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Thursday, February 29, 2024
Year in Review: 12 months of change in Niagara-on-the-Lake
In January 2023, an early-morning explosion and massive fire at Ssonix Products in Port Weller claims the life of worker Ryan Konkin, who had just gotten engaged. The company was later charged with 21 offences under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act. RICHARD HARLEY

With new development proposals from Old Town to Glendale sparking controversy, the resignation of the town’s chief administrator, and the first year of the town’s newly elected council, 2023 was a year of change in Niagara-on-the-Lake. And a $10,000 cash donation from a developer to a town councillor made headlines, however police and integrity commissioner probes found no criminal intent. But plenty more happened in NOTL in 2023. Read on:

January

Jan. 5 edition: Niagara-on-the-Lake council creates a special committee to oversee how hundreds of thousands of dollars generated by the new municipal accommodation tax will be spent, mainly on tourism-related projects.

Former Shaw Festival artistic director Jackie Maxwell is named to the Order of Canada.

Pink eye? Cold sores? Hay fever? NOTL pharmacists gear up to prescribe medication for 13 common ailments after the province changes the rules.

A team of line workers from Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro spent the holidays helping other communities – like Fort Erie – clean up after a massive blizzard swept through Niagara just before Christmas.

Jan. 12: After 30 years on John Street East, the Newark Neighbours food bank and thrift store announces plans to move to the former Lincoln Interiors building in Virgil.

The board of the Niagara Regional Native Centre is looking for community members to fill several vacant seats, after the resignations of its executive director and three board members just before Christmas.

After the previous council delayed it, the newly elected NOTL council is moving forward with developing a tourism plan and will hire a private consultant to help formulate it.

Following months of preparation, the NOTL Youth Collective launches an eight-week winter program for kids in grades 7 to 12.

Coyote sightings are on the rise in Niagara-on-the-Lake and, once again, experts are advising people not to feed them.

Jan. 19: An early-morning explosion and massive fire at Ssonix Products in Port Weller claims the life of worker Ryan Konkin, who had just gotten engaged. The company was later charged with 21 offences under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act.

Spirit in Niagara distillery, the NOTL Museum and the Pillar & Post take home top honours at the Niagara Biennial Design Awards. The museum was singled out for its Poppy Project and the hotel for its lavish Monet-inspired gardens.

Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro is preparing for big changes in the near future, when electric vehicles dominate and gas-powered cars are a thing of the past, CEO Tim Curtis says in an exclusive story for The Lake Report. He promises the utility will be ready when e-vehicles start plugging in.

The Lake Report reveals that the Niagara-on-the-Lake Pickleball Club will play host to a major international pickleball tournament in June that’s expected to attract players from across the country and the United States.

Jan. 26: A 41-unit apartment proposal near Mary and Mississagua streets draws the ire of neighbours, who worry about its height, design and the traffic it could generate.

Residents get a peek at long-term plans for the Glendale neighbourhood when consultants unveil a draft of the area’s proposed district plan.

About 3,000 seasonal workers from Mexico and the Caribbean begin arriving at greenhouses in Niagara, Leamington and other parts of Ontario, preparing for another year of field work.

Fireworks, wine and food celebrate the return of the annual Icewine Festival after two years of pandemic restrictions.

February

Feb. 2:  St. Davids boxer Mckenzie Wright begins in earnest her quest to compete for Canada in the 2024 Paris Olympics as she fights in the Elite National Championships in Brampton. It’s just the first of many steps she’ll take along the Olympic road this year.

NOTL council again extends its popular temporary patio program for restaurants still reeling from the pandemic.

The annual Icewine Festival bounces back in the wake of the pandemic as large crowds return.

Police detain a man after reports of a gun inside an Anne Street home. But the man is released after investigators said they found no evidence a crime was committed.

Safe Haven, a new youth group, launches at St. Davids-Queenston United Church on York Road.

Feb. 9: Farmworker advocate Jane Andres and her team of volunteers say there is a shortage of donations for the annual welcome kits they prepare. Among other things they need 300 more toothbrushes.

The long-awaited new state-of-the-art Village Medical Centre opens on Niagara Stone Road.

The NOTL Rotary Club contributes $25,000 from its community fundraising projects to groups that are providing direct aid to Ukraine.

St. Davids boxer Mckenzie Wright is crowned national champion in the 48-kg. weight class.

Feb. 16: Developer Benny Marotta’s Two Sisters Resorts Corp. unveils plans to build a 129-suite luxury hotel on the old Parliament Oak school property. Resident reaction is swift and overwhelmingly negative.

