Each year, Niagara growers employ thousands of migrant workers to help fill the significant labour gaps in the local agricultural sector. The Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services (F.A.R.M.S.) program connects seasonal workers with local producers. Photo credit: F.A.R.M.S.   As spring arrives and the days become longer and the temperatures slowly begin to rise, the […]

Chief MacCulloch one of highest paid public employees in province last year

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara’s Chief of Police Bryan MacCulloch earned over $675,000 in 2022 after receiving an early retirement payout following 35 years of service. Other big earners from the region were Niagara Health head Lynn Guerriero and Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Mustafa Hirji. Photo credit: NRPS   Cloaked by the budget it released the day […]

Welland Canal officially opens for season with top hat ceremony in Port Colborne

by The Niagara Independent

Mayor of Port Colborne Bill Steele (left) presents Captain Michael Rodaway (centre) with the 2023 ceremonial top hat. Captain Rodaway’s ship, the Florence Spirit, was the first downward vessel of the 65th navigation season to pass through the Welland Canal on Wednesday, March 22. Photo credit: Facebook/City of Port Colborne   At its annual top […]

Niagara College alum lends lighting expertise to Academy Award-winning film

by The Niagara Independent

Game Development graduate (2019) Andres Coimbra Castedo worked on Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, which won the 2023 Oscar for Animated Feature Film. Photo credit: Niagara College and Netflix   The work of Chippawa’s-own James Cameron was once again on display at the Oscar’s earlier this month, with Avatar: The Way of Water picking up four […]

United Way Niagara has record-breaking year

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara’s largest non-governmental supporter of social services raised in excess of $5,000,000 in 2022. Photo credit: United Way Niagara   United Way Niagara has set a new annual fundraising record.  In 2022, the local charity raised an incredible $5,270,000, up 11 per cent from 2021 and its largest yearly sum yet. The organization celebrated the […]

Niagara City Cruises enjoys earliest season opening in a century

by Nick Redekop

The first cruise of the year set sail last week. The iconic boat tour at the base of the Falls typically holds its inaugural excursion in April or May. Photo credit: Facebook/Niagara City Cruises   While Monday was the official first day of spring, Niagara City Cruises welcomed the new season even earlier. Mory DiMaurizio […]

Optimally employed in neighbouring jurisdictions, power of the audit underrealized in Niagara

by The Niagara Independent

Provincial legislation allows a municipality to appoint an independent Auditor General. The Auditor General is responsible for holding administrators accountable for the quality of stewardship over public funds and for the achievement of value for money in municipal operations. Hamilton has one, Niagara does not. Pictured is the Burgoyne Bridge in St. Catharines – the […]

With all pandemic restrictions at the border now lifted and international travel continuing to increase, the Niagara Parks is expecting a stellar 2023 tourist season – and the organization needs help from the community to make it a success. Photo credit: Niagara Parks   It may only be March but plans for summer 2023 are […]

Province provides funds to help connect Niagara seniors to specialized care and supports

by The Niagara Independent

The near-$300,000 in funding will allow residents with complex medical needs receive appropriate care where they live, instead of at a hospital. Pictured left to right are Minister of Long-Term Care Paul Calandra, Mayor of Grimsby Jeff Jordan, and Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff. Photo credit: Twitter/Sam Oosterhoff   Speaking at Deer Park Villa long-term […]

Half dozen Niagara events make Ontario’s Top 100 Festivals and Events list

by The Niagara Independent

Pelham contributed two festivals to this year’s list. Photo credit: Pelham Summerfest   Last week in Niagara Falls, Festivals and Events Ontario (FEO) held its annual conference celebrating the work of organizers and municipalities around the province that hosted a wide range of live entertainment and activities this past year.   Held at the Marriott on […]

Diodati calls on feds to provide plan for migrants transferred from Roxham Road

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara Falls has taken in over 4,300 illegal border crossers since the federal government started transferring people from Quebec to Ontario last June. Having rose well above the initial 87 asked for in the summer, migrants now occupy over 2,000 of the city’s hotel rooms. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons   Mayor of Niagara Falls Jim […]

