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Niagara Falls
Monday, April 15, 2024
Piping down the sun in Chautauqua

The skirl of the pipes as the sun sets over Lake Ontario on Saturday, June 22, will again be a highlight as Chautauqua bids farewell to spring and welcomes summer.

NOTL resident David Janaszek will catch the spirit and don his full Scottish regalia to march along the bluff in Ryerson Park and will pipe solo as the sun disappears over the horizon at 8:56 p.m.

One of the many special and unique treats in the Chautauqua neighbourhood is to join a large gallimaufry of tartan- and plaid-clad fun lovers for a night of rolling r’s in our neighbourhood park on the lake.

Last year, a memorial celebration was held to honour a neighbour who was truly the heartbeat of our ‘hood. Ramsay Morrison was a longtime resident, who always had time for a chat, or a discussion about important matters. He had a friendly wave, a warm smile and a good feeling for everyone passing by.  

One lovely Saturday afternoon, I noticed that of about 20 cars that had driven past his driveway, over half stopped for a few minutes with Ramsay. He replied, “I enjoy chatting with everyone. And, someday I might be in a ditch.”

A retired master carpenter, he always enjoyed creative fix-it jobs for neighbours and created many beautiful grandfather clocks. He and his wife Sharon were involved in our precious Chautauqua, and in several clubs in Niagara. 

Our Piping Down The Sun event was so well-attended and loving last June, with Scottish dancing, the Evergreen Singers and the City of Thorold Pipe Band parading down Vincent Avenue to play in Ryerson Park at about 7:30 p.m.

The St. Andrew’s Society of Niagara-on-the-Lake will be out in force and president Alan Dickson will present a wee history of the society and talk about the future. Join them wearing kilts, tartan skirts and other Scottish clothing.

And returning this year will be the Royal Scottish Country Dancing Society of St. Catharines. They will entertain with their lively, colourful and traditional dancing talents. 

We may have a mini Highland Games. The very macho caber toss, but using pool noodles? How about a hammer throw? Perhaps Kartwheels in Kilts?

Last year, a potential parking problem was cleverly avoided when many people spoke with friends who live in the Chautauqua neighbourhood. Many driveways easily accommodated two, three or four cars for the early-evening event.

Who should attend? In a word, everyone. Whether you can trace your family history back to United Empire Loyalists, or whether you have recently moved to NOTL from Trawna, or if you  recently arrived in Canada from another country, be with us.

Last year, many people were enjoying a picnic in Ryerson Park when the action began. A really Canadian moment occurred when about 30 people from Syria, via Toronto, joined us and had a truly emotional and spontaneous experience.

So, on Saturday, June 22, at 7:15 in the evening, make your way to Ryerson Park in Chautauqua. Bring a sandwich or snack – and some bug spray.  And a donation of two bucks per person to cover costs.

Get r-r-r-ready to be a Scot for an evening, as we enjoy piping down the sun in Ryerson Park.

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