Members of the Niagara Regional Native Centre elect a new board amid allegations from senior staff that former board members had abused their powers.

The Lake Report is nominated for 17 provincial awards for journalism and advertising excellence.

One week before a court is to hear the town’s appeal of stay of charges against developer Benny Marotta for clear-cutting a portion of the Rand Estate, town council, “mindful of the high legal costs,” abandons the appeal.

Feb. 23: The Lake Report’s “Code Grey” health care series documents health care workers’ concerns about a crisis in the health system.

NOTL elementary schools tackle Black History Month head-on with discussions about slavery and also about the significant contributions Black Canadians have made.

An in-depth feature story looks at the Ford government’s Bill 23 and how it takes much of the control over development out of the hands of municipalities.

March

March 2: A hovercraft service that was hoping to take riders across Lake Ontario in 30 minutes has been delayed a year due to “delays on both sides” of the lake, its proponents say.

The town’s historic military property markers – called ordnance stones – need to be preserved, NOTL Museum board member Ted Rumble says.

Spring is around the corner and Bikes for Farmworkers needs more helping hands in its repair shop. Meanwhile, snow and freezing rain hit NOTL hard, turning driveways into skating rinks.

March 9: Members of the Niagara Creative Cultural Community Hub, a collaborative group of non-profit organizations, pitches council on using the space as a shared facility for community groups. The hub says it has $2 million to help fund the project.

The Lake Report closes down Queen Street for mass photo in celebration of International Women’s Day and produces a 12-page special section that commemorates the work of the town’s women.

Residents of St. Davids are alarmed that continued development of residences on Tanbark and Warner roads could overwhelm the infrastructure of their small village.

March 16: Ontario high school wrestling champ Zubin Gatta was hurt in the national championships in Waterloo. Thirty seconds into his first match he heard four loud snaps” – his elbow was dislocated.

There is no end to phone, text and door-to-door scams targeting and experts warn seniors to be careful.

The Shaw Festival had a small $7,000 surplus in 2022, as donations and federal funding helped boost the non-profit theatre organization.

Major road construction begins backing up traffic in Virgil – and will continue to do so until the fall as a long-awaited revitalization project finally begins.

March 23: In a potential political bombshell, The Lake Report reveals that the OPP has been asked to investigate after developer Benny Marotta gave Coun. Gary Burroughs an envelope containing $10,000 in cash.

NOTL swimmer Peyton Leigh qualifies to compete at the Canadian Olympic trials in the 200-metre butterfly and the 400-metre freestyle.

The first part of a Lake Report investigative series looks at how difficult it is for people to find an affordable place to rent in NOTL.

The town finalizes its 2023 budget and spending will increase by $4 million – and taxes on a home assessed at $541,000 will rise $105.

March 30: Niagara Region announces plans to expand the use of speed cameras to catch people who exceed the posted limit. One of the cameras will be on Niagara Stone Road near Crossroads Public School.

“A single step is a closed door,” says Pamela TurnerSmith, who uses a mobility scooter. She estimates she can’t get into about 60 per cent of stores on Queen Street as a result.

Niagara Regional Police are now investigating a cash exchange between developer Benny Marotta and Coun. Gary Burroughs. The town had asked the OPP to probe the matter but the provincial force said it is a regional police matter.

The community group Friends of the Forgotten gets the green light from council to care for NOTL’s Black burial ground.

April

April 6: Queenston resident Louise Leyland is tragically struck and killed by a cyclist while out walking on a Saturday afternoon.

Ryan Gaio and his band rock a crowd of about 150 people at the NOTL Legion on Saturday to celebrate the release of his album, “The Best Ain’t Happened Yet.”

After three years of discussion, construction of the town’s new $264,000 gateway at Mississagua and Queen streets, funded by philanthropist Gerry Kowalchuk, is due to start this spring.

A massive, 835-page town planning report rejects most of Solmar’s requests to demolish or make substantial changes to buildings and other heritage assets on the historic Rand Estate property.

 

April 13: The town has received about $200,000 from the municipal accommodation tax since last July and staff estimates the levy could generate an additional $600,000 if it is collected from all operators, including B&Bs and cottage rentals.

After great fanfare and much publicity, activist James Russell abruptly ended his hunger strike at the Niagara Baptist Church Burial Ground – after just a few hours.

NOTL hockey player Kaleb Dietsch hopes to cap a stellar minor hockey career by getting drafted by an Ontario Hockey League major junior team.

