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Year in Review: Part 5

Looking back at February 2018
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City refutes landlords’ claims

A recent article in ThoroldNews outlined local landlords’ claims that the City’s new rental licensing by-law will be cost-prohibitive, forcing them to raise rents.

This week, we feature the City’s response to those allegations.

Under the new by-law, a rental license is valid for two years. The landlords allege the bylaw comes with a $5,418 price tag per property in total fees. When divided by 24 months, they claim it will cost $225.75 per property to implement each month.

The city maintains that the new application license fee costs $500 for two years, which totals $20.83 per month.

Subsequent renewals will cost the owner less money—after two years, a renewal application would cost $400 for an additional two years, reducing the cost further to $16.67 per month. 

“This program and its fees were approved by Council,” Thorold city officials said of the by-law, which took months to finalize.

“The fees are similar to other Ontario Municipalities with rental programs. It is not anticipated that this will negatively impact the owner or tenant.”

When submitting an application, other forms are required, including a completed self-certification checklist, a site sketch—showing the building, garbage and parking locations, a property management plan—to ensure garbage, recycling, grass-cutting and snow removal are addressed, and a fire safety plan—to ensure adequate fire evacuation routes and fire suppression equipment are in place.  

While landlords alleged that the required plans must be prepared by a professional—making them costly, the city said that in examples provided on the city’s website, “It is evident that parking plan and floor plans can be prepared by hand and do not need to be professionally done. Similarly, the maintenance and fire plans can be done by the owner without incurring any costs.”

When it comes to renewals, unless changes have been made—such as alterations to the interior floor plan—no new plans are required. In addition, unless new electrical work has occurred, an ESA (Electrical Safety Authority) certificate or letter from a licensed electrical contractor is not required for renewals.

In terms of logistics, landlords expressed concern that the ESA will not be able to accommodate the anticipated high volume of inspections required.

City officials said the electrical inspection can be performed by either a licensed electrical contractor or by the ESA, and that the required forms to be completed result in an estimated cost for the inspection being generated by the ESA on the ESA website.

Licensed electrical contractors—who are licensed with the ESA—can provide a letter to the owner, who can subsequently submit the letter to the city.  This enables owners to utilize any licensed contractor at a rate that they agree to in a timely manner, said the city.

The controversial program became effective Jan. 1, 2018 but rental property owners have been granted a “one-time grace period,” and are required to submit a complete application by March 1, 2018. 

Landlords alleged that the two newly-appointed by-law officers will take years to inspect the estimated 1,200 rental properties in Thorold.

The city responded that staff “will review and schedule appointments subsequently as timely as possible.  If responding in a timely manner becomes an issue, complete applications may have a license issued with an inspection at a later date with the understanding that if the inspection results in deficiencies being found, the license may be revoked.”

At the crux of the issue, asked why council initiated the program, the city replied that “Licensing is a method that has been employed in other Ontario municipalities to protect the health and safety of renters, protect the character of neighbourhoods (property standards), and strengthens compliance with existing city by-laws and legislation.”

In addition, “Council heard the concerns brought forward by the public and industry and are confident that the program requirements are reasonable and that the program will benefit the community.”

Council and city staff have heard numerous complaints from residents living in student rental areas—such as Winterberry Boulevard—that their neighbourhoods have become plagued by absentee landlords and late-night student parties, excessive noise, littering, and speeding through residential streets.

The program’s purpose, according to flyers recently distributed with residents’ water bills, is to “regulate residential rental properties to protect the health and safety of those residing in the units, and to protect the character and the ability of all residents to enjoy their amenity spaces in surrounding properties and neighbourhoods.”

The flyer further stipulates that “All existing and new residential properties within the municipality require a license; there is no grandfathering clause.”

Landlords who live in their rental units may rent up to two bedrooms without a license. Apartments comprised of five or more units are exempt.

While landlords alleged that other Ontario cities have looked into licensing and decided against it, according to Mayor Ted Luciani, “Other municipalities are requesting our documents in order to implement licensing.

More information is available on the city’s website.

Community Care big winner at Club Capri

An 18 per cent increase in people asking for assistance from Community Care in the last few months is disturbing, and poverty in Thorold is escalating, the organization’s CEO, Betty-Lou Souter told a crowd of more than 300 people attending Club Capri’s elimination draw Wednesday.

“In the last quarter of the year, we’ve seen an increase of 18 per cent, which is really scary.”