McCall MacBain makes massive donation to new South Niagara Hospital

by The Niagara Independent

 John McCall MacBain (pictured) grew up in Niagara Falls. Over the years, his family and foundation have given millions to a variety of projects and initiatives around the city. Photo credit: Niagara Health Foundation   The South Niagara Hospital project has received yet another major donation. On Thursday, March 9, the Niagara Health Foundation revealed that John […]

Councillor Huson chats challenges, opportunities for Niagara Region

by Nick Redekop

Current chair of the Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee, Diana Huson (pictured) was first elected Regional Councillor for Pelham in 2018. Photo credit: Niagara Region   As spring approaches, many initiatives will be picking up speed in Niagara’s regional government. Diana Huson serves as the Regional Councillor for Pelham.  “The first big objective we’ve […]

Local housing prices remain stable, as sales jump nearly 50 per cent from January to February

by The Niagara Independent

Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Lars Hagberg   For the second month in a row, the month-over-month decrease in local housing prices continued its halt to near zero, as the Housing Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark for the Niagara Association of Realtors (NAR) catchment area fell a negligible 0.25 per cent from $629,100 in January to […]

Niagara Regional Council delivers highest property tax bill since 1970

by The Niagara Independent

The 2023 budget includes adding approximately $36 million to regional reserves. With families struggling to make mortgage payments and put food on the table, it appears that Regional Council would rather have money in its government bank accounts rather than in the bank accounts of residents and local businesses. Pictured is Niagara Regional Council Chair […]

The funds will help Stanpac purchase new equipment to make more sustainable food packaging, like its new paper-based bulk ice cream container. Photo credit: Facebook/Stanpac   On Monday, government officials were on hand in West Niagara to announce a $5 million investment in local manufacturer Stanpac.  The money, sourced from the FedDev Ontario fund, will […]

Buffalo Congressman blasts Trudeau for ‘discriminatory’ tax on underused homes

by The Niagara Independent

This isn’t the first time Democratic representative for New York’s 26th congressional district Brian Higgins has criticized the Trudeau government’s policies. Photo credit: Facebook/Brian Higgins   Few American politicians were as critical of Justin Trudeau’s “draconian” COVID travel policies as Democratic Congressman for Buffalo and Niagara Falls Brian Higgins.  Throughout the pandemic, Higgins, who co-chairs […]

At present, there are thousands of asylum claimants occupying some 2,000 hotel rooms in Niagara Falls. The migrants crossed into Canada from the U.S. via Quebec’s Roxham Road (pictured). Photo credit: Global News   As winter drags on, the migration crisis facing Canadian border communities is intensifying. Niagara is no exception. “Our local service organizations […]

$3.6 billion contract awarded for South Niagara Hospital

by The Niagara Independent

The multibillion-dollar Niagara Falls facility will be one of the single largest design, build, finance, and maintain investments for a new healthcare project in provincial history. Artist rendering of the new hospital’s ‘Oakes Family’ main entrance. Photo credit: Niagara Health   Niagara residents south of St. Catharines are one step closer to finally realizing a […]

As initially proposed back in August 2022, Fort Erie would exit the current riding of Niagara Falls, while the newly formed district of ‘Niagara South’ would become the peninsula’s most populous riding. Photo credit: Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Ontario   Back in August 2022, the three-member Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Ontario proposed a number of […]

Niagara-on-the-Lake withdraws Randwood Estate appeal

by The Niagara Independent

The withdrawal ends a yearslong legal saga with developer Benny Marotta. Pictured is the entrance to the Randwood Estate property on John St. East in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Photo credit: Google Maps    After over four years, untold energy and resources, and thousands of tax dollars wasted, it appears an ongoing legal saga between the Town-of-the-Lake and […]

The regionwide transit service launched on Jan. 1, 2023. Carla Stout heads up the commission in charge of making sure the new system runs smoothly. Photo credit: CPTDB Wiki   After several decades of planning, designing, and securing long-term investment, the newly amalgamated Niagara Region Transit system is up and running.  Carla Stout is the […]

