Category Archives: Arts & Entertainment

Here’s For All You Dads Out There

Happy Fathers Day from The Boss

Posted by Doug Draper on Niagara At Large

June 19th, 2022

Click on the screen below and go to rock and roll heaven. All you moms can rock along too –

I was lucky enough to see him perform this live on three different occasions. The sweat was pouring off me just watching it. (I was also lucky enough to see Mitch Ryder, the rocker from Detroit who made Devil With The Blue Dress On/Good Golly Miss Molly and Jenny Take A Ride in the late 1960s, perform these songs in concert too.).

NIAGARA AT LARGE Encourages You To Join The Conversation By Sharing Your Views On This Post In The Space Following The Bernie Sanders Quote Below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders


The Drummer For One of the World’s Greatest Rock Bands Dies

The Rolling Stone’s Charlie Watts Leaves Us at Age 80

“So sad to hear about Charlie Watts, the Stones drummer, dying. He’s a lovely guy and I knew he was ill but I didn’t know he was this ill. Lots of love to his family, his wife and kids and his extended family, and condolences to the Stones. A huge blow to them because Charlie was a rock, a fantastic drummer. Steady as a rock.”                                                                                                          – Paul McCartney, The Beatles

“God bless Charlie Watts. We’re going to miss you, man. Peace and love to the family.”                                                                                            – Ringo Starr, drummer, The Beatles

A Brief One from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted August 24th, 2021

There was word, just a few weeks ago, that The Rolling Stones’ drummer, Charlie Watts, would not be heading out with the band as it tries to get back to touring during these pandemic times.

Charlie Watts, you and older, behind drums he commanded so well

If The Rolling Stones can even resume touring, as the Delta variant now drives COVID-19 cases up, remains a question anyway, since so many other groups of musicians are already deciding to cancel their touring plans.

But news that Charlie Watts was apparently not feeling well enough to tour was a big deal for hard-core music fans because Watts has been a fixture with that legendary group since it first made it big on the world stage some 55 years ago. Continue reading

A Happy Belated First Day of Summer. Let’s Try to Make it Happy and Safe!

A Brief One from Doug Draper

Posted June 21st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

“There was young girls everywhere
On the summer side of life
They talked all night

To the young men that they knew
On the summer side of life
Goin’ off to fight.” – lyrics by Gordon Lightfoot from one of his many great songs, ‘Summer Side of Life’

Sorry about that Niagara At Large readers.

I am usually on time with a post on the NAL site around the start of a new season.

Given how much craziness we are dealing with though – in this spring-turned-summer continuation of the pandemic – it has been a little hard to keep up.

So here I am, with a belated wish to all of you for a better summer than the one we had last year, when we were suffering through the first wave, going on wave two of this COVID travesty.

I always like to pick a song, this one from Gordon Lightfoot, written and recorded around 50 years ago when the

Written and recorded in  1970, as the God-awful waste of a War in Vietnam dragged on and the causality count grew higher a,  and the protests against war grew larger, the lyrics, in a subtle way, speak to all of that. Yet the song, crafted by one of Canada’s national treasures, is still wonderful to listen to.  

You ca  hear and watch Gordon Lightfoot perform it live, many years ago, by clicking on the screen immediately below –

Have a safe and peaceful summer, and if you haven’t already, please get vaccinated – for the sake of you and your loved ones, and the community at large.

  • Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

NIAGARA AT LARGE Encourages You To Join The Conversation By Sharing Your Views On This Post In The Space Following The Bernie Sanders Quote Below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

One of the Great Voices from the Golden Years of Pop Music – B.J. Thomas – Leaves Us

A Brief Tribute to B.J. Thomas by Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted June 1st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

This singer had his greatest run of hit songs from the mid-1960s through the early 1970s, so chances are most people under the age of 40 would not even know who he is.

That is unless they happened to go to a repertoire movie theatre and see a classic film from the late 1960s starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford called “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, and told them that in more of the iconic scenes, featuring the song “Raindrops Are Falling on My Head,” that is B.J. Thomas singing it.

B.J. Thomas died at age 78 in his home in Texas from lung cancer this past May 29th. Continue reading

Bob Dylan Turns 80! I Thought He Was (to borrow a few of his lyrics) “Younger Than That Now.”

Born My 24th, 1941, A Belated  Happy Birthday Bob

A Brief One from Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper 

Posted May 30th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The iconic 1963 album cover for ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’ album, with Dylan walking through the streets of Greenwich Village, New York – the hot spot for the folk music revival at the time – with then close friend Suze Rotolo

You know you’ve been around for a while when you turn on the news, as I did this past May 24th, and are told that Bob Dylan has just turned 80 years old.

I was about a year shy of my 13th birthday when, in 1963, his second album, ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’ was released with some of earliest songs like ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’, ‘A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall’, ‘Oxford Town’ and ‘Masters of War’ would cement his reputation, from then until now, as one of the powerful lyricist in the field of song-writing – enough to earn him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016.

I still remember sitting on a swing at my family home in Welland in 1963 and a working out the chords to another song on that Freewheelin’ album, ‘Don’t Think Twice Its Alright’ on a cheap acoustic guitar my parents bought me. And I remember how delighted I was when I learned later, from music sheets, that I got all of the chords, including the dominant 7th and minor chords tucked when the major ones. Continue reading

Escaping to Freedom – A Journey from Vietnam to Canada

Join An Online Discussion On Anti-Asian Racism With Jolie Phuong Hoang – Thursday May 27th, at 7 PM

An Invite to All from the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines, Niagara

Posted May 26th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The continuation of the Online Speaker Series keeping up the momentum for racial justice and inclusion in St. Catharines is presented in partnership between the Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre, Niagara Region Anti-Racism Association and the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

Join us for a conversation with math professor (Niagara College) and author Jolie Phuong Hoang. Hoang escaped Vietnam in 1983, stayed at a refugee camp in Indonesia for 14 months before arriving in Canada in July 1984.

For more than 25 years, her career binds with lecturing formulas, mathematical theorems and how numbers shape life. But only in writing, Jolie finds the solution for her endless unanswered questions of sorrow and grief. Continue reading

Happy 50th to One of the Greatest Albums of All Time

This Spring, Marvin Gaye’s Opus – What’s Going On – Turns 50 Years Old

Watch the debut of a CNN Cable Television Special on this masterwork this Sunday, May 9th at 8 P.M.

A Brief One by Doug Draper, at Niagara At Large

Posted May 9th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

I would hardly ever use Niagara At Large to plug a special on cable TV, but this one looks to good to ignore.

It is called ‘What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye’s Anthem for the Ages – and it is a tribute to what is, without any doubt here, one of the very best and one of the most influential, albums of music ever produced.

The album, ‘What’s Going On’ also contains songs about war and peace, about protecting our environment, and about freeing humankind from the shackles of poverty and racism that are timeless. They are as relevant today as they were when the late great Marvin Gaye first wrote and recorded them 50 years ago. Continue reading

Pelham’s Annual Art Festival – Featuring the theme “Our Planet, Our Future” – is Now Underway Online

You Can Join it Thru to May 15th. Keep Reading this Post for Details

An Invite from the Organizers of the Pelham Art Festival

Posted May 3rd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – The popular Pelham Art Festival, held annually in May, is online this May 1-15 and will include an impressive number of local artists and artists from all over Ontario displaying and selling their work.

Everyone is welcome to continue to enjoy and purchase original art so that the fundraising efforts for the Pelham Library System, Pelham arts scholarships and community art projects can proceed.

“When the 2020 Festival was cancelled due to the pandemic, we fully expected to be back for an in-person show in 2021. However, such a large event is no longer possible so instead we present the Pelham Art Festival Online. Continue reading

The Niagara River is Ready for its Close-Up on a Brand New TVO Film Documentary

TVO Original TRIPPING The Niagara premieres on April 2 at 7pm, 10pm & 1am (repeats on April 4 at 7pm & 10pm

Streaming on starting April 2 at 7pm

Film’ Debut on TVO follows in wake of  Niagara Regional Council’s March 25th decision to support efforts to designate the Ontario side of the Niagara River as a “wetland of international importance” under a UNESCO-embraced 1971 Ramsar Convention signed by Canada, the United States and more than 165 other nations around the world.

Posted March 31st. 2021 on Niagara At Large

This stunning 3 hour documentary allows viewers to fly like a red-tailed hawk along the lower portion of the Niagara River.

The audience will soar for 24 km, above one of the most beautiful areas of Ontario.  Along the way they will visit historic forts, vineyards, orchards, treacherous white-water and the world’s most famous waterfalls. Continue reading

Celebrating 50 Earth Moving Years of ‘Tapestry’

A Brief Tribute to A Legendary  Musical Artist and Album  by         Doug Draper

Posted February 24th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The Tapestry album cover, featuring Carole King at home with that heroic-looking cat in the foreground

It remains, to this day, one of the most  beloved and best-selling albums of all time.

