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Year in review: Part 12 (10 photos)

Looking back at October 2018

After presenting comprehensive political profiles of every candidate who ran in the 2018 election, Thorold News presented the results as they came in, live from city hall on election day.

New Council

Less than a half hour after Thorold polls closed Monday night, the results were in: Thorold has a new mayor, regional councillor, and will see five new faces in city council chambers.

City councillor Terry Ugulini topped regional councillor Henry D’Angela in their bid to become mayor, by a margin of 3,298 votes to 1,832.

“Nothing happens without family,” said Ugulini, who celebrated with supporters at the Canadian Corps following the election. “I want to recognize my wife Jane, my daughter Jaclyn, and my son Justin, and all my volunteers. Nobody gets in without lots of help.”

“This is just the beginning of the ride,” he continued. “We have a long way ahead, but if we all pull in the same direction, we are going to make this a better city.”

Recalling his departed parents, and father’s interest in politics, “This is an emotional time for me,” said Ugulini. “I’m emotional, and I wish my parents were here. It’s a very humbling experience tonight, and we ran a positive campaign. We are going to stay positive. We are going to talk about the future. That resonates with the voting public. Thank you to everyone. I look forward to working with this new council, and I’m excited to be at the region” as a representative for Thorold, he concluded.

Current Mayor Ted Luciani was upset by city councillor Tim Whalen for the regional councillor’s position, by a 2,997 to 1,963 margin.

“The support was just overwhelming,” said Whalen, surrounded by family and friends at Holy Rosary Hall. “It’s just unbelievable; greatly appreciated. I couldn’t have done it without this crew.”

Incumbents Anthony Longo and Fred Neale topped the polls for city councillor, earning 2,326 and 2,271 votes respectively. Neale tied for the second spot with newcomer Carmen DeRose, followed closely by incumbent Jim Handley at 2,222.

“It feels really good,” said Longo, to garner the most votes for councillor. “I wasn’t expecting it but I’m thrilled to be there, and grateful for their support.”

Neale told the Thorold News he’s looking forward to the infusion of “Lots of new blood. I think we have a good council that’s going to move forward.”

“It’s an honour to represent my fellow Thoroldites,” DeRose stated. “It’s overwhelming. I’m very happy.” His first order of business, he told the News, is to “learn the ropes. I’m curious to see what everything entails, and I’m sure I will learn quickly. I am looking forward to collaborating with everybody, and the mayor. They are a strong group.”

“I’m more than happy to come in third,” said Handley. “It’s good to see that we bring a part of the labour force to council, with people like John (Kenny) and Ken (Sentance). We’ve got a great set of councillors now.”

Following on Handley’s heels were first-time candidates Victoria Wilson, with 2,199 votes, and Ken Sentance, with 2,141. Fellow newcomers John Kenny and Nella Dekker will round out the new council.

“It feels amazing to be voted in,” Sentance stated, “and I am going to work hard for all of Thorold.”

“I look forward to working with Terry and the rest of the new council,” said Kenny. “It looks like a good council; a good cross-representation of the city, and hopefully, we’re going to get some positive things done in the city, including some seniors’ housing. If we don’t do it, I consider the next four years a failure, because that’s my number one goal.”

Pleasantly surprised by her win, Dekker stated, “I’m happy. I think it’s going to be a huge change. I’m not afraid to stand up for what I believe in, and I want to work with all of them.”

Trailing Dekker by a mere 15 votes was Jean D’Amelio Swyer, followed by Norbert Preiner at 1,803. Both candidates had served more than one term on past councils.

For his first campaign, 22-year-old Sebastian Soccio-Marandola garnered 1,278 votes, followed by Len Ferry with 1,018, Jamie Drummond with 950, Dean Taylor with 761, Chris York with 745, and James Symons with 560.

While more people made the trek to the polls this year, the actual percentage of voters decreased, due to an increase in population.

Thorold had 14,471 eligible voters but only 5,219 exercised their right to vote.

The inaugural meeting for the new council will take place Dec. 4, said city clerk Donna Delvecchio, with its first business meeting scheduled for Dec. 18.

Keefer Inn featured in Murdoch Mysteries

Thorold’s most famous building will be featured in an episode of Murdoch Mysteries.

Many Thoroldites were surprised to see oversized lights, camera equipment and vehicles sprawled across the Keefer Inn property Monday, where production crews set up camp for a one-day shoot of the popular Canadian TV series.

A few people were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of actors strolling across the set in period costumes.

Three of the show’s main characters, along with several secondary actors were on site at the historic mansion, including Detective Murdoch himself—Yannick Bisson, Constable George Crabtree—played by the lovable Jonny Harris, and the occasionally cantankerous Inspector John Brackenreid—AKA Charles Vandervaart.

Asked why the Thorold mansion was selected, Shaftesbury, the production company for Murdoch Mysteries, told the Thorold News, “Our Locations Manager, Will Hoddinott said, ‘I’ve known about the Keefer for over a decade. It’s a historic house which is well-known to location managers. It isn’t used as often as it could be, given the distance from Toronto, but for Murdoch Mysteries, it became possible to use as there are a few days of shooting in Niagara. As well, the mansion gave us three different sets – a restaurant, an apartment and a residence. So three distinct different looks.”

According to Shaftesbury, the city of Thorold will not be mentioned in the episode, which will air in spring of 2019.
“The series takes place primarily in Toronto, so it will stand in for Toronto.”

Built in 1886 by Thorold pioneer and entrepreneur George Keefer, the Keefer Inn was formerly Maplehurst Hospital, and has been featured in various newspapers and TV documentaries, sought out by paranormal investigators, based on its allegations for being a “haunted” site.

Dedicating ‘The Parsonage’

Jennifer Schmaltz began “stalking” the distinctive stately house at 51 Welland Street South before she and her husband Jonathan Charron decided to buy it, she confessed.

“I had driven by it many times. It was already in my heart,” she told a small gathering of heritage buffs who watched the couple’s home receive a heritage designation from Heritage Thorold last Sunday.

“I don’t know if a house can choose you but it chose us, or at least, it chose me. We happened to meet (the home’s previous owner) Don Measner and I started stalking his house and I said, ‘If you are ever selling this house, give us a call.’ He called me one Saturday and said, ‘I’m selling. I need to know by Sunday night’.”

Schmaltz said her father was born in Thorold, “and my grandmother was raised on Chapel Street. She remembered Dr. Anderson, so that was exciting,” she added, reflecting on the fact that Dr. Alliston Anderson and his family shared the historic home with his medical practice until 1969.