Councillors continue to debate one of highest property tax bills in Niagara history

by The Niagara Independent

  At a time when just about everything costs more and people are already holding on by a thread.   Get ready for your 2023 double-digit property tax bill. As recommended by regional staff last week, and approved by the budget review committee Thursday night, the 2023 property tax bill will be one of the […]

Hamilton Centre provincial by-election set for March 16

by Kevin Geenen

Seat vacated following now-Mayor of Hamilton Andrea Horwath’s re-entry into municipal politics. Veteran police sergeant Pete Wiesner (left), representing the Ontario PCs, takes on NDP candidate and well-known anti-police activist Sarah Jama (right). Photo credit: Ontario PC Party and Facebook/Sarah Jama   The Ontario Government has officially announced the date of the Hamilton Centre provincial […]

Local researcher trying to help patients get back pain diagnosed faster, from anywhere

by The Niagara Independent

Brock University Kinesiology graduate student Carl Alano and his thesis supervisor, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology Shawn Beaudette (standing), review video data being used to develop a telehealth screening tool for diagnosing back pain. Photo credit: Brock University    Whether acute or chronic, many adult Canadians have experienced lower back pain at some point in their […]

Niagara grape growers experience ‘small’ 2022 harvest, with yield half of previous years

by The Niagara Independent

Wet, cold weather to blame for quanity issue, but quality said to be ‘exceptional’. Low supply should mean increased demand for 2022 vintage in years ahead. Photo credit: VQA Ontario   According to VQA Ontario’s latest Vintage Report, 2022 was a bad year for the province’s grape yields, and thus a bad year for Niagara […]

Province recognizes Niagara College faculty and staff for community work, accessibility project

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara College culinary instructor Olaf Mertens accepts an Award of Excellence from Minister of Colleges and Universities Jill Dunlop on Feb. 6, 2023. Photo credit: Niagara College   Niagara College continues to have an outsized positive impact on the Niagara community and beyond.  Earlier this week, college faculty and staff were presented with Minister’s Awards […]

Members of the collaborative team changing over foam mattresses and stretcher pads to gel alternatives at all five Niagara Health sites. Photo credit: Niagara Health   It may seem like a small change, but it will no doubt make a big difference in the lives of many –if even for a short while.   As announced […]

Prices actually slightly increased in six of the Niagara Association of Realtors’ 10 market areas. Only Fort Erie and Port Colborne/Wainfleet saw sizeable month-over-month reductions in property value. Photo credit: CBC/Francis Ferland   Though Niagara’s housing market finished off 2022 on an overall low-note, statistics from the first month of 2023 may indicate prices have […]

Reimagined Gilmore Lodge eyes January 2024 grand opening

by Nick Redekop

The new facility on Garrison Road will replace the Gilmore Road home and double its capacity to 160 long-term care beds. The three-storey facility will be situated close to Albany Street, providing sight lines to Lake Erie. Photo credit: Niagara Region   A central component of the Niagara regional long-term care system is on the […]

Two-term Niagara Regional Councillor David Barrick served as CAO of the City of Brampton from 2019 until his termination in February 2022. He was accused of contravening municipal policies and procedures. Multiple “independent third party investigations” recently cleared Barrick of any wrongdoing.    Earlier this week, former Deputy Mayor of Port Colborne, two-term Niagara Regional […]

Store dedicated to non-alcoholic alternatives makes move to Fort Erie

by The Niagara Independent

Soberlicious launched in 2021. Currently online-based, the store plans to open a brick-and-mortar shopfront on Dominion Road in Fort Erie for the summer tourist season.   In 2016, the Canadian Cancer Society launched Dry Feb, a fundraiser that challenges Canadians to go alcohol-free during the month of February. The purpose of the 28-day dry-out is two-fold: to […]

Budget committee green-lights Niagara police budget increase

by The Niagara Independent

The 5.7 per cent bump from 2022 will allow an already-stretched service to hire and retain members, invest in mental health support, and contend with rising costs of operational necessities like fuel. Photo credit: Twitter/Bryan MacCulloch   Despite continued calls to “defund the police” across North America, and the recent efforts of local activist groups, […]

