Save Our Hospital petitions

Welland’s Save our Hospital committee has been hard at work since the last public meeting at City Hall and the public demonstration at Queen’s Park.

The committee will be at the Community Booth in the Seaway Mall across from Customer Service Fri. Jan. 30 and Sat. Jan. 31. Stop by to sign a petition, pick one up or drop a completed one off!

Download the petition here: http://i.imgur.com/MMfRP82.png

WRCC to offer free water sports through winter

Friday nights in Welland just got a bit more interesting.

The Welland Recreational Canal Corporation (WRCC) announced the Welland Indoor paddle Tank Boarding Pass Program, which will allow everyone a FREE opportunity to try various water sports each Friday from February 6 to April 10 from 6:30-8 pm.

Schedule

Fri. Feb 6: Dragon Boat

Fri. Feb 13: Canoe/Kayak

Fri. Feb. 20: Rowing

Fri. Feb. 27: Dragon Boat

Fri. Mar. 6: Canoe/Kayak

Fri. Feb. 13: Rowing

Fri. Feb. 20: Dragon Boat

Fri. Mar. 27: Canoe/Kayak

Fri. Apr. 10: Rowing

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Photo by Murray Hawryn, A Better Image, Inc.

Grab the family, grab a paddle, and head on out! You may just find your new favourite hobby.

Things we say when we talk about Welland – Tarzan Kay Kalryzian

This excellent article made its rounds in November 2014, and we think it deserves more attention.

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Growing up in Niagara-on-the-Lake doesn’t exactly set you up for a great relationship with Welland. As a kid, what little I heard of the place came through the grapevine – a grapevine that was no more favourable to Welland in the nineties than it is today.

Thing is, there’s a commonly accepted way of talking about Welland. People do not speak kindly of this place, including – even especially – Wellanders. There are an annoying number of conversational memes I hear all the time, the most persistent being:

“Oh, you’re from Welland? I’m sorry.”

You know what? I’m sorry too.

I’m sorry more people haven’t driven down Edgar St. in the fall, when the canopy of trees overhanging this peaceful residential road starts morphing into a golden archway of yellow, orange and red.

I’m sorry more people have never been to Benedict’s on a Sunday, when the parking lot is so full you have to circle the lot four times before cramming your car into something that may or may not resemble a parking spot, knowing that a few meager scratches will be nothing compared to the cozy booths, hot coffee and familiar faces within.

I’m sorry for anyone who hasn’t enjoyed free hot apple cider at the Welland Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings, where seasonal, local produce is gloriously -affordable on any budget, where the chicken is freshly butchered and the conversation always lively and exciting and enjoyed over hot breakfast.

Most of all, I’m sorry it took me this long to wake up to the greatness of our city.

Welland isn’t perfect. I could wax on for a good while about all the empty storefronts on East Main St., the mammoth-sized brownfields that decorate the periphery, the disproportionate number of mega store pharmacies, including three Rexalls and two Shopper’s Drug Marts within easy biking distance of one another.

But that’s not what defines Welland. Not by a long shot. There’s more to this city then empty factories.

When my partner, Jay Kalryzian, and I printed our first “It’s All Welland Good” t-shirts last year, we could never have predicted the reaction. The city was hungry for a new cultural meme, one that would represent Welland in a way that inspires pride in those who live here. And didn’t they embrace It’s All Welland Good.

Since the fundraiser for Cordage Green (a sustainable community development project), we’ve been bombarded with information confirming the truth of this new meme. Almost daily Jay will discover something new, something impossibly underground and delicious that we can’t believe more people don’t know about.

Perhaps most exciting are the number of underutilized facilities with unlimited possibilities available in Welland, places it sometimes feels like hardly anyone knows about. Cases in point:

Chippewa Park Community Centre: This pristine space – one that cost the city well over a million dollars to renovate – rents for just $28/hr. It’s equipped with a shiny new show kitchen, two fireplaces, bathrooms upstairs and down, and cleaning is included in the rental price.

Renaissance Midwives: A participant at our Welland Good Workshop last month remarked to me what a great idea it would be to have a midwifery clinic in Welland. Heads up: We have one! People drive from all over to the region and further to visit this well-respected practice. As parents-to-be, it is by far our favourite place in the city. Beats the heck out of the doctor’s office.

*Note: While they may be little-known locally, they are in no way underused. They function at capacity all year long and have recently added a new team to keep up with the demand. 

Phantom Gallery by the BLX: The art in the windows of the now decrepit and unassuming Sleep Factory on Niagara St. comes to Welland thanks to the efforts of the Black Lantern Experience. What most don’t know is that underneath lies a several-thousand square ft. warehouse space just waiting for a mission.