“To be part of the preserving something for the city, we are excited and grateful.”

Known as “The Parsonage,” the historic home became the 51st site in Thorold to be bestowed with an official heritage designation.

Gracing one of the rare double lots left in the city, the building was constructed in 1875 as a rectory for St. John’s Anglican Church, before being sold to Ontario Paper Company executives in 1919.

Calling the building “one of significant architectural importance and an icon in this neighbourhood,” Heritage Thorold Chair Craig Finlay stated: “Heritage Thorold has continued its mandate of heritage leadership. Our community has managed to avoid the demolition that plagues other communities and the Old Town is pivotal. Many visitors stroll our town and read the plaques.”

Finlay said that Charron’s parents own the nearby heritage Kennedy-Ward House, “So it’s not as if Jonathan didn’t know the joys of owning it. He learned to wield a hammer and saw, and Jen has added her artistic touches. They have learned to live with plaster dust.”

Heritage Thorold secretary Joe Prytula shared highlights of Sarah King Head’s extensive research on the home’s history.

“The Italianate style house was constructed by noted Thorold builder Isaac Usher in 1875. Rev. Thomas Robert was the first to live here. By 1875, canal construction was already underway and like today, living beside the Canal was considered a bonus.”

An article in the Thorold Post noted it cost $2,000 to build and an addition was necessary to “accommodate the large Roberts family.”

From 1923 to 1940, it housed executives, including Charles Buss, whose sons started the Spun Rock wool Company. Its box-like layout and overhanging eaves are consistent with those built by Usher. The home’s Victorian roof brackets, hipped roof, round-headed windows, and other touches make it unique.

Prytula presented the family with the research report and an original St. John’s Church commemorative plaque as a gift from King Head.

MPP Jeff Burtch presented a scroll from the provincial government to the owners and one to Heritage Thorold. Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey presented a scroll from the federal government and asked the owners’ daughter Clara to read it aloud.

Following the unveiling of heritage designation plaques—one on the house itself and a second in the front yard, the owners invited people to tour their home.

A sketch of Measner, who passionately promoted horticultural and environmental issues to Thorold city council, and was awarded the Canada 125 Medal by the Canadian government for his environmental efforts, is perched prominently on the family’s mantle.

Brock University professors Measner and his wife Josephine Meeker called it home for many years. He passed away in May of this year. 

Canal Bank Shuffle Blues Festival - 17th Annual

The sounds of summer are reluctantly drifting over the disappearing horizon behind us unveiling the realization that winter is looming over the opposite horizon ahead. But with the onset of the brilliant fall colours, Thorold also shines as it welcomes the 17th Annual Canal Bank Shuffle Blues Festival.

The signature festival for the city is the second annual such event making Thorold, quite possibly, the only city in North America to host two blues festivals per year.

Drawing visitors from across the Niagara frontier and well beyond, the event has gained stature among fans and artists of the genre since its inception in 2002. The Canal Bank Shuffle is a known name in Memphis, Nashville, Buffalo, Las Vegas, Ottawa, Montreal and Kitchener, the sites of similar offerings.

Artists, promoters and fans in those cities are well aware of the small but impressive spectacle that happens in downtown Thorold Ontario Canada each October. It has also grown in scope so this year there are 34 performances over the four days running from October 11-14.

Appearing will be top blues entertainers from the United States and Canada. Featured acts include Tas Cru, Mississippi Heat, Reverend Raven and the Chain Smokin' Altar Boys, Fuzzy Jeffries & the Kings of Memphis, Vanessa Collier, Billy the Kid & the Regulators, Eden Brent, and the Red Dirt Revelators from the United States. 

And representing Canada will be powerhouse performers including David Gogo, Jack de Keyzer, the Blackburn Brothers and Jerome Godboo who has assembled a superstar band which includes Eric Schenkman from the Spin Doctors, Alan Cross from Big Sugar and Shawn Kellerman from the legendary Lucky Peterson Band. Local acts take to some of the nine stages operating throughout the city and prove they belong among those international stars. Among the talented Niagara based bands are Spencer MacKenzie, LMT Connection, Brant Parker, Max Hillier Band and the Pappy Johns Band.

Also included is a strong field from Buffalo, the home of blues in New York State. Among those performers will be Tommy Z, Miller & The Other Sinners, and  Dave Constantino, formerly with Talus.

Editorial: At the crossroads - again

For a small city, Thorold seems to find itself at a crossroad more often than most.

On July 1, 1975, Thorold officially became a city and expectations were high about its growth and future.

In truth, not much had changed and, in fact, for a long time things here were in decline. Factories disappeared, the downtown withered and population growth stagnated.

In the early 2000s, amalgamation was looming yet again and for a while, city hall had begun to make arrangements to be absorbed into a larger surrounding community - the City of Niagara, perhaps.

The Thorold News of that day debunked the prevailing claim that the Chatham-Kent amalgamation proved that consolidation of communities could be a good thing. The report attained by The News on Chatham-Kent clearly showed that things were not nearly as rosy as presented.

Eventually, the province backed off and suddenly the movement to consolidate Niagara stalled and Thorold went back to business as usual.

Unfortunately, “business as usual” wasn’t good and the decline trend continued with more losses of factories and continued weakening in the  downtown core.

However, in recent years, things have begun to turn around.

Through private enterprise, the downtown area has been rebuilt and the urban boundaries are expanding faster than ever.

The direction of growth and improvement seems clear, so how can this be considered a crossroad?

This time, the crossroad exists in the attitude and actions of Thorold residents.

Long-time Thorold residents have always been proud of the small-town feel and the community spirit here. But their support of local business has always been less than exuberant. While the downtown facade is immensely improved, the retailers residing there still struggle.

And it’s a shame, because their efforts have mirrored or exceeded the physical improvement of Front Street.

And while a huge influx of new residents can easily remove the home-town feel and spread shopping habits even farther abroad, those residents can also come to the crossroad and join multi-generational Thoroldites in their appreciation of all that Thorold has to offer.

It’s up to those who know and expound all the small-town advantages here to share with and educate the new residents. Instead of heralding the dissipation of Thorold into an amalgamated urban centre, new citizens can join lifelong Thorold inhabitants to support and grow all the things held so important.

There is absolutely no doubt that new resident participation in community, shopping in the downtown, support of local charities, schools, sports, and other local organizations will not thrive if the embedded Thorold families do not step up to the plate and lead the charge.

So here we are at another crossroad - we can dissolve into the large urban centre of Niagara or residents can support like hell, and teach others the value of, all those things Thoroldites exhort.