Many of those new registrants are between ages 32 to 60, she added, and “used to be strong contributors to Community Care. It’s huge. It’s disturbing.”

Several Community Care staff attended the fundraiser at Club Capri. Souter said, “They are on the front lines every day. They continually reach out to make a difference in the lives of others.”

Frank Novak won $1,000 in the 50/50 draw, and immediately donated it back to Community Care.

According to Souter, “He has been a strong supporter all along.”

“This means so much to Community Care. We have been partnering with Club Capri for years. This money, I can assure you, will greatly enhance the work of Community Care at 19 Albert Street (Thorold’s branch). You have made a difference in the lives of everybody. Please know they will sleep more soundly with a roof over their heads and a full tummy because of you.”

Cyclists safer on Decew Bridge

People pedaling across the Decew Road Bridge will soon be safer.

A concern for cyclists’ safety prompted city officials to contact MPP Cindy Forster last fall concerning the need to secure funding to install high railings on the north side of the bridge over Highway 406.

Last fall, Council directed city staff to contact Forster regarding the bridge, where traffic is steadily increasing. 

Despite the fact that the bridge belongs to the MTO, “They were insisting that the city should incur the costs for the higher railings,” said CEO Manoj Dilwaria.

City staff met with the MTO and expressed Council’s expectation, while Mayor Ted Luciani and Dilwaria met with Forster. As a result of her follow-up with the Minster of Transportation, the MTO has agreed to incur the cost for the railings, relieving the city of the expense. 

According to the MTO’s Senior Issues Advisor, Valentina Stankovic, the project is scheduled to start this spring, at an estimated cost of $90,000, with completion expected in the fall of 2018.

“Erratic” Thorold driver arrested

At approximately 8 a.m. on Jan. 31, 1-District uniform officers were called over reports of an erratic driver in the area of Niagara Street and Old Oxford in St. Catharines.
 
As officers were responding, another report came in that the suspect had struck another vehicle in the area of Niagara Street and Meadowbrook Crescent. The vehicle then drove over a pedestrian walkway in the area, fleeing towards the downtown.
 
Police were alerted to a suspicious person in the Old Glenridge area, and on arrival, they located the suspect vehicle abandoned.
 
Additional uniform officers responded and conducted a ground search with the assistance of the K9 Unit and a deployed Unmanned Arial Vehicle (UAV).
 
Information was received of a male travelling on foot in downtown St. Catharines with a possible firearm. Officers found the suspect carrying an encased fishing rod he allegedly stole from a garage and arrested him in the area of St. Paul Street and William Street around 10:30 a.m.

Twenty-five-year-old Nickolas Atmekjian of Thorold is charged with the following alleged offences:

  • dangerous operation of a motor vehicle
  • fail to stop at the scene of accident
  • break and enter to a dwelling house
  • fail to comply with a probation order

 Atmekjian was held in custody pending a bail hearing on Feb. 1 at the Robert S.K. Welch Courthouse in St. Catharines.
 
Officers expressed their thanks to the community for their assistance and support while responding to a “dynamic and evolving situation.”

“A Dream Come True” for Fascination Dancers

A troupe of Thorold’s best dancers has been invited to perform with the Mini Pops.

Fascination Dance Studio was chosen as one of four studios to dance during this year’s Mini Pops Make it Pop Concert Tour.  

Originally a UK television series broadcast in 1983—designed primarily for younger viewers—the Mini Pops have become pre-teen recording and international touring stars, producing several CDs of cover songs by famous artists.

Fascination’s talented team of 23 dancers, featuring 14 from Thorold, as well as some from St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, and Niagara-on-the-Lake—will grace the ScotiaBank Centre stage on March 10 at 6:30 p.m.

Already by age nine, these girls know their way around a dance floor; many have been taking dance lessons at the Clairmont Street studio since age two.

Ten-year-old Chloe Vani’s mom, Jen, said her daughter watched the Mini Pops videos long before being asked to perform with them. “Now, she gets to back them up as a dancer. It’s like a dream come true.”

“It’s like a brand new audience,” said 13-year-old Abby Bruneel, since the majority of their spectators are usually made up of family and friends.

Mini Pops stipulates that the dancers must be between the ages of nine and 14, explained Fascination Dance Studio owner Lisa DiMaurizio. Most are members of the studio’s competitive dance team.

“Mini Pops wanted 20-25 dancers so I selected five more dancers who are recreational in the studio based on their skill level. We are doing two routines.”