Niagara College top in Ontario for research funding, second in Canada

by The Niagara Independent

One of the myriad measures that make a quality post-secondary institution is adequate research funding to help students and faculty inquire, innovate, explore and, ultimately, make a difference in the wider world. Pictured lab tech Brock Husak sets up a Fortus 900 3D print machine for an industry partner at Niagara College’s Walker Advanced Manufacturing […]

Oosterhoff believes productive year lies ahead for Ford government

by Nick Redekop

Niagara’s lone PC Party MPP – pictured, left, alongside Grimsby mayor Jeff Jordan – talks health care, housing, and Greenbelt. Photo credit: Facebook/Sam Oosterhoff   Sam Oosterhoff, Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Niagara West, is preparing for a significant year at Queen’s Park. “I believe this will be a big year for this government, […]

Marineland may soon be up for sale, lobbyist registration suggests

by The Niagara Independent

In an integrity commissioner application filed earlier this month, a lobbyist for the Niagara tourist attraction listed sale of the park and zoning changes to allow for development as items he intends to talk to the provincial government about. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Tara Walton   What was only rumour for the last few years […]

Last Friday, Niagara Health and local NDP MPP Jeff Burch both posted threads to social media regarding the present and long-term fate of Welland hospital, as well as if proper information about the site has been circulated to date. Photo credit: Google Maps   Niagara Health and NDP MPP for Niagara Centre Jeff Burch appear […]

 According to the most recent monthly report from Rentals.ca, rent went up 10.9 per cent across the country last year. However, in relative terms, St. Catharines maintained the 13th cheapest rent of 35 medium to large-size Canadian cities in December 2022. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick    Hot off a recent study that suggested […]

Located in Fort Erie, Ray Rosettani is a long-time veteran of the real estate industry. Photo credit: Facebook/Ray Rosettani    Canadian real estate has seen rapid changes and sharp turns over the past several years. The pandemic, inflation and broader market instabilities have contributed to price and inventory numbers that many home buyers and sellers […]

Four local home builders nominated for national excellence awards

by The Niagara Independent

Winners will be announced during Home Building Week next month. Mountainview Building Group earned two nominations for the Penthouse Suite at its Port Dalhousie “The Beaches” development (pictured). Photo credit: Quartek Group Earlier this month, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) released its list of finalists for the 2023 National Awards for Housing Excellence. According to […]

Despite new legislation, NPCA proposes 17 per cent budget increase and tripling of permit fees

by The Niagara Independent

In a seemingly desperate attempt to thwart pending provincial legislation aimed at building more homes, at the last Board of Directors meeting of the previous term’s tenure, the NPCA pre-approved a 17 per cent increase to the 2023 budget and tripled some of their permit fees. Pictured is NPCA headquarters at 250 Thorold Rd. in […]

Local four-year-old slipped into coma after eating mother’s cannabis gummies

by The Niagara Independent

Last Thursday, a St. Catharines court heard how the Niagara Falls girl and her older sister consumed several of their mother’s cannabis-infused edibles, thinking they were candy. Their story of severe sickness is only one of hundreds from across Canada since the legalization of recreational cannabis. Photo credit: CBC   Children across Canada, including here […]

 Over the next few years, the government will allow more procedures to occur in private community facilities. Local Opposition MPPs accused the premier of deliberately underfunding public healthcare in order to privatize Ontario’s system. Photo credit: Twitter/Doug Ford In an effort to eliminate surgical backlogs and reduce wait times, the provincial government announced on Monday […]

Feds help fund Francophone community centre in Welland

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey (centre-left) and Minister of Official Languages Ginette Petitpas Taylor (centre-right) were in Welland on Tuesday, January 10 to announce the funding. Photo credit: Twitter/Ginette Petitpas Taylor   The Government of Canada is providing Foyer Richelieu Welland, a Francophone long-term care facility in central Niagara, an additional $2.7 million in support to […]

Port Colborne wharves to undergo major revitalization, as partners announce $45.3 million project

by The Niagara Independent

Federal and municipal officials were in town Wednesday for the announcement. Pictured (front) is Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra. Pictured in back from left to right are president and CEO of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation Terence Bowles, Mayor of Port Colborne Bill Steele, and Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey. Photo credit: Twitter/Omar Alghabra […]