What are you going to do about it, Thorold?

Honouring a Port Robinson hero 
With files from Nancy Waters

One hundred and sixty-four years after Constable Charles Richards died defending a farmer who was robbed by a notorious gang leader, the Port Robinson hero will be honoured in his hometown this Sunday morning.

Born in the East Indies in 1812, Richards travelled and settled in Allanburg. After the Rebellion of 1837-38, the nearby Port Robinson became the central village in the expansion of the Welland Canal and was as significant a town as St. Catharines and Buffalo for commerce and trade. After the Erie Canal expansion was completed, people arrived in droves to seek work on the Welland Canal second cut - including an influx of mostly Scottish Irish immigrant workers, as well as the future wife of Charles Richards. In and between the villages of Port Robinson and Allanburg were busy hotels, blacksmiths, groceries, doctors, lumber yards, carriage makers, carpenters, cloth mills, ship builders, druggists, saddlers, shoemakers, tailors, plaster mills, a pail factory, several denominations of churches, and two regiments stationed to keep the peace.

From 1843 until his death in 1854, Charles Richards held various ale and beer, tavern and inn licenses in Port Robinson. As an inn keeper, Richards was designated as village constable by the local magistrate. At a time when many inn keepers were prosecuted for neglecting their constable duties, Richards performed his duties without hesitation.

He and his wife Jane held a number of properties in Allanburg and Port Robinson, including a small farm in Allanburg where they lived for a time, identifying themselves with the Church of England. In Port Robinson, he also purchased some crown land and held property that was well known for its fruit trees.

On Oct. 2, 1854 around 4 p.m., about four miles southwest of Port Robinson, a farmer named Jacob Gainer was robbed of $25 by three men, one of whom identified himself as William Townsend. Townsend, also known as Robert McHenry, was well known as a minstrel show performer, an excellent mimic of accents and disguises and went from town to town, sometimes as a ship hand travelling the canal and picking up odd jobs. But most of all, he was known as the principal member of the notorious Townsend Gang, or the Cayuga Gang.

After the robbery, Gainer tried to locate the local magistrate but he was not at home. News of the robbery travelled quickly to Port Robinson. Upon learning of the crime and that Townsend was eating at the Jordan Hotel, Constable Richards crossed the street from his own hotel and attended the Jordan Hotel to observe Townsend while he ate. When Townsend went to leave, Richards approached him, placed his hand on his shoulder and affected the arrest, telling him that he was taking him prisoner.  Witnesses recalled that Townsend told Richards three times to remove his hand, but Richards, focused on his duties as Constable, would not relent. Townsend pulled out a revolver and shot Richards in the head before a room full of witnesses and in the chaos, fled the village on foot.

Dr. McPherson attended the mortally wounded Constable and reported that the cause of death was a ball entering the brain about ¾ of an inch above the left ear. Richards, age 42, was buried in St. Paul's Anglican Church Cemetery in Port Robinson in an area where other men of prominence had and would later be buried, leaving behind his wife, Jane.

Townsend was later found, arrested and tried for the murder of Richards in 1858. The sensational trial, packing the courtroom for 11 days, ended with a "not guilty" verdict as the jury was unable to agree on the identity of the accused. Strangely, at a previous trial for the murder of John Nelles, the same accused was acquitted for the same reason. The outrage and feeling of injustice was so great, a memorial was adopted at the next month's session of the Welland County Council at Drummondville, demanding that the identity of the accused be verified, lest another murder occur and go unpunished, but Townsend slipped away, never to be heard of again.

Charles Richards' contribution to the safety and history of Port Robinson went unnoticed until 2012, when he was inscribed on the Ontario Police Memorial. 

On behalf of the Port Robinson Community Church and Pastor Clint Sears, a special service will honour Emergency Services Workers this Sunday, Oct. 14 at 10 a.m. at the Port Robinson Community Center, 40 Cross Street. All are welcome to attend.

Following a presentation by local historian Tom Russell, members of the Niagara Regional Police, NRP Chief Brian MacCulloch, District Fire Chief Carl Pearson, NRP bagpipers and other Emergency Services Workers will form a colour parade and march to St. Paul’s Anglican Church for a wreath ceremony for Constable Charles Richards. 

A free community breakfast will follow at the Port Robinson Community Centre.

Buy pumpkins for Community Care

It’s a sure sign Halloween is coming.

Thorold Lions Club members were out in full force Saturday, selling pumpkins as a fundraiser to support Community Care.

Each year, they host the sale at the corner of Pine Street and Sullivan. They plan to continue for the next two Saturdays—Oct. 20 and Oct. 27—from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Serge Carpino from Canal City Realty decided to help this year by purchasing the pumpkins for the Lions, “so they get 100 per cent of the profit” for Community Care, he stated.

Downtown merchants have the blues

Hundreds of out-of-town and local music-lovers will descend on Thorold this week, and merchants are getting into the act.

Chapel Street Designs owner Rene Inman is hoping to lure the throngs of people who will stroll past her quaint shop inside during the 17th annual Canal Bank Shuffle this Oct. 11 to 14.

Nine downtown venues are hosting musical acts, and listeners will “shuffle” from place to place, so Inman created a striking music-themed window display to catch their eye.

Inman has hung several wooden guitar boards, created by Dave and Jennifer Campbell of UpCycle Canada. The St. Catharines couple took the wood from former booths at the historic Diana Sweets café on St. Paul Street when it closed and breathed new life into it, the unique guitar boards among them. Some still bear the original initials carved into them by long-ago sweetheart diners.

“Everything has a story,” said Campbell. “We take stuff people don’t need and make something different.”

Besides selling the guitars to passing music fans during the four-day festival, Inman will also host her monthly Art on the Front event Thursday, Oct. 11, featuring Birgie Ludlow, who “dabbles in digital art and a bit of everything,” according to the artistic shop owner.

Elimination Draw raises $5,000 for kids
The Niagara Peninsula Foundation for Children is $5,000 richer, thanks to the annual Elimination Draw held at Club Capri Wednesday.

A crowd of 300 participants waited in hopes their number would be the last one pulled to win the $1,000 top prize. In the end, those with the last five numbers drawn decided to split the jackpot, after being given the option to do so by club organizers.

According to Jack Foster, the $5,000 that was donated to the Niagara Peninsula Foundation for Children is earmarked for projects for children in the Niagara region.

Formerly affiliated with the Niagara Children’s Centre, Foster said the new agency’s fundraising arm is made up entirely of volunteers, and hosts golf tournaments and other events year round.