When Carole King’s ‘Tapestry’ was released in February of 1971, it originally received “little fanfare,” according to liner notes written for one of many updated editions of it decades later.

It was multiple moments like one I remember weeks or possibly even months after the album’s release where at a house party I attended with friends, someone put the record on a turntable and said; “You’ve got to listen to this.” Continue reading

A Very Warm (Can You Believe This?) EIGHTIETH BIRTHDAY  to a Timeless Artist and Activist – Buffy Sainte-Marie

The Canadian-Born, Indigenous Singer/Songwriter Continues, Through Her Calls for Peace, Compassion, and Earth Care, to Offer Humans Some Redemption as a Species on this Planet

A Brief One from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted February 22nd, 2021

The incomparable Buffy Sainte-Marie, hardly looking her age.

If you have ever treated yourself to an evening of Buffy Sainte-Marie in concert, as I have three or four times, there is no way you leave without feeling totally warm inside and inspired to go out in the world and do something to improve the lives of every living species on this oh-so-fragile earth we share.

From her earliest years as a young, upcoming folksinger in Greenwich Village, New York during the heyday of the folk scene in the early 1960s, to her rise and continued success as an award-winning performer and songwriter – not to mention her many appearances on Sesame Street from 1975 to 1981, where she drew new generations of fans – Buffy Sainte-Marie remains a continued beacon of light in our lives. Continue reading

Prime Minister Pays Tribute to a Canadian Icon – Actor Christopher Plummer

“A longtime pillar of Canada’s Stratford Festival, he also performed on Broadway and starred in over 150 feature films, television movies, and miniseries.”

A Statement by Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau on the death of Christopher Plummer

Posted February 5th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Legendary Canadian-born actor Christopher Plummer passes at age 91

Ottawa, Ontario – The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the death of Christopher Plummer at age 91:

“Today (this February 5th, 2021), Canada and indeed the world lost one of our most iconic and beloved actors – Christopher Plummer.

“Whether performing on stage, in film, or on television, Mr. Plummer showed gravitas, dignity, and heart throughout a career that spanned over six decades.

A longtime pillar of Canada’s Stratford Festival, he also performed on Broadway and starred in over 150 feature films, television movies, and miniseries. He gave life to so many characters we grew to love and cherish, from Captain von Trapp, to Richard III and Star Trek’s General Chang. Continue reading

An Ode to One of the Original Animals!

Eric Burdon and the Animals guitarist Hilton Valentine Dies at Age 77

A Brief Tribute from Doug Draper on Niagara At Large

Posted February 1st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Hilton Valentine playing guitar (at right) with Animals lead singer and front man Eric Burdon, performing House of the Rising Sun on a 1964 TV show.

If you are a true listener lover of the popular music going back 50 or so years, then it may not matter whether you are an aging baby boomer going back to the beginning of the Beatles era or someone in your 20s or 30s, digging the latest releases from The Weekend, Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato or Drake.

Regardless of age or what genre of music you love the most, you have likely heard the first few bars of guitar notes that lead in to a song called ‘House of the Rising Sun’, recorded in 1964 by a group called The Animals from Newcastle, England.

Those notes, as simple as they were to master for countless aspiring guitarists, ushered in a song that became a mega hit for the group and is considered a classic in pop music to this day. They were played by Animals guitarist and Rock and Roll Hall-Of-Famer Hilton Valentine, who died late this January at age 77. Continue reading

Niagara, Ontario Humane Society to Auction Doggie Art – Dubbed ‘Pup-Casso Paintings’ – to Help Fund Shelter Dogs

News from the Lincoln County Human Society in St. Catharines, Ontario

Posted January 21st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

One of the Lincoln Country Humane Society’s canine artists exhibits work. Photo courtesy of Lincoln County Humane Society

St. Catharines, Ontario – The Lincoln County Humane Society in St. Catharines has launched a series of pup-made paintings – or pup-casso paintings (aptly named after the famous painter, Pablo Picasso).

Stemming from TikTok sensations, the LCHS provided their adoption dogs with a smattering of peanut butter on a plastic sheet, placed over top of some water based paints on canvas. The result are active tongue paintings. The carefully selected colours resulted in artwork fit for the walls of your home.

“After discovering this project, I went to work on making it a fun and enjoyable project for the LCHS dogs” said Olivia Bosey, an Animal Care Technician at the LCHS. Continue reading

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Pays Tribute to late Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King

On Martin Luther King Day – Monday, January 18, 2021

The late Americana civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King

From the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO) in Buffalo, New York

Posted January 18th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Buffalo, New York – BPO Musicians Amy Licata, Andrea Blanchard-Cone, Janz Castelo, and David Schmude pay tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with an original arrangement of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by J. Rosamond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson.

To watch, click on the screen immediately below –

On November 9, 1967, Dr. King delivered one of his most eloquent and poignant speeches at Kleinhans Music Hall just 4 months after the Buffalo Riots of 1967, and just 5 months before his untimely death. Special thanks to University at Buffalo, Buffalo Toronto Public Media, Asbury Hall, and the BPO Diversity Council.

For more on the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and its upcoming event schedule, click on .

To visit a commentary on Martin Luther King Day, posted on Niagara At Large, in 2020 that includes a video of King delivering his iconic ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, click on .

NIAGARA AT LARGE Encourages You To Join The Conversation By Sharing Your Views On This Post In The Space Following The Bernie Sanders Quote Below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

Shea’s Theatre in Buffalo – One of the Grandest Theatres in our Greater Niagara Region – Celebrates its 95th Birthday Today

A News Release from Shea’s Theatre, with a Brief Foreword from Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper

Posted December 16th, 2021 on Niagara At Large




A Brief Foreword from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –

I just can’t help posting a little something about this.

For any of us who have ever had the joy of attending any entertainment event at Shea’s Theatre in Buffalo, New York, you walk into this grand old theatre of the arts with a feeling of awe.

Architectural, there is hardly anything like it left across the United States and Canada because, quite stupidly, many great buildings like this were destroyed going back decades ago when anything old had to be knocked down in favour of a glass-box building or fast-food restaurant. Continue reading

British Invasion Rock Legend Gerry Marsden of ‘Gerry and the Pacemakers’ Dies

Hits of Liverpool, England Icon Include ‘Ferry, Cross the Mersey’ and ‘Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying’

A Brief One from Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

Posted January 4th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Gerry Marsden, as some of us may remember him, with a group that was huge during the ‘British Invasion’ years of the 1960s – Gerry and the Pacemakers

I won’t spend a long time on this one because I am sure few people around now – unless you are a veteran of the early to mid-1960s Beatlemania and British Invasion – would remember Gerry Marsden and his Liverpool, England-based band Gerry and the Pacemakers.

Gerry Marsden died this January 3rd at age 78 and as a lover of music, going back to my very young years lapping up The Beatles and so many other bands that were part of what was then called ‘the British invasion’, his band Gerry and the Pacemakers, was huge at the time with hits like ‘Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying’ and ‘Ferry, Cross the Mersey’, and a much beloved cover of an old standard, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’

“Gerry was a mate from our early days in Liverpool, said former Beatle Paul McCartney in a statement after he learned of Marsden’s death. “He and his group were our biggest rivals on the local scene. His unforgettable performances of You’ll Never Walk Alone and Ferry Cross the Mersey remain in many people’s hearts as reminders of a joyful time in British music.” Continue reading

Remembering the Death of a Beatle – Forty Years On

“There are places I’ll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone, and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends, I still can recall
Some are dead, and some are living
In my life, I’ve loved them all.”

  • From The Beatles song ‘In My Life’, with lyrics by John Lennon

By Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

Posted December 8th, 2020 on NAL

John Lennon, the way I will so often remember him during the height of The Beatles years in the 1960s

I went to work 40 years ago today – it was Monday, December 8th, 1980 and I was about a year and half in to my first job as a reporter for The St. Catharines Standard – and I was still flying high from what is still one of the greatest rock concerts I have ever seen, just four days earlier

On December 4th, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band took the stage at the old Buffalo Aud., and from the countdown to ‘Born to Run’ to almost five hours later (Springsteen was famous for doing those marathon concerts at the time), those of us who were fortunate enough to be there were in Rock and Roll ecstasy.

For me, it almost made up for not seeing The Beatles when I was a kid, although right up to December 8th, I still entertained dreams that a Beatles reunion and a concert I may be lucky enough to get a ticket to could still happen. Continue reading

FirstOntario PAC and Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre Put Virtual Spotlight on Niagara’s Ethnocultural Groups

Free Virtual Online Event This Sunday 18 October at  7 P.M.

