Category Archives: Arts & Entertainment

On This Coming Record Store Day, Here Are Some Great Ones to Visit in Our Region

Cool Beat Music and Books in Cheektowaga, New York and Niagara Records in St. Catharines, Ontario

“There is nothing as glamorous to me as a record store.”                Paul McCartney

A Brief Call-Out for Record Stores  from Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

Posted April 10th, 2019

This coming Saturday, April 13th is a very special day for those of us who love music and, most importantly, for what are left of the marvellous and magical places in our regions that bring that great music too us.

This Saturday, April 13th marks the 11th annual ‘Record Store Day’ across North America and other parts of the world – a day when those of us who love music and the very special sense of community music inspires when we experience it together can do that coming together at favourite brick and mortar record stores, to support and celebrate t what Paul McCartney rightly calls the glamour and the joy they can bring to our lives.

Cool Beat Music and Books, one of the great stores for records in the greater Niagara region – this one in nearby Cheektowaga, New York

Those of you who regularly visit  Niagara At Large may already know that I like to advocate for supporting what are left of some of the great  independently owned stores in our region, and recently I highlighted three of the best used book stores, including Hannelore Headley Old and Fine Books and The Write Bookshop in St. Catharines, Ontario and  Rust Belt Books  in Buffalo, New Year.

This time, on the eve of this year’s Record Store Day, I want to mention at least a couple of the  coolest record stores on either side of the Niagara River.

And I’ll start with one called Cool Beat Music and Books that you can find on the American side of the border, less than a 10 minute drive from downtown Buffalo, New York on 2445 William Street in neighbouring Cheektowaga.

Inside the Cool Beat store with owner Wayne Zaganiaczyk, a veteran record and book seller in the region.

If you are wondering how you are going to find this very cool store, I will include a link for a map you can click on near the bottom of this post. For now, all you need to know is that Cool Beat is a store well worth finding. Continue reading


Brock University Proposal Sees A New Era For The Arts In Downtown St. Catharines

“A vibrant arts culture is crucial to the health and vitality of the entire Niagara region.” – Brock President Gervan Fearon

News from Brock University in St. Catharines/Niagara

Posted April 3rd, 2019 on Niagara At Large

The historic Rodman Hall art centre in St. Catharines/Niagara

Niagara, Ontario – Brock University is committed to advancing its pledge to help grow vitality and development in downtown St. Catharines.

The University and community partners are therefore exploring a plan to preserve historic Rodman Hall, provide modern space for the Rodman Hall art collection, and help create a new arts and culture hub in downtown St. Catharines.

The plan is based on commitments that would give the local arts community expanded space and long-term stability in modern, climate-controlled facilities that are conducive to storing and showing works of art, this despite the University needing to find more than $15 million in budget savings after the province announced tuition cuts on Jan. 17. Continue reading

If You Like Used Books Stores, You Will Love Rust Belt Books in Buffalo, New York

Visit Rust Belt Books this Coming Monday, April 1st thru Friday, April 5th for its annual ‘Backroom Book Sale’ where you can get a Bag of Books for just Five Bucks

One of the very cool cats you may meet at Rust Belt Books in Buffalo

Another Brief Call-Out for Supporting Great Book and Record Stores from Doug Draper

Posted March 28th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

If you are a regular visitor to Niagara At Large, as we hope you are, then you already know that we are strong supporters of locally owned book and record stores here.

We believe that the best of these great stores are not only good for the local economy, they also add, immeasurably, to heart and soul of any community worth living in.

Rust Belt Books on 415 Grant Street in Buffalo, New York.

That’s why we take a little time out to promote some of these stores for no compensation other than this. … For the sake of our communities, we want these places where people can go to share their passion for books and music to survive and thrive.

And one such place that serves as a great commons for book livers in Rust Belt Books, located right across the border from Niagara, Ontario, on 415 Grant Street in Buffalo, New York .

