Niagara Health, DJB among small group of region’s 2023 ‘Top Employers’

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara Health made the annual list for the fifth-straight year. DJB was named a Top Employer for the third time in four years. Photo credit: Facebook/Niagara Health    A total of eight of Niagara-based workplaces have made this year’s ‘Hamilton-Niagara Top Employers’ list.  Published annually since 2008 by Mediacorp Canada, the competition is organized by […]

Niagara Catholic trustees hold inaugural meeting of new term, Di Lorenzo elected chair

by The Niagara Independent

Pictured from left to right are trustees Larry Huibers, Doug Joyner, Jim Marino, Paul Turner, Chair Danny Di Lorenzo, Vice-Chair Rhianon Burkholder, student trustees Steffan Zylstra (back) and Charlotte Johnstone, trustee Joe Bruzzese and trustee Natalia Benoit. Photo credit: Facebook/Niagara Catholic   Niagara Catholic District School Board held its first inaugural of the 2022-2026 term […]

Despite short and long-term challenges, future for Niagara business bright

by Nick Redekop

Executive Director of the South Niagara Chambers of Commerce Dolores Fabiano pointed to widespread labour shortages as the most significant challenge facing local employers at the moment, but said Niagara is especially good at attracting talent and uniquely positioned to succeed moving forward. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent    The pandemic, inflation, labour shortages and […]

Province provides Niagara police funding to help address local auto theft

by The Niagara Independent

The near-$2 million grant will be used to upgrade the police force’s Automated Licence Plate Recognition (ALPR) technology. Photo credit: Facebook/Niagara Regional Police Service   The Ontario government is providing the Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) $1,956,419 to help combat auto theft in the region.  The NRPS will use the funding to enhance existing Automated Licence Plate Recognition (ALPR) […]

CP Holiday Train rolling into nearby Hamilton next week

by Kevin Geenen

Back for the first time since 2019, the Christmas-themed locomotive will travel through neighbouring Steeltown on Tuesday, November 29. Photo credit: CP   The Canadian Pacific (CP) Holiday Train has returned for 2022 after a brief two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. The train will be in Hamilton on Tuesday, November 29 from 7:30PM to […]

The twice-weekly event offers “students who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC)” free tutoring, tailored resources, and snacks in an exclusive study space. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent   As first reported by the Western Standard and True North Centre last week, St. Catharines-based Brock University recently introduced a racially segregated study […]

Health care facilities in Niagara get over $2 million from province for upgrades, repairs

by The Niagara Independent

The funds will be used to address infrastructure renewal needs, such as roofing repairs or window replacements. Pictured is Port Colborne Urgent Care Centre, one of five Niagara Health sites around the region. Niagara Health received $1.3 million in funding for the 2022-23 fiscal year. Photo credit: City of Port Colborne   The province is […]

Bradley back as chair, as province set to reassess Niagara’s two-tier governance model

by The Niagara Independent

Reappointed chair to provide “continuity and stability”, Bradley will work hand-in-hand with a provincially selected “facilitator” who will review the municipality’s two-tier governance system. Led by Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark (pictured), the province wants to reduce duplication and cut red tape in order to, among other things, address the housing crisis. […]

Niagara students exceed provincial testing standards across most categories, grade levels

by The Niagara Independent

Grade 3 and 6 DSBN students did particularly well in math, posting double-digit scores above the provincial standard at both levels. Photo credit: Pexels/Pixabay   It’s been a few years since Niagara students took the EQAO (Education Quality and Accountability Office) test – which was paused following the 2018-2019 academic year due to the pandemic […]

Niagara producers post strong showing at first-ever Canada Beer Cup

by The Niagara Independent

Professor and head brewmaster at Niagara College’s Teaching Brewery Jon Downing stands with the school’s two gold medal-winning creations. The Teaching Brewery was one of three local craft beer producers to take home hardware at last month’s competition, where Beamsville’s Bench Brewing landed on the overall Best-in-Show podium for its plum sour. Photo credit: Niagara […]

Winter Festival of Lights celebrating four decades with news displays, trails, and free family fun

by The Niagara Independent

The annual Niagara Falls lights show is Canada’s largest outdoor illumination festival. Photo credit: Facebook/Winter Festival of Lights   The Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights officially kicked off the 2022 season on Saturday. The elaborate lights show, which runs a full 101 nights until February 20, is celebrating 40 seasons of dazzling displays this […]

Practical ways you can help support our veterans

by Nick Redekop

Before, on, and after Remembrance Day, there are myriad ways Niagara residents can make a difference in the lives of our country’s finest. Photo credit: Facebook/Royal Canadian Legion Branch 124   Remembrance Day is here again. The annual observance provides a special opportunity for Canadians to honour the sacrifice made by our armed forces, both […]

St. Catharines City Council held its final regular meeting of the 2018-2022 term on Monday. Members narrowly passed a motion to once again display the nativity scene featuring baby Jesus outside of city hall this year, following a two-year hiatus. One of the more vocal opponents of the scene’s reinstitution was outgoing councillor Karrie Porter […]

Since first taking office in 2019, Niagara Falls MP Tony Baldinelli has been a vocal advocate for local winemakers. At a recent committee meeting, Baldinelli asked Minister of International Trade Mary Ng if the Liberal government will continue to share revenue from the government’s newly reimposed excise tax on wine with producers into the future. […]

Niagara housing prices drop seventh straight month, but pace of decrease slows dramatically

by The Niagara Independent

The local Housing Price Index (HPI) benchmark dipped 1.3 per cent between September and October. Photo credit: HouseLogic/Liz Foreman   As the Bank of Canada continues on its campaign to crash the Canadian economy by aggressively raising interest rates in order to bring inflation back down into its arbitrary target range, local housing prices once […]

Rumours of who’s running to be Niagara’s next regional chair

by The Niagara Independent

Last term’s head of council Jim Bradley only confirmed candidate to date, with several hopefuls speculated. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent   While all seems quiet on the municipal front, there is currently a lot of noise going on behind-the-scenes amongst newly elected regional councillors.  In less than three weeks, Niagara Regional Council will internally […]

While the current season is now well underway, the club is always accepting new members of every size and skill level. Photo credit: Facebook/Niagara Falls Curling Club   After three disrupted seasons, Sean Ford, manager of the Niagara Falls Curling Club, believes brighter days are ahead.  “We have seen a significant uptick in numbers”, said […]

Local developer Rainer Hummel (pictured) launched a lawsuit against the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake after the municipality froze all development across a large swathe of the community for the better part of two years. A lower court judge dismissed Hummel’s suit in 2021. However, in a historic ruling last week, Ontario’s Court of Appeal summarily rejected […]

 Win or lose, Niagara residents appear to be on the hook for sizable sum. Pictured is former Regional Chair Alan Caslin.    The Region of Niagara is suing former Regional Chair Alan Caslin for ‘public malfeasance’ related to the 2016 hiring of Carmen D’Angelo as CAO; a conclusion, to note, not reached by either the […]

Average voter turnout drops nearly nine points across the region

by The Niagara Independent

On average, only 33.5 per cent of eligible voters showed up to the polls across Niagara’s 12 respective municipalities for this year’s municipal elections, down 8.7 per cent from 2018. As they did four years ago, St. Catharines, Thorold, and Welland led the pack in terms of lowest turnout. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent   […]

Ichabod Crane: a Niagara-born Halloween legend

by Nick Redekop

Most North Americans are familiar with the story of the headless horseman, but few realize its creator and protagonist’s namesake have deep Niagara roots. Pictured is The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane (1858) by 19th-century American painter John Quidor. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Google Art Project    On Monday, people throughout Canada and the United States […]

Everything you need to know about Niagara’s 2022 municipal elections

by The Niagara Independent

A rundown of some of the top headlines and key results from around the region. Photo credit: Twitter/Jim Diodati   NIAGARA FALLS – Diodati earns fourth term As expected, incumbent mayor of Canada’s Honeymoon Capital Jim Diodati once again swept into office with relative ease, securing nearly 70 per cent of the vote (his nearest […]

Niagara elections strangely silent on governance reform

by The Niagara Independent

There are a few exceptions, however. Former St. Catharines regional councillor Bruce Timms is spearheading third-party efforts to push for double duty councillors. While Kevin Maves, former DSBN trustee and current regional council candidate in Niagara Falls, has put forward a proposal that would cut politicians in Niagara from 126 down to 66. Photo credit: […]

South Niagara Hospital project enters final phase of proponent selection process

by The Niagara Independent

 Infrastructure Ontario and Niagara Health will evaluate RFP submissions over the coming months and announce a successful proponent in early 2023, with construction expected to start shortly thereafter. Two teams are vying to design, build, finance, and maintain the over-$1 billion project. Photo credit: Niagara Health   Last week, Infrastructure Ontario announced closure of the […]