A News Release from the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre and the Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre present

Posted October 15th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – The FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (PAC) and Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre (NFAMC) are pleased to announce a new virtual project intended to put a spotlight on local newcomer entrepreneurs as well as established ethnocultural groups working to share their cultural knowledge and welcome the newcomer community.

The event will be hosted virtually by NFAMC Executive Director Emily Kovacs and PAC Executive Director Colleen Smith on Sunday 18 October @ 7pm. Continue reading

Annual Niagara ‘Nurturing Our Roots Powwow’ Is Coming Our Way – VIRTUALLY

The Niagara Regional Native Centre is hosting their 8th Annual Nurturing Our Roots Powwow VIRTUALLY this year

News from FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines/Niagara

Posted October 4rth, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – This weekend (Saturday, October , the community would have normally gathered in Montebello Park for the 3rd and Sunday, October 4th) Niagara Regional Native Centre’s annual Nurturing Our Roots Powwow, which has become a highly anticipated part of Niagara’s fall season. In partnership with the FirstOntario PAC, the Powwow will go on – virtually!

“We’re hosting this mini Powwow to demonstrate our way of life. We usually have Powwows all year but to have something like this, even though small, is still big,” says Joe Shawana, Cultural Resource Coordinator for the Niagara Regional Native Centre.

The virtual Powwow will take place on Sunday 4 October as part of an upcoming series developed by the PAC to continue to amplify the voices of Niagara’s BIPOC communities. Continue reading

Culture Days Returns to St. Catharines/Niagara with New, Month-Long Format

This year Culture Days in St. Catharines will expand from its traditional weekend-long format to encompass a whole month, from September 25th to October 25th

News from the City of St. Catharines in Niagara, Ontario

Posted September 25th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario — From the history of the Welland Canal to a vibrant and growing arts scene, there is no shortage of culture to celebrate in St. Catharines. So much so that this year it will take a whole month to celebrate as Culture Days returns.

The City is once again gearing up to participate in the Canada-wide celebration of arts and culture, that this year will expand from its traditional weekend-long format to encompass a whole month, from Sept. 25 to Oct. 25.

Every year communities across Canada participate in Culture Days, featuring hands-on activities inviting the public to participate in the cultural landscapes of their communities. This year will be no different, albeit with the introduction of more online events, and physical distancing measures for in-person events. Continue reading

A Great Exhibit For Us – North Is Freedom: The Legacy Of The Underground Railroad

A Photographic Journey By Yuri Dojc

On Exhibit in Niagara Falls, Ontario from September 26th, 2020 to January 10th, 2021

News from the Niagara Falls History Musuem in Niagara, Ontario

Posted September 25th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls, Ontario – This photographic journey celebrates the descendants of freedom-seekers who escaped slavery in the United States in the years before the American Civil War.

One of the photos in the exhibit of Wilma Morrison, one of the pillars of the Black community in Niagara, Ontario, who passed away earlier this 2020. Photo by Yuri Dojc

Approximately 30,000 men, women and children fled north to freedom, settling from the Canadian Maritimes to as far west as the Manitoba border. Some arrived alone; others found their way to Canada with the help of a clandestine network of “conductors” and “stations” called the “Underground Railroad.” Continue reading

St. Catharines Approves Arts and Culture Funding to Help Revitalize City, Post Pandemic

“The arts and culture sector in St. Catharines has been severely affected by COVID-19. Disruption caused by the pandemic has had a significant impact on many artists’ and arts organizations’ abilities to carry out their work.”

A News Release from the City of St. Catharines in Niagara, Ontario

Posted September 15th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Downtown St. Catharines in Niagara, Ontario

St. Catharines City Council forges ahead in its support of the arts and culture sector by approving funding in the amount of $93,095 to 16 local artists and arts organizations through its annual St. Catharines Cultural Investment Program (SCCIP).

“This funding will provide an opportunity for local organizations to develop projects that support the sustainability of the arts and culture sector through tough times,” said Director of Community, Recreation and Culture Services Phil Cristi.

The arts and culture sector in St. Catharines has been severely affected by COVID-19. Disruption caused by the pandemic has had a significant impact on many artists’ and arts organizations’ abilities to carry out their work, especially in the audience-based performing arts sector. Continue reading

You Are Invited To the 46th Annual Ball’s Falls Thanksgiving Festival- A VIRTUAL CELEBRATION

“The Festival continues to be a staple in the lives of many families, local communities, and tourists alike, and while we’re not able to offer the usual experience, we are confident that festival goers will join us on this unique virtual adventure to ensure this annual tradition is not missed.”                                         – Alicia Powell, festival coordinator for the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

A News Release from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority in Niagara, Ontario

Posted September 14th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

With celebrations all over the world looking a lot different this year, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) is excited to announce its virtual celebration of the Annual Ball’s Falls Thanksgiving Festival.

“In it’s 46th year, the festival, which was originally conceived as four days of in-person shopping, featuring delicious local food, the best in VQA wines and local brews, artisan vendors, farmer’s market, and historical tours and demonstrations, has been transformed into a virtual experience,” says Alicia Powell, festival coordinator. Continue reading

A Little Celebration of September for You

“Do you remember the 21st night of September?
Love was changing the minds of pretenders,
while chasing the clouds away.”

In September, the monarchs gather before beginning their migration south

From Doug Draper

Posted September 1st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Wow. Is the firsd day of September really here already?

Funny how only about seven or eight months ago – before this whole COVID nightmare began – now seems like a hundreds years ago. Yet, so many of the days since seem to have melted into each other. They’ve come and gone so fast.

Always a nice sight in late summer

Has it seemed that way too you?

Anyway, here we are on the first day of September and for me that can only give rise to one thing – that song. Some of you must know the song I mean don’t you.

It came out of what is arguably one of the best decades ever for pop music – the 1970s – and it was produced and performed by one of the biggest and best funk bands ever – Earth, Wind and Fire.

That song is called ‘September’ and if you click on the screen immediately below, you can celebrate it as a most joyful soundtrack for the last few weeks of summer –

Have a safe month of September everybody, and thanks for your visits to our independent news and commentary site, Niagara At Large.

  • Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

Stay tune for this September’s “full corn moon” – what I’ve always called a harvest moon – in the very early hours of this September 2nd, 2020

NIAGARA AT LARGE Encourages You To Join The Conversation By Sharing Your Views On This Post In The Space Following The Bernie Sanders Quote Below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

Give It Up With a Great Big Cheer for Neil Young!

The Canadian-Born Singer/Songwriter Says he is Suing Trump for Using His Songs Without Permission

A Brief Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted August 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

I knew there was a reason why I have always been a big fan of Neil Young!

Music icon Neil Young

And it’s not just because this Canadian-born rock legend has produced – decade after decade – such a great catalogue of songs as a solo artist, and was a member of two of my all-time favourite groups – Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash &Young (as Crosby, Stills & Nash is called, when Neil periodically joins in).

News has just surfaced that Neil Young, now a dual Canada-U.S. citizen, is suing Donald Trump for using some of his songs during campaign events and rallies without his permission, and has gone on doing it inspite of the fact that Young has repeatedly made it known that he has absolutely no use for Trump and the dangerous, hate-filled garbage he and his enablers stand for.

In a statement on the suit, Neil Young said, and I paraphrase him almost word for word, he does not want his music ‘used as theme songs in a Trump campaign that is un-American, and that promotes division and hate.’

God Bless you Neil, and God Help America! – Doug Draper, NAL

Here is one of the songs, written and performed by Neil Young, that the Trump campaign has used without his permission. It’s called ‘Rockin in the Free World’, and you can hear it, complete with imagery from the George W. Bush area more than a decade ago when the song was written, by clicking on the screen immediately below –

To read a recent piece posted by Rolling Stone magazine on Neil Young’s action against the Trump campaign, click on

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

Happy Birthday to Beatles Drummer Ringo Starr!

And Say It Ain’t So! A Beatle Turns 80-Years Old?

A Brief One by unabashed Beatles fan Doug Draper

Posted July 7th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

A relatively recent photo of Ringo Starr, flashing his famous peace signs.

I don’t know why I never thought the day would come when one of The Beatles turned 80 years old.

After all, if you live long enough, and the guy who always was the oldest member of The Beatles lives long enough, it is bound to one day happen. Yet it is still a bit of a mind blower.

Time sure does fly when you have spent the past more than 50 years buying up every record they ever made, first on vinyl, then on tape, then on CD, and then again on vinyl and CDs boasting higher quality sound and never-before-released bonus tracks. (Never tell me I haven’t done my part to keep these boys from Liverpool and members of their families out of the poor house.) Continue reading

Shaw Festival Cancels All August Public Events as COVID Continues to Take Toll on Arts Community

A News Release from the Shaw Festival in Niagara, Ontario

Posted July 7th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario — The Shaw Festival  is forced to cancel all public events and performances scheduled in August due to the extension of the Province of Ontario’s Emergency Orders and the continuation of the State of Emergency in the Province and Niagara.

