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Sep. 20, 2021 | Monday
Editorials and Opinions
Ross' Ramblings: Let’s all stop and smell the flowers around our town
NOTL's Chris Allen massages so many effulgent paintings in Old Town. (Supplied)

Ross Robinson

Special to The Lake Report

Stop! Shut down for an hour or so. This week every NOTLer needs to enjoy a ramble around our town.

Take a break from being beaten down by the nightly news, as our world is limned by the news anchors. Haiti, Afghanistan, fires destroying forests on the west coasts of Canada and the U.S. Clean water challenges in Ethiopia and for many Canadian Indigenous people.

COVID-19 statistics and prognostications. To mask and jab or not to mask and jab.

As I paused the other day and sat on the bench in front of Niagara Home Bakery, I slowly savoured a day-old cinnamon bun, and enjoyed watching scores of tourists ambling by. Some pushing strollers, others pushing wheelchairs. Families and couples and singles from around the world. Many taking photos of our town flowers, in full bloom.

So many languages, so many styles of dressing, an endless parade of smiling people. Polite, respectful, inquisitive. Indeed, our Niagara-on-the-Lake shows well on a summery day.

Each and every person feeling safe and secure, amazed at our flowers pots and baskets. Some strollers Covid-ly masked, some not.

And a delightful number of young women enjoying their bachelorette getaways in Niagara. Walking. Zoom bicycling, Pedal Pubbing, jetboating, tasting some wines, quaffing a very cold Oast House Barnraiser … what’s not to love?

Live music is coming back. Fun!

Relax, take a leisurely drive, or a long walk or bike ride. We are so fortunate.

I am sad that we are becoming known by some as an unfriendly place to visit. Too many negative signs, so many bylaw enforcement vehicles patrolling our streets and parks, often with their roof lights flashing.

Just doesn’t seem welcoming. We spend big money to encourage tourism visits and then we whack 'em with parking fines of up to $150. Yes, $150! I got nailed while stopped for five minutes in front of my old Chautauqua cottage. Sheesh. Ah well, I need a wee donnybrook. Life has been too peaceful of late.

Delight in Chris Allen’s wonderful, effulgent horticultural displays in front of the Shaw Café and the Irish Harp, and so many other downtown businesses. And over to Virgil’s hanging flower baskets, the Pollinator Garden in St. Davids, and the lovely residential gardens of Queenston. Endless visual and olfactory delights, eh?

And with some frequency, an open-piped motorcycle or souped-up car dramatically breaks the silence. Hey, lighten up. To each his/her own, eh? Va-room. Flex yer mechanical muscles. Whatever floats yer boat.

And our paper keeping us apprised of NOTL issues. Granted, this is cherry picking, but we are kept abreast of such issues as "traditional marriage" lawn signs, the Pedal Pub lease, the Queen Street/Mississagua intersection kerfuffle, and parking and family picnic enforcement at Ryerson Park.

Not to mention the continuing vitriol regarding the future of horse drawn carriages in the Old Town. The horses seem healthy and happy, but who asks them?

Not to stir the pot, but let’s enact a bylaw to regulate portable toilets. Construction sites require relief opportunities, but let’s learn from the Country Club of North Carolina in Pinehurst, where temporary toilets must be camouflaged by cedar trees or a trellis.

It’s time for me to give my rambling head a shake.

Time for a Black Cherry or Maple Walnut ice cream cone out at Walker’s Market, or the venerable Stage Coach downtown. By the way, who orders an ice cream cup? Someday I must go upscale and try my first gelato.

In the meantime, please take a break from the real world. Enjoy a leisurely look around our town.

Do some tourism marketing, by Covid-ly smiling at some visitors or locals. A cheery hello or nod will be appreciated and remembered.

Let’s resolve to return to being a friendly place to visit and live.

Be kinder to people.