Foster, Greenwood among most excessive in filing expenses at Niagara Region

by The Niagara Independent

Lincoln’s Robert Foster (left) and Niagara Falls’ Barbara Greenwood (right) were among a small, select group of regional councillors in the ‘over-$8,000’ club this past term of government. Photo credit: Niagara Region   Over the last term of Regional Council, January 2019 to October 2022, the council predominantly met by videoconference due initially to pandemic […]

Where the St. Catharines mayoral candidates stand on three key issues

by The Niagara Independent

Property taxes, service fees, and community improvement programs are all hot topics this election cycle. Pictured is mayoral candidate Mike Britton. Britton is one of three candidates vying to replace outgoing incumbent mayor Walter Sendzik, the other two being Mat Siscoe and Nick Petrucci. Photo credit: Mike Britton    The three candidates for mayor in […]

Niagara Falls set to get university, will welcome first students in 2024

by The Niagara Independent

Bringing a post-secondary institute to the Honeymoon Capital has been a goal of Mayor of Niagara Falls Jim Diodati (pictured, centre at podium) for several years. Photo credit: LinkedIn/Jim Diodati   Following over a decade of hard work behind the scenes with multiple stakeholders and several levels of government, Mayor Jim Diodati’s dream of bringing […]

Oakes family pledges $5 million toward new Niagara Falls hospital

by The Niagara Independent

Through the generosity of local private sector donors like the Oakes family, the South Niagara hospital fundraising campaign has secured over $27 million of its $40 million community goal. Pictured right to left are board chair of the Niagara Health Foundation (NHF) Albert Iannantuono, Mayor of Niagara Falls Jim Diodati, president of HOCO Harry Oakes, and […]

MP Baldinelli awarded major critic file, named shadow minister for tourism

by The Niagara Independent

The two-time Conservative MP previously served as Special Advisor on Tourism Recovery and Shadow Minister for Manufacturing and Export Promotion. Pictured are Baldinelli (left) and new Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre. Supplied photo.    Earlier this week, Conservative MP for Niagara Falls Tony Baldinelli was named the Official Opposition’s Shadow Minister for Tourism by newly-elected […]

Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake infringed upon Marotta’s Charter right to a timely trial

by The Niagara Independent

The decision was handed down by an Ontario Justice of the Peace last month and was recently made public. Pictured is the entrance to developer Benny Marotta’s Randwood Estate property on John St. in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Photo credit: Google Maps   In the ongoing Randwood Estate legal saga being fought on the taxpayers’ dime between the […]

Now six months from peak, Niagara home prices continue downward spiral

by Nicholas Tibollo

After reaching $825,300 in March 2022, Niagara’s Housing Price Index (HPI) benchmark has fell a full 20 points down to $661,900. Photo credit: ABC News   The Bank of Canada’s aggressive interest rate hike campaign and uncertainty around the future state of Canada’s economy continue to cool what was a red-hot housing market across much […]

Hall of fame pitcher Fergie Jenkins files suit against his own St. Catharines-based charity

by The Niagara Independent

After the organization allegedly refused to return memorabilia, Fergie Jenkins “had no choice but to commence litigation” against the Fergie Jenkins Foundation, which, along with its accompanying museum, is headquartered in St. Catharines. Pictured is Jenkins at the MLB ‘Field of Dreams’ game, Aug. 11, 2022. Photo credit: Twitter/Chicago Cubs   Legendary Canadian baseball hall-of-famer […]

What’s in a name?

by The Niagara Independent

Are the two Steeles running for Port Colborne mayor related? Yes. Is the Tony Baldinelli running for city council the same Tony Baldinelli who currently serves as MP for Niagara Falls? No. Confused yet? So are we.    Niagara area voters can be forgiven this municipal election if they are a little confused by some […]

 Spencer Bellows-De Wolfe (left), son of late community leader Sandie Bellows, is running for St. Catharines City Council in the 2022 municipal elections. Photo credit: Twitter/Spencer Bellows-De Wolfe   Spencer Bellows-De Wolfe is one of six candidates vying for two city council spots in St. Catharines’ St. Patrick’s Ward this October. A teacher by trade, […]

  Minister of Energy Todd Smith made good use of his time in Niagara on Tuesday, visiting E.S. Fox Ltd. in Niagara Falls, launching the province’s Clean Home Heating Initiative in St. Catharines, speaking to the Women in Nuclear conference, and more. Pictured is Minister Smith (centre) at E.S. Fox’s Niagara Falls facility on Tuesday, […]

Councillor Brian Heit collaborated with CAO in complaint against colleague, documents suggest

by The Niagara Independent

Emails seem to indicate that the St. Catharines regional councillor (left) sought and received assistance in filing an unfounded Integrity Commissioner complaint against fellow councillor Bob Gale (right) from Niagara Region CAO Ron Tripp. Photo credit: Niagara Region   Last Thursday, at Niagara Region’s final regular council meeting before Ontario’s municipal elections, councillors reviewed the […]

Niagara Falls named world’s ‘best-loved landmark’, despite considerable room for improvement

by The Niagara Independent

While it is clear that Mother Nature has gifted Niagara with one of the most spectacular landmarks in the world, one wonders if the custodians of the area have kept pace to provide ancillary product for visitors.    An international luggage storage company, Bounce, which serves tourists in over 1,000 locations in cities around the […]

Allison lays out priorities for fall session

by Nick Redekop

The long-serving Niagara MP said cost of living and labour shortages currently top of mind for Canada’s Opposition.   Niagara West MP Dean Allison says he and his federal Conservative colleagues are ready to get back to work. “There are a lot of big issues that need addressing this fall”, Allison told The Niagara Independent […]

The Parks is hoping to emulate the wild success of its adaptive reuse of the former Canadian Niagara Power Generating Station last year. Pictured is the interior of the Toronto Power Generating Station. Photo credit: Niagara Parks Commission   Earlier this month, the Niagara Parks Commission (NPC) concluded stage two in a three-stage proposal process […]

St. Catharines rental prices increase month-over-month, but remain mid-tier nationwide

by Nicholas Tibollo

The median price for a two-bedroom unit in the city stayed just below $2,000 per month in August. Pictured are the Crown Tower Apartments in St. Catharines. Photo credit: Homestead   According to Zumper’s latest Canadian Rent Report, St. Catharines remains middle-of-the-pack in terms of rental affordability in Canada.  Released last Thursday, the monthly report […]

Port Colborne native gives largest single gift to the liberal arts in Canadian history

by McMaster University

The $50 million donation from businessman and philanthropist L.R. “Red” Wilson, who was born and raised in Port Colborne, will create a unique leadership college at Hamilton’s McMaster University. Photo credit: McMaster University   McMaster University is launching Canada’s most comprehensive leadership college with a $50-million gift from Chancellor Emeritus Lynton “Red” Wilson and the […]

Niagara home prices experience fifth straight monthly decrease

by Nicholas Tibollo

Once again, the region’s HPI composite benchmark fell by more than four points last month. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward   Inflation, interest rate hikes, and uncertainty around the current and future state of Canada’s economy continue to chill what was once a red-hot housing market across much of the country throughout the latter […]

Pierre Poilievre dominated the field of contenders to take the Conservative Party leadership Saturday evening, winning nearly 70 per cent support on the first ballot. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld    The sky is still blue, and so is the Conservative Party of Canada.  After what can only be described as the most lackluster […]

News of Queen Elizabeth II’s death came mid-afternoon eastern time Thursday. Photo credit: Royal Family   On Thursday, September 8 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II passed away age 96 as the longest-reigning British monarch in history.  Across the country, tributes to the Queen of Canada poured in from far and […]

Niagara police hold annual back-to-school safety blitz

by Nicholas Tibollo

Though nearly 100 tickets and written warnings were issued Tuesday, for the most part, participating officers advised that the majority of motorists were using caution around school zones. Photo credit: Twitter/Niagara Regional Police Service    Local law enforcement was out en masse Tuesday for the Niagara Regional Police Service’s 22nd annual back-to-school safety blitz and […]

Town of Pelham awarded $5.4 million in funding for new Fonthill library

by Nicholas Tibollo

Officials made the announcement Friday, Sept. 2, 2022 at the Meridian Community Centre. Pictured from left to right: Councillor Bob Hildebrandt, Councillor Marianne Stewart, Regional Councillor Diana Huson, Councillor John Wink, town treasurer Teresa Quinlin-Murphy, Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey, Mayor Marvin Junkin, St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle, Lincoln Pelham Public Library (LPPL) CEO Julie […]

Announced a week before start of the term, Brock University will require all staff and students to wear masks in instructional spaces across campus this fall. The decision was made in consultation with the Brock University Faculty Association, the same organization that supposedly “pressured” administrators back in March to maintain the school’s pandemic protocols after […]

Who will be the next Lord Mayor of Niagara-on-the-Lake?

by The Niagara Independent

Current regional councillor Gary Zalepa (pictured left) and retired businessman Vaughn Goettler (right) are challenging incumbent Betty Disero this October.    With the municipal election to be held on October 24, three candidates have registered to become Lord Mayor for the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. The three candidates include incumbent Betty Disero, current regional councillor Gary […]