In discussion with and under the guidance of The Shaw’s insurer, it has become clear that scheduled performances cannot proceed as originally planned.

“While we are disappointed with these further cancellations, we are focusing our energy on planning for the future so that we can safely welcome audiences back to our theatres, hopefully in September – even if in a more limited way,” said Tim Jennings, Executive Director/CEO. Continue reading

Celebrating this Amazing Country We Call Home’

“Canada’s success is because of its people. People who strive to live up to our shared values of peace, equality, and compassion, and know that diversity is our strength.”                                                                  – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

A Statement by the Prime Minister on Canada Day

Posted July 1st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ottawa, Ontario – The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on Canada Day:

“On Canada Day, we celebrate the amazing place we call home – and the people we share it with. Whether you are firing up the barbecue or playing outside with the kids, this is a chance to reflect on where we are as a country, and where we are headed.

“The last few months have been difficult for all Canadians, but throughout this pandemic, we have been there for one another. We are neighbours helping neighbours, small businesses being there for their communities and their staff, Armed Forces answering the call to help protect our most vulnerable, and doctors and nurses keeping our families healthy. Because that’s what it means to be Canadian.

“Canada’s success is because of its people. People who strive to live up to our shared values of peace, equality, and compassion, and know that diversity is our strength. Continue reading

‘Running Back Thru Canada’

Another Great Canadian Moment with one of the Country’s Greatest Bands – The Guess Who

A Brief One by Doug Draper

Posted July 1st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Once upon a time, in the late 1960s and running right through the mid to late 1970s, one of the most popular bands in Canada and the world was one from Winnipeg, Manitoba called The Guess Who.

Songs like ‘These Eyes’, ‘Laughing’, ‘No Time’ and ‘American Woman’ (that one going right up to Number One on the U.S. Billboard charts 50 years ago this spring) set them on the path to selling millions of records.

And their appearances at the CNE in Toronto each year, always beginning with a giant Canadian flag lowering behind them as they tore into their first song, drew almost defeaning cheers those fortunate to get tickets for those sold-out shows. Some of you may have been there for one of those. Continue reading

A Song for a Summer Time like Few Others We Have Collectively Lived Through

‘It’s summer
Summer time is here
Yes it’s summer
My time of year.’

– lyrics from the song ‘Summer’ by the great funk band War

A Brief Summer Time Note from Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

Posted June 28th, 2020

COVID-19 has not stopped these roses from growing in my backyard. photo by Doug Draper

So how are all of you doing in these post-apocalytic times?

Funny how you can sit outside like I am now, with green grass and gardens, and birds singing in the trees, and it seems like the kind of summer day you may have some fond memories of, just one year.

Then you suddenly remember that this summer we have this microscopic virus out there that can make us very ill or even kill us, and those first days of summer in June of 2019 now seem like decades ago.

More very nice flowers still blooming in my backyard. Does anyone out there know what they are? Doug Draper

Yet there are still some great old post-pandemic summer songs that work for me, and I hope they work for you because songs have a magical way of helping people through difficult times.

One such song is a soft, soulful ballad I posted here last year on the first day of summer, 2019. It is a hot American soul/funk group called War that made it big in the 1970s with songs, still so relevant to the Black Lives Matter times we are living in now, like ‘Slippin’ Into Darkness, ‘The World is a Ghetto’ and ‘Why Can’t We Be Friends?’.

This song is simply and very aptly called ‘Summer’, and you can listen to it now by clicking on the screen immediately below, and raising a peace sign for ‘Black Lives Matter’ while you are at it –


Stay tune for more summer time songs on Niagara At Large in the days and weeks ahead.

One of the first days of summer, 2020 at Lakeside Park beach in Port Dalhousie in St. Catharines, Niagara. I saw people enjoying themselves while doing a good job of social distancing. You please stay safe too, and do the best you can to have a nice, peaceful summer. Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

Chorus Niagara Children’s Choir To Conclude Their Concert Season Online

You Are Invited to a Virtual Concern on Sunday, June14th, at 3 P.M. Circle the Date on Your Calendar!

News from Chorus Niagara in St. Catharines, Ontario

Posted June 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Chorus Niagara Children’s Choir (CNCC) wraps up its 2019-2020 season on a virtual stage. The end of the year presentation will air as a Facebook Watch Party on Sunday, June 14th at 3:00PM on the CNCC Facebook Page.

Niagara Chorus’s Children’s Choir in  performance. File Photo coutesy of Jeff Baker, Chorus Niagara

This presentation, a stand-in for their spring concert originally planned for May 18, will conclude two months of online choral programming offered to young singers since the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools and cancelled in-person choral events. Continue reading

Enjoy #NiagaraPerforms Free Online Concerts and Events LIVE!

New artists announced for #NiagaraPerforms

Check Out a new list of movies Niagara’s Film House has to offer too

A Call-Out to All Concert and Film Lovers from the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre & Film House in St. Catharines, Ontario

Posted May 14th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Through this unprecedented time of physical separation, the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre continues to strive to find ways to bring our community together through the arts. #NiagaraPerforms<> was launched as an online series in mid-April as a platform to connect local artists and audiences and has attracted more than 15,000 livestream patrons to date. Continue reading

City of St. Catharines Preparing Community Gardens to Open

“We are certainly happy to be opening the community gardens, not only do they provide an important source of sustainably-sourced food in our community, but many user groups really look forward to getting in there and tending their individual plots.”                                                                                                                   – Ilyse Norton, City of St. Catharines’ Horticultural Technician

News from the City of St Catharines in Niagara, Ontario

Posted May 11th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Even if the virus is till around, and it likely will be for a while, many people are still looking forward to this.

With new direction from the Province of Ontario the City is moving to open community gardens, focusing first and foremost on the safety of residents and garden users during the ongoing COVID-19 State of Emergency.

On April 25, following requests from the City of St. Catharines and other municipalities, the Province lifted restrictions prohibiting the operations of community gardens under current emergency orders introduced in response to COVID-19. Continue reading

Now For Some Good News – Garden Walk Buffalo Is Not Letting COVID-19 Shut It Down

We Plan A Different Kind Of Garden Sharing For 2020

News from Garden Walk Buffalo, organizers of one of North America’s most popular urban garden tours

Posted May 6th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Buffalo, New York – Garden Walk Buffalo will not be held as a two-day walking tour this year. Gardens Buffalo Niagara and the Garden Walk Buffalo committee are planning a different kind of garden sharing – transforming the 2020 Garden Walk to adapt to these unprecedented times.

One of the countless great displays that may still be available at Garden Walk Buffalo 2020, with social distancing. Photo by Doug Draper

In light of current national and local social distancing restrictions, Garden Walk Buffalo will become Buffalo Garden Views: Sharing in July, a “virtual garden month.” Continue reading

The Niagara Jazz Festival is Playing On and You Can Enjoy the Performances – Virtually

Read On to Find Out More About Live-Streamed Events

A Message from Juliet Dunn, Executive Director / Artistic Producer of Niagara Jazz Festival
Posted May 6th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – I do hope that you are keeping well and staying safe during these uncertain times.  As we are still in lockdown we are doing live-streamed events every Friday and Saturday from 7 pm – 8 pm.

We are also performing for the #NiagaraPerforms series presented by the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.  Please include in your listings and we’ll look forward to having public events and gatherings soon!

Thank you and stay safe!

Kind regards, Juliet Dunn, Niagara Jazz Festival

*1* SHADY-ACRES STUDIO  (Live-Streamed event)  #NiagaraPerforms presented by the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre – The Shea D Duo featuring Peter Shea and Juliet Dunn-  Thursday, May 7, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. – 1-844-LIV-JAZZ (548-5299  WATCH THE EVENT HERE: Continue reading

Sad News for Buffalo Philharmonic Fans on Both Sides of Border

The BPO – in a “difficult decision” – has suspended its remaining 2019-2020 season concerts

The BPO at Kleinhain’s Music Hall . No concerts in the theater for now but see link below for info about the Orchetra and how you can watch performance broadcasts.

News from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO)

Posted May 6th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Buffalo, New York – The BPO has made the difficult decision to extend its previously announced suspension of concert activity at Kleinhans Music Hall through June 13, the end of the the regular 2019-2020 season. 

The BPO musicians, staff and board are extremely disappointed that we will not be able to finish out the season.