Rose City Kids Theatre: This sweet little 300-seat theatre is completely redone from top to bottom and used just a few times per month, though it’s available for event rentals. It’s also equipped with an $80,000 audio/video system, courtesy of the Trillium Foundation. Next door is a similarly redecorated RCK Leadership Cafe, a premium coffee shop-style space that the foundation uses for its tutoring program.

Upcoming projects we’re equally excited about:

Seaway Mall BLX Store: Opening on Black Friday, this store is the answer to the BLX’s hugely successful project The Hardway. (Props to Kevin, who spotted Jay on the street and somehow tracked me down on Twitter to get this whole “It’s all Welland good.” t-shirt thing rolling.). (this was a huge success!)

Black Sheep Lounge: Call me crazy, but the image of a black sheep doesn’t exactly scream “community hub” to me, but nevertheless I’m excited about the idea of not having to go to Target for an espresso when the mood strikes.

The success of Niagara Sport & Social is a testament to what we can create when a great facility bumps into the right person. The old soccer dome was gathering dust after the city moved all activities to the new sports complex. Since Kerby Bentley came along and leased the space, it’s become the largest indoor volleyball complex in Ontario, exploding with players, who come as far as Hamilton to be there.

There’s way too much good going on in Welland for this “I’m sorry” business to continue a moment longer. There’s also a mass of people motivated to make it even better, the WellanDO-ers, and rather than waiting for the city to come to the rescue, perhaps what we really need is simply for the city to clear away the red tape, to provide easy avenues for people to launch their projects, open their cafés, or repurpose unused buildings, and realise their high hopes for their city in whatever way they can.

Let’s give the people something better to talk about when we talk about Welland, shall we?

Taris on the Water

UPDATE March 3, 2015

Taris on the Water prepares to open! Read more:

https://goodnewswelland.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/taris-on-the-water-finally-opens/

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Since late summer 2014, workers have been on site almost daily improving the prime piece of real estate once known to Wellanders as The Bridge pub. Taris on the Water will join Black Sheep Lounge (opening Summer 2015) as the newest spots to dine in the ever-growing Downtown West. We are very excited to learn more about Taris on the Water!

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Photos by James Takeo.

p.43: Welland’s newest downtown gallery

No, this is not deja vu. Just 5 months after The Hard Way completed their run at 43 Hellems Ave., p.43 (Project Forty Three), a gallery of contemporary art, has opened in the same space with two events already booked.

The work of Jacob Wren went on display last week. Having taught workshops in (literally) every corner of the world, he is known for his art in several mediums.

Wren’s performances, made collaboratively with other artists, engage with the struggle and paradox of ‘being oneself’ in a performance situation, with what it means to stand in front of an audience and speak honestly about the things one finds important, at the same time never afraid to show how vulnerable and nervous one might naturally feel in such a situation. He also works as co-artistic director of the Montreal-based interdisciplinary group PME-AR, where he co-creates performances.

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Photo: Jacob Wren

In addition, p.43 will host artist Mathew Vizbulis’ solo mural project, graffuturism, that will be visible to the street from Jan. 16-31. A reception will be held at p.43 on Thursday, Jan. 15 at 6:30.

RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/334320033441293/?source=1

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Dragon Boat Canada to call Welland International Flatwater Centre new home

Welland International Flatwater Centre (WIFC) and Dragon Boat Canada have announced partnership that will have Welland hosting 10 Canadian Dragon Boat Championships, resulting in millions of dollars in revenue to Welland and surrounding municipalities.

Welland has established itself as a premier hosting venue for dragon boat racing, having hosted the 2011 and 2014 Canadian Dragon Boat Championships. This upcoming season, the WIFC will host not only the 2015 Canadian Dragon Boat Championships but will also host, for the first time in Canada, the 2015 International Dragon Boat Federation 12th World Dragon Boat Racing Championships and the 2015 Pan American Club Crew Championships August 14th -23rd.

The next dragon boat competition, hosted in partnership with Dragon Boat Canada, at the WIFC North Course will be the Canadian Dragon Boat Championships June 26, 27, 28 of 2015.

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Photo courtesy Welland Heritage Council and Multicultural Centre

 

Compassion follows adversity: Welland Tribune

This article by Allan Benner of the Welland Tribune pretty much sums up perfectly the “Welland spirit.”

Through all of the negativity, hardship and loss Welland has felt, Wellanders always come through for one another and step up to the plate when needed most. Always. It is this that defines a community and reminds of a famous quote by Fred (Mr.) Rogers:

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This article is the perfect way to start the year. Positivity is infectious. Love your city and the people in it. Contribute when you can and it will all come full circle.