First scheduled to open in June 2019, and then in April 2020, the newly dubbed ‘OLG Stage at Fallsview Casino’ is now set to host its inaugural shows “later in the fall”. Photo credit: HOCO Entertainment   It’s been a long road, but the 5,000-seat Niagara Falls entertainment centre at the corner of Stanley Avenue […]

The local MP (right, pictured alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) was roundly criticized for his reckless implication. Bittle has a history of exploiting social media to cast baseless aspersions. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons   About two weeks ago, news broke that the Liberal government had hired a consulting firm to roll out an anti-racism initiative […]

After several delegations spoke in opposition to the procedural by-law amendment at regional council’s August meeting, the matter was referred to next month. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent   At Niagara Regional Council’s July meeting, members approved a procedural by-law amendment that would permit Niagara’s top-level bureaucrats, in consultation with the regional chair or a […]

Province bringing back year-round daily GO train service between Niagara and Toronto

by Nicholas Tibollo

The service was originally introduced at the end of 2019 but was suspended due to the pandemic. Direct rail service on weekends was restored for spring and summer 2022, but was set to expire mid-October. Friday’s announcement extended the direct weekend service year-round. From left to right: Metrolinx president and CEO Phil Verster, Minister of […]

Mandatory use of ArriveCAN is only exacerbating the issue. Steve Richardson, general manager at Rainbow Bridge’s Niagara Duty Free (pictured), revealed the local situation is dire. Photo credit: Duty Free Canada   It has been another tough summer for Duty Free stores across Canada, with ample vaccine supply and loosening restrictions not enough to overcome […]

Fresh-off a competitive second place showing in June’s provincial election as the Ontario PC candidate for Niagara Falls, Bob Gale (pictured, left) is one of the early and obvious front-runners in the 2022 race. Other notable candidates running for one of the city’s three coveted Niagara Regional Council spots are former MPP Kim Craitor (right), […]

MPP Wayne Gates’ recent attack on Niagara EMS unfounded, according to Region

by The Niagara Independent

The Niagara Falls MPP rose in the legislative assembly last week to blast the Ford government, and by extension Niagara EMS, for allegedly telling an injured resident she would have to wait six-hours for an ambulance. Per the Region, EMS informed medical alert service provider Lifeline of the worst-case scenario, but in the end a […]

Come the next federal (and provincial) election, some Niagara residents will be casting their vote in a brand-new riding. Among other shifts, Fort Erie is expected to join the newly formed riding of Niagara South, Niagara West is set to gain over 20,000 new residents, while half of Grimsby is anticipated to move over to […]

Mighty Niagara Film Fest returns for second year

by Alejandro Vasquez Coronado

The event takes place at various venues around the region this Wednesday to Saturday. Leading the 2022 line-up is a two-part series by St. Catharines’ own Richard Kerr, one of Canada’s most influential experimental film makers. Pictured is a screening from last year’s festival outside the Riverbrink Art Museum in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Photo credit: Adam CK […]

Both Liberal Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino and Conservative Shadow Minister of Tourism Michelle Ferreri (pictured, far left) were in Niagara Falls Wednesday morning. The former went to a repeat of a demonstration he viewed two weeks ago. While the latter met with local stakeholders, surveyed tourism operations, and spoke with visitors in the […]

Familiar foes, Britton and Siscoe set to square off in St. Catharines for mayor

by The Niagara Independent

The pair of regional councillors were entangled in a political controversy at the end of last year when Siscoe (left) was elevated to Niagara Regional Council over rightful appointee Britton (right) in direct contravention of St. Catharines municipal policy. Years prior to the controversy, the two were council colleagues from 2014 to 2018. As city […]

Brock names Lesley Rigg new president and vice-chancellor

by Nicholas Tibollo

The university began searching for a new top administrator in June 2021. Rigg represents the first woman to hold the role of president on a permanent basis in the university’s near-60-year history. Photo credit: Brock University    Following an international, 14-month search, Brock University has hired Dr. Lesley Rigg as the institution’s next president and […]

Niagara Brewing Company opens second location inside Fallsview Casino

by Nicholas Tibollo

The new site inside the Galleria Shops at the casino (pictured) is just a stone’s throw away from the brewery’s flagship location on Clifton Hill. Photo credit: Niagara Brewing Company    On Friday last week, Niagara Brewing Company, one of the region’s newest and most popular craft breweries, opened a second location in the city […]

The high praise came from federal Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge in discussions with host society chair Doug Hamilton. St. Catharines regional councillor Laura Ip, however, believes organizers have made “errors” along the way related to Indigenous involvement, recently renewing a call for more details about a reported dispute with the Mississaugas of the Credit […]

Ontario home builders release plan to address housing shortage

by Nicholas Tibollo

Photo credit: Shutterstock    Earlier this week, the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA), in collaboration with local partners including the Niagara Home Builders’ Association, released its five point action plan to increase the province’s housing supply.  Based on the February 2022 recommendations put forth by the province’s Housing Affordability Task Force, which was led by […]

Niagara school boards welcome early decision from province on classroom protocols

by Nicholas Tibollo

This week, the provincial government verified that mask-wearing will remain optional for students and teachers when schools reopen in early September. Niagara’s public school board said students and parents are now “accustomed” to masks being a personal choice. Photo credit: Facebook/DSBN   On Monday, Ontario’s Ministry of Education confirmed with multiple sources that pandemic-related protocols […]

Niagara real estate prices see near five-point drop in July

by Nicholas Tibollo

Last month was the fourth in a row the local Housing Price Index (HPI) benchmark decreased. Photo credit: AP/Reed Saxon   Interest rate hikes from the Bank of Canada, escalating inflation, and growing fears of an impending recession continue to cool what was once a red-hot housing market across much of the country over the […]

Pathstone receives $2 million gift from local couple

by Nicholas Tibollo

The agency’s leadership team celebrates the massive donation. The money will help Pathstone hire more staff, and thereby help more children. The multi-million-dollar gift is Greg and Diane Slaight’s second in the last two months. In July, the pair gave an identical donation to United Way Niagara. Photo credit: Pathstone Foundation   The incredible of […]

The government announced last week that residents with accentuated French names can now apply to have their health cards changed to reflect proper spelling, free of charge. Niagara hosts a sizeable Francophone population of over 15,000. Photo credit: University of Ottawa   Last Wednesday, the Government of Ontario made a small, but significant cultural announcement […]

Niagara wineries clean up at 2022 nationals, take home every spot in Ontario top 10

by Nicholas Tibollo

St. Catharines’ 13th Street Winery earned the distinction of Ontario’s best wine producer and finished second in all of Canada. Pictured left to right: winery co-owners Doug and Karen Whitty, head winemaker Jean Pierre Colas, and June and John Mann, 13th Street’s other co-owners. Photo credit: Facebook/13th Street Winery   If one needed any more […]

 Niagara is closing in on five years without a permanent medical officer of health. Dr. Mustafa Hirji (pictured) has served in an interim capacity since January 2018. According to an April memo from CAO Ron Tripp, a candidate is “expected” to be selected “no later” than Sept. 22, 2022, just before the upcoming municipal elections […]

Two recently released reports from the Canadian and American governments will guide discussion at the forum, including the State of the Great Lakes 2022 Report, which indicates drinking water across all five lakes is “good”.   The fourth triennial Great Lakes Public Forum will take place at the historic Crowne Plaza Fallsview Hotel in Niagara […]

Emancipation Day in Ontario and Martin Luther King Jr.

by Nicholas Tibollo

Monday doubled as the August Civic Holiday and Emancipation Day in Ontario. Pictured from left to right: Russel Small, Rev. Martin Luther King, Rev. Theodore Boone, and Walter Perry on Emancipation Day in Windsor, Ontario. August 5, 1956. Photo credit: Windsor Star Files   Since 2008, the provincial government has officially recognized August 1 as […]

Ridgeway, Fonthill golf courses once again rank among best in country

by Nicholas Tibollo

Cherry Hill Club (pictured) and Lookout Point Country Club, both celebrating a century in operation this year, were Niagara’s only two representatives on SCOREGolf’s 2022 list of Canada’s best golf courses. Photo credit: Cherry Hill Club   Earlier this week, sports website and magazine SCOREGolf released its biennial ranking of Canada’s top 100 golf courses.  […]

The Landscape of Nations memorial park at Queenston Heights in Niagara-on-the-Lake (pictured) is one of over 50 unique sites, monuments, and activities highlighted on the new digestible digital platform. Photo credit: Niagara Parks   The areas that surround and encompass the 56-kilometre Niagara River corridor between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario comprise easily one of […]