The Mini Pops management team sent DiMaurizio a virtual link depicting the desired choreography, which she then sent electronically to each of her team of dancers.

“They had to learn it at home,” she explained, with additional rehearsals taking place at the studio.

Roseanna Patterson said her daughter Nikki, who will turn 10 next month, is “super excited” about performing with the Mini Pops. The Thorold mom added that Fascination is “like a family more than a dance studio.”

Tickets to the show are available at the Scotiabank Convention Centre or through www.ticketpro.ca

Pasta dinner fundraiser on Family Day

Bring the family for a homemade pasta dinner on Family Day and help beautify Port Robinson.

A new board of management is at the helm of the Darlene Ryan Port Robinson Community Centre, and its members are hosting a kick-off fundraising event on Monday, Feb.19. 

The dinner runs from 4:30 to 7 p.m. and includes pasta, meatballs, salad, dessert, tea and coffee, with pop and juice available for purchase.

All proceeds will go towards enhancing the local village. 

“There is a new and energized board of management for the community centre and they are planning on many future beautification projects for the centre as well as many more community events and programs,” said Nancy Waters. 

“We at Port Robinson Proud are trying to give them as much support as we can and lend our expertise where possible. We're excited to see the energy and positive changes taking place at the community centre. We've been fortunate to not only have great community volunteers and other organizational partners but the staff and all of council at Thorold city hall has been extremely supportive of the community centre. For that, the entire community is very grateful.”

The new board consists of chair Nicki Haluka and members Marti Wilson and Alli Brown, with support from city councilors Jim Handley and Serge Paone.

The board has received help organizing the pasta dinner from volunteers Nicole Hirst, Judy Gray, Mary DeKeyzer, Jim and Donna, Marlow, Colette Lavigne and Port Robinson Proud members, as well as local corporate sponsors Big Red Markets and Zappi's Pizza and Pasta, Italian Eatery.

Tickets can be purchased securely online, or by calling Marty at 289-213-9995 or in person at Bridge 12 Pub & Eatery in Port Robinson. Some tickets will be available at the door.

The community centre is located at 40 Cross St., Port Robinson.

Beloved 30-year volunteer passes

From her small space behind the Thorold arena canteen, Jessie Anthony watched three generations of children learn how to skate. And she knew and loved every one of them.

One of Thorold’s most treasured volunteers, the beloved, well-known canteen chairman for the Thorold Amateur Athletic Association (TAAA) passed away peacefully last Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, at age 88.

Her daughter Kimberly said her mother was fiercely independent, insisting on staying in her Thorold South home until health issues forced her move to The Loyalist Retirement Residence last fall.

“My mother was born in very hard times back in the (19)30s,” noted Kimberly. “She never had a lot growing up, so her volunteer work spoke to all the things she never had. She wanted to make sure everyone who wanted to skate got to.”

Well-known for her dedication and work ethic, “One year, she generated enough profit to pay for everyone by the coverage from the canteen, to pay for all the leagues.”

A shrewd marketer, “There wasn’t much of a kitchen but she’d get the popcorn machine running and got the smells going,” in the lobby to boost sales. “She prided herself on that.”

Jessie was always the first one at the arena and the last one to close the canteen at night, noted Kimberly.

Eight days a week, 25 hours a day, she spent in that arena. She worked there through three generations of kids. She knew who they belonged to and what number jersey they wore.”

Born in Newfoundland, Jessie worked as a waitress years ago at the Blackhorse Corners restaurant in Allanburg, then became a seamstress, eventually retiring from Alexander Awnings after 20 years.

Following the death of her husband Moses in 1989, she continued to make the arena her second home until 2009. 

During her 30 years of community service, she collected several awards, including Senior Citizen of the Year and Volunteer of the Year, among others.

According to Kimberly, “She loved Thorold very much, and she loved the kids. She possessed quite a strength for a woman of her era. I don’t know if there will ever be another woman like her.”

Jessie left behind four children: Glenn, Denise, Guy, and Kimberly, and was the Nanny of nine grandchildren and great-grandmother of eight great-grandchildren. At Jessie's request, memorial donations to the T.A.A.A. or the Thorold Figure Skating Club would be appreciated by the family, as the children meant the world to her. 

March break at Library

We have a lot piled on our plate these days. And we’re also pretty busy around here. So the extra fuel definitely helps. The beginning of March marks our official migration to Evergreen Integrated Library System and the end of a massive clean-up of our physical library collection. But for many of our patrons, this month only means one thing: MARCH BREAK!  

