

by The Niagara Independent

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has said there will be no general election of Regional Chairs in the upcoming municipal election, reversing a decision by the former Wynne Liberals. This news has sent Niagara politicians whirling in the last 24-hours.

In advance of what is expected to be one of the most hotly contested series of municipal elections in recent memory, the Niagara Independent examines a few of the most notable candidates registered to run (or not run) in 2018.

Canadian Open Tees Off at Glen Abbey

by The Niagara Independent

There will be plenty of Canadian content at this week’s RBC Canadian Open being held just down the QEW at Oakville’s Glen Abbey Golf Club.
Five players from Ontario are in the field including; Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont., Corey Conners of Listowel,Ont., David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., Ben Silverman of Thornhill, Ont., and former Master champion, Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ontario. They are joined by fellow Canadian PGA players Adam Hadwin (highest ranking Canadian on the PGA Tour) and Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C.

Lord Mayor Darte Seeks Re-Election

by The Niagara Independent

A lot of good things have been accomplished during the past few years in Canada’s “friendliest town” but Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Lord Mayor, Pat Darte, announced this week he’d like at least four more years to build on those achievements.

Introduced by his campaign manager, Joe Pillitteri, in front of a crowd of family and supporters, Darte said he has been recently reflecting on his first term as Lord Mayor and believes the Town is moving in the right direction. “We are expanding to meet demands while retaining the unique elements of Niagara-on-the-Lake,” he said. He stated that over a half a billion dollars of new construction has taken place and gave examples of new wineries, craft breweries, additional retail space as well as new housing development.

Tomasino Invited to Canada Summer U-18 Selection Camp

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara Ice Dogs’ Philip Tomasino is among forty-four of the nation’s top under-18 hockey prospects that will gather in Calgary at the end of July to compete for a chance to wear the Maple Leaf on home ice as part of Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team competing at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Edmonton and Red Deer this August.
The invitations have been extended to four goaltenders, 14 defencemen, and 26 forwards who are developing in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) and Canadian Junior Hockey League.
Tomasino previously represented Canada Black at the World U17 Hockey Challenge last fall.

Augustyn Running for Chair’s Seat

by The Niagara Independent

And then there were four.

Joining Damian Goulbourne from Welland, John (Ringo) Beam of Niagara Falls and current Regional Chair Alan Caslin from St. Catharines, current Pelham Mayor, Dave Augustyn declared publicly yesterday that he too will join the race to seek the Region’s top political position.

Niagara’s New Economic Development Boss is all Business

by The Niagara Independent

Although he doesn’t officially begin his role as the new Director of Economic Development for the Niagara Region, Domenic Ursini is doing his homework and reaching out to partners so that he’s able to hit the ground running come his official start date of July 30.
“I’ve been holding conversations with local counterparts and members of my team,” said Ursni who brings with him a wealth of private sector experience including commercial banking, government relations and public accounting.

Niagara’s Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits acquires BC winery

by The Niagara Independent

Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits Inc. has acquired Backyard Vineyards Inc. of Langley, British Columbia for $3 million in stock, cash and the assumption of some debt. In what is described by the Company as a “highly strategic transaction” the acquisition transforms Diamond Estates into a national producer of VQA wines and positions the Company to build a major new winery in the internationally-recognized Okanagan Valley wine-producing region.
Diamond Estates Wines and Spirits Inc. is a producer of wines and a sales agent for over 120 beverage alcohol brands across Canada. The company operates wineries in Niagara and one in Toronto, producing VQA and blended wines under brand names 20 Bees, EastDell, Lakeview Cellars, FRESH, Dan Aykroyd, McMichael Collection, Benchmark and Seasons.

Leafs and Sabres dominate free agent frenzy headlines

by The Niagara Independent

Only in Canada.
Only in our home and native land, on our national birthday, on the hottest weekend in many years, could hockey occupy centre stage.
July 1 is not only Canada’s birthday but also “Free Agent Frenzy” day in the NHL. Every July 1 at noon, all NHL teams can start to sign NHL free agents. Weeks of speculation on which free agent will go where lead into the big day.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer Visits Niagara

by The Niagara Independent

On a sweltering hot Saturday, Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer found one of the cooler spots in Niagara to meet 300 supporters for a barbeque. Henley Island in St. Catharines provided the backdrop with a cool breeze off the water as the crowd of Tory supporters eagerly dined on burgers and Canada Day cake while lining up for pictures with their party leader.
The event was organized by St. Catharines Conservative Riding Association member and St. Catharines City Councillor Mike Britton along with the Niagara Falls Riding Association. Britton also was the evening’s emcee. “It was an honour to have Mr. Scheer here in Niagara and having such a large turnout with just a week’s notice is a testament to the support the Party has here in this Region,” said Britton.

Caslin seeking re-election as Regional Chair

by The Niagara Independent

Current Niagara Regional Chairman, Alan Caslin is officially seeking re-election.