Another Niagara business owner makes multi-million-dollar pledge to new hospital

by Nicholas Tibollo

Domenic DiLalla (centre left) of Centennial Construction and Contracting with Niagara Health Foundation president and CEO Andrea Scott (far left), It’s Our Future campaign co-chair and Mayor of Niagara Falls Jim Diodati (centre right), and DiLalla’s niece and nephews. Photo credit: Niagara Health Foundation   As it does time and again, Niagara’s private sector has […]

The organization is asking the public to practice patience when accessing services and to avoid hospital sites unless serious, immediate care is required. Photo credit: Facebook/Niagara Health   Like other neighbouring health units, Niagara Health is struggling with severe staffing shortages that are having an outsized impact on service delivery. According to a media release […]

Chair and vice-chair of regional council’s procedural by-law review committee Kelly Edgar (left) and Laura Ip (right). The committee’s recommendation to give the CAO, clerk, and legal counsel the authority to deny delegation requests based on mere suspicion someone may be “unreasonable or offensive” was passed by regional council last Thursday. As Edgar put it […]

All but one incumbent Niagara mayor seeking re-election this fall

by Nicholas Tibollo

Only current St. Catharines mayor Walter Sendzik (pictured left) will not be on the ballot when Niagara voters hit the ballot box in October. With less than a month left in the nomination period, currently six of the 11 registered incumbents are unopposed, including Lincoln mayor Sandra Easton (centre). Popular Niagara Falls mayor Jim Diodati […]

Work began at the former Shickluna Shipyard, located along Twelve Mile Creek in the shadow of Burgoyne Bridge, in 2019. The project is led by Dr. Kimberly Monk (left, pictured on-site alongside field student Miranda Gardner). Photo credit: Brock University   After a two-year pandemic-induced hiatus, a team of researchers led by maritime archaeologist and […]

Re-development plans for the 80-acre waterfront property in Lincoln began shortly after it was sold to FBH Group in 2016. Photo credit: Town of Lincoln    After six years of planning and labourious collaboration between multiple levels of government, various stakeholders, and members of the local community, officials formally broke ground at the Prudhommes Development […]

The month-over-month decrease comes after a 6.5 per cent uptick for one-bedroom units between May and June. According to analysts, however, last month’s flattening doesn’t represent the start of a long-term downward trend. Photo credit: AP/Gerry Broome   Just as it got slightly more affordable to purchase a home locally last month, so too did […]

Photo credit: Tony Baldinelli   Between long delays for passport renewal, long lines at the country’s international airports, and the continued mandatory use of the ArriveCAN app at the border, the federal government has made the process of travel to and from Canada a living nightmare, says local Member of Parliament Tony Baldinelli.  Baldinelli, who […]

Pictured left to right: Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch, Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates, St. Catharines MPP Jennie Stevens. Photo credit: Member Website/Jeff Burch, Facebook/Wayne Gates, Facebook/Jennies Stevens   Last Wednesday, interim leader of the Ontario NDP and head of the Official Opposition Peter Tabuns named his shadow cabinet in the provincial legislature.  All 31 […]

Record number of babies born at Niagara Health in 2021, continuing upward trend

by Nicholas Tibollo

Between April 2021 and March 2022, 3,629 babies were born at Niagara Health. While registered during the pandemic, the new record for annual births was not caused by pandemic-related factors, according to obstetrics head. Demographic changes, site transfers, and capacity and function upgrades explain increase. Pictured are team members of Niagara Health’s newly expanded Neonatal […]

DSBN trustees approve $546 million budget, $24 million higher than previous year

by Nicholas Tibollo

Growth in enrollment, in part, necessitated the 4.6 per cent increase. Pictured: Greater Fort Erie Secondary School (GFESS). Photo credit: Twitter/Steve Rambajan    For the fourth consecutive year, the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN) has increased its annual budget by well over $20 million from the year prior.  On Tuesday, July 12, the school […]

 In a community survey conducted at the end of last year by regional staff, 24 per cent of respondents – the fourth most of any category – said that they were previously discriminated against because of their vaccination status. However, in the Region’s new, set-for-approval Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan, which uses the community […]

 In a letter released Monday, Chief R. Stacey Laforme said, “we are unable to see a clear path forward with regards to the Canada Summer Games.” Pictured: Just last week, the host society announced Meridian Credit Union and Niagara College as sponsors of the Games’ robust schedule of Indigenous programming. Photo credit: Niagara 2022 Host […]

New ranking names Niagara Falls among country’s top five small cities

by Nicholas Tibollo

Resonance Consultancy released its inaugural list of Canada’s 25 ‘Best Small Cities’ earlier this week. Niagara Falls placed fourth. St. Catharines, Niagara’s only other municipality to make the list, rounded out the top 25. Photo credit: Facebook/City of Niagara Falls   Turns out, Niagara Falls is not just one of the country’s best places to […]

For third straight month, local housing prices fall

by Nicholas Tibollo

Niagara’s Housing Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark dipped by 4.7 per cent on a month-over-month basis in June. Photo credit: Bloomberg/Daniel Acker   Interest rate hikes and fears of an impending recession continue to cool what was a red-hot housing market across much of the country for the past few years. Inventory continues to rise, […]

Ready for next challenge, Davies throws name in hat for regional council

by Nicholas Tibollo

Local businessman Fred Davies – who owns and operates San Marco’s Ristorante and Breakwall Brewing Company in Port Colborne – ran for the Ontario PC Party in Niagara Centre in June’s provincial election, coming within 2.1 per cent of beating out NDP incumbent Jeff Burch. Supplied photo.    Hot on the heels of his impressive […]

Buffalo congressman Brian Higgins said continued restrictions at land border “are breaking the U.S.-Canada relationship”. Pictured: Peace Bridge connecting Fort Erie, ON to Buffalo, NY, as seen from the Canadian side. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn   Last Wednesday, the federal government announced it was extending border measures for all travellers entering Canada, regardless […]

The region’s newly adopted Official Plan – which will steer local land-use policy and planning through to 2051 – sets extraordinarily rigid environmental protocols for development well above provincial standards. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent   Discussions around housing affordability in Ontario often focus on the role played by the federal and provincial government in […]

MPP for Niagara West Sam Oosterhoff is sworn in as parliamentary assistant to the newly created Minister of Red Tape Reduction at Queen’s Park, June 29, 2022. Photo credit: Twitter/Sam Oosterhoff   Premier Doug Ford is a big proponent of cutting back on bureaucratic red tape, to say the least. His entire 2018 election campaign […]

Former principal puts name forward for school board trustee

by Nicholas Tibollo

 Newly retired, former secondary school principal Danny Di Lorenzo (pictured) hopes to represent Port Colborne, Fort Erie, and Wainfleet as a Niagara Catholic District School Board trustee. Di Lorenzo most recently headed up the administration at Denis Morris in St. Catharines and Lakeshore Catholic High School in Port Colborne, where he lives. Supplied photo.   […]

Annunziata retiring after nearly three decades in public service

by Nick Redekop

Anna Annunziata at the constituency office of MP Tony Baldinelli on Jarvis Street in Fort Erie. Supplied photo.    After dedicating the past 27 years of her life to her community, Anna Annunziata, Fort Erie constituency office manager for MP Tony Baldinelli, will be retiring at the end of this week.  Anna’s career in public […]

The novelist behind Fonthill’s newest pet store

by Special to TNI

From detectives to doggies, Toronto-transplant John McFetridge (pictured) writes new future with Global Pet Foods store in Pelham. Supplied photo.    “Look at this,” said Global Pet Foods owner John McFetridge, holding up a packet of dog treats. “Lobster. Some pets enjoy lobster more often than their owners.” McFetridge opened his 2000-square-foot store in March, […]

Rankin family makes $2 million commitment to new Niagara Falls hospital

by Nicholas Tibollo

Tom and Beth Rankin. Photo credit: Niagara Health Foundation   Niagara’s private sector has once again proven itself to be fully committed to the public good.  On Thursday, June 23, the Niagara Health Foundation revealed that the Rankin family has pledged $2 million toward the new South Niagara hospital It’s Our Future fundraising campaign. The Rankin family […]

Employees stand in front of stacked rows of lettuce at Vision Greens’ vertical farm facility in Welland. The company just raised $7 million to build out the other half of its current production system, the first of five full systems the start-up intends to construct before 2024. Photo credit: Mama Earth/Vision Greens   Canada is […]

 The trials were supposed to take place at the brand new $107 million Canada Summer Games Park in Thorold (pictured) on July 2 and 3. However, facilitators from Team Ontario made a last-minute decision to move the qualifying competition to York University. Photo credit: Facebook/Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games   Late last week, Athletics Ontario […]

Niagara College takes home trophy for best bubbly in Canada

by Nicholas Tibollo

Head winemaker at Niagara College’s Teaching Winery Gavin Robertson raises a glass of the 2022 All Canadian Wine Championships’ ‘Best Sparkling Wine of the Year’: Balance Brut (NV). Thirty Bench Wines, another Niagara-area vintner, also took home ‘Best White Wine of the Year’ at the 2022 competition. Photo credit: Niagara College   Anyone looking for […]