The U11 Niagara-on-the-Lake Wolves rep team took the silver medal at the Ontario Minor Hockey Association’s annual championship tournament in Barrie.

 

April 20: Niagara Regional Police say they found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing and no charges will be laid after prominent NOTL developer Benny Marotta gave Coun. Gary Burroughs an envelope containing $10,000 in cash.

Several NOTL farmers have invested millions to build new, modern living quarters for their seasonal workers.

Hotel operators in Niagara-on-the-Lake say that if short-term rentals are going to exist, they ought to be charging people the town’s 2 per cent room tax.

The Lake Report is again honoured with Ontario Community Newspapers Association awards, earning five first-place awards.

April 27: Almost 300 people turned out to the NOTL Community Centre for a special council meeting at which council voted 4-3 to refuse Solmar Development Inc.’s application for building permits on the historic Rand Estate property.

NOTL’s Kaleb Dietsch realizes his dream as he is drafted by the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League.

Simpson’s Pharmacy, a venerable NOTL health care institution for more than 45 years, has been sold to SRx Health Solutions Inc., a major Canadian health and pharmaceutical company.

May

May 4: Housing advocate Scott Robinson urges town council to embrace secondary suites, separate living spaces that can be built on one property to accommodate additional residents.

King Charles III will be crowned on Saturday and the Scottish Loft and Prince of Wales hotel are among the NOTL businesses celebrating the royal occasion.

A short-term rental home with a history of bylaw violations wins its zoning appeal case at the Ontario Land Tribunal and NOTL must issue a rental licence, despite the town’s previous refusal to do so.

May 11: Almost 50 people turn out at Niagara-on-the-Lake town hall to voice concerns about a developer’s plan to replace the old Parliament Oak school with a hotel. The idea is “not compatible”with the area, they say.

A new condominium proposed for Mary Street should not exceed municipal height restrictions, says the town’s urban design committee.

New town rules mean residents can’t speak to council on regional issues – because they don’t fall under the town’s jurisdiction.

May 18: Financial statements from last October’s municipal election show that while Gary Zalepa beat Betty Disero in the mayoral race, Disero raised almost 20 per cent more in donations.

NOTL is recognized as one of the “50 Most Beautiful Small Towns in the World” by Condé Nast  Traveler, with the Prince of Wales hotel receiving a special mention. Lunenburg, N.S., is the only other Canadian town on the list.

Glendale residents got together Saturday morning for their annual community cleanup.

After a three-year hiatus the Niagara Regional Police men’s and women’s tug of war teams faced off Saturday against their U.S. counterparts on the Rainbow Bridge. The Canadians won both battles.

May 25: The Virgil Stampede will look into increased safety and security measures after several fights occurred after the fair closed on Monday.

Effective Jan. 1, council votes to extend the town’s hotel room tax to cottage rentals and bed and breakfasts, most of which do not currently collect the tax.

The Niagara-on-the-Lake Ambassadors have hit the streets for the 2023 summer season, welcoming visitors and answering questions.

June

June 1: To kick off Pride month, the town finished painting a new rainbow crosswalk on Anderson Lane at Niagara Stone Road on Monday night and unveiled it Tuesday morning on social media.

With players from age 17 to 80 and with geographical backgrounds as varied as Sri Lanka, India, China and the U.K., the inaugural NOTL Classic pickleball tournament promises to be a diverse and inclusive showcase.

An investigation has been launched after a Jamaican farmworker at P.G. Enns Farms was found dead in his sleep.

June 8: NOTL’s week-old rainbow crosswalk was vandalized twice in two days. The town considers adding a security camera to watch over the crossing.

Meanwhile, Crossroads Public School raises the rainbow flag in a ceremony aimed at making all students feel welcome.

Smog from wild fires forced cancellation of all NOTL soccer practices and games and keep District School Board of Niagara students indoors.

June 15: Niagara Regional Police release photos of a suspect riding an ATV to vandalize the town’s new rainbow crosswalk.

Hundreds of players come to town to compete in the inaugural NOTL Classic pickleball tourney.

The Lake Report’s award-winning magazine, “NOTL: A Guide for Distinguished Explorers,” publishes its summer 2023 issue.

A 49-year-old St. Catharines woman dies Saturday after her small SUV strikes a tree on Lakeshore Road in NOTL.

June 22: The Town of NOTL and the resident group SORE have been denied repayment of legal

costs totalling more than $600,000 in a dispute over plans from 2018 to implement a heritage designation for the Rand Estate. The Ontario Land Tribunal made the ruling.