We held hope that we would be able to return to the Kleinhans stage sooner rather than later, but we continue to follow governmental guidelines and it became clear last week that any return will take much longer than anyone had anticipated. Continue reading

Watch Earth Day 2020 Live! This April 22nd, 2020

Let’s Make the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day the Largest Online Mass Mobilization in History

Read On To Find Out How You Can Attend  from Home  – This Wednesday, April 22nd





To Watch, Click Here – Earth Day Live

A Call-Out from Ken Kimmell, for the Union of Concerned Scientists

Posted April 21st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

The COVID-19 crisis has upended the world, threatening the health and lives of millions, shattering the global economy, and imposing an unprecedented physical isolation upon us. It has changed so much almost overnight, including how we advocate for action on an even bigger long-term threat — climate change.

For this upcoming 50th anniversary of Earth Day, youth and other climate activists had planned on holding a massive worldwide strike and thousands of public demonstrations to demand that leaders in the public and private spheres take action on climate change. Continue reading

IF YOU MISSED SEEING THIS BEAUTIFUL EVENT LIVE, You Can Still Watch the ‘One World Together At Home’ Virtual Concert


Lady Gaga, to her credit, was a driving force behind this world-wide event

Featuring Stevie Wonder, Lizzo, Paul McCartney, Billie Eilish, Lady Gaga, The Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, John Legend, Elton John and many, many more, this Saturday, April 18th, global concert and tribute to front-line workers, live streamed and broadcast on a number of cable channels, made for one nice shelter in the storm during these perilous times.

You Can Watch It Again on Youtube or by simply clicking on the screen below

This Post Will Also Have A Little to Say About Supporting Musicians and real brick-and-mortar Record Stores Thru this Crisis

A Brief Shout Out for this from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper 

Posted April 19th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Before you might want to click on the screen to watch the concert and tributes to front-line workers, here is a brief promo for it which I have word-doctored just a little bit from future to past tense.

“The International advocacy organization Global Citizen is pulled together a massive global broadcast special in support of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Continue reading

With the Passing of John Prine, We’ve Lost One of the Most Intelligent, Insightful Singer/Songwriters of Our Time

The Legendary Artist Died from Complications of COVID-19 this past April 7th. He was 73

“Please don’t bury me
Down in that cold cold ground
No, I’d druther have “em” cut me up
And pass me all around
Throw my brain in a hurricane
And the blind can have my eyes
And the deaf can take both of my ears
If they don’t mind the size.”

– From  John Prine’s 1973 song, ‘Please Don’t Bury Me’

A Brief Tribute by Doug Draper at Niagara At Large, followed by a great John Prine in performance video, and some beautiful words written about the man from his friend, Arlo Guthrie

A young John Prine from the 1970s, during some of the peak years of the singer/songwriter era.

Posted April 17th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

“John’s talent and spirit was a gift to the world. We were lucky to have seen and heard him.” – Bob Dylan, in a statement he released shortly after learning of John Prine’s death this past April 7th 

Dylan is right.

In or around the early 1990s, my wife Mary and I were lucky enough to see and hear John Prine on the stage at Artpark in Lewiston, New York, on a double bill with his friend and fellow singer/songwriter extraordinaire Arlo Guthrie. Continue reading


Here’s Your Chance to Get Inspiration from the Consummate Masters of isolation

The Film House in St. Catharines is Inviting ies Us All to Support Local Arthouse Cinema Thru These Perilous Times. Read On to Find Out How We All Can Do It and How We Can All Have Some Fun at Home at the Same Time

Posted April 16th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

“Watching silly cat videos is good for you.” – The Wall Street Journal

Some do better in isolation than others, it’s true.

The Film House has been seeking out expertise in this matter and are happy to relay that we’ve uncovered some. There’s probably no other living creature (other than goldfish in bowls) better adapted to our new lifestyle than the consummate house-bound life form, the domestic cat.

That’s why we’re suggesting you take 40 minutes to observe the remarkable behaviours of these allergy provoking critters by screening ** CatVideoFest (

(CVF). This isn’t a pedestrian wandering of the YouTube wasteland, these videos are curated!

CatVideoFest gathers the, “latest and best cat videos culled from countless hours of unique submissions and sourced animations, music videos, and, of course, classic internet powerhouses.” Continue reading

Memorializing late Rush Drummer and One-Time St. Catharines Resident Neil Peart

Voting Opens Friday, April 17th for Lakeside Park Pavilion Naming. Find Link for Online Voting in News Release Below.

The pavilion at Lakeside Park in the community of Port Dalhousie in St. Catharines. Will it have Neil Peart’s name attached to it? Have your say in online voting that begins this Friday, April 17th. The link for voting is included in News Release below.

“After staff review, and consultations with the Peart family, the City (of St. Catharines) has settled on two possible names for the public to vote on –                         ‘Neil Peart Pavilion’ and ‘Lakeside Park Pavilion.’”

A News Release from the City of St. Catharines in Niagara, Ontario

Posted April 14th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – It’s come down to two names, and now it’s time for residents to cast their ballots.

Legendary Rush drummer Neil Peart, who spent some of his young years growing up in St. Catharines, died this past January 7th, 2020 at age 67

After hundreds of submissions for naming of the pavilion at Lakeside Park, City staff have whittled down suggestions to a list of two names for the structure. Earlier this year, following the death of famed Rush drummer and one-time St. Catharines resident Neil Peart, City Council engaged the City’s naming policy, responding to broad support from the community for a means of memorializing Peart.

The initial two-week round of submissions in March echoed that community support, with a deluge of suggestions recognizing the Peart name in some fashion.  Continue reading

‘Bells of Banff’ Help Ring Away Pandemic Blues with a little ‘Amazing Grace’

A Brief One from Doug Draper

Posted April 14th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

The church in the Town of Banff, Alberta and the local eacher, Heather Jean Jordan, who plays ‘Amazing Grace’ each day on the bells in the steeple

This past Monday, April 13th, Niagara At Large posted a video of the great Italian singer Andrea Bocelli, standing alone on the steps of a cathedral in Milan, performing a beautiful version of the ‘Amazing Grace’ to a world of people who sure can use the inspirational words of a song like that now.

Shortly after we posted that video, one of our readers, Gail Benjafield of St. Catharines, was kind enough to share a video she received from her sister Karen, who lives in Alberta.

The video features a school teacher in the Town of Banff named Heather Jean Jordan, who has been climbing the steeple of a local place of worship, St. George’s-in-the-Pines Anglican Church, each day since the Coronavirus outbreak shut so much down and playing ‘Amazing Grace’ on the bells for anyone within ear range to hear.

It’s a very nice video so I thought I would post it here. So with thanks to Gail for sharing it, you can hear and watch by clicking on the screen below –

For a story on the ringing of the Bells in Banff, recently posted on the CBC News site, click on

Here is the piece Niagara At Large posted this April 13, featuring Andrea Bocelli singing Amazing Grace. To visit the post, click on the following link –

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post, along with your name (not a pseudonym), in the space immediately below the Bernie Sanders quote.

 “A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

We Could Use a little “Amazing Grace” Right About Now

‘Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
   I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
   And grace will lead me home.’

– One of the original verses from ‘Amazing Grace’, written in the mid-1700s by the song’s originator, John Newton

A Brief Note from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted April 13th, 2020, during another day at home

Andrea Bocelli, one of the many great artists sharing a few beautiful moments with us while we are isolated in our homes.

During these perilous times, while countless millions of us remain isolated in our homes, music has been playing such has played such a soothing role in lifting spirits and calming fears.

One of the many redeeming things that has come out of this grim moment in our collective lives – and there have been many, if we think of it – is the number of municipal artists around the world, artists who are well known and artists who we have never heard or seen before – who have used the internet to bring a little heart and soul into our homes.

At least some of you may have enjoyed this one already, but here is the great Italian singer Andrea Bocelli, alone on the steps of a cathedral in Milan recently, singing us ‘Amazing Grace.

Click the screen immediately below to watch

 Some of you may know – some may even remember – Amazing Grace serving as a theme song for the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s,

That was way back when it was  recorded and performed by one of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.’s favourite singers, Mahalia Jackson, then most notably by singers like Aretha Franklin, Judy Collins and Joan Baez. Continue reading

It’s Sad Enough Out There Without Losing Bill

Soulful Singer-Songwriter Bill Withers – the ‘Lean On Me’ Man – Leaves Us at 81

A Brief One by Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

Posted April 4th, 2020

A young Bill Withers, around the time he was having big hits with songs like ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ and ‘Use Me’ in the 1970s

As if we haven’t enough to feel sad and worried about these days, what an added drag to learn that yet another creator of music that has become a soundtrack in so many of our lives has died.

Bill Withers, the American singer and songwriter, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer who wrote and performed such great songs as ‘Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone’, ‘Use Me’, ‘Lean On Me’, and who co-wrote ‘Just the Two of Us’ and recorded it with the late, great Buffalo, New York-born sax player Grover Washington, died on March 30th – passing announced by family members a few days later.