Another tourism season is under threat as Americans hoping to avoid “uncertainty and hassle” of mandatory border measure look elsewhere to spend travel dollars. Public officials and businesses from border communities across Canada held a press conference Wednesday, June 15 (pictured) to plead with the governing Liberals to heed their concerns and scrap the ArriveCAN […]

Gates confirms interest in Ontario NDP leadership bid

by Nicholas Tibollo

 At 70-years-old, the Niagara Falls MPP would likely be the oldest competitor in a tough field of relatively young and hungry leadership challengers, all vying to revive a party that traditionally relies on its youthful appeal. Photo credit: Facebook/Wayne Gates   Amongst the many political casualties of Premier Doug Ford’s second majority victory earlier this […]

Nik Wallenda returning to Niagara Falls to commemorate historic high wire stunt

by Nicholas Tibollo

Wednesday, June 15 is the 10-year anniversary of the daredevil’s momentous tightrope walk directly over Niagara’s world-famous falls. To celebrate, Wallenda will be in town for a special ceremony at the Table Rock Centre, where he will give remarks and officials will unveil a limited-time commemorative display. Photo credit: Reuters/Mike Cassese   This Wednesday marks […]

The clip’s creator, Joshua Bigger (pictured), has been making amateur comedy videos online for several years. Last week, a company representative from Bigger’s Lincoln-based roofing business told blogTO that the video “was just a joke” and they were “honestly surprised” so many people thought it was real.    Over the weekend, a video of a […]

 Students and faculty from Westlane Secondary School at the Sir Adam Beck I Generating Station in Niagara Falls, June 7, 2022. Photo credit: OPG   The greenspace around the Sir Adam Beck I Generating Station in Niagara Falls recently received a floral facelift thanks to a group of local high school students.  Last Tuesday, a […]

Annual DSBN Special Olympics set to go

by Rod Mawhood

Now in its 16th year, and back in-person following two years of virtual competition, the event gives student athletes the chance to test their mettle against participants from 70 schools around the region. Photo credit: Twitter/DSBN   What started as a few schools and a couple of dozen athletes is now 70 schools and 700 […]

ArriveCAN is a mobile and website application all travellers, regardless of citizenship, vaccination status, or trip length, must download and use to provide personal and travel information before entry into Canada. Its mandatory use is believed by many to be both discouraging and delaying cross-border travel. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward   Conservative MP for […]

Photo credit: City of Thorold   On June 7, the City of Thorold took a giant step forward in dealing with a problem that has affected the region for years. A unanimous vote towards a state of emergency was called for mental health, homelessness, and addiction.  “There is a mental health, homelessness and addictions crisis […]

Niagara housing prices decrease for second month in a row

by Nicholas Tibollo

Between April and May the local HPI benchmark price dropped by 3 per cent. Photo credit: Shutterstock/Laura Gangi Pond   After falling for the first time since July 2021 the month before last, between April and May 2022 the local Housing Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark dipped by 3 per cent, going from $814,600 to […]

Despite the Progressive Conservative Party securing another majority mandate last week, three of Niagara’s four provincial ridings voted in members of the non-governing NDP. Sam Oosterhoff (pictured voting with son on election day) will thus once again be the region’s lone PC representative at Queen’s Park. Photo credit: Facebook/Sam Oosterhoff   Ontario PC candidate Sam […]

With province once again painted blue, much of Niagara remains orange

by Nicholas Tibollo

All four of the local incumbents – including three members of the Ontario NDP – were returned to Queen’s Park Thursday night. In the only local race that came close to a change in representation, Niagara Centre incumbent NDP candidate Jeff Burch (pictured back-centre) edged out PC challenger Fred Davies by a mere 2.1 per […]

Gold medalists Abby Bruneel and Tommy Friesen (pictured) were two of five participants from Niagara to medal at the national skills competition last week. Photo credit: DSBN   The 2022 Skills Canada national showcase wrapped up four days of competition and festivities last Saturday.  Between May 25 and 28, approximately 350 post-secondary students, secondary school […]

The Ontario PC Party leader spent a total of three days in the region this election campaign, travelling across the ridings of St. Catharines, Niagara Centre, and Niagara Falls. Pictured Premier Ford (left) and Niagara Centre PC candidate Fred Davies (right) look under the hood of a vehicle getting maintenance at Mike Knapp Ford in […]

As the 2022 provincial election comes to a close, all three of Niagara’s non-incumbent PC Party challengers – Sal Sorrento (left), Fred Davies (centre), and Bob Gale (right) – are encouraging local voters to deliver representatives of the party in power to Queen’s Park and give Niagara a greater voice in government over the next […]

Ford holds massive rally in Hamilton, with election just days away

by Kevin Geenen

Candidates from across Hamilton, Niagara, and Halton region were in attendance. Typically seen as an NDP stronghold at the provincial level, polling shows PCs in position to win three of Hamilton’s five ridings. Photo credit: Twitter/Doug Ford   Ontario PC Party leader Doug Ford held a rally in Hamilton on Thursday, May 26 at the […]

Niagara labour leader reaffirms union’s support for PC Party, labour minister

by Nicholas Tibollo

Mark Cherney (right) meets with Ontario PC labour minister Monte McNaughton (centre), April 21, 2022. Cherney is vice-president of the International Brotherhood Of Electrical Workers Construction Council of Ontario (IBEW CCO) and business manager at Niagara Falls-based IBEW Local 303. IBEW CCO is one of several unions formally endorsing Doug Ford and the Ontario PC […]

Butera family pledges $2 million to new Niagara Falls hospital

by Nicholas Tibollo

Angelo Butera (centre) stands with Mayor of Niagara Falls Jim Diodati (centre-right), president and CEO of the Niagara Health Foundation Andrea Scott (centre-left), and family at Panoramic Properties headquarters in Niagara Falls. Photo credit: Niagara Health Foundation   Niagara’s private sector has once again stepped up to help the public in a big way.   On […]

Seven Niagara students set to compete in Skills Canada Competition this week

by Nicholas Tibollo

Top-earning gold medalists in last month’s virtual Skills Ontario Competition, five hail from the District School Board of Niagara, two from Niagara College. Pictured is Niagara College welding technician student Jake Boekestyn, who won gold in welding at the provincial level and will compete at the national competition later this week. Photo credit: Niagara College […]

Fort Erie International Academy opening doors to students from Ukraine

by Rod Mawhood

The Central Avenue private school will bring in 20 students to start, providing free tuition and room and board. Photo credit: Twitter/Fort Erie International Academy    Since Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine, millions of people from around the world, including thousands here in Niagara, have supported the Ukrainian people in some way.  The latest locally […]

Doug Ford poses with Ontario PC Party candidate for Niagara Falls Bob Gale (right) and Mayor of Niagara Falls Jim Diodati (left). While in Canada’s top tourism destination on Friday, Diodati formally endorsed Ford for premier. Photo credit: Twitter/Doug Ford   After spending much of the day in St. Catharines on Thursday, Ontario PC Party […]

The Niagara Independent wins alternative media award

by Nicholas Tibollo

The publication was recognized alongside a short list of other non-mainstream media outlets from around Canada at a Toronto gala Wednesday.    The Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers and Businesses of Canada (CCMBC) held its first post-COVID ‘Game Changer of the Year’ gala at the Guild Inn Estate in Scarborough on Wednesday.  The event brought together […]

In Niagara, Ford talks infrastructure and tours St. Catharines robotics facility

by Nicholas Tibollo

Doug Ford tours the FSD Robotics factory floor alongside Ontario PC candidate Sal Sorrento (centre-right) and company president and CEO Dave Burgess (centre-left). Photo credit: Twitter/Doug Ford   Ontario PC Party leader Doug Ford was in Niagara-on-the-Lake and St. Catharines on Thursday as part of a two-day campaign tour of the region. Speaking at McNab […]

Hudlický passed away “unexpectedly” in Prague on May 10. He was 72. Photo credit: Brock University   A Storied Career Few faculty members at Brock University brought the school more awards, research dollars, scientific citations, and reputational prestige than Professor of Chemistry Tomáš Hudlický.  Recruited by the St. Catharines institution in 2003 from the University […]

Metrolinx to resume weekend GO Train service between Niagara Falls and Toronto

by Nicholas Tibollo

Roundtrip tickets are available for only $25. Three roundtrips will be made each day. Photo credit: Metrolinx    Weekend GO Train service between Toronto and Niagara Falls resumes this Saturday, May 21.  Metrolinx will make three roundtrips between Union Station and the popular tourism hotspot every Saturday, Sunday, and holiday Monday.   Round-trip tickets are available […]

Freedom Tour stops in Niagara, holds two days of festivities

by Bruce Timms

The ‘Live from the Shed’ transport truck arrives at the Niagara Regional Exhibition in Welland over the weekend. Photo credit: Rosa Stewperian   The Niagara Regional Exhibition grounds in Welland played host to the Freedom Tour’s “Unity Truck Show” this past Friday and Saturday.  With little promotion beyond social media and the tour’s website, the […]