The Skirmish at Beaverdams, Part 2
Canada’s Future Fought on Thorold and District Fields and Farms
Thorold Township and Town, 1786-1932
Published by John H. Thompson

The expedition was entrusted to Col Boerstler of the 14th U.S. infantry or Maryland regiment—a gallant officer, eager for active service, having already suffered many disappointments by seeing other men put in charge of work that had first been promised to him. The force under his command consisted of between 500 and 600 men, including Capt. McDowell’s company of light artillery with two field-pieces (one six-pounder and one twelve-pounder), 20 dragoons under Cornet Burd, Major Chapin’s 38 or 40 militia, and the rest infantry of the 14th, 16th and 23rd regiments.

On the evening of the 23rd (of June, 1813), this detachment began the march from Fort George to Queenston, reaching the heights about midnight, as the roads were in a wretched state owing to the recent heavy rains. Early the next morning they continued their way, taking the mountain road, according to Boerstler’s own account. Philip Metler and his brother were ploughing on their farm in Stamford when Chapin, whose band was in advance of the others, rode up and with an oath, asked where the British soldiers were; getting no satisfactory answer, he galloped on, but the Metlers, fearing some trouble, left their oxen and hid in the bush, and afterwards looked on at the fight.

Little Hannah Feller, seeing the enemy pass, fled to the Hanselers’ barn loft, from which she, too, watched the engagement. The Hanslers were also working in the field when Chapin came up, and they were taken prisoners by the Americans; a little farther on the enemy came upon John Hoover, from whom they took a fine horse. At the Bowman farm, they encountered a body of Indians under Capt. Kerr and young John Brant. The number of warriors is variously stated at from 30 to 450, but Kerr’s own narrative, contained in a letter to Col. FitzGibbon, says that he had 250 men. These Indians were chiefly Mohawks from the Grand River. Young Brant, who was a son of the old chief Joseph, was at this time only a youth of 19.

The Indians opened fire upon Boerstler, and fought in their own fashion, concealing themselves in the woods and attacking his detachment in the flanks and rear. The sound of firing aroused the whole neighbourhood, and all the farmers possessing arms rushed to the scene of combat, including Isaac Kelly, with his brother, who was a militiaman, then at home putting in a crop. Jacob H. Ball heard the guns, and arming himself, rushed to the field, but was too late for the fighting.

The Kellys thought the sounds were from British guns, and getting their muskets from their hiding-place in the woods, they ran to the east corner of their farm, and found the two American field-pieces mired in Shriner’s creek.

The contest lasted for three hours, and the Indians, having adroitly surrounded the enemy, Boerstler concluded that he had met a foe of far superior numbers. Chapin behaved like a consummate coward throughout the engagement, and when Lieut. FitzGibbon came up with his men, Col. Boerstler, thinking large reinforcements had come to the British, felt sure of defeat. FitzGibbon had already sent a dispatch to Major De Haren, then at Twelve Mile Creek, or St. Catharines; and knowing that he dared not expose his small numbers, he was obliged to resort to stratagem.

Tying a white handkerchief to his sword, he advanced and found Col. Boerstler ready for a parley. FitzGibbon stated his rank, said he had with him a detachment of British soldiers, that his commanding officer, De Haren, was nearby with several companies, and that he would have great difficulty in restraining the ferocity of the Indians, and magnifying his numbers, he called on the Americans to surrender. This Col. Boerstler refused to do, especially as he had not yet seen the British force.

To this, FitzGibbon replied that he would request his superior officer to allow any American officer whom Boerstler might name to inspect the British troops. Just about this time, Capt. Hall came up with about 20 dragoons, having ridden from Chippawa, attracted by the cannonading. FitzGibbon persuaded him to act as his superior officer, and to refuse the request.

When Boerstler received this refusal, he asked for time to consider, but FitzGibbon would not allow more than five minutes, and the result was that the Americans surrendered as prisoners of war. It was really a very embarrassing moment for the British, as they had not enough men to take charge of the prisoners.

Just then, Major De Haren came up, and soon all the militia who were in hearing of the guns were upon the scene. The Americans stacked their guns in what is now the orchard of the Shriner farm.

Articles of capitulation were drawn up, the document reading as follows:

Capitulation of Col. Boerstler and 541 American troops. Particulars made between Capt. McDowell, on the part of Lieut. Col. Boerstler of the United States Army and Major De Haren of His Brittanic Majesty’s Canadian regiment, commanding the advance of the British, respecting the force under the command of Lieut.-Col. Boerstler.

Article I. That Lieut.-Col. Boerstler and the force under his command shall surrender prisoners of war.
Article II. That the officers shall retain their arms, horses, and baggage.
Article III. That the non-commissioned officers and soldiers shall lay down their arms at the head of the British column, and shall become prisoners of war.
Article IV. That the militia and volunteers with Lieut.-Col. Boerstler shall be permitted to return to the United States on parole.
Andrew McDowell, Captain of the United States Light Artillery.
Acceded to and signed. C. G. Boerstler, Lieut.-Colonel commanding detachment United States Army.
B. W. De Haren, Major Canadian regiment.

Thus, there passed into the hands of the British, besides the prisoners of war, the two field-pieces, two ammunition cars, and the colours of the 14th regiment of the United States army. Several of the Americans had been killed in the skirmish, and many more were wounded, among the latter being Col. Boerstler himself.

The British had not lost a single man, and not a single shot had been fired by the regular troops. Capt. Norton, an Indian officer, thus epigrammatically described the affair:  “The Mohawks did the fighting, FitzGibbon got the glory, and the Caughnawagas secured the plunder.”

In the account given by Armstrong, a Major-General in the United States army, and Secretary of War, he gives the strength of the British force by enumerating those actually upon the field at the time of surrender, and by mentioning all those who were in the neighbourhood, including Col. Bishop at the Twenty Mile Creek, Major De Haren with his three companies of regulars, some Indians and militia, and Col. Clarke with all the militia that he could gather.

The skirmish is important, not only because of the superior numbers of the enemy, but because Boerstler’s surrender influenced the subsequent course of the war. By it, the Americans, who then occupied most of the Niagara Peninsula, were driven back to Fort George, concentrating all their forces there.

Thorold Artists in creation mode for annual TSS Christmas Craft Show

Sue Sentance and Sharon Keltos named their home business Double Take Design, for two good reasons.

One, they’re identical twins and two, “Most of our stuff has been given a second lifetime,” explained Sentance; “re-claimed, re-used, re-purposed. We grew up on a farm and our dad is always on the lookout for things. The rustic farmhouse look is totally in our element.”

