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No Vaccine Passports in Ontario? Why Not, Premier Ford?

Sign A Petition for Vaccine Passports in Ontario and Across all of Canada

A Call-Out for Vaccine Passports from Masks4Canada, a coalition of medical doctors, scientists and other groups of people across Canada

Posted August 13th, 2021 on Niagara at Large

Vaccine Passports are necessary in Canada to stop Covid-19

Masks4Canada started this petition to Federal and provincial leaders.

Dear Premiers of Canada, Prime Minister Trudeau, Dr. Theresa Tam, Hon. Patty Hajdu, Hon. provincial ministers of health, and municipal leaders across Canada,

As members of the medical science community in Canada, we would like to thank you for your ongoing guidance and leadership during this challenging chapter of our country’s history. There are so many difficult decisions to make, and we recognize