Spurred on, in part, by society’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, between 2019 and 2021 syphilis rates in Niagara tripled, while HIV rates doubled. Pictured is the Niagara Falls Sexual Health Centre, closed for in-person services over much of 2020 and 2021. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent/Nicholas Tibollo   A variety of knock-on effects from […]

Photo credit: Mohawk College   The Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre is a not-for-profit organization that has been a pillar of the St. Catharines community since 1970. The charitable centre offers a variety of programs to support newcomers and helps them integrate into the local community. The centre recently launched a pilot Healthcare Navigator Training […]

Niagara sees slight dip in housing prices

by Nicholas Tibollo

April was the first time in nearly a year that regional prices didn’t tick up on a month over month basis. Photo credit: Rodnae Productions   For the first time since July 2021, housing prices in Niagara decreased last month. According to statistics aggregated by the Niagara Association of Realtors, the local Housing Price Index […]

Bridge authorities say they have been informed by the federal agency that required use of the app is to be “made permanent.” Federal Liberals set aside $25 million in most recent budget to help the CBSA maintain the pre-entry requirement. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent/Nicholas Tibollo   Speaking in the House of Commons last Thursday, […]

Niagara gets provincial funds to expand palliative care across region

by Alejandro Vasquez Coronado

Hospice Niagara began around 30 years ago and continues to grow and meet the needs of the Niagara Region. The new funding will help the organization expand from 10 to 30 hospice beds. Pictured are Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West, and Carol Nagy, Executive Director of Hospice Niagara.    Today, people are living longer and […]

St. Catharines to be another nail-biter

by Nicholas Tibollo

Ending in one of the closest contests of the previous election, the riding of St. Catharines appears to have no clear favourite once again, with the PCs, Liberals, and NDP all in a position to win.    Of Niagara’s four provincial ridings, none finished the 2018 election as close as St. Catharines. The contest was […]

 Affirmed as not another government cash grab, ticket revenues from the traffic safety program will be used to offset implementation costs, with any profits set aside for community education. Pictured is a red-light camera sign recently installed in downtown Windsor. Photo credit: CTV Windsor/Chris Campbell   After twice rejecting plans to install red-light cameras and […]

First cruise ship of season stops in Port Colborne

by Nicholas Tibollo

The Viking Octantis sat moored for around seven hours at the city’s Snider Dock across from West Street on Sunday, May 1. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent/Nicholas Tibollo   With a loud, low bellow of its deep-pitched foghorn, the first cruise ship of the 2022 sailing season entered Lock 8 at the south end of […]

St. Catharines selected for provincial clean heating pilot program

by Nicholas Tibollo

The Garden City was one of four Ontario communities picked to test the government’s clean energy initiative. Photo credit: Niagara Economic Development   In a joint letter posted to social media Monday afternoon, provincial Minister of Energy Todd Smith announced that St. Catharines was one of four Ontario communities selected to be part of the […]

Officials break ground on new West Lincoln Memorial Hospital

by Nicholas Tibollo

Pictured left to right: Andrew Smith, Chair, Take It To The Finish Campaign; Kevin Antonides, Chair, West Lincoln Memorial Hospital Foundation; Tony Joosse, Co-Chair, Save and Rebuild Campaign; Sandra Easton, Mayor, Town of Lincoln; Sam Oosterhoff, MPP Niagara West; Rob MacIsaac, President and CEO, Hamilton Health Sciences; Mary Volk, Board Member, Hamilton Health Sciences; Jeff Jordan, Mayor, Town of […]

Historic hydroelectric generating stations one step closer to redevelopment

by Nicholas Tibollo

The Niagara Parks is now actively searching for private sector proponents to reimagine and readapt the two former power stations on its property in the heart of the Niagara Falls tourist area. Pictured is the front façade of the former Toronto Power Generating Station, located at the brink of the Horseshoe Falls at the edge […]

Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games less than 100 days away

by Alejandro Vasquez Coronado

The national sports competition will take place at various venues around the region from August 6 to 21. Pictured: officials cut the ceremonial ribbon at the Walker Sports and Abilities Centre, Apr. 22, 2022. Photo credit: Twitter/Brock University   The Walker Sports and Abilities Centre and the Canada Games Park in Thorold are now officially […]

Back row left to right: Paul O’Melia, Principal, Quaker Road Public School; Sue Barnett, Trustee for Welland and Chair, District School Board of Niagara; Sam Oosterhoff, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education and MPP for Niagara West; Frank Campion, Mayor, City of Welland; and Warren Hoshizaki, Director of Education, District School Board of Niagara. Front row are […]

Provincial agency partners with Lincoln, NPCA to expand local trail network

by Nicholas Tibollo

The proposed expansion would see a new trail built along the Ontario Heritage Trust’s Ellis property (pictured) in Jordan. Photo credit: Ontario Heritage Trust   On Monday, the Ontario Heritage Trust announced it was partnering with the Town of Lincoln, Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA), and the Bruce Trail Conservancy on a new project to […]

Niagara Parks Foundation officially launches

by Nicholas Tibollo

Chair of the freshly launched foundation’s board of governors Debbie Whitehouse (left) and Niagara Parks Commission chair April Jeffs (right) plant a ceremonial tree at the Butterfly Conservatory on April 24, 2022. Photo credit: Niagara Parks   At an Earth Day ceremony at the Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Falls last week, officials from the Niagara […]

Poilievre fires up Niagara

by Nick Redekop

Well over 1,500 people showed up to see the leadership hopeful speak at the Holiday Inn in St. Catharines Thursday evening. Photo credit: Twitter/Pierre Poilievre    “We will tackle inflationary taxes… and I will axe the consumer carbon tax.”  Pierre Poilievre rolled into St. Catharines last night and addressed a packed house at the Holiday […]

Fox pledges $5 million for South Niagara Hospital

by Nicholas Tibollo

The new Niagara Falls hospital will break ground later this year. Pictured are Niagara Health Foundation president and CEO Andrea Scott, E.S. Fox Ltd. president Spencer Fox, and Mayor of Niagara Falls Jim Diodati. Photo credit: Niagara Health Foundation   Large-scale community projects require large-scale community support, and that’s precisely what the ongoing fundraising effort […]

Backrow starting third from left: Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton, Mayor of Lincoln Sandra Easton, and MPP for Niagara West Sam Oosterhoff stand with a cohort of Youth Skills Studio program participants. The province previously gave $2.1 million to help fund the 2021 iteration of the program. Photo credit: Twitter/Monte McNaughton […]

Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton tries his hand at securing roof shingles as MPP for Niagara West Sam Oosterhoff and student Jihye Lee look on at Niagara College’s Walker Advanced Manufacturing Centre in Welland, Apr. 19, 2022. Photo credit: Niagara College   On Tuesday, officials from the provincial government, Niagara College, […]

Brown was in town, and no one seemed to notice

by Nicholas Tibollo

Don’t expect the same hushed reception when Pierre Poilievre (right) rolls into St. Catharines later this week. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Chris Young and Radio-Canada/Benoit Roussel   If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Alternatively, if a federal Conservative leadership candidate attends […]

Joyner joins Niagara West provincial race as Liberal candidate

by Nicholas Tibollo

 The former West Lincoln mayor will face off against his longtime regional council colleague Dave Augustyn, who is running for the NDP, and incumbent MPP for Niagara West, representing the Ontario PC Party, Sam Oosterhoff. Photo credit: Twitter/Douglas Joyner   The provincial race in Niagara West will feature another familiar face.  Doug Joyner, the two-time […]

In representing the Ontario PCs in Niagara, Davies (pictured with wife Monica) joins incumbent MPP for Niagara West Sam Oosterhoff, businessman, philanthropist, and two-term Niagara Falls regional councillor Bob Gale, as well as two-term St. Catharines city councillor and longstanding community volunteer Sal Sorrento. Supplied photo.    Last week, the Ontario PC Party announced its […]

The six projects are part of a group of 144 community water infrastructure projects across Ontario to receive money from the provincial and federal governments. Officials (pictured) announced the funding in Welland on Thursday, Apr. 14. Photo credit: Twitter/City of Welland   Municipal, provincial, and federal government officials met along The Boardwalk in downtown Welland […]

The region’s acting medical of health responded to and reposted a fake comment purported to be from the premier last Wednesday. Nearly one week (and over 1,000 likes) later, Hirji still hasn’t deleted the erroneous tweet.   Throughout the pandemic, Niagara’s acting medical of health Dr. Mustafa Hirji has warned and worried about the spread […]

General Motors donates dozen transmissions to Niagara College motive power program

by Nicholas Tibollo

Pictured left to right: GM St. Catharines plant director Gary Athoe, dean of Media, Trades & Technology Vincent Shaikh, Niagara College Vice-President, Academic Fiona Allan, associate dean of School of Trades Jeff Murrell, Motive Power Technician student Ashley Davey and program coordinator Wayne Toth, April 6, 2022. Photo credit: Niagara College   At a time […]