A 15-year-old St. Catharines boy is the culprit who defaced NOTL’s rainbow crosswalk. Rather than charging him, Niagara Regional Police opted for “extrajudicial measures,” such as warnings or counselling.

Sixteen NOTL wineries took home a total of 46 honours from the Ontario Wine Awards.

June 29: Rural NOTL residents launch a petition seeking help to fix the “rotten egg” smell from their well water.

Police spend days scouring Twelve Mile Creek in St. Catharines after Liam Neumann disappeared while riding an inflatable raft.

With 19,000 people or more by 2043, a planning update shows the Glendale area also could have a transit hub, schools and retail stores.

July

July 6: Heavy rains have damaged this season’s cherry crop, but there is a silver lining – all that precipitation means a bumper crop of peaches, plums and nectarines, NOTL farmer Scott MacSween says.

Virgil teen Steven Shelestowsky invents a cool way to beat the bridge and his innovative 99-cent Niagara Bridges app turns heads at Apple.

Niagara College unveils plans to triple its on-campus student housing over the next four years at its campuses in NOTL and Welland.

Virgil’s Ray Rempel creates a rainbow garden to help bring Pride to the neighbourhood.

July 13: The long-awaited new gateway to Queen Street starts to take shape thanks to dry stone mason Menno Braam.

Oak wilt, an invasive tree fungus that infects and kills oak trees – and could devastate the area’s trees – is found in NOTL, only the third infestation so far in Canada.

The annual Cherry Festival returns and its popular cherry pies are sold out by shortly after 10 a.m.

Officials confirm what mom Barbara Worthy knew all along: the body found in Twelve Mile Creek is her son Liam Neumann. He vanished June 25.

July 20: Butler’s Development Garden Inc. is proposing to build a three-storey apartment/condo complex on the edge of Old Town, at the southwest end of King Street. Neighbours are not happy.

Police urge the motorist who left the scene after striking an 84-year-old Niagara-on-the-Lake cyclist Nestor Chemerika to turn himself in. The victim dies a few days later.

The shelves at the Newark Neighbours food bank are almost bare at its new, expanded location in Virgil and the agency is holding a food drive to help meet the need.

After the region said high E. coli levels made Queen’s Royal Beach unsafe for swimming last week, the beach has been reopened.

July 27: Reconstruction of Niagara Stone Road through Virgil is taking a toll on area businesses as slowdowns and traffic jams keep patrons away.

Speeding has become a major concern in several NOTL neighbourhoods. Our in-depth “Mind Your Meters” report looks at resident concerns and some possible solutions.

The wine industry is again urging the province to eliminate a 6.1 per cent tax that is only charged on wine sold at on-site stores – not the LCBO.

The most prestigious trophy in international men’s team tennis – the Davis Cup, which Canada won last fall for the first time – is coming to NOTL, where the idea for the cup was first conceived.

August

Aug. 3: NOTL cleans up the third act of vandalism of the town’s Pride crosswalk. The new security camera, installed to monitor the crossing, also was damaged.

Good Samaritans step up Saturday as parts of town become “Niagara-IN-the-Lake” when two inches of rain fell Saturday, flooding homes, roads and some low-lying properties.

But the weather didn’t dampen spirits or participation at the annual St. Davids Lions Carnival.

Six months after Old Town’s parking meters started using the Honk Mobile app instead of cash or credit cards, people continue to be frustrated by the service.

Aug. 10: When residents gathered Friday at the town’s rainbow crosswalk to show their support after three incidents of vandalism, they were shocked to learn that it has been intentionally damaged for a fourth time.

NOTL’s cenotaph is in desperate need of restoration and the committee overseeing repairs is $28,000 short of the $81,000 that is needed by Sept. 15 to complete the work.

As our “Mind Your Meters” series continues, residents say they want action, but the town says it needs data showing the extent of speeding problems.

Aug. 17: The Sharks are coming to NOTL, as the town’s sailing club prepares to host the 2023 world championships.

Everything comes up rosé as the Chamber of Commerce paints Queen Street pink to wrap up the peach celebrations.

When a small airplane’s landing gear fails, the pilot makes an emergency landing at NOTL airport. No one was hurt but the Cessna was banged up.

Aug. 24: Council has rebuffed the urban design committee for getting “off track” in a discussion about a development proposal from Two Sisters Resorts Corp. to replace the old Parliament Oak school with a hotel. Councillors ignored the committee’s suggestion the town reject the plan.