Parents are excited to learn that we have special programs running every single day of the week – even if the end goal of their enthusiasm varies. Some are determined to personally join each activity, while others confuse the goings on with an all-inclusive staycation, attempting to drop little ones off with suitcase in hand. We look baffled and say, “But it’s still February” and they usually just go “Yup.” Don’t worry, that didn’t actually happen. It was a duffel bag. And in January. But on to the events!

This year, we’ve chosen the theme of March Makerspace Madness. After receiving a Niagara Community Foundation Grant called Mobile MakerSpace, we’ve had the amazing opportunity to equip our library with several fantastic pieces of technology including a 3D printer, green screen photography studio, robotics kits (including a Star Wars droid that we may or may not have tested— for safety, obviously), and a large array of arts/crafts tools including looms, beading supplies, and a computerized sewing machine!

On Thursday, March 15, 2018, we’ll be holding our informal grand opening called Meet your Makerspace where participants preregister to try their hand at one or two of our innovative stations including vinyl cutting, button-making, and coding.  And there’s a lot more going on the remainder of the week to echo this make-it-yourself mantra. Master wood carver John Molinaro will be hosting two beginner sessions for children aged eight and older (Tuesday and Saturday) and we’ll host our second MasterChef Thorold 2 competition on Wednesday (with a Nutri Ninja as grand prize).  

If you can’t make it for March Break, your desired session is already full, or you’re heading out of town for an “actual” vacation (la de da), don’t worry.  Starting in April, we’ll be offering 10 (ten!) makerspace sessions per month as well as ongoing wood carving sessions – and they aren’t just for children. All ages are welcome and can greatly benefit from hands-on learning. We’ve already made a 3D frog named Mort and the only logical next step would be creating him three or four pals in various colours. Keep in mind that 3D printing and wood carving require a $2 fee (all other activities are free) and registration is required for all programs. Pick up a copy of our March Break newsletter today or check it out online. And we’ll see you then! During the day, mind. No suitcase necessary.  

Symons first out of the gate

James Symons is first to officially announce he’s running for Thorold city council in the fall elections.

The 38-year-old lifelong Thorold resident has actively volunteered in the community for years, and  said he hopes to bring the Italian Festival back to Thorold, likely around the end of August, prime time for sauce-making when tomatoes have ripened in local gardens.

“Almost every city in Niagara is home to something in the city,” said Symons, citing the Facer Street festival as one example. “It brings all ethnic backgrounds for a day of fun,” he said, adding that attendees “could bring food donations to help Community Care with its summer shortage.”

In addition to spearheading Thorold’s Rubber Boot Drive for six years—raising $60,000 for Community Care and the Niagara Life Centre, he created a “toolbox” program for homeless men this past Christmas. 

Enlisting the help of his coworkers, family and fellow parishioners at the Village Church, they collected car loads of donated toothbrushes, snacks, warm socks, gloves, toques, hygiene products, and small games such as crossword puzzle books and filled shoeboxes with one of each needed item.

From hockey players to realtors, Symons received offers of help from across the region and inspired the Thorold Blackhawks Bantam team to fill up and donate a box from each player. Symons and his recruits delivered more than 200 shoeboxes to Start Me Up Niagara and various homeless shelters in December.

He is a volunteer board member for Contact Niagara, and has volunteered at Start Me Up Niagara and Southridge, an emergency shelter.

A front end assistant with Costco Wholesale, Symons studied the PSW program at Niagara College.

“I am a proud and active Brock alumni, graduating with a B.A. in recreation and leisure,” he stated.

“I have lived in Thorold all of my life. I have seen the city grow from a town to a city of possibility. I am very involved and dedicated to making the community a better place to live. We will be given the chance to re-elect and elect council for the next term. I would like to work with the residents and council to better this city.”

City Clerk Donna Delvecchio said candidates wishing to run in the municipal fall election can register at city hall starting May 1, 2018.  Nominations close July 27 at 2 p.m.

Thorold man arrested for child pornography

An investigation into child pornography that began in Farmington, Utah has resulted in the arrest of a Thorold man.

In 2016, the Davis County Sherriff’s department in Farmington received a complaint from the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.

Several arrests were then made in the U.S. resulting from the tracking of a popular online messaging forum.