The team of 16 Goodman School of Business MBA students fended off powerhouse teams from York, McMaster, and a dozen other universities to take home the Queen’s Cup for the first time since the competition started in 1988. Photo credit: Brock University   It’s a time-honoured tradition among Canadian business schools: the annual MBA Games.  […]

St. Catharines homeowners pay second lowest shelter costs in Ontario, new study suggests

by The Niagara Independent

A recent report from Point2 indicates Niagara’s most populous municipality is one of the province’s, and country’s, cheapest places to own or rent. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons St. Catharines remains one of the most affordable cities in Canada to maintain housing, according to yet another third-party report.  A recent study by Saskatoon-based online real estate […]

New initiative aims to open up vital hospital space and get people back home faster

by The Niagara Independent

The program will leverage community supports, ensuring individuals receive the appropriate care they need outside of a hospital setting.    It’s been the story of the last few years: hospitals struggling to stay afloat operating at or, more often than not, above capacity.  Emergency departments are overwhelmed, and there simply aren’t enough inpatient beds to […]

Fort Erie pursuing provincial funds to help with blizzard fallout

by The Niagara Independent

When the small lakefront community was previously slammed by a destructive storm on Halloween in 2019, the municipality successfully secured $7.4 million in disaster recovery funding from the Ford government. Photo credit: Facebook/Town of Fort Erie   The true extent of the damage done by the massive blizzard that tore across Niagara’s south coast in […]

The town’s long-time head of council said the storm that ripped across Niagara’s south coast in the days before Christmas – encasing some lakefront homes in solid ice – was the worst weather event the municipality’s seen since 1977. Photo credit: Twitter/Nick Iwanyshyn   When an extratropical cyclone took more than half of North America […]

Niagara housing prices finish off 2022 with another monthly decrease

by The Niagara Independent

The local Housing Price Index composite benchmark has dropped an overall 23.5 per cent from peak in March 2022. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Graeme Roy   After making historic gains throughout the latter half of the pandemic, Niagara’s housing market has collapsed back down to early 2021 levels. On Tuesday, the Niagara Association of Realtors […]

Elite student-athlete academy opening campus in Port Colborne

by The Niagara Independent

TPH Academy currently has campuses across the U.S. from Phoenix to Fort Lauderdale. The company’s new Niagara branch will operate out of Port Colborne’s Vale Health and Wellness Centre (pictured).   One of North America’s top dual athletic-academic sports development programs is coming to Niagara. This spring, U.S.-based TPH Academy is expanding operations in Canada […]

Niagara Icewine Festival back with full slate of festivities

by The Niagara Independent

Events take place all across the region during the last three weekends of January. Photo credit: CNW Group/Wine Marketing Association of Ontario   Niagara’s Icewine Festival is back in full force for the first time in three years.  Marketed as the largest icewine festival in the world, the 2023 celebration will take place over three […]

Local pharmacy owner Sean Simpson (pictured, left) said the provincial government’s recent move to provide pharmacists the ability to prescribe medication for 13 common ailments represents a “big change” that will positively impact healthcare in Ontario. Photo credit: Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy    As of January 1, 2023, Ontario pharmacists are now able to prescribe […]

Niagara Falls silent this New Year’s Eve

by Mark Hardwick

 Despite all Covid restrictions being fully lifted, why did Canada’s top leisure tourism destination have such a humdrum holiday season? Photo credit: Niagara Falls Tourism   Music and Niagara Falls on New Year’s Eve had at one time been synonymous. For many years, the City of Niagara Falls, the Niagara Parks Commission and local tourism […]

Power restoration efforts in Fort Erie, Port Colborne ‘substantially complete’

by The Niagara Independent

Some residents were without power for a full week after a once-in-a-generation blizzard ripped through Niagara’s south coast last Friday and Saturday. Photo credit: Canadian Niagara Power   It’s been a long week without power for many residents of Fort Erie and Port Colborne, but the tireless efforts of hydro crews across the region have […]