Bill Withers was 81 one and no, reportedly he did not die of the virus, but of heart complications.

One of those great songs I listed above, ‘Lean On Me’, has lyrics that are always comforting to hear at times when we might be feeling down. They may be particularly comforting to hear now and, so much so, that I just heard them sung by the good man himself in a post-CO ID 19 outbreak TV ad produced by WalMart. But let’s not hold that against the song

We may not be able to physically lean on each other out in the community now, but we can do it with at members of our family and whoever else we may be staying safely at home with during these perilous times.

And we can all do it virtually through a performance of the song in 2025, when Bill Withers was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland by clicking on the screen below.

You can sing and clap along to the performance, featuring John Legend, and the fan of Bill Withers who entered his name for induction, Stevie Wonder –


Finally, click on the following screen to enjoy a few minutes of vintage Bill Withers from 1981, performing just a little bit of ‘Just The Two Of Us’ –

If you like that song, what I urge you to do is find Grover Washington’s 1981 album Winelight to hear the long version, with all of the wonderful extended sax playing solos by Mr. Washington.

RIP Bill Withers

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post, along with your name (not a pseudonym), in the space immediately below.

Ontario’s Niagara Parks Closes Public Facilities, Outdoor Recreational Amenities Until Further Notice

News from the Niagara Parks Commission in Niagara, Ontario

Posted Aril 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Parks Commission headquarters in Niagara Falls, Ontario

Niagara Falls, Ontario – In response to the current global health crisis and to protect the health and safety of staff and guests, Niagara Parks’ public-facing facilities and outdoor recreational amenities will remain closed until further notice, aligning with action taken across the Province and country to fight the spread of COVID-19.

Niagara Parks first closed its public-facing facilities on March 14, 2020, with tentative plans to reopen on April 6, the original reopening date of publicly funded schools in Ontario which has since been adjusted.

Effective this past March 31, Niagara Parks extended closures to include all outdoor recreational amenities, including remaining public washrooms, picnic areas, playgrounds, park shelters and any other item that is high touch or encourages the gathering of people. These closures will be in effect until further notice.

Niagara Parks will be closely monitoring ongoing developments and announcements from all levels of government and public health officials to determine next steps, including potential reopening dates.

Niagara Parks’ website will remain up to date with the latest information and guests are encouraged to contact<> with any questions, concerns or requests.

About Niagara Parks – Since its establishment in 1885, Niagara Parks has remained a self-financed agency of the Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism & Culture Industries, entrusted to preserve and protect the land surrounding Niagara Falls and the Niagara River.

For more information, please visit<>

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post, along with your name (not a pseudonym), in the space immediately below.

The Great Musicians of the Buffalo Philharmonic Ready to Perform for Us During These Perilous Times

Join the BPO Tuesday, March 24 at 7pm for its first in a series Tuesday archival live concerts broadcast on WNED Classical!

“Over the coming days and weeks, our BPO musicians will unite to bring music to our fans during this difficult time.”

News from the BPO in the great city of neighbours, Buffalo, New York

Posted March 24th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Tuesday’s broadcast features Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony No. 3, originally performed and recorded Saturday May 11, 2019 as part of the M&T Bank Classics series. The program also includes Falla’s Ritual Fire Dance, and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21, K. 467, “Elvira Madigan,” featuring pianist Adam Golka.

These archived concert recordings will be available each Tuesday at 7pm for the next several weeks by tuning in to 94.5 FM, or by streaming at (, via the WNED Classical mobile app, or by listening to WNED Classical via smart speaker.  Continue reading

Shake Away the Coronavirus Blues by Watching Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Concerts at Home

Way to Go BPO – Tune in to WNED Classical for a FREE BPO broadcast!

The seats in Kleinhain’s Music Hall may be temporarily empty, but the BPO plays on.

Some Uplifting News from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO) in Buffalo, New York

Posted March 19th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

A Brief Foreword Note from Doug Draper at NAL – From classically trained instrumentalists and singers entertaining their neighbours from balconies in Italy to members of the Hamilton-based band The Arkells offering guirtar lessons on-line, artists around the world are rising up to keep us from going nuts while we are pent up in our homes.

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra – known simply as the BPO to the countless many who follow this world-class music machine – circulated the following good news for us a day or so ago, and Niagara At Large will be posting more news like this when we can.

Now here is the news from the BPO –

Buffalo, New York – During this uncertain and stressful time, we believe that it is essential to unite through music. Over the next several weeks, we are partnering with WNED Classical, Buffalo Toronto Public Media’s Classical music station, to broadcast archived live recordings of BPO concerts. Continue reading

Thorold Garden Club Cancels Upcoming Meeting in Wake of Coronavirus Outbreak

“I am asking for your support as we cancel our garden club meeting Wednesday, March 18th. We will show the movie The Gardener as soon as it is safe to congregate – again.”                      – Leslie Daniels, Thorold Garden Club in Niagara, Ontario

A Message from Thorold Garden Club President Leslie Daniels

Posted March 17th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

In Italy “there is no more time”…

In Canada we are taking steps, but there are also those who think we are over-reacting and that the Coronavirus is “only a flu” and only the elderly, or those with compromised health need worry.

Not so. If we continue with our normal daily lives this virus will continue to spread throughout our population. Carriers with no symptoms will bring it home, leave it on buses, in stores and other places people gather and it will spread – fast and effectively.

Eventually, like in Italy our health care system will be inundated with those requiring lifesaving intervention and hospital treatment. What happens when the numbers of contagion do not go down?

The growth rate tells us from experience that it will multiply the numbers of people who, at the least, needing care they will end up over taxing our health care system until it fails and there are no beds, staff or ICU places left?

The only way to combat this at all is to remove the hosts the virus needs to live: That is US – people…  It cannot spread without us.

So what does that mean?

That means STOP going to meetings, work, recreational activities. Take precautions, wash your hands frequently and keep your hands away from your face. If you possibly can stay home – nothing is so important that it cannot wait.

However, by missing a few gatherings, taking yourself out of potential for exposure can help to stem the rapidly increased numbers of hosts exposed and passing this on to other friends and family. Might save a death from pneumonia for someone as well.

Think of Italy, their time ran out – we still have a little leeway. No need to panic, but we should use it wisely.

Because of this I am asking for your support as we cancel our garden club meeting Wednesday, March 18th. We will show the movie The Gardener as soon as it is safe to congregate – again.

For those who may have a Smart TV they can sign up for $2.99/mo. to the app Curiosity Stream and watch it there as well as many other fantastic documentaries.

Till then, Happy St. Patrick’s Day and stay safe. (Fingers crossed we will be able to hold our meeting in April!)

 – Leslie Daniels, President , Thorold Garden Club,

91 Years and Still Growing Strong!

You can read the original news release that Niagara At Large posted on this now cancelled/postponed event, which includes a trailer for the film The Gardener, by clicking on –

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A Reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For More News And Commentary From Niagara At Large – An independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara Region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at .

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

The Late Kirk Douglas’s Film ‘Spartacus’ Was ‘Pivotal to 20th Century History of Confronting Injustice and Oppression’

“It was credited with effectively ending the Hollywood blacklist and has been recognized as providing social commentary on the Civil Rights Movement in its treatment of women, African-Americans, and same-sex relationships.”                                             – Classics Professor at Brock University, Katharine von Stackelberg, reflects on legacy of Spartacus

News from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario

Posted February 11th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Of all the films he appeared in, Kirk Douglas, who passed away last week at the age of 103, was perhaps best known for his starring role in the 1960 film Spartacus.

Although Douglas was a controversial figure — including serious sexual misconduct allegations that came to light later in his life — Spartacus is seen as an important film that dealt with significant contemporary issues.







“The film was pivotal to 20th century history of confronting injustice and oppression,” says Katharine von Stackelberg, Associate Professor with the Department of Classics at Brock. “People keep thinking slavery is just something that belongs to the past, but as I emphasize in the slavery module of my introduction to Roman civilization course, slavery is very much a present and ongoing issue.” Continue reading

Goodbye to Kirk Douglas – One of the Very Last of the Greatest from Hollywood’s Golden Age of Film

And Maybe One of the Last of Those Who Would Stand Tall During Dark Times in America’s Democracy

“I’ve played some good guys as well, in Spartacus, Paths of Glory and my favorite picture, Lonely Are the Brave, so I had a mixture of parts in my life.” – Kirk Douglas

A Brief One from Doug Draper

Posted February 6th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

the now late, great Kirk Douglas

Not to many people under the age of 40 – unless they study film at college or university – know who Kirk Douglas is or know what ‘the golden age of Hollywood; means anymore, so I am not going to spend much time with this.