The Thorold sisters share an artsy vision and refined knack for spotting “the treasures everybody has, but they just don’t know it,” stated Keltos. “There’s a story behind everything.”

Whether bending metal rings from wine barrels into unique rustic frames or forming the barrel staves into whimsical wooden candleholders, “We just kind of look at things and say, I think we’ll make that out of it,” said Sentance. Her own children’s growth chart is front and centre in the family’s living room, hand-painted on an attractive rustic plank. “Most of the stuff in our house is meaningful. Instead of just buying things, it’s so nice to use something that has a history.”

Much of their home décor creations come from clothing, said Keltos. The sisters scour thrift stores and sew pillows from scarves, and provide economical, custom home reno options, reupholstering worn sofa and chair cushions to breathe new life into cherished furniture pieces.

“We take their family heirlooms that have a treasured value—such as their grandfather’s chair—and we enhance that old-world charm.” 

“This is the first show we’re going into,” said Sentance, referring to the upcoming 25th Annual Christmas Art & Craft Show at Thorold Secondary School. Held as a fundraiser for TSS, the show runs Saturday, Nov. 17 and Sunday, Nov. 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The sisters make single-, double-and triple-decker tables from industrial wooden spools, outdoor chairs from wooden pallets, and feature multiple wedding and other gift ideas, including oversized wooden clocks and popular custom signs that announce the new couple’s names and wedding date.

“I’ve done a lot of welcome signs in wine ring frames, and signs with Canadian and American flags,” said Sentance. “Some signs can be Christmas on one side and have a summer theme on the other. We hand-paint everything, so they are all unique. If you buy a stencil, you are limited. We don’t like to be stifled.”

Also making her debut at this year’s Thorold Craft Show is Lindsay Rose, whose compound butter business happened “by a quirk of fate.”

“After a life-changing experience a few years ago, I found therapy through cooking,” stated Rose. 

“Cooking became my passion. At first, I was just cooking for myself but quickly discovered this delicious food could be shared with family and friends. This sharing caught on quickly and I started providing meals and catering special events for them. I was in the kitchen daily and discovered a way to create restaurant quality meals, quickly and simply,” by adding a pat of compound butter to “boost the flavour of your dish with ease.”

Compound butter, also known as a “finishing butter,” is butter infused with supplementary savoury or sweet ingredients. Rose focuses primarily on four flavours, which include Béarnaise butter, made from unsalted butter, tarragon, shallots, lemon juice and sea salt; Herb Thyme, Roasted Garlic, and Blue Cheese Chive. 
“I made several flavours of compound butter and stored them in my freezer to have them readily on hand. When it was time to create a dish, I simply sliced off a pat of one of the butters with a hot knife, let it come to room temperature and added it to my dish. My family and friends started referring to my butters as ‘Lindsay’s secret sauce.’ Made me so proud.”

Encouraged to bring her butters to Niagara in 2015, Rose began selling her culinary creations at The Market @ the Village in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and recently started stocking her four most popular flavours in local stores.

Sourcing her products and ingredients locally wherever possible, Rose’s butter logs come wrapped and frozen, and “are embraced not only for their delicious taste and ease of use but for their unique rustic packaging,” she added.

In 2017 Rose was a finalist for the Outstanding New Business Award at the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce – Niagara Business Achievement Awards, and won second prize with The Pen’s Mind Your Own Business contest while operating a two-week kiosk at The Pen Centre.

"I've heard so many great things about the Thorold's Christmas Art & Craft Show, so I wanted to participate,” she told the Thorold News. “I am thrilled to have this opportunity to share my passion for my compound butters."

Thorold Secondary School is located at the corner of St. David’s Road and Ormond Street North. Admission to the Craft Show costs $3, with proceeds earmarked for TSS.

Windows on Beaverdams reflects harvest of memories

The spirit of Alun Hughes, Fraser and Esther Summers, and other beloved Thorold citizens was captured in the reflection of new windows at Beaverdams Church last Saturday.

“Looking through these multi-paned windows, it’s amazing,” Melanie Battell, vice president of the Friends of Beaverdams, told the crowd who packed the pews at Beaverdams Church.

Noting that visitors travelled from as far as Ottawa and Orillia to formally celebrate the replacement of 26 windows on the historic church, “It really is a major accomplishment,” she said. “We put out the call in May, 2017 … and people responded by getting friends and families together to make it happen. We’ve had tremendous support for this project and also from the Ontario Paper Company Foundation, who continue to support us.”

Some windows were paid for by companies like Ontario Power Generation—which covered the cost of five windows—while others were donated in honour of loved ones, past and present.
The 12 ground-floor and 14 second-floor new windows replicate the sash-style windows from when the church was built in 1832, custom-made by a Mennonite company that specializes in heritage replica doors and windows.

“Many were just boarded over and now they let light in, so at some point we can open the ceiling up and continue the restoration,” said Battell.

Saturday’s event was called Harvest of Memories, she added, “because the donors had a connection to this building; they went to Sunday school here or knew people who were married here. Some did not grow up here but recognize the deep roots of this heritage gem and are sitting on these wonderful old pews.”

Rev George Addison, introduced as “an esteemed historian and minister at Trinity United Church,” explained the significance of Beaverdams Church and how the site’s roots were steeped in Methodism.

“We are standing and worshipping on the ancestral homeland of the First Nations people who lived here for hundreds of years,” he said. “When the War of 1812 came, it was embarrassing for Methodists because the Queen said they were traitors because they were American. Most of them were extremely loyal and served in the British forces in the War of 1812.”

The year “1832 saw extraordinary growth for Methodism in Upper Canada,” he stated, adding that it wasn’t until 1830 that Methodist ministers were allowed to perform marriage ceremonies. 

In Beaverdams, the congregation met in the home of Israel Swayze, and at one time, crowds of 5,000 to 6,000 assembled at the Beaverdams campground of Hiram Swayze. “The church was growing by leaps and bounds,” noted Addison. “Methodists led nine temperance societies, “as they considered booze to be a major social problem,” and “had a deep commitment to education and public service.” 

“Rev. Egerton Ryerson preached the first sermon in this church when he was a supervisor, according to former Thorold historian Esther Summers. Egerton was a star of Methodism. He started preaching at 23 and was only 28 when he was a supervisor here. He later became a director of education for the colony.” 

Addison said the church trustees asked for tenders to build it in 1831. 

“They couldn’t afford bricks, so they used wood, and all Methodists in the circuit would have helped in raising this edifice. Beaverdams was at that time larger and more significant than the churches of Thorold.”