Chair Caslin announced his intentions Thursday stating: “For the past four years, I have been honoured to lead a Niagara Regional Council that has repeatedly delivered for Niagara residents.” He cited the creation of 12,700 new jobs, billions of dollars in economic growth annually, the lowest unemployment rate in 18 years, and a low tax plan that included a tax freeze in 2016 as some of the accomplishments in the past four years under Caslin’s leadership.

Second German university joins Brock’s dual degree business program

by The Niagara Independent

A fourth European institution is joining the dual degree program that has become an international success story for Brock University’s Goodman School of Business.
The Goodman School has established a partnership with Reutlingen University’s ESB Business School in Germany for its Bachelor of Business Administration Co-op International Dual Degree program.

Welland Plans to Enhance Waterfront Experience

by The Niagara Independent

Welland City Council has approved phase one of a multi-phased canal redevelopment strategy focused on funding new initiatives and amenities that will enhance the city’s waterfront experience for families, individuals, and tourists. The phase one changes will be completed at the city’s Lincoln Street Docks over the next four to six weeks.

Rock Band the Size of a Dozen Symphony Orchestras to Perform in Niagara

by The Niagara Independent

Traditionally frequented by dog walkers and weekend cyclists, Fireman’s Park will soon play host to an upcoming historic event.

On Saturday, July 21, 1 000 amateur and professional musicians of all ages will descend on the Niagara Falls recreation area to perform a synchronized set of six classic hits.

Regional Initiative to Alleviate Poverty Turns 10

by The Niagara Independent

On Friday, June 15 public officials and relief agencies from across the region gathered to celebrate 10 successful years of the Niagara Prosperity Initiative (NPI).

Established in 2008, the NPI administers $1.5 million in annual funding to a variety of local organizations maintaining missions to reduce and prevent poverty.

The event was moderated by Commissioner of Community Services Adrienne Jugley and featured statements from Regional Chair Alan Caslin, Township of West Lincoln Mayor Doug Joyner, and program director at Westview Centre4Women Jane LaVacca.

Report Finds Pelham Mayor Augustyn Violated Region’s Code of Conduct

by The Niagara Independent

The Integrity Commissioner Office for the Niagara Region, ADR Chambers, has found Pelham Mayor Dave Augustyn in violation of the Region’s Code of Conduct, specifically the Release of Confidential Information.

Regional Councillor David Barrick brought forth the complaint in January, alleging Councillor Augustyn violated the Code of Conduct when, on Dec. 21 of 2017 he circulated documents clearly marked privileged and confidential to the Office of the Ontario Ombudsmen.

Niagara PC Candidates Urge Supporters to Have Voice at Queen’s Park

by The Niagara Independent

With just 48 hours until Ontario decides who will be the next leader of the province and closer to home, which Niagara candidates will be heading to Queen’s Park to represent their respective constituents, Niagara Falls riding PC candidate Chuck McShane gave one last pre-election day speech to his supporters.

At a news conference held at his Niagara Falls campaign headquarters, McShane took to the podium on Tuesday afternoon to remind his supporters and those in his riding of the importance of having a seat at the table in Toronto.

Ford: slots back at track, Welland Hospital stays open and services

by The Niagara Independent

Ontario PC Party Leader Doug Ford was back in Niagara for the fourth time in this 2018 provincial election which tells many political pundits that the PCs are seeing numbers that suggest they can win what have historically been NDP and Liberal seats.
In contrast, the other main party Leaders Andrea Horwath (NDP) and Kathleen Wynne (Liberal) have been in Niagara only once and not at all respectively.

GO Train – Region and Municipalities Doing Their Part

by The Niagara Independent

The Region has moved the full day GO TRAIN transit file forward in a solid and meaningful way with the passing of all four secondary plans for the GO Train station areas.
Niagara Region, as part of its business case, committed to ensuring that the areas around the potential stations, the so-called Transit Hubs, would be fully planned and prepared in time for the beginning of GO Train service committed for 2023.

High School Baseball: Myer vs. Myer

by The Niagara Independent

Myer’s Ryan Shannon rounds the bases during play in the Bullet Proof  high school baseball tournament. Photo Credit: Jeff Eidt Last week the annual Bullet Proof High School Baseball tournament was held in St. Catharines.  A.N. Myer of Niagara Falls, which has ‘threepeated’ as SOSSA champions and finished in the top five in OFSAA the last […]

Region advised to do due diligence on funding requests

by The Niagara Independent

Last year’s regional-municipal saga surrounding the $36 million borrowed by the Region on behalf of the Town of Pelham for Pelham’s new arena, reappeared in an Audit Committee meeting at the Region this week.  The loan request of the Region was first made in June of 2016 when the Town asked the Region to agree to grant it borrowing space of up to $36 million for aforementioned arena.  The Town stated they had no intention of borrowing the full amount, because they had a plan to fundraise and engage in land sales to cover at least $15 million of the cost.  Several Councillors balked at agreeing to have the Region borrow for the Town fearing the amount was far too much for a town of only 17,000 people, but were led to believe by previous Region staff that their non-approval would be a legal problem.  Loans like this by upper tier governments had come to be treated as ‘rubber stamps’.  After a deferral was narrowly defeated, the loan space was eventually approved, with only Councillors Bart Maves and Andy Petrowski standing their ground and voting against. 