The first marathon swimmer to conquer Lake Ontario this year arrived ashore in Toronto from NOTL – and shattered a nearly 50-year-old record in the process. Maggie Regan broke Cindy Nicholas’ mark by almost an hour.

 Two more lacrosse legends – Paul French and Monty Slingerland – have been inducted to the NOTL Sports Wall of Fame.

Aug. 31: Swimmer Dylan Rumsey conquers the Niagara River again, this time with his hands tied. It was all in support of Pathstone Mental Health.

After nearly a week of racing, the Shark World Championship was decided by a single point. The winners were the hometown trio of Josh Wiwcharyk, Chris Clarke and Alex Letchford.

Virgil’s Yellow Door Theatre Project is branching out and launching a new film academy after receiving a $16,000 grant from the Goettler Family Foundation.

September

Sept. 7: NOTL’s Greta Sobol, 11, is this year’s youth ambassador for the annual Walk to Cure Diabetes in Virgil.

There were a few tears and lots of excitement as students flocked back to start a new school year.

Despite some bumps in the road, this year’s tourist season has exceeded expectations in NiOTL, industry representatives say.

Terry Fox’s brother Fred visits NOTL and helps raise the ceremonial flag to commemorate the Sept. 17 fundraising run.

Sept. 14: The fight to eradicate a 6.1 per cent tax on wine sold in wineries gets help from New Democrat MPP Wayne Gates, who reintroduces a bill to eliminate the levy.

Erwin Wiens, a farmer and grape grower who also happens to be the town’s deputy lord mayor, is named Grape King for the coming year.

The town receives more than 400 letters from residents opposed to an apartment/condo complex in their King Street neighbourhood.

Construction on the popular Concession 6-Mewburn Road shortcut to Niagara Falls is halted after “unforeseen” problems. It eventually reopens during the Christmas holidays.

Sept. 21: Former members ousted from the Niagara Regional Native Centre’s board last February has asked a Superior Court judge to dismantle the current board.

NOTL’s annual Terry Fox Run raises $61,000 for cancer research, with Joe Pillitteri’s Team Pillsy topping the donor board with more than $32,000.

The town’s integrity commissioner says there are “no grounds” for him to continue investigating a controversial $10,000 cash exchange between developer Benny Marotta and Coun. Gary Burroughs.

The Lake Report is honoured with eight national awards for its journalism by the Canadian Community Newspaper Association.

Sept. 28: The NOTL Museum recruits prominent pharmacist Sean Simpson as the face of a major $10-million project aimed at revitalizing and expanding the facility.

The owners of White Oaks resort unveil a plan to build four highrise towers of 17, 18, 21 and 25 storeys on land beside the Glendale facility.

Two more doctors are joining the Niagara Medical Centre in Virgil this fall. Dr. Anne Wilson starts Oct. 2 and Dr. Michael Grasic joins the practice Dec. 4.

After more than one year and 65 episodes, The Lake Report’s series of profiles by historical expert Ron Dale about area men who gave their lives in our two world wars, is coming to an end.

October

Oct. 5: The town raises the Every Child Matters flag to half-mast in honour of Truth and Reconciliation Day.

The highly invasive spotted lanternfly, which has the power to destroy entire vineyards, now has been reported in several parts of Niagara and is prompting a huge concern for the region’s agricultural industry.

Despite objections from residents, a senior official says Niagara Region is moving forward with plans to build a roundabout in the heart of the St. Davids village.

Police charged Richard Moore, 37, of Niagara Falls, in connection with the fatal hit-and-run collision in July that killed cyclist Nestor Chemerika.

Oct. 12: St. Davids Public School teacher Bryce Honsinger is honoured with the prestigious Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

In a major victory for seasonal migrant workers, a provincial tribunal has ordered the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board to pay compensation to four injured Ontario farmworkers who were denied long-term benefits.

NOTL plans to use Niagara Region planners to help the town handle some of its planning responsibilities, part of an effort to adapt to legislative changes introduced by the province last year.

Oct. 19: Glendale residents say four highrise towers are not appropriate for the White Oaks property and they’re fighting back.

A St. Catharines woman is charged with impaired driving causing bodily harm after a migrant worker was hit by an SUV while cycling at Lakeshore and Townline roads.

The NOTL Museum’s Poppy Project returns this year, bigger than ever, with thousands of hand-stitched poppies on display at three locations in town.