Sydney Cornett sang a period piece, followed by Quinn Flavel on piano, before the talented teens teamed up to perform a duet.
“We want to bring the arts back into this building more and more,” said Battell, “so what a wonderful start.”
Gina Armstrong, director of the Thorold Seniors’ Young at Heart Choir, led the guests in a singalong, accompanied by Friends president David Cowan on piano.

“This is an excellent resonant sound for music,” he said, “so we are hoping to have a musical hub for the community” once the church’s restoration is complete.

After being officially unveiled by lifelong Beaverdams resident Helene Miller, a permanent plaque, created in sections to resemble the multi-paned windows, was placed in the vestibule bearing the names of all the donors and honourees.

Following the commemoration ceremony, the Friends held a fundraising Pie Social.

Individual memorial window plaques will be installed once the upstairs construction is complete.

For more information, visit

New Minister of Seniors stops in Thorold

Newly appointed as Canada’s first-ever Minister of Seniors, Filomena Tassi took the time to tour Cobblestone Gardens Retirement Residence Thursday, and hear firsthand what Thorold seniors had to say.

Tassi, MP for Hamilton West, was escorted by Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey, who stated that the new Minister “is blazing a trail. The Prime Minister felt very strongly that it was important to have someone who is very caring, and Filomena is a lawyer, a teacher, a mom and a counsellor. She has a big heart. She really cares.”

“It’s important to tackle ageism,” said Tassi. “The Prime Minister told me it’s critical to build on the work this government has done. I’m going to get to as many communities across the country as I can,” to determine “what our priorities are with seniors.”

Tassi commended Jean D’Amelio Swyer, chair of Thorold’s Age-Friendly Committee, and groups like CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons), who, along with Cobblestone residents, raised issues about the rising cost of living, drug care, and dementia.

“As I travel across the county, I am energized and inspired by the work and commitment of people.”

Thorold Seniors Association president Lora Vary said she and other seniors need immediate financial assistance.

“Our prices are going up like crazy, but our income is not. We can’t afford these prices. A couple years ago, CPP went up $20 a month but my rent went up $25, so I’m behind. What can we do to help now?”

According to Tassi, the government has funded income security, affordable housing, and other programs, which have “helped 100,000 seniors from going into poverty. Most of our investments have been done for the most vulnerable seniors. Sometimes,” she added, “seniors aren’t aware” of available programs. “So we instituted an automatic enrolment of GIS.”

Badawey has hosted eight information sessions at various seniors’ residences. He said some seniors make rash decisions and cash in RSPs without realizing they’re entitled to benefits.

“We are getting into the homes and letting people know what seniors are entitled to. Call us when you make financial decisions with respect to changing benefits or cashing RSPs. We have access to financial advisors who do that for free, or we can help you, free of charge.”

Doug Rapelje commented on the fact that many seniors are “trying to care for loved ones with dementia. Last year, we had 1,900 new applications at the Alzheimer’s Society, so I hope that remains a priority with the government.”

“Our government has put $5 billion to mental health to support them,” Tassi assured him. “I was a high school chaplain for years to help young people. Connecting youth with seniors benefits both. We have to work collaboratively to ensure those support systems are provided.”

After Mayor Ted Luciani told her, “One of our Council’s priorities is a long-term care facility. My fellow councillors have all made that a priority,” a senior resident asked, “How long before Thorold gets long-term care?”

“The key for this portfolio,” answered Tassi, “is the collaborative piece. We as a government have to work together, so my file intersects with other ministries” such as social services and affordable housing. “So I will be communicating with those partners. We will continue to ensure that anything I hear is made known and passed on with the partners. My role is to collaborate with governments and empower local and provincial governments, so they can meet the needs of people they care for. That’s what we believe in but we can also speak up when things are not happening to the satisfaction of our constituents.”

On behalf of Cobblestone residents, Nola Johnson presented Tassi with a hoodie, embroidered with the name of their retirement home, which the Minister promptly put on.

“I’m going to wear this proudly,” she said. “I have been raised in a family where values are very important. I will hold those values till the day I die, and I will always be humbled to hold them. I am going to try to do my best to be non-partisan, and we need to work together. That spirit exists across the county, so continue to be a voice for seniors,” she urged. “The voice has to be loud and strong; respectfully strong. The stronger that voice is, the more we will be able to help you. Let’s work to get to a place where the years ahead are truly golden years.”

2nd Annual Canine Costume Contest & Puppy Parade

Dressed in convict and cop costumes, as hot dogs and tacos, dogs of all sizes braved the cold, wet weather to trick or treat in downtown Thorold last Saturday.

Led by their owners—many in matching costumes—a pooch posse of lumberjacks, walruses, sharks, butterflies, bumblebees and others came from Thorold, St. Catharines, Welland and Niagara Falls to participate in Thorold’s 2nd annual Canine Costume Contest and Puppy Parade.

Like last year’s inaugural event, the weather was less than ideal, which reduced the number of participants, said organizer Diana D’Intino, co-owner of A Yellow Flower Basket on Front Street.

About 35 people had pre-registered online, while others signed up Saturday morning.

“Some didn’t come because of the weather.”

While it started out drizzling, the sun eventually came out, and the puppy parade wound its way to the Thorold Library for treats—for dogs and children—before filing past judges at Cobblestone Gardens Retirement Residence next door.

Jeannie Redekop, who works at Cobblestone, said that most of the senior residents who weren’t outside judging watched out the windows as the parade filed past.

“They would be outside if it was warmer,” she said.

The entourage headed downtown, for more treats at Chapel Street Designs and Biscotti Café, down to A Yellow Flower Basket, then up the other side of the street, where they were offered treats at Henderson’s Pharmacy and Lynn’s Pet Grooming Salon. The posse paraded west towards Trinity United Church, for final judging by Rob Goslin and Brian Cranford of the Thorold Community Theatre, and ended at PetValu at the Pine Plaza, where free pet food samples were given and the winners were announced.

“Thanks to everyone who participated,” said D’Intino, “and if you didn’t come for a walk downtown today, come another day, because there are lots of wonderful things happening.” She then shared her “biggest secret:  I do not own a dog. I never have, but anyway, this is fun.”

The intent of the parade is to showcase downtown Thorold to those who aren’t familiar with the shops and restaurants.

D’Intino thanked PetValu, Thorold Veterinary Hospital and Bocchinfuso Funeral Home for being event sponsors, as well as all the judges, including Judy Wright of Bocchinfuso Funeral Home, Bev Crews of Cobblestone Gardens, and Thorold Community Theatre.