Goats help OPG’s Niagara Operations achieve gold certification

by Nicholas Tibollo

The animals were used to clear invasive species and overgrown vegetation in areas around Niagara’s hydroelectric power sites. Photo credit: OPG   Bees, birds, turtles, and goats: Ontario Power Generation’s Niagara Operations are abuzz with biodiversity, and once again earning international recognition for environmental excellence. On Thursday, April 7, it was announced that OPG’s Niagara […]

Niagara home prices continue upward trajectory, dip elsewhere around province

by Nicholas Tibollo

The HPI benchmark price for homes in the Niagara Association of Realtors market area increased by 3.4 per cent in March. In comparison, prices dipped by 2.7 in neighbouring Hamilton-Burlington, decreasing even further in other Ontario markets. Photo credit: AP/David Zalubowski   Though neighbouring and nearby real estate markets such as Hamilton-Burlington, Mississauga, and Toronto […]

Brock University is the only Ontario college or university set to uphold medical restrictions until the end of summer, further extending the exclusion and suffering of numerous faculty members, staff, and students. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent   Voices of unsupported and affected Brock University faculty, staff and students have yet to be fairly raised […]

Digital rendition of the facility. The pilot project would expand the province’s hydrogen production capacity eight-fold. Photo credit: Atura Power   Speaking to a small crowd of dignitaries and media at the Niagara Parks Power Station on Thursday morning, government officials and industry stakeholders announced that Niagara has been selected as the preferred site of […]

Council instructed staff to “expediate” the recruitment process back in October 2021. Dr. Mustafa Hirji has served as Niagara’s ‘acting’ medical officer of health for over four years. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent    Just over two weeks ago, The Niagara Independent revealed in an article that, despite the Region claiming the search for a permanent […]

Brock reportedly ‘pressured’ by union to maintain mask, vaccine mandates

by Nicholas Tibollo

 All other colleges and universities in Ontario that have made an announcement regarding mandates to date, including Niagara College and McMaster University, have said they will be ending on-campus masking and vaccination requirements by the end of April or beginning of May. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent   The decision to maintain mandates Last week, […]

Niagara’s acting medical officer of health told members of the media Monday he would “try to align” with provincial guidelines, but he wouldn’t rule out “more aggressive actions” if deemed necessary. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent   Precisely one week to the day that the province lifted mandatory mask mandates in most settings across Ontario, […]

Pelham wins second straight national award for financial reporting

by Nicholas Tibollo

Mayor Marvin Junkin. Since Junkin took over from Dave Augustyn in 2018, Pelham has gone from perhaps the most opaque to the most financially transparent municipality in the Niagara Region. Photo credit: Town of Pelham   After a highly tumultuous time under the leadership of former mayor Dave Augustyn – a period that saw Pelham’s […]

Regional council down a member, as George Darte resigns seat

by The Niagara Independent

The first-term St. Catharines regional councillor informed his colleagues by way of email late Wednesday, March 30. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent    On Wednesday evening, St. Catharines regional councillor George Darte emailed the regional clerk and his fellow councillors with his immediate resignation from Niagara Regional Council as of March 30. In his message, […]

Region says no to property tax rebates, yes to massive salary increases for staff

by The Niagara Independent

Though seemingly able to afford millions in salary increases year over year, Niagara Regional Council pushed off a proposal by Regional Councillor Bob Gale to give some money back to taxpayers in the form of a $240 rebate. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent   The 2021 Sunshine List came out last week and Niagara Regional […]

Another fibre-optic network under construction in rural Niagara

by Nicholas Tibollo

The fourth and final Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) network planned for the region, the new development will provide high-speed internet to an additional 765 premises in west Niagara. Pictured from left to right at the announcement of the project last Friday are Lincoln regional councillor Rob Foster, West Lincoln mayor Dave Bylsma, Niagara West […]

Niagara Conservative MPs sound off on Trudeau’s ‘power grab’

by Nicholas Tibollo

Niagara West MP Dean Allison (left) and Niagara Falls MP Tony Baldinelli (right) claim the deal struck between the federal Liberals and NDP earlier this week could be very costly for Canadian taxpayers.   Late Monday night, news broke that the federal Liberal Party and NDP had reached a governance agreement that would keep Justin […]

Shipping season gets underway with official opening of Welland Canal

by Nicholas Tibollo

The City of Port Colborne welcomed the first downbound vessel of the 2022 shipping season into the Welland Canal at its annual top hat ceremony on Thursday, Mar. 24, 2022. Photo credit: Twitter/City of Port Colborne   The first vessels of the 2022 navigation season travelled up and down the Welland Canal on Thursday.  Officially […]

Staff were directed by Niagara Regional Council five months ago to “expedite” the hiring process. Last week, The Niagara Independent revealed that staff had yet to even finalize a job description. Pictured are Niagara Falls regional councillor Bob Gale (left) and Mayor of Pelham Marvin Junkin (right). Gale and Junkin were the only two councillors […]

Photo credit: Facebook/NRPS   In recent years, there’s been a renewed call for crisis workers to be sent to certain mental health and addiction situations in place of or addition to police officers, in an effort to deescalate tense scenarios without having to involve force or criminal charges.  Seizing on this collective push to offer […]

Starting next month, Canada will no longer require COVID-19 testing at international crossings for fully vaccinated travellers. However, a number of measures will remain in place, including pre-arrival testing for unvaccinated entrants. Western New York representative Brian Higgins wants to see all measures removed. Photo credit: Bloomberg   On March 16, the federal government announced […]

Metrolinx confirms feasibility of future GO station in Beamsville

by Nicholas Tibollo

 The proposed site would be strategically located between the planned and existing stations in Grimsby and St. Catharines. Photo credit: Metrolinx   After a year and a half delay due to supplementary consultation with key stakeholders, Metrolinx released its Initial Business Case (IBC) for a new GO train station in Beamsville on Tuesday.   The preliminary […]

Niagara allocated nearly 900 new, upgraded long-term care beds

by Nicholas Tibollo

Construction on the various projects will commence over the next few years.   In a virtual press conference Thursday morning, Minister of Long-Term Care Paul Calandra announced that the provincial government is adding 329 new long-term care beds and upgrading an additional 543 at five LTC locations around the Niagara Region. The commitment is part […]

An aerial view of Port Weller. The property in question is situated in the centre of the image, east of the canal and shipyard, south of the road leading to the canal crossing.    Quick question: what does Niagara, and St. Catharines in particular, need more of right now?  Empty, unused industrial land? Housing options?   […]

Dr. Mustafa Hirji entered into his fifth year as Niagara’s acting medical officer of health a few months ago. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent   Back at the beginning of November, Niagara Region human resource staff said that finding a permanent medical officer of health was a “top priority” for regional CAO Ron Tripp.  Yet, […]

Province announces another boost for upcoming games in Niagara

by Nicholas Tibollo

At her second engagement in the region in four days, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries Lisa MacLeod announced another $1.1 million in funding for the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games on Monday. Pictured is competition mascot Shelly. Photo credit: Facebook/Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games   Last week, when local officials commented that […]

Shaw Fest finishes another pandemic year in the black

by Nicholas Tibollo

Aerial view of the Shaw Festival’s flagship theatre complex on Queen’s Parade in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Photo credit: Facebook/Shaw Fest   Despite another year of pandemic-related challenges, Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Shaw Festival managed to exit 2021 at a profit, just as it did for the 2020 fiscal year. At its annual general meeting earlier this month, it was announced […]

Niagara Falls-based E.S. Fox Limited is set to commence work on the first phase of site preparation and support infrastructure for OPG’s Darlington New Nuclear Project later this year. Site location pictured. Photo credit: OPG   In December 2021, it was revealed that Ontario Power Generation (OPG) struck a deal with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy […]

Niagara home prices soar seven points in one month

by Nicholas Tibollo

The HPI benchmark price for Niagara rose by nearly $50,000 from January to February of this year. Local realtor association president Doug Rempel said that NIMBYism, helping maintain low supply, is partially to blame for the rapidly increasing prices. Photo credit: Reuters/Mark Blinch    Fueled by a dearth of existing inventory and a lack of […]

Tourism minister announces major ‘staycation’ tax credit for Ontario travellers

by Nicholas Tibollo

Speaking outside Boston Pizza on Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls Thursday, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries Lisa MacLeod (pictured at podium) outlined a provincial tax incentive that will provide Ontarians up to 20 per cent back on eligible accommodation expenses for leisure travel this year. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent/Nicholas Tibollo   […]

The region’s acting medical officer of health said that he still “encourages everyone to wear masks past March 21”. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent    To the delight of many Ontarians late Wednesday morning, the province’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Kiernan Moore announced that, effective Mar. 21, 2022, mandatory masking would no longer […]