Except to say that one of the greatest film actors of the 20th Century – one of the actors that invented the ‘anti-hero’ and championed films that the corporatists in Hollywood would not necessarily make – died this February, at the grand old age of 103, and he is one of those who definitely deserves to be remembered.

His name was Kirk Douglas, and along with the already late great Marlon Brando, Tony Curtis, Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, William Holden, Humphrey Bogart, Spencer Tracey, and others of their ilk, he deserves to go down among the great, ground-breaking film actors and artists of the last hundred years. Continue reading

We Are All Invited To A Photo Exhibition – Welland: Times Present, Times Past – Featuring the Work of one of Niagara’s Most Respected Artistic Photographers Sandy Fairbairn

 From Saturday, February 15th to Sunday, March 15th, 2020, at AIH Studios in Welland, Ontario

‘Many of (Sandy Fairbairn’s) images recall the industrial history of the region, and others chronicle the ebb and flow of the downtown urban life of Welland.’

News from Bart GGazzola for AIH Studies in Niagara, Ontario

Posted January 22nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

AIH Studios in Niagara, Ontario is very pleased to present Sandy Fairbairn’s exhibition Welland: Times Present Times Past from February 15th to March 15th 2020.

Curated by Bart Gazzola, the opening reception for Welland: Times Present Times Past will be on Saturday, February 15th,  from 2 to 5 PM.

Sandy Fairbairn has been taking photographs of Niagara for over forty years, focusing on the people and places around him. His images of Niagara stretch back to the 1970s, and some of the scenes presented in Welland: Time Present Time Past will be shown in the Rose City for the very first time. Continue reading

Linda Ronstadt’s Iconic Singing Career is Immortalized in a Moving Film Documentary

Watch ‘Linda Ronstadt – The Sound of My Voice’ on Cable TV, this Saturday, January 4th at 9 p.m. (updated)

“Linda was like the queen. She was like what Beyoncé is now.”~ Bonnie Raitt, another legendary singer and musician, and a good friend of Linda Ronstadt

By Doug Draper, an incurable Linda Ronstadt fan

Posted December 31st, 2019 on Niagara At Large

If you are as much of a fan of legendary pop singer Linda Ronstadt as I am, and you have access to cable television on New Year’s Day, here is something I am sure you would enjoy.

This Saturday January 4st, at 9 p.m. on CNN, the network will be broadcasting on TV screens for one of the first times (the first broadcast was this past January 1st) a full-length film documentary it produced this outgoing year called “Linda Ronstadt – The Sound of My Voice.”

I was fortunate enough to see this documentary on the big screen, at a repertory theatre on Cape Cod, Massachusetts last September, with a full house of film goers who broke out in spontaneous applause as the final credits began to roll. Continue reading

For Those of Us Who Love Buying Our Music in a Real Record Store, Welcome to Hi-Fi Hits

Two former Record Theatre employees keep the Fun and Magic of Record Stores Alive in the Buffalo, New York Area

A Shout Out from One Record Store Lover to All Others

From Doug Draper

Posted December 16th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Former Record Theatre employees Andrew Mallon (left) and Joe Igielinski, at work in Joe’s new record store, Hi-Fi Hits in Williamsville, New York

Let me get this out of the way, right here at the top.

The following is by no means a paid ad and there is nothing in the way of compensation I am getting for writing and posting this other than whatever little I can do to help real brick and mortar record stores survive a vacuous era of online shopping that takes all of the heart and soul out of buying recorded music.

Those who have been loyal followers of Niagara At Large know that along with news and commentary about the climate emergency and about a whole host of other issues affecting our lives, I like to take time every once in a while to raise a voice of support for people and places I believe add to the richness of life in our communities. Continue reading

A Happy 80th Birthday to one of Canada’s, and the World’s, Greatest Living People – Margaret Atwood

“War is what happens when language fails.”
― Margaret Atwood

“Stupidity is the same as evil if you judge by the results.”
― Margaret Atwood

A Brief Comment by Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

Posted November 18th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

One of Canada’s greatest, Margaret Atwood, turned 80 this November 18th

Whenever I hear someone say Margaret Atwood’s name – and I know this is going to sound so silly given all the rich rewards she has brought to our lives through her writings – one of the first things that comes to mind is the role she played with others eight years ago to stop Doug Ford and his now late brother Rob from cutting funding for Toronto public libraries.

When asked about Atwood’s involvement in fight against library cuts, Doug Ford – then a Toronto city councillor and now premier of Ontario – was quoted telling a reporter; “I don’t even know her.”

Blathering on as if he were proud of himself for saying something that might impress a bunch of old school pals sitting at a bar, Ford punctuated his naked stupidity with the obvious follow-up; “If she walked by me, I wouldn’t have a clue who she is.”

Sad to think that it was episodes like this that endeared Doug Ford to enough Ontarians (“I like him cause he sounds like a regular guy,” I’ve heard more than a few of my fellow Ontarians say) to plunk him in the seat of the most important political office in the province.

For those of us who at least know who Margaret Atwood is, the Canadian author who has become known and celebrated around the world for  critically acclaimed, award-winning books like ‘Cat’s Eye’, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, and her most recent runaway bestseller, ‘The Testament’, turned 80 this November 18th, and a very happy birthday to her.

Margaret Atwood is not only a great writer. She has shown herself to be a great humanitarian for at least as many years as people began reading her work some five decades ago.

For this long-time environment writer, I also became aware earlier on that she has been passionate spokesperson for protesting and preserving the life-sustaining gifts of our mother earth.

On that score, Margaret Atwood has been among a growing number of others who have called out for action on climate change.

Here is just an excerpt of an article she wrote in 2015 on the subject –

Says Margaret Atwood of 16-year-old Swedish climate active Greta Thunberg – “She’s wonderful and she’s impervious to people slagging her off.”

“The laws of science are unrelenting, and they don’t give second chances. In fact, that bill is already coming due.

“There are many … effects (of climate change), from species extinction to the spread of diseases to a decline in overall food production, but the main point is that these effects are not happening in some dim, distant future. They are happening now. And in response to our growing awareness, there have been some changes in public and political attitudes (though not universal).

“Some acknowledge the situation, but shrug and go about their lives taking a “What can I do?” position. Some merely despair. But only those with their heads stuck so firmly into the sand that they’re talking through their nether ends are still denying that reality has changed.”

Happy Birthday Margaret Atwood, and may there be many, many more.

To read the full article that  Margaret Atwood wrote three years ago on the climate emergency we are now facing, click on –

To watch a great interview with Margaret Atwood, broadcast on CBC’s program Q this November 18th, 2019, click on –

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For More News And Commentary From Niagara At Large – An independent, alternative voice for our  Greater Bi-National Niagara Region – Become A Regular Visitor And Subscriber To NAL At Www.Niagaraatlarge.Com .

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

St. Catharines’ Mayor Presents Key to the City to Chorus Niagara’s Artistic Director Robert Cooper 

“Mr. Cooper’s talent and experience as a conductor could truly take him anywhere in the world and he continues to support local arts and music right here, in our hometown and for that we are grateful.” – St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik 

News from the City of St. Catharines 

Posted November 7th, 2019 on Niagara At Large 

Niagara, Ontario – Earlier this November,  Mayor Walter Sendzik presented the Key to the City to Robert Cooper, artistic director of Chorus Niagara at the launch of his 30th anniversary season with the chorus.

Mayor Walter Sendzik presentes the key to the city to Robert Cooper, artistic director of Chorus Niagara at the launch of his 30th anniversary season with the chorus, at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

 “Mr. Cooper has led a remarkable career, teaching, conducting and amplifying voices across Canada. His talent and expertise in the choral arts has been recognized internationally and it is fitting that we recognize his contributions to the local arts community in St. Catharines with the key to the city,” stated Mayor Sendzik.  Continue reading

A Moving, Mind-Blowing Film to See on the Eve of Remembrance Day

See “They Shall Not Grow Old” – November 6th, 9th and 10th, at The Film House in St. Catharines/Niagara

Posted November 6th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Peter Jackson’s war documentary – They Shall Not Grow Old – reflects the human experience during World War I.

 They Shall Not Grow Old brings to life the realities for those that fought in the First World War.  Academy Award-winner Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) presents the Great War in a breathtaking new light.

Utilizing more than 600 hours of archived videos from the Imperial War Museums, the filmmaker brings to life the unknown truths and uncertainties which the soldiers faced.  

They Shall Not Grow Old screens at The Film House on Wednesday 6 November at 7:00 pm, Saturday 9 November at 6:30 pm and Sunday 10 November at 4:00 pm. Continue reading

Buffalo’s Off Beat Cinema Celebrates 26th Anniversary On-Air & Launch Of A New Book With Party At Rohall’s Corner

50’s inspired themed party – Thursday, October 24th, 6-10 pm. Rohall’s Corner, 540 Amherst St. Buffalo, NY.