Then in December, the Davis County Sherriff's Office and the Davis County Attorney's Office contacted the Niagara Regional Police Service's Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit for assistance in investigating a Niagara resident connected to the ongoing investigation in Utah.

On Feb. 7, 2018, members assigned to the I.C.E. Unit, the Technological Crimes Unit and the Cybercrime Unit executed a search warrant at a Thorold home. A number of computer systems and storage media were seized and forensically examined.
 
As a result of the investigation, 37-year-old Marc Seguin was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography, accessing child pornography, and distributing child pornography.
 
Seguin will be held in custody pending a bail hearing which will take place on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018 at the Robert S.K. Welch Courthouse, located at 59 Church St., St. Catharines.

The Niagara Regional Police Service wants the public to know they can report suspicious Internet activities relating to child exploitation to the NRP, or online at www.cybertip.ca. Internet safety tips for parents, children and Internet users are also available on the Cybertip website.

Richmond Street condos approved – with conditions

Council gave the go-ahead Tuesday evening for a controversial condominium development on Richmond Street between Winterberry Boulevard and Silver Maple Road, but it came with changes to the staff recommendation.

Locals had opposed the project at a public meeting, citing pressure upon the green space once referred to as the Richmond Street Forest, as well as concerns that it might attract students. They had also stated a concern that lights would shine into their windows due to the internal roadway.

Staff recommended that the zoning be changed from Open Space and Institutional to Residential Third Density and Environmental Conservation (EC-1). The first part of the designation was to accommodate a residential use since the property had previously served as the location for the former temporary Holy Rosary Separate School portable classrooms, after the school of the same name had to close. The addition of EC-1 designation is to formalize an agreed-upon three-metre buffer between the backs of the lots and the woodlot.

The present plan calls for the construction of 35 bungalow-style townhouse units, to be operated as a condominium, reduced from the originally—planned 45, to allow for the buffer. However, due to a concern from Coun. Anthony Longo that the condo board could add up to three more units at a later date, he asked for stronger guarantee, in the form of a transfer of ownership of the buffer to the city.

This suggestion was added as an amendment to the original recommendation, and Coun. Terry Ugulini agreed with Longo’s plan, adding that “It’s a good development, but we need to look after protecting the environmental aspect.”

Concerned about the question of headlights shining into people’s windows, Coun. Fred Neale was assured it could be dealt with as an aspect of site plan control of the development.

Regarding the matter of student rentals, Tim Whalen suggested the two bedrooms were not enough to be financially viable for student landlords, and staff agreed.

Now, the decision to develop the site rests with the developer, who did not seem to have a representative present at Tuesday’s meeting.

Skate for kids

One of the most successful programs aimed at getting kids active is coming to Richmond Street School on Feb. 15, 2018.

The Penfinancial Credit Union Skate for Kids program is helping the students from grades three to eight, at the Thorold Arena this coming Thursday.

“Over 150 pairs of skates and 200 helmets will be donated to Richmond Street School to be used by kids who don’t currently own skating equipment. All costs including ice time, bussing and snacks are covered by PenFinancial,” explained a release from PenFinancial CEO Ken Janzen. “And its employees and board members will join other volunteers to help tie kid’s skates and help them on the ice.”

"We have approximately 350 students in Grades 3-8 participating in this wonderful program. There were roughly 200 students that did not have skates or helmets. PenFinancial is giving these kids an opportunity that they might not otherwise have," said Kami Steinbachs, Grade 3 teacher organizing the program for the school.

The event includes a grade three and four skate from 9 until 10 a.m., Grades 5 and 6 on the ice from 11 a.m. until noon and the Grade 7 and 8 kids taking to the ice from 1 to 2 p.m. in the James Whyte arena at 70 Front St. N., Thorold.

PenFinancial Credit Union's Skates for Kids Program was launched in the summer of 2009, in partnership with local businesses and service organizations, to assist Niagara schools in developing a school wide skating program. Since its inception, Skates for Kids has collected, cleaned, sharpened and delivered more than 3,000 pairs of gently used skates and more than 1,200 new helmets to schools in the Niagara Region. 

Thorold and Welland team up for joint purchasing

The Mayors and CAOs of the cities of Thorold and Welland have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together on joint purchasing and procurement initiatives. 

Municipalities, as public sector corporations, purchase multiple goods and services every year, such as vehicles, equipment, road salt, paper towels, photocopy paper, toner cartridges, and computers. 