The Town of Pelham and a few other municipalities began to pass motions at their respective Councils condemning perceived Regional government interference in municipal matters.  The Region argued that since they were liable for the debt, they had the right and the responsibility to ask for financial information from the Municipalities that would assure the Region that the municipality could actually afford the debt.

Leaders take their best shots during first Provincial Election Debate

by The Niagara Independent

Rather than tell you who won or who lost, The Niagara Independent staff watched the first Ontario election leaders’ debate and picked out a few interesting and fun sections of the debate and have reprinted them here – in their own words.

Candidates Host a Conversation About Women in Politics

by The Niagara Independent

All three are single parents. All three have raised boys. All three have gone through terrible physical or emotional experiences and have come out stronger on the other side.
Now, all three of these women are running to become progressive conservative MPPs in the upcoming Ontario election. And they want to get more women interested in participating in politics.
Christine Elliott joined Niagara MPP hopefuls Sandie Bellows and April Jeffs at Johnny Rocco’s in St. Catharines Friday evening for what was billed as “A Conversation with Women – Three Strong Leaders Talking Real Change”.

Brock Basketball Rookie Named All-Star

by The Niagara Independent

As a rookie, Kristin Gallant figured her first year with the Brock Badgers women’s basketball team would see her play a small role and fight for playing time.
But after a busy season that saw the 18-year-old Halifax native become a young leader on her team, Gallant was named to the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) all-star game.

Miele Convinces Region to Install Four-way Stop

by The Niagara Independent

An accident in early 2018 at Four Mile Creek Road and Line 3 in Niagara-on-the-Lake spurred regional public works transportation staff to try and find out why so many accidents were occurring at the intersection. Traffic counts don’t warrant four-way stops at the intersection and it is a relatively plain two-way stop from Line 3 onto Creek Road.
The Regions’ public works staff accelerated their processes after another accident in late April. This accident was followed by urgent requests for a four-way stop to be installed by Niagara-on-the-Lake Town Council.

Burgoyne Bridge Investigation Spotlight Shifts to St. Catharines

by The Niagara Independent

The spotlight on the Burgoyne Bridge massive cost overrun has shifted to the City of St. Catharines. At issue is two years worth of city emails, 2011 and 2012, that can’t be retrieved. The 2011 email file is corrupted and the 2012 emails have completely vanished.

The committee trying to get to the bottom of the massive cost overruns was provided with an update from staff at this week’s meeting.

National Recognition for Brock Student Scientists

by The Niagara Independent

A Brock University student placed an impressive third overall in a national science research video contest, with two other Brock student videos among the contest’s top 15 finalists.
Science, Action! features student-produced, 60-second videos on research projects funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), one of Brock’s major research funders.

Port Dalhousie Condo Projects Await their Fate

by The Niagara Independent

While the ‘Port Tower’ project still hasn’t gotten off the ground in the Port Dalhousie area of St. Catharines, two new condo projects are winding their way through city bureaucracy and the court of public opinion hoping to have more success at becoming a reality than their languishing cousin down the street.

The two projects are essentially located side by side. The Port Dalhousie Harbour Club Inc. is looking to redevelop the former Lincoln Fabrics building while Royal Canadian Legion Branch 350 and Rankin Construction are planning on redeveloping the Port Dalhousie Legion building.  Somewhat similar to the port tower saga, there are both proponents and naysayers to both projects. One of the main concerns from those opposing the projects is the height of the buildings.

A.N. Myer Catcher Owen Diodati earns a spot on Canada’s Junior National Team

by The Niagara Independent

A.N. Myer High School’s baseball program has been having great success over the last few years.  Success that rivals that of the school’s legendary football program – whose senior team had 3 successive SOSSA Championships as well as victories at OFSAA which included the #2 ranking in Canada in 2016.

Myer baseball is on a similar streak with 3 successive SOSSA championships and 3 straight trips to OFSAA, which included the #3 ranking in Ontario going into OFSAA last year.

Niagara PC Women Get Ready for Provincial Campaign

by The Niagara Independent

The Progressive Conservatives are hoping two strong hard-working women will end up as MPPs at Queen’s Park after the June provincial election. Sandy Bellows, who recently received the nomination for St. Catharines and April Jeffs, who this past weekend opened her campaign office in Welland, are looking forward to the long hours and tough demands of a provincial campaign.
Both women say they are hearing the same message from voters in their respective ridings – it’s time for change. That was the message Jeffs heard at the opening of her campaign office at the Fitch Street Plaza in Welland. “The energy in this room today shows me that people are motivated and eager for a new government – a government that works for them – not against them,” Jeffs said.


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