Oct. 26: In the latest volley in an ongoing battle, St. Davids residents have launched a petition against the region’s planned roundabout, worried that it will hurt several area businesses.

A new mobile clinic will help provide seasonal agricultural workers in NOTL with better access to health care, says the head of Quest Community Health Centre.

Doors Open literally opens the doors to a dozen of NOTL’s historic buildings, offering some behind-the-scenes looks at several heritage sites.

The St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Women’s League marks its 100th anniversary in NOTL.

November

Nov. 2: NOTL’s Two Mile Creek has some of the brownest, foulest water in the region and the culprit appears to be leaky sewage lines. It also has the highest level of E. coli of any water system in the region.

Bob Mavridis, owner of Corks and Orzo restaurants, wants to build a mixed-use development on 4.8 hectares facing York Road near the existing Hilton Garden Inn in Glendale.

A group of concerned residents is launching a comprehensive survey to assess the housing challenges faced by NOTL seniors and explore a range of possible solutions.

In a bid to shorten meetings, residents will now only have five minutes to make verbal presentations to NOTL council.

Nov. 9: NOTL gets the royal treatment on Saturday as Princess Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh, spends a day in town, touring a winery and attending a gala dinner at the Queen’s Landing Hotel.

Bob Mavridis’s hotel and condo plan on York Road in Glendale draws the ire of some nearby residents who let council know they are “furious.”

NOTL prepares for its two annual Remembrance Day ceremonies and a young veteran urges residents to wear a poppy and support those who serve their country.

Nov. 16: They came to remember on Saturday — hundreds of people, young, old, veterans and those compelled to pay their respects for sacrifices made so many decades ago. It was one of the largest crowds in recent memory.

The town has collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from its accommodation tax but Tourism NOTL hasn’t seen a penny of it because no deal has yet been reached between the two parties.

The Shaw Festival remains strong even though attendance remains down about 20 to 25 per cent post-pandemic, CEO Tim Jennings says.

Nov. 23: NOTL’s leaky sewers are a symptom of inadequate infrastructure spending, Lord Mayor Gary Zalepa says.

In the first instalment of an ongoing series, The Lake Report looks at how the NOTL Museum is bursting at the seams and needs to expand.

NOTL artist Gail Kerr’s rendering of a nutcracker is chosen to grace the buttons that will be sold to help fund the 2023 Christmas Parade.

An explosion on the U.S. side of the Rainbow Bridge sparks fears of a terror attack and makes headlines around the world.

Nov. 30: The future of a contentious condominium proposed by Bice Builders at the end of King Street is now out of the hands of NOTL councillors as the developer asks the Ontario Land Tribunal to approve the project.

Team defence – and offence from their defence – helps the NOTL Wolves U18 rep team to win the regional Silver Stick tournament in Midland.

The Lake Report and Tourism NOTL join forces to produce a winter edition of the glossy magazine “NOTL: A Guide for Distinguished Explorers.”

December

Dec. 7:  After three years as NOTL’s top civil servant, Marnie Cluckie resigns to become city manager in Hamilton.

Niagara wine industry pioneer and innovator, Paul Bosc Sr., of Chateau des Charmes, dies at age 88.

After a few weeks of negotiation, the town and Tourism NOTL strike a deal to share the $1.1 million raised by NOTL’s two per cent room tax. In January it rises to 3 per cent.

A speed camera is being tested in Virgil near Crossroads Public School. Tickets will start being issued Jan. 8.

Dec. 14 and onward: Mild weather helps make this year’s Christmas Parade crowd one of the largest ever.

There’s yet another development proposal for Glendale – 383 units on Concession 7 between Queenston and York roads.

A residents group that has been working for three years with NOTL officials to stop excessive speeding in Chautauqua voices frustration at the lack of action by the town.

Boxer Mckenzie Wright beats a three-time national champion in an Olympic team qualifying tournament as she continues her quest to represent Canada at the 2024 Summer Olympics. Her next shot at competing at the Paris Games is a February tournament in Italy.

The NOTL Horticultural Society brings some Christmas joy to long-term care homes, delivering 224 potted poinsettias to residents.

The province promises to cut the 6.1 per cent winery tax that Niagara vintners and industry leaders have been railing against.

People line the streets of Virgil for the third annual Tractor Parade on Dec. 14.

Signs of the season: the Santa Claus 5K run attracts about 400 participants who dress as Santa and run through town. And with unseasonably warm temperatures, a big crowd turns out for the annual Boxing Day Penguin Dip.

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