Niagara police’s holiday RIDE program results in one arrest, five licence suspensions

by The Niagara Independent

Pictured NRPS, OPP, and Niagara Parks Police officers take part in a joint spot check operation in Niagara Falls the night of December 3, 2022. In all, over 2,500 cars in six Niagara communities were stopped across four nights this past month. Only one driver was arrested for registering a Blood Alcohol Concentration above 0.08. […]

Christmas-cancelling blizzard slams Niagara’s south coast

by The Niagara Independent

Wind gusts topped 120km/h in certain areas. Driving was virtually impossible in Fort Erie and Port Colborne for much of Friday and Saturday. Pictured is a Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) cruiser that slid off the road in Fort Erie, Dec. 24, 2022. Photo credit: Twitter/NRPS   While perhaps not quite as destructive and widespread, […]

One of Brock’s top administrators leaving university for similar role at nearby college

by The Niagara Independent

After only three years on the job, associate vice-president of advancement and external relations Gord Arbeau is leaving the St. Catharines university to become vice-president of advancement at Niagara College. He’s not the first top administrator in recent years to leave the large research university to take up effectively the same position at an applied […]

Niagara-on-the-Lake brewery buys out one of Ontario’s original craft beer-makers

by The Niagara Independent

Josh Graham of Virgil’s Silversmith Brewing and Ken Woods of Etobicoke’s Black Oak Brewing share a beer. The two craft breweries recently joined forces under ownership of Silversmith. Photo credit: Silversmith   One of Niagara’s most iconic craft breweries is expanding its business. Virgil’s Silversmith Brewing, located in an 1890s church on Niagara Stone Road […]

Santos is the senior pastor at Redeemer Bible Church in Niagara Falls.    This past year has brought with it no shortage of change, much of which has made a weary Canadian population even more uneasy. As 2022 concludes, however, many holiday traditions are returning for the first time since 2019.  Reverend Carl Santos serves […]

Local fundraising project has record-setting year

by The Niagara Independent

Project Plaid raised over $143,000 for youth mental health. This year’s campaign received support from several local organizations, including the Niagara IceDogs, who once again hosted ‘Plaid Night’ to help raise funds. Photo credit: Facebook/Meridian Credit Union   After Shanta Rangaratnam lost her 18-year-old daughter Amelia Durocher to suicide in February 2019, the St. Catharines […]

Brock LINC launches NAVIGATE, a new program for early-stage entrepreneurship

by Alejandro Vasquez Coronado

Inside the Rankin Family Pavilion. Photo credit: Brock University   Located in the Rankin Family Pavilion, Brock LINC is the centre for creativity, innovation, research, and entrepreneurship at Brock University.  Nearing its three-year anniversary since it opened, Brock LINC continues to expand and provide unique opportunities to the Niagara region. This time, to entrepreneurs with […]

EllisDon selected to lead construction on new Niagara Falls hospital

by The Niagara Independent

Once contract details are finalized over the coming weeks, construction on the over-$1 billion project will begin. Photo credit: Niagara Health    The South Niagara Hospital project officially has a builder.  On Monday, Infrastructure Ontario and Niagara Health named EllisDon Infrastructure Healthcare (EDIH) as the preferred proponent to design, build, finance, and maintain the brand-new […]

Thorold Multimodal Hub doubles footprint overnight

by The Niagara Independent

The industrial hub along the Welland Canal now boasts 400 acres of land and over 1 million square feet of indoor space. Photo credit: HOPA Ports   Just days after one of its tenants received a joint-investment from the provincial and federal governments to the tune of $11.3 million, it was announced the Thorold Multimodal […]

Vineland Estates Winery Restaurant (pictured) was one of four Niagara establishments named to OpenTable’s top 100 list for 2022. Photo credit: Facebook/Vineland Estates Winery    Earlier this month, online restaurant review and reservation website OpenTable released its 2022 list of Canada’s 100 “most beloved” restaurants, based on more than one million ratings.  The website analyzed […]