Winners of the Cobblestone Cutie Award were: Mia and owner Agnes Todorov. Runner-up: 
Apollo & Rosanna Strojin.

Top Dog Award: Moxie and owner Jeannie Redekop. 
Runner up: Tom Hanks & Apollo, Brittney Condotta & Rosanna Strojin.
Best Friends Award: Oliver and owner Audrey Turcotte. Runner up: Jax and Taya Perkins.

The first-ever BOO! Award for Scariest Costume, was converted to the scariest “by way of calories,” since there were no scary costumes this year, with Peanut and owner Elizabeth Wickson taking the trophy. Runner up: Beagle & Sheri Burtch.

French-friendly campaign stimulates Niagara economy

While promoting Niagara as a tourist destination from the Welland Mills office in Thorold, Sue Morin constantly asks herself, “How do we French it up?”

Niagara’s French population is growing, said the bilingual Business Development Manager at Venture Niagara, and making Niagara more French-friendly makes sense, economically. Morin spearheaded the Bonjour Niagara campaign, launched at Four Points Sheraton Hotel in Thorold last Thursday.

Assisted by Niagara’s Francophone community to complete the project, she unveiled a comprehensive bilingual website and community profile of services available in French across Niagara.

Those attending the launch offer services in French, or aspire to do so, in all Niagara community sectors, including health, economic development, immigration, tourism, seniors, and culture.

According to Morin, “Venture Niagara’s mandate is to stimulate the local economy, in two official languages. We have worked hard for a long time. We’re now ready to be that force for action. We’re proud to be engaged in what’s happening in Niagara and we want to provide (promotional) tools,” which include a website, a bilingual booklet entitled, “Portrait of Niagara’s Francophone Community,” bilingual post cards and promotional banners to bring to trade shows.

“Niagara’s Francophone community has a lot going on,” Morin continued. “Autism Niagara and FACS (Family and Children’s Services) want to elevate their French services. Trust me, if your parents have Alzheimer’s (Disease) and all they can remember is French, they are desperate and their children are desperate.”

“For French people coming through the Fort Erie border going into an Anglophone school system, their children are lost. Other French people are also lost because they’re not getting that language service.”

“The Canada Summer Games organizers asked us to form a team to write their official language plan. This campaign is all about giving ourselves tools to tell the Anglophone community what we’re all about.”

A short video was shown, entitled, Vivre a Niagara (Living in Niagara) which espoused the message, “Life in Niagara is beautiful.”

A second longer video is available for Niagara professionals and Francophone organizations attending trade shows outside of Niagara, as a way to promote its positive culture, natural landscape, vineyards, restaurants, beaches, sense of community, and fact that we’re close to the GTA, among other assets.

A third video highlighted a local FACS agency’s efforts to hire French-speaking staff for their counselling, child care, child protection and support services.

“I’m so happy to find what we deem English employers who want to offer services in French,” said Morin, a Montreal native who’s worked in Niagara’s tourism and economic sector for 22 years.

“Bonjour Niagara is a symbol promoting Niagara as a French-friendly place. Since 2007, we’ve had a French website promoting Niagara in the tourism world, to bring the community together by gathering resources for promotional tools, such as the website, the post cards, the video, banners, and social media campaign. We created it to be a resource for our Francophone community but we want everybody else in Niagara to know what we’re doing, and it’s also for French-speaking people outside of Niagara interested in moving here or visiting.”

Venture Niagara managed the project on behalf of La Table Interagence de Niagara, a roundtable group of more than 35 Francophone community service providers, which received funding from the Ontario office of Francophone Affairs and various community partners.

“The purpose of the campaign is to tell everyone in Niagara the services available in French; connect English and French service providers. We also want to grow our services and partner on French service deliveries with other providers, and raise Niagara’s profile.”

Julie Johanis displayed the website she created,, which provides detailed information on Niagara’s French community, in terms of education, employers, day care, government and health services, social and cultural services, Metis information, maps, and help for newcomers.

“If you’re looking for a translator, tutor, or other resources, or if you want to be added to our list, let us know and we will add you,” said Johanis.

With more than 15,000 Francophones in Niagara, and 53,185 Niagara residents who have French origins, Morin described how the French community is growing.

“We’ve had a Franco Ontario flag for 40 years and we have a permanent one now outside Welland city hall. We see ourselves as coming to the Niagara area because of its Francophone community. At a recent cycling show in Toronto, I met a couple from Quebec looking to retire in Ontario. Lots of people are looking to come and live in a French-speaking community.”

Destination Canada has an office in Paris and helps people interested in moving to Canada, she added. “We will continue to identify French businesses in Niagara and link the website to all 12 municipalities’ websites, as well as to

To make your business more bilingual, “Ask a Francophone to be on your board of directors, or invite French volunteers,” Morin suggested. “It’s an easy, low-cost way of socially integrating. Niagara’s economic development can use this to promote Niagara as a destination because of that French asset. I don’t think it’s been done before.”

Morin concluded, “We need to promote our culture and champion a force for action. We want to work with you. I am very proud of this Francophone community.”

Firefighters in safe-cooking demonstration

A cooking session was our kick off to Fire Prevention Week (this week). The year's theme is "Look, Listen, Learn, Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere". Every year we (TFES) analyze the emergency calls we respond to in order to give us a better understanding of where to focus our efforts with respect to "Education" and "Prevention Initiatives". Cooking fires is still at the higher end of the scale and pose a significant threat of injury and or death to our residents if they are not careful. 

The Thorold Fire Department partnered with Angela Greer from the Real Canadian Superstore Cooking School in St. Catharines and put on a luncheon for our seniors at the Thorold Seniors Centre. With over 50 people in attendance, we demonstrated how to safely cook a meal in their own kitchen and spoke about the many hazards that are present in the kitchen. Simple little reminders of having the proper fitting lid to a pot or pan, keeping the stove top and immediate area clear of combustibles that can burn, cooking on low heat, never leaving the kitchen, using tools to remind you that you are cooking and that something may still be on the stove or in the oven. Once the meal was prepared, our Firefighters assisted in serving them lunch.

IPF Support Group helps patients breathe easier

Have you ever had food lodge in your airway and struggled desperately to clear it? This is how Dan Meloche described his fight to clear fluids from his lungs so that he could breathe, while he waited for a double lung transplant. Often, it recurred every 10 minutes.

Imagine being told that you have three to four years to live, as Jack Rapattoni was, nine years ago.