“As municipal budgets continue to be stretched to fund core programs and services and invest in infrastructure and facilities, we need to find innovative ways to contain costs and find savings,” said Thorold CAO Manoj Dilwaria. “We’re looking forward to collaborating on some early wins, and expanding our partnership to include joint procurement initiatives such as Request for Proposals (RFPs) for various contracts such road reconstruction, sidewalk repairs, and explore opportunities to reduce the cost by taking advantage of economies of scale.” 

“We’re purchasing many of the same capital and operational items every year; so it’s prudent and practical for us to work together with Thorold, as well as other municipalities, on joint purchasing to achieve better value and more competitive pricing,” said Welland CAO Gary Long. “This will translate into cost savings for our organizations and create financial flexibility in our budgets which ultimately benefits taxpayers.” 

Both Thorold and Welland are members of the Niagara Public Purchasing Committee (NPPC), which is comprised of government, education, and health organizations from across the Niagara Region. The objective of this co-operative purchasing program is to derive the maximum value from each dollar spent, through co-operation and Professional Purchasing Procedures. Co-operative purchasing is a technique whereby a number of authorities agree, jointly, to invite quotations or tenders on selected commodities and services. The MOU will be presented to the two Councils for final ratification. 

Canada 150 award recipients 

Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey presented some of Thorold’s finest with special Canada 150 awards for being “great Canadians.”

Senior Leadership: 
Cobblestone Gardens, Thorold. Jeannie Redekop, administrator
Located near Lock 7 in the picturesque community of Thorold, on the banks of the Welland Canal, Cobblestone Gardens and the original Chestnut Court was first utilized as a rest home in 1984.

Under new ownership in 1986, plans were under way for an expansion, and in 1989 a 44-suite retirement residence was unveiled. The current owners, Mundi Holdings, continued to improve the care and services and were quickly recognized for quality and community leadership.

With a strong foundation and increased customer demand in Thorold, Mundi Holdings acquired the adjacent property in 2006, with plans to vastly improve the resident common areas in addition to increasing the capacity to 68 rooms. Cobblestone Gardens delivers it services and cares for its residents with the highest level of respect and integrity, and strives to build meaningful relationships with and enriching the lives of its residents, their families, employees and the community.

Thorold Seniors Centre Association. President Lora Vary:
Founded in 1984 for members 50 years and older, The Thorold Seniors Centre offers physical activity, social events, a library and computer lab, and hosts regular information sessions to keep seniors active and engaged in Thorold.

Business Excellence: The Post Office/Shannon Passero Design. Shannon Passero:
Shannon Passero is an entrepreneur, designer, philanthropist, visionary, historian, architectural preservationist, and mentor. 

As co-founder of the Pure Handknit line – a collection of individually hand-knit sweaters that are famous for their recycled coconut shell buttons – she employs 4,000 woman knitters in Thailand. She also co-founded Neon Buddha, a lifestyle line of comfortable and versatile natural fibre eco-friendly sustainable clothing – which employs another 800. Many of these women never had a bank account. Shannon took them to the bank. Many of these women barely had food enough to feed their children. Shannon made sure every employee had lunch. Every day.

Her lines are sold in 2,500 stores across North America, Europe and Australia. That all started back in 1998, after she graduated with an Honours Arts degree from University of Guelph, a native of Welland, who graduated from Ross Public School and Notre Dame high school.

She returned to Niagara in 2009, but did not open her own retail store until 2013, when she bought the Old Firehall in downtown Thorold. Three years later, she bought the old post office, which sat empty for almost 10 years. It’s now a 6,500-square-foot Niagara destination for fashion, home décor, health and beauty products, and natural cleaning supplies. In 2017, she launched her own label, Shannon PasseroDesign, much of it manufactured here in Canada, made by Canadian workers.

Shannon has played an integral part in the rejuvenation of downtown Thorold. For her efforts in restoring two heritage properties, she has received the National Trust Ecclesiastical Insurance Cornerstone Award for Building Heritage for readaptive use of Canadian heritage into a productive business that gives back to the community.

Shannon has also taken to supporting local female entrepreneurs like herself. Since 2013, the Shannon Passero Women’s Business Grant Program has helped female entrepreneurs in Ontario grow their businesses, annually awarding $10,000 and invaluable mentorship to recipients. 

She showcases the work of Niagara visual artists in the Post Office gallery, and seasonal pop-up shops for artists and artisans. Her “girls-night-out” shopping events contribute a percentage of sales to local charities and causes.