 A special book launch, “Movies 365: A Good Movie for Every Day of the Year”by Greg Sterlace! Enjoy food, music, and more

Posted October 23, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Buffalo, N.Y. – Buffalo’s longest-running nationally syndicated television show is “Off Beat Cinema,” celebrating 26 years on-the-air Midnight October 26th with the screening of “Night of The Living Dead.”

The program is based out of flagship station WBBZ-TV, and airs on over 90 television stations on the Retro Network. The Saturday night movie show has partnered with author / underground filmmaker, Greg Sterlace, on his latest book release; “Movies 365: A Good Movie for Every Day of the Year.”

This is the perfect combination of the eclectic movie-based show and the eccentric writer of pop culture.

To celebrate, the Off Beat Cinema cast and crew are throwing a party, thatis FREE to the public on Thursday, October 24th from 6-10 p.m at Rohall’s Corner, 540 Amherst Street. Continue reading

A Brief Tribute to One of Rock Music’s Greatest Drummers – Ginger Baker

August 19th, 1039 to October 6th, 2019

He was a member of the legendary power trio, Cream

By Doug Draper

Posted October 13th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

It is a little belated, but I can’t go let another day go by without posting a wee bit of a tribute to Ginger Baker, who was, without question, one of the greatest rock drummers in the world.

Ginger Baker, in action during the 1960s, with the legendary super group Cream

Ginger (Peter Edward) Baker, who found himself, along with Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, swept to worldwide fame in the 1960s as part of the powerhouse trio Cream, died this October 6th in his native at age 80.

Eighty-years old! I know the years have been racing by, but that is still a little a little wild to rap my mind around. 

I can still remember those jaw-dropping moments, as a young kid in high school, turning on a radio and, for the very first time, listening to one of their most commercially successful songs, ‘Sunshine of Your Love’, from an album called ‘Disraeli Gears’, which has stood the test of time, more than 50 years later. Continue reading

Time Flies When You Are Making Music!

Celebrating 30 years of Robert Cooper with CHORUS NIAGARA

‘One of Canada’s foremost choral musicians, Robert Cooper is also Artistic Director of the Orpheus Choir of Toronto and the Opera in Concert Chorus.’

An Invite to All from Chorus Niagara in Niagara, Ontario

Posted October 10th, 2019 on Niagara At Large It thrills us to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Chorus Niagara Artistic Director Robert Cooper.

Chorus Niagara artistic director Robert Cooper

Bob’s artistic leadership drives Chorus Niagara’s pursuit of musical excellence and our continued success as a pillar of the arts in Niagara. We dedicate our 57th season to him and his ongoing musical legacy in the choral arts in Canada.

After 31 successful years bringing fine vocal and choral music to all of Canada as Executive Producer of Opera and Choral Music for CBC Radio Two, Mr. Cooper now pursues a full-time conducting schedule.

One of Canada’s foremost choral musicians, Robert Cooper is also Artistic Director of the Orpheus Choir of Toronto and the Opera in Concert Chorus. He is formerly the Artistic Director of the Ontario Male Chorus. He taught for several years as a member of the Choral Department, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto and conducted the National Youth Choir of Canada, the Ontario Youth Choir (1979, 2007) and a Celebration of Canadian Choral Music at Carnegie Hall. Continue reading

Annual Ball’s Falls Thanksgiving Festival Celebrates 45 Years

Friday, Oct. 11 thru Monday, Oct. 14, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

An Invite to All from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

Posted October 10, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – More than 170 unique artisans, crafters, local farmers, and talented musicians from across the country will once again descend upon Ball’s Falls Conservation Area this long weekend, for the 45th Annual Ball’s Falls Thanksgiving Festival.

In addition to the arts, crafts, and wares, visitors will enjoy the incredible beauty and spectacular scenery nestled on the majestic Niagara Escarpment and Twenty Valley ecosystem.

Continue reading

Fall Colours on Full Display this Thanksgiving Weekend at Ontario’s Niagara Parks

Niagara Parks’ Nature Centre overlooking a spectacular Niagara Glen and the lower Niagara River. All photos courtesy of Niagara Parks

Niagara Parkway and trail network offer stunning views from lake to lake

Iconic ‘Friends’ couch coming to Table Rock

Reflect upon a moment in history during Battle of Queenston Heights memorial

Locally sourced menus and Thanksgiving Brunch at Niagara Parks restaurants

Last chance for fall promotions at Niagara Parks Golf Courses

News from Ontario’s Niagara Parks Commission

Posted October 10th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Hiking Niagara Parks’ scenic trails

Niagara Falls, Ontario – Celebrate the transition to fall and take in the vibrant colours by exploring the hiking trails, parks, gardens and natural wonders found throughout Niagara Parks, as you enjoy the beauty and serenity of the fall colours all along the scenic Niagara Parkway.

Thanksgiving weekend is the perfect chance to take advantage of the remaining warm temperatures and enjoy all there is to do at Niagara Parks: 

56 Kilometres of Breathtaking Autumn Landscape 

The Niagara region is famous for its stunning fall scenes, from rolling hills lined with vineyards to roadside fruit stands offering locally grown produce, and Niagara Parks is no exception. Continue reading

Beach Boys Legend Brian Wilson Surfs On at Artpark

Following a Seven-Week Postponement, Brian Wilson Keeps his Promise to Fans to bring his Pet Sounds Tour show to Lewiston, New York

“Dear Friends,

“It is with great regret that I need to postpone my upcoming June tour,” wrote Brian Wilson this past spring in an open letter to ticket holders for the Artpark show and other shows on the tour.

“It is no secret that I have been living with mental illness for many decades. There were times when it was unbearable but with doctors and medications I have been able to live a wonderful, healthy and productive life with support from my family, friends and fans who have helped me through this journey. …  But then it crept back and I’ve been struggling with stuff in my head and saying things I don’t mean and I don’t know why.

“It’s something I’ve never dealt with before and we can’t quite figure it out just yet.

“I’m going to rest, recover and work with my doctors on this. I’m looking forward to my recovery and seeing everyone later in the year.

“The music and my fans keep me going and I know this will be something I can AGAIN overcome.” – Love & Mercy, Brian Wilson”

Beach Boys co-founder and music legend Brian Wilson

A Brief Tribute to Music Legend Brian Wilson By Doug Draper

Posted August 9th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

I’m one of those people who can still remember where I was the first time I heard a song that I immediately fell in love with. Continue reading

St. Catharines’ Lakeside Park Carousel is Reopening this Friday, August 9th 

Popular Carousel to resume operations following recent flash flooding around Lake Ontario shoreline areas

High water levels continue to impact other parts of Lakeside Park. The east Port Dalhousie pier and the Lakeside Park Beach remain temporarily closed to the public until further notice for safety reasons.  

News from the City of St. Catharines in Niagara, Ontario 

Posted August 9th, 2019 on Niagara At Large 

After a two-day closure due to flooding at Lakeside Park in Port Dalhousie, the carousel will reopen on Friday, Aug. 9.

City crews have spent the last two days pumping water out of the area, and cleaning up any mud and debris following the intense rain on Tuesday night.

An assessment of the carousel shows there was no damage sustained due to the active weather. The Lakeside Park Carousel will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. until Monday, Sept. 2. Continue reading

The World Can’t Afford to Lose People Like Toni Morrison Now

The Celebrated Nobel Prize-Winning Author & Humanitarian Dies at Age 88

A Brief Comment from Doug Draper

Posted August 6th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Legendary writer and Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison has left the madhouse

“Authoritarian regimes, dictators, despot are often, but not always, fools. But none are foolish enough to give perceptive, dissident writers free range to publish their judgments or follow their creative instincts. They know they do so at their own peril. They are not stupid enough to abandon control (overt or insidious) over media. Their methods include surveillance, censorship, arrest, even slaughter of those writers informing and disturbing the public.”                                                                                          – Toni Morrison, for the introduction of “Burn This Book”, a collection of essays by prominent writers about the power of the written word and efforts by fascists and other totalitarian thugs to discredit or destroy writing they find threatening to them.

In her words above, Toni Morrison might just have well have included the use of terms like “fake news” and “enemies of the people” and another strategy for assaulting writers and their work. And those two terms, the second of which has origins at least going back to the deadly purges of Soviet strongman Joseph Stalin, are not just the stuff of Trump.

As recently as a few weeks ago, a couple of middle-aged, white Tory businessmen I will not identify by name here, were using them with an air of mockery and disdain for the news media right here in Niagara, within earshot of this journalist and other members of the media. Why is it more often today’s breed of Tories in Canada and Republicans in the United States who are attacking one of the pillars of our freedom and democracy? Continue reading