If you have never had the pleasure of shopping in this store, and meeting its nice owner, this coming Monday, April 1st through Friday, April 5th is a good time to start because the store is hosting its annual “Backroom Book Sale” where for five American bucks you can purchase a whole bag of books. Continue reading

Brock University to Screen Award-Winning Film ‘Moose River Crossing’ – Friday, March 22nd   

Film, produced by Brock Chancellor Shirley Cheechoo, examines Residential School system in Canada. Admission is Free

News from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario

Posted March 19th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Brock University Chancellor and Moose River Crossing filmmaker Shirley Cheechoo

A special screening of the award-winning film, Moose River Crossing, by Brock University Chancellor Shirley Cheechoo will take place on campus Friday, March 22.

Cheechoo, who was appointed to a second term in her role with the University last June, will begin the evening by reading a passage from her play about residential schools, and will follow the film screening with a question-and-answer session with the audience. Drummers from the Niagara Women’s Drum Group will also perform.

Moose River Crossing examines the residential school system through the eyes of six fictional former students who meet at a train station to head to a reunion. They flash back to the troubling times they experienced at the residential school and aim to answer the question of whether or not time heals all wounds. Continue reading

Visit Two of Niagara, Ontario’s Great Used Book Stores & Help Keep Great Stores Like Them Alive

 – Hannelore Headley Old and Fine Books & The Write Bookshop in St. Catharines –

Both Stores Are Bursting With Books, Now on Sale for 50 Per Cent Off for the Whole Month of March

A call of support for some of the Best Independent Stores in our Greater Niagara Region by Doug Draper

Posted March 14th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

“Books are everywhere; and always the same sense of adventure fills us. Second-hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack –  from Street Haunting, a book of essays by Virginia Woolf

Hannelore Headley Old and Fine Books on 71 Queen Street in St. Catharines near Lake Street and Montebello Park

In an age when online shopping threatens the survival of brick and mortar stores, I hope the day never comes when we are sorry that they are all gone.

Call me out of step with the brave new world of eBay and Amazon, if you like, but I think our towns and cities would be pretty deadening places to live in if there were no more brick and mortar stores.

And that would be especially true, in my view, if we lost every last independent book and record store, where a person can go and experience a real sense of community with others who share their passion for good books and music.

In that spirit, I am going to make a habit on Niagara At Large of devoting a little more space to drawing attention to and encouraging all of us to support what are left of the independent book and music stores on both sides of the border in our Niagara and Erie county regions, lest we lose these great places.

The Write Bookshop on 285 St. Paul Street in downtown St. Catharines

So I begin with two of the very best used book stores in all of Niagara, Ontario, and they are both having store-wide 50 per cent off sales all this month, right through to end of Saturday, March 30th. Continue reading

Niagara Falls to be Illuminated in Green for St. Patrick’s Day – Sunday, March 17th

Niagara Falls Illumination Board to take part in the annual “Global Greening” campaign

An Invite to the Falls from Ontario’s Niagara Parks Commission

Posted March 14th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls, Ontario – In partnership with Tourism Ireland’s “Global Greening” campaign, the Niagara Falls Illumination Board will once again light up Niagara Falls in green on Sunday, March 17 in celebration of all things Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.

Photo courtesy of Niagara Parks Commission

Both the American and Canadian Horseshoe Falls will be bathed with vibrant green light for 15-minute intervals at the top of the hour from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., joining numerous prominent world icons such as the Sydney Opera House, Empire State Building, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, the London Eye, the Colosseum in Rome and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, to name but a few. Continue reading

Make Ontario’s Niagara Parks Your March Break Destination

Visit the Art of Nature exhibit at the Butterfly Conservatory

Take part in Birds in Flight photography sessions

Enjoy interactive heritage programming at Table Rock Centre

Niagara Parks goes Green for St. Patrick’s Day with special Falls illumination and Irish-themed menu at Queen Victoria Place Restaurant

Plan a full day and save on Niagara Parks attractions with the Wonder Pass

An Invite to All from Ontario’s Niagara Parks Commission

Posted March 5th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Inside Niagara Park’s Butterfly Observatory

Niagara Falls, Ontario  – Niagara Parks will be presenting an exciting lineup of March Break events and activities all along the Niagara River corridor from March 9 through to March 17.

Visitors of all ages will enjoy the majesty of Niagara Falls alongside awe-inspiring natural attractions, special exhibits and programming, as well as locally sourced Feast On certified culinary experiences. Continue reading