MP Tony Baldinelli said federal restrictions have had a “devasting impact” on the local tourism industry.    Rising in the House of Commons this past week, Conservative MP for Niagara Falls Tony Baldinelli implored the federal government to drop all COVID-19 test requirements at the Canada-U.S. border, effective immediately.  “The 2022 summer tourism season is […]

Niagara adds millions more to regional bank account, as taxpayers continue to struggle

by The Niagara Independent

After factoring in reserve payments and encumbrances, Niagara Regional Council approved a total of $61.4 million in overcharges to property taxes over a two-year period, as taxpayers struggled throughout the pandemic. All the while, the government’s top bureaucrats received large pay raises. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent   This term of Niagara Regional Council has […]

EllisDon wins contract to build new West Lincoln Memorial Hospital

by Nicholas Tibollo

Artist rendering of the new WLMH site in Grimsby. Photo credit: Hamilton Health Sciences/WLMH   On Monday, Hamilton Health Sciences and Infrastructure Ontario announced EllisDon Infrastructure Healthcare (EDIH) as the preferred proponent to design, build, and finance the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH) redevelopment project. The EDIH team is made up of the following entities:   […]

  It’s not the first time the region’s acting medical officer of health has been at odds with the province. Photo credit: YouTube/BrockTV   On Tuesday, Mar. 1, palliative care physician Dr. Amit Arya posed a question to his over 26,000 Twitter followers.   The Mississauga doctor asked: “Who else agrees that Ontario’s decision to drop […]

The Rainbow Bridge connecting Niagara Falls, Ontario to Niagara Falls, New York. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons   A group of 15 border community mayors from across Canada penned a joint letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday, urging for an immediate end to COVID testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers at the U.S.-Canada border. […]

Republican congressman Chris Jacobs (left) and Democratic congressman Brian Higgins (right), both from Western New York, have been vocal about easing cross-border measures throughout the pandemic.    Currently, Canadians travelling to the U.S. via land ports of entry have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide proof of vaccination upon arrival.  Though less stringent […]

Patrons peruse the main generator floor of the Niagara Parks Power Station. Photo credit: Niagara Parks    In a virtual ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 24, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell and Chair of the Ontario Heritage Trust John Ecker presented projects, organizations, and individuals that made exceptional contributions to heritage conservation in 2021 with the […]

Masking indoors effectively last public health measure in place. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent/Nicholas Tibollo   The Niagara Region and Province of Ontario are finally on the same page in terms of pandemic restrictions.  Early Monday, Niagara Public Health (NPH) announced that as of Mar. 1, 2022, all local section 22 orders and letters of […]

Niagara rallies in support of Ukraine

by Nicholas Tibollo

Hundreds gathered in St. Catharines on Saturday to protest Vladimir Putin’s ongoing, unprovoked attack against the Ukrainian people. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent/Nicholas Tibollo   A sea of blue and yellow flags whipped in the biting winds while repeated shouts of “Slava Ukraini!” echoed across the courtyard at Saints Cyril and Methodius Church in St. […]

Putin a ‘war criminal’: local Ukrainian Canadian community leader

by Nicholas Tibollo

One of the many injured Ukrainians following Russia’s nationwide assault early Thursday. Photo credit: Anadolu Agency/Wolfgang Schwan   Early Thursday morning Moscow time, after weeks of buildup and suspicion, Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered a “special military operation” into Ukraine.  In a state-televised address, Putin “ridiculously” alleged that the Russian-speaking residents of Ukraine were being […]

Power station enters home stretch of multi-million-dollar two-unit replacement project

by Nicholas Tibollo

Technicians work to install one of two new generating units at the Sir Adam Beck I Generating Station in Niagara Falls. The $128-million project will be complete later this year. Upgrades to a third generator at the plant were finished in 2021. Photo credit: OPG   Currently in its 100th year of operation, the Sir […]

 Regional staff from the transportation department will give their twelfth and final presentation to Port Colborne council Tuesday, in an effort to convince the municipality to sign on to the Region’s ‘Vision Zero’ road safety initiative. Grimsby voted down the proposed project last month, which needed unanimous consent from all 12 lower-tier municipalities to proceed […]

Certain charges against former town CAO date back to his time in Pelham

by Don Rickers

Darren Ottaway (right) sits next to former Pelham mayor Dave Augustyn during a November 2017 council meeting. Ottaway was Pelham’s chief administrative officer from 2012 to 2019 and worked closely with Augustyn to fulfill council’s East Fonthill development plans, including overseeing a controversial land-for-credits scheme. Photo used by permission from the Voice of Pelham.   […]

Provincial investment in pair of Niagara manufacturers to create 45 local jobs

by Nicholas Tibollo

Minister Vic Fedeli (left) tours Valbruna ASW’s Welland facility with company president Tim Clutterbuck (centre) and MPP for Niagara West Sam Oosterhoff, Feb. 16, 2022. On Wednesday, the province announced a $4.4 million investment at Valbruna ASW, along with a $480,000 investment at nearby Quick Plug CA Inc. in St. Catharines. Photo credit: Office of […]

Designed for students already holding a diploma or university degree in any field, the new graduate certificate will complement the college’s existing advanced business diploma in supply chain and operations management. Photo credit: Niagara College   A consequence of the pandemic, shifting consumer behaviour, border blockades, and boats stuck in the Suez Canal, severe supply […]

President of the Niagara branch of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Irene Newton (left) and the organization’s national president Alexandra Chyczij (right) speak at a rally against Russian aggression in Niagara Falls last month. Photo credit: Facebook/Ukrainian Canadian Congress Niagara   With the eyes of the world seemingly fixed upon the “occupation” in Ottawa, and the […]

Multicultural minister meets with local community leaders

by Nicholas Tibollo

 The province is providing faith-based and cultural organizations with funding to help deal with a rise in hate crimes. Minister Parm Gill (front right) and Councillor Sal Sorrento (back right) greet community leaders at the Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre, Feb. 10, 2022.    Last Thursday, St. Catharines city councillor and Ontario PC candidate Sal […]

Niagara Region set to increase waste management fees

by The Niagara Independent

Despite running multi-million-dollar surpluses and posting a fourth straight year of property tax increases, the Niagara Region wants to make it more expensive for local residents and businesses to take out the garbage.    In 2020, according to Niagara Region’s financial documents, the waste management division generated $1.5 million in budget surplus. In other words, […]

Supporters of trucker convoy set to descend on Peace Bridge

by Nicholas Tibollo

The international crossing that connects Fort Erie to Buffalo is the third busiest commercial bridge in North America. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons   A bi-national contingent of anti-mandate truck drivers and their supporters are expected to crowd both sides of the Peace Bridge this weekend.  Departing from New York City and Tennessee, the ‘Convoy to […]

Niagara home to one of Canada’s fastest growing communities

by Nicholas Tibollo

The City of Thorold increased its population by 26.7 per cent between 2016 and 2021, making it the eighth fastest growing municipality over 5,000 inhabitants in the entire country, and the fourth fastest in Ontario. Photo credit: Thorold BIA   The numbers are in, and Niagara is growing fast. On Wednesday, Statistics Canada released population […]

Council asks for update on contaminated GM lands

by Nicholas Tibollo

A significant amount of PCB material was removed from the site at the end of last year.    Last Monday, the City of St. Catharines unanimously passed a motion seeking an update and timeline from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks regarding split test results and further cleanup plans for the former General Motors […]

Ottawa police seize fuel from Freedom Convoy demonstrators Sunday night. Photo credit: Daily Mail/Pedro Colo   It’s been nearly two weeks since the ‘Freedom Convoy’ rolled into the nation’s capital and took up position around Parliament Hill. And despite an accumulation of bad press from the legacy media, an increasingly discontented local population, threats of […]

Niagara’s Conservative MPs weigh-in on O’Toole ousting

by Nicholas Tibollo

MP for Niagara West Dean Allison (left) voted to remove O’Toole. MP for Niagara Falls Tony Baldinelli (right) declined to comment on specifics regarding internal caucus matters, but said the party moves forward “united”.    In a closed-door virtual caucus meeting Wednesday morning, federal Conservative MPs voted 73-45 to remove Erin O’Toole as leader of […]

Local gym welcomes back community members, as province begins gradual reopening

by Nicholas Tibollo

General manager of Simply Fit in Niagara Falls Roy Ramonal. Ontario gyms reopened at 50 per cent capacity earlier this week. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent/Nicholas Tibollo   When general manager of Simply Fit Health Club Roy Ramonal pulled up to the Drummond Rd. gym in Niagara Falls at 4:45 a.m. on Monday, there were […]

In all, over $2.2 million will be distributed to nine Niagara entities via the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Pictured clockwise at Thursday’s virtual announcement: Minister Lisa MacLeod, Branch 393 poppy chair Kathey Putman, MPP Sam Oosterhoff, Branch 612 poppy chair Terry Miller.    In a virtual announcement Thursday, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries […]


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