Shannon is a recipient of Brock University’s Beta Gamma Sigma Chapter Honouree award. She has received Niagara Entrepreneur of the Year Emerging Business award, Business of the Year, and Entrepreneur of the Year, and virtually every business award in Niagara over the past five years. 

Community Building and Volunteerism Organizations:
MP Badawey is proud to acknowledge the amazing day-to-day efforts of organizations serving citizens in countless meaningful ways. Rather than single out individuals, these awards are presented for the team effort of providing services for people who need them. 

Our communities are better for all the good work you do for others.

Canadian Corps Unit 44, Thorold:
The popular veterans club, and its women’s auxiliary, holds events and raises money with fish fries, annual special dinners, barbecues, Canada Day celebrations.

The Corps provides recreation and support for members, and keeps Canada’s respect for military alive with marches of the official colour guard in parades, Remembrance Day ceremonies, and all important civic events.

The 85-year-old national organization was named in honour of the four Canadian divisions that won the epic battle of Vimy Ridge in the First World War.

The Corps invested about $170,000 into refurbishing the Clairmont Street building, which included the installation of new windows, a new concrete walkway and patio outside and a new wheelchair-accessible bathroom.

Over the past several years, the Corps has donated funds that went towards widening the walkway around and leading up to the cenotaph, installing additional lighting and benches, and planting various trees throughout the park. Last March, the city officially named the sidewalk leading up to the cenotaph the Canadian Corps Route.

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 17, Thorold:
Founded in 1926, the Legion mission is to serve all veterans including serving Canadian Forces and Royal Canadian Mounted Police members, and their families, to promote Remembrance, and to serve its communities and its country.

Legion Remembrance programs commemorate the men and women who died in the military service of Canada during war, and peace. Many believe that maintaining the tradition of Remembrance is a sacred trust and the Legion's most important role. 

Funds raised during the Legion’s Poppy Campaign are used for educational bursaries, comforts for veterans in hospital, medical appliances, medical research and training, donations for disaster relief, among others.

 A wide variety of activities and programs are available for members as well as membership privileges such as branch sports, social events and comradeship. 

Thorold Community Activities Group:
Accepted by Dan Pelletier, executive director 

The Thorold Community Activities Group has been serving as the centre of community for the Thorold area since 1982.  TCAG provides high quality licensed child care, plus recreational and educational programs for all ages from preschooler through senior.  

More than 3,000 people per year enjoy programs and services, an increase of 67 per cent over the past three years. Volunteers and staff have become recognized and appreciated for their leadership to the development of a healthy and active Thorold community.

Thorold and Beaverdams Historical Society Museum:
After years of uncertainty over the future of the museum, members of the all-volunteer historical society, founded in 1894, along with the Ontario Genealogical Society’s Niagara peninsula chapter, now have a new home. The opening of the “new” Thorold and Beaverdams Historical Museum was celebrated in September 2016 at the Lock 7 Viewing Complex on Chapel Street South.

It is a marvelous story of how the community stepped up with impressive progress since May 2014, when the Historical Society started to relocate its collection from Chestnut Hall on Ormond Street into its new space.  It was gratifying for community leaders to see the City of Thorold set a positive tone for collaboration. 

The Viewing Complex at Lock 7 welcomes more than 8,000 visitors annually. That number is equivalent to Thorold’s population in the 1960s. 

Increasing access to the collection fosters closer ties between tourism and heritage. It also helps to build stronger working relationships within the heritage community itself: nearly a dozen local groups and organizations having a visible presence at the Centre, including the Ontario Genealogical Society Niagara Chapter, The Friends of Beaverdams Church, Heritage Thorold LACAC and Port Robinson Proud.

John D’Amico:
Whether it’s parking cars at major events, or coordinating fundraisers, John D’Amico is a go-to guy to get things done in Thorold. A founding member of Club Roma in St. Catharines in 1986, John has since volunteered for 20 years on the board of Club Capri in Thorold.

He was a steadfast volunteer with the Niagara Peninsula Children’s Centre from 1990 to 2012, and helped establish the Foundation, where he served and volunteered from 2003 to 2014. 

A financial service adviser, John runs his own business, YIS Financial Services, where his skills served well on the board of the Thorold Chamber of Commerce where he was treasurer. He was chair of the Thorold Business Council from 2012 to 2014, and continues to serve on the board, a big part of the business community.