Province, federal government invest big in Thorold facility set to make energy from woody biomass

by The Niagara Independent

CHAR Technologies’ first-of-its-kind Thorold facility will convert bark, shavings, and sawdust – largely viewed as waste in the forestry sector – into 10,000 tonnes of biocarbon fuel per year. Pictured from left are CHAR Technologies CEO Andrew White, Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Graydon Smith, and MPP for Niagara West Sam Oosterhoff, Dec. […]

Niagara Health to enter modern era of hospital information, go fully electronic

by The Niagara Independent

Lynn Guerriero, president and CEO of Niagara Health, signs a 10-year agreement with healthcare information system technology-provider Oracle Cerner. Photo credit: Niagara Health   If one walks into a Niagara hospital today, he or she may experience a triage nurse fumbling about with paper-based forms or repeating questions one would think, given how many times […]

Local company starts early work on historic, first-of-its-kind in Canada nuclear project

by The Niagara Independent

Premier Doug Ford with E.S. Fox employees announcing the start of early work on Canada’s first grid-scale small modular reactor at the Darlington nuclear site, Dec. 2, 2022. Niagara-based E.S. Fox is building the necessary infrastructure to prepare the site for deployment. Photo credit: OPG   A Niagara-based company is literally laying the groundwork for […]

Niagara housing prices dip less than two per cent for second-straight month

by The Niagara Independent

Though prices have now dropped a consecutive eight months in a row, October and November 2022 both saw decreases markedly tamer than the several months prior. Of note, only 335 housing units changed hands last month. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Evan Buhler   With the Bank of Canada’s quixotic journey to bring inflation back down […]

St. Catharines regional councillor Laura Ip (pictured) is one of three regional representatives who will sit on the seven-member board for the next four years. Photo credit: Niagara Region   At Niagara Regional Council’s December 1 meeting, members selected representatives to serve on a number of local agencies, boards, commissions, and committees for the new […]

Diodati predicts 2023 ‘year of the great recovery’

by Nick Redekop

Four-term mayor (pictured) eyes ‘grand reopening ceremony’ for North America in Niagara Falls this spring. Photo credit: Facebook/Jim Diodati   Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati is exhilarated to begin his fourth term, following a landslide victory in October’s municipal elections.  “Sometimes I’m almost pinching myself when I think about all the amazing things that are […]

Auditor General’s scathing report on OLG confirms City’s and Region’s worst fears

by The Niagara Independent

According to the recently released value-for-money audit, when it came to selecting a new entity to run the region’s two casinos a few years back, the OLG chose the casino operator for Niagara that proposed the least amount of capital investment and “brought less economic and financial benefit to the province than if OLG had […]

Province’s new agri-food strategy good news for Niagara economy

by The Niagara Independent

One the strategy’s stated objectives is to increase both the consumption and production of food grown and prepared in Ontario by 30 per cent over the next 10 years – good news for a region that relies on food production as a major source of jobs and is a large contributor to local GDP. Photo […]

Harry Schlange leaving Town of Grimsby as CAO

by The Niagara Independent

The municipal administrator previously served as CAO for Niagara Region and the Town of Fort Erie. Pictured is Grimsby town hall. Photo credit: Town of Grimsby   The Town of Grimsby and its top bureaucrat have agreed to part ways.  In an announcement Thursday, Grimsby revealed that as of Dec. 5, 2022, Harry Schlange will […]

Construction on new West Niagara Secondary School making ‘steady progress’

by Nick Redekop

The new high school (pictured), which was originally supposed to open in September 2022 but was delayed due to the pandemic, will amalgamate and retire Grimsby Secondary School and Beamsville District Secondary School. If all goes to plan, the school could welcome students before the end of the academic year. Photo credit: Twitter/DSBN   Families […]

Pair of Niagara College graduates honoured with prestigious Premier’s Award

by The Niagara Independent

It was the first time in school history two alumni were presented with the accolade in the same year. Pictured are award winners Murray Brewster and Erica Williams. The pair stand alongside school president Sean Kennedy (centre) at the Colleges Ontario Higher Education Summit awards gala in Toronto, Nov. 28, 2022. Photo credit: Niagara College  […]

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 […]


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