Both these experiences are common to Ideopathic Pulmonary Disease (IPF) patients (Ideopathic means the cause is unknown). The only cure is a lung transplant. Having received a double lung transplant in the spring, Meloche considers himself lucky to be able to breathe freely and play golf. He has a new life.

While many IPF patients undergo a rapid decline, Rapattoni said, "I have been very fortunate because mine is gradual onset to this point, which means that it's been progressing very slowly. With my meds and oxygen, I'm able to continue being active." He regularly measures his oxygen levels when doing activities such as yard work, or going up and down stairs. 

Like Meloche previously, when Rapattoni carries his oxygen, many people ask if he has COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). His response is that they are very different diseases. "While COPD swells and narrows the inside of the alveoli (lung passages), IPF triggers the body's immune system to attack what it thinks is an invasion of foreign substances and scars the lungs."

For many years it was called "Farmers' disease," because they use pesticides while, in industry, people breathe in small particulates of chemicals and the body attacks them," Rapattoni explained. "We have very small passages in our lungs through which the air moves, and these alveoli transfer oxygen to the blood. The more the scar tissue builds, the soft tissues harden and stop transferring oxygen."

Thus, IPF differs from COPD. Many symptoms are similar but imaging reveals the difference. Rapattoni said, "Doctors recognize IPF initially from a sound in the lungs similar to Velcro ripping apart." 

Roughly estimated, 2,000 people in Niagara may not know they have it, since the symptoms mimic other ailments. Like Meloche, Rapattoni said he "went for help because of a persistent cough and fatigue. It's so elusive that people might very well postpone seeing a doctor. The only way people truly confirm it is by visiting a respirologist. Long considered a rare disease, latest research has revealed it to be more common than was thought. It is important to catch it early because, if it is really advanced, the survival chances are lower. The lungs get progressively less oxygen, the person goes on oxygen supplementation, and the struggle progresses."

Since lung transplantation is the only cure, Meloche is a strong proponent of the benefits of this surgery where it is possible. He is one of the lucky ones. The only other hope at present, worldwide, resides in two medications: Ofev and Esbriet. These recently approved drugs have one goal: to slow down or halt the progress from the time of diagnosis. Rapattoni stated, "It gives hope because people can function even though there is no cure, and the pill extends their lifetime."

Rapattoni credits Dr. John Bertley of Thorold, and Dr. Martin Kolb of the Firestone Clinic at Hamilton's St. Joseph's Hospital for his continued activity. Dr Kolb, an internationally renowned IPF researcher, along with his colleagues, was instrumental in introducing the two treatment drugs in Ontario.

Eight months ago, IPF patients Terry Hardy and Meloche formed the IPF Support Group of  Niagara, which hosts free meetings the third Thursday of each month at 11 a.m., at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Centre, 14 Anderson St.. Spouses and caregivers are also welcome.

Rapattoni attends regularly, along with his wife, Lillian. "The group's purpose is to provide as much information as possible to help people cope with their lives as IPF patients, day to day,” he explained. “We exchange tips on how to travel with oxygen, for example, and we have guest speakers from the medical field. Recently an occupational psychologist presented on how to find purpose in each day. Our mission is to discuss how we can still maximize the quality of our lives.”

“People who were previously depressed are finding practical help. Some experience panic and anxiety when they can't breathe. Since the group started, there has been a significant change in the outlook of each person sitting around the table. The group has grown. Members have become more positive. We emphasize that the IPF patient today has more reason to be positive about life than five years ago. Many group members now have the confidence to go out and do things. The social part is therapeutic as well. Trading ideas for ways to cope with IPF gives hope, instead of sitting at home alone. We communicate with the Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation and they give us some financial assistance."

Exercise is critically important and Chairperson Hardy has successfully negotiated with the St. Catharines General Hospital to establish a rehab program specifically suited to IPF, at that site. However, more funds are needed to continue that program.

To that end, on Friday, Oct. 26, the Niagara Jazz Festival organizers are hosting a Big Band fundraiser, with 50 per cent of the proceeds earmarked for the Niagara Health Foundation, specifically for the IPF rehab program at the hospital, thanks to Hardy's efforts.

Canada's "Sweetheart of Swing" Alex Pangman, who also underwent a double lung transplant, will perform with the Jimmy Stahl Big Band and guest vocalists Peter Shea and Juliet Dunn. The location is the Niagara -on- the -lake Community Centre, featuring live and silent auctions, savoury and sweet tapas, a cash bar, and free dance lessons with Niagara Lindy Hop.

For tickets, visit or call1-844-LIV-Jazz (548-5299).
For more information about the support group, email  or
Alternatively, call Diane Michaud, Respiratory Educator with the Niagara Health System at 905-378-4647, ext46502.

Dance-Off to combat poverty

Picture big, burly dudes—who are definitely not ballet dancers—doing ballet. Others, tenderly touching each other’s faces during their contemporary dance number, while trying not to break out laughing.

Three local, fun and brave Niagara business teams have taken on the challenge of participating in a Dance-Off for Community Care St. Catharines &Thorold at The Third Annual Paper Bag Ball.

Stacey Pollard, a realtor with Coldwell Banker, gathered a group of friends to form the Stacey and the Corkscrews hip hop dance team, which will be Poppin’ fo Puddin.’

“I coerced them to humiliate ourselves for a good cause,” she told the Thorold News.

They’ll compete against the Ballet Etc. Dance Dads team, who will perform a contemporary dance number, and the Henley Hondas Subaru team, also made up entirely of men, is poised to present their unorthodox ballet moves.

Each “crew” of dancers, made up of 5-12 team members, has been rehearsing in preparation for the Paper Bag Ball on Saturday, Nov. 3 at Club Italia, 2525 Montrose Rd. in Niagara Falls. The three teams will perform in front of a panel of local “celebrity judges.” Prizes will be awarded to the team that raises the most money, as well as the crew who dazzles judges with talent.

“We have done this for two years,” said Jane Elliott, owner of Ballet Etc. “It kind of exploded.”

Partnering with designer/artist Elizabeth Loomis Taliano, Elliott said the event has raised $73,000 for Community Care to date.

“There’s nothing funnier than watching people dance who can’t dance,” Elliott added. “You buy a ticket or a table for the band and dessert is served.”

The event generates considerable support from sponsors, including this year’s sponsorship of the band, the Associates, who will perform.

“Each dancer is committed to raising $500,” explained Elliott. “One dad has raised $8,500.”

Each dancer needs help to meet their Community Care donation challenge. 


Cathy Pelletier

About the Author: Cathy Pelletier

Cathy Pelletier is an award-winning newspaper journalist/editor who writes for
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