Dan Giancola:
Nine years and 133 free agent camps later, just when he thought life was over, Dan Giancola saw a poster on the wall at Niagara College. “Be that one,” it said, referring to the statistic that “One in 100,000 student athletes will ever play pro sports. So stay in school.”

Tearing that poster off the wall, “Be that one” became his mantra, his motivation. Not wanting someone else to tell him what he could (or couldn’t) achieve, what “Be that one” said to him was no matter how big or small the dream, each one of us can make it come true.

Today, Thorold native Giancola is a business owner and personal trainer who helps others find their unique paths; personal, professional, and philanthropic. He was a pro football player for 10 years, played on Canada’s national soccer team, and played hockey 17 years. 

In addition to running BTO, Dan is an enthusiastic motivational speaker and active fundraiser, who has raised tens of thousands of dollars for Cystic Fibrosis, Parkinson’s Disease, and Hotel Dieu Shaver.

Cathy and John Henderson:
The thing about Cathy and John Henderson is, we’ll not ever know all the things they do, all the events and initiatives, and individuals they’ve sponsored and supported, and all the philanthropic gestures they’ve made over the past 60 years.

A second generation pharmacist from Thorold, John and his family’s store, Henderson’s Pharmacy, have been fixtures on Front Street for as long as anyone can remember. If anything happens in Thorold, you can bet the Hendersons had a part in organizing, coordinating, volunteering, and-or funding it. But they’d never tell.

Here are a few of the countless contributions the Hendersons have made for the good of others. Cathy is a founder of the Thorold Craft Show, one of the first arts and craft shows in Niagara. She and John take in a few games every year in the Henderson Pharmacy Hockey Tournament. Members of the Beaverdams (and Port Colborne) Historical Societies, Cathy and John have contributed to capital campaigns for new windows, and about every restoration project over the years. They have invested heart and soul and cold hard cash into the community, for which we are all grateful.

Fred Neale:
Fred Neale is an indispensable fixture in Thorold, working to improve quality of life while seeing justice done and good government upheld. Elected to city council pretty much every year since 1985, Fred’s contributions to Thorold have been many, and include serving to create Mel Swart Park, the Thorold Community Policing Committee, the War of 1812 Bicentennial committee, the Welland Canal murals, Niagara Region Circle Trek, and the Hotel Dieu Shaver Foundation. Fred is the charter president of the Thorold

Community Activities Group, now 40 years young, and the Beaverdams Decew Conservation Park, which began as the Lake Gibson Conservation Task Force, which he founded. He is also founder and member of the Thorold Beaver Dams Historical Society Museum.

Area churches join to host World Day of Prayer 2018

By Rev. Ken MacQuarrie
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Thorold

On Friday, March 3, 1922, one of the greatest events in North American religious history took place. Millions of church women throughout Canada and the U.S. met as a great sisterhood for a day of prayer. Today, that day of prayer is observed by women and men around the world in 113 languages. The purpose of the World Day of Prayer is prayer with “immediate application.” In Canada, informed prayer and prayerful action has provided more than half a million dollars in grants to justice projects over the last five years alone.

The World Day of Prayer was started by women on both sides of the border who had endured a war in which they had little agency. Women in Canada were not even considered persons under the law until 1927. Today, women struggle to have their voices heard on issues that affect them, such as peace negotiations, disaster recovery, policy development, and human rights violations. The World Day of Prayer connects people in authentic, meaningful ways across social, geographic and political barriers by amplifying the voice of women who inform our prayers by sharing their concerns and their context.

On March 2, 2018, Christians in more than 1,200 communities across Canada will gather to learn about, pray, and celebrate environmental issues in solidarity with the women of Suriname through the World Day of Prayer. Please join us and invite your friends and family to attend the World Day of Prayer 2018.

A local World Day of Prayer service will be held at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, located at 24 Clairmont St. on Friday, March 2 at 1p.m. Cost is by donation. For more information on the World Day of Prayer services in Thorold, contact Ken or Debby at 905-227-4844.

The World Day of Prayer grew from an ecumenical day of prayer organized by women in Canada and the U.S. in 1920. This event became the international World Day of Prayer in 1922, and Christians around the world began celebrating this event on the first Friday of March.

In Canada, the World Day of Prayer is coordinated by the Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada. For World Day of Prayer materials or to learn more about WICC, visit the website or Facebook.




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Cathy Pelletier

About the Author: Cathy Pelletier

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