In the wake of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Canada Day celebrations, it is worth taking a few minutes to reflect on some of events and news of note in our fair town over the past few weeks.
Over the years, the Canada Day Cake Parade has turned into major July 1 spectacle and must-see. The hours of painstaking work and design by chef Catherine O’Donnell and her team from Willow Cakes & Pastries make the cake a real highlight.
Along with the Rotary Club barbecue, Legion festivities, various fireworks, Fort George presentations and more – plus enormous crowds of residents and visitors – NOTL produces a national birthday party that’s second to none.
So, to everyone who helped to make the day a success yet again, mission accomplished.
Speaking of missions, St. Davids amateur boxer Mckenzie Wright is heading to Colombia soon to fight for the opportunity to represent her country at the Pan Am Games. And maybe the Paris 2024 Olympics.
Congrats to the petite pugilist, whose dominating performances to date have shown her to be one of the best boxers … anywhere. And the full-time nursing student has done it on a shoestring budget, fitting in her training around an already busy schedule. She deserves our community’s support.
Hands up whoever enjoys having to wait to cross one of the Welland Canal bridges? While Great Lakes freighters are a marvel to watch, sometimes you just need to be somewhere.
Another young NOTLer has created a handy smartphone app to help you know the status of the bridges.
Congrats to Steven Shelestowsky, an 18-year-old University of Guelph student, specializing in, of course, computer science. Well done.
As two stories on our front page this week attest (cherry crops reduced and a cautionary tale about oak wilt), agriculture is an important industry in Niagara. No surprise there.
So, it was welcome news last week when we told you that federal and provincial governments were giving $5 million to compensate farmers for devastating winter kill that hit the region in 2022. They’re also offering beekeepers the same amount.
Of course, it’s mid-2023 and one might ask why it’s taken a year – and why it requires a photo opp with a handful of area politicians – to get it done, but the wheels of government do grind slowly.
It was nice, also, to (literally) see inside the historic Fort Mississauga and learn about the restoration efforts that Parks Canada has put in to this landmark. With the nearby “stone road” along Lake Ontario’s shoreline already a popular trail for walkers (and expected to be expanded soon), it is interesting to note that Parks Canada hopes to someday make the old fort more accessible to the public.
Last week we told you about the annual Ride for Justice making a stop at the Niagara Regional Native Centre and how learning about the legacy of Canada’s residential schools has been an eyeopener even for participants of this fundraiser. Just as it should be for the rest of us.
The concept dates to the time of John A. Macdonald but the last residential school closed in 1996, in Saskatchewan. The legacy of this historical wrong should weigh heavily on us all.
We also reported on some serious criticisms by a former supporter levied at James Russell, a man who has been advocating for proper restoration of the Niagara Baptist Church Burial Ground. While we and others have taken issue with his methods and headstrong approach, we support finding a way to make sure this important historic site is given its due, in much the same way Voices of Freedom park has.
Meanwhile, the Friends of the Forgotten, a group working closely with the town on the restoration project, needs to raise about $50,000 for further archeological assessments. Community contributions to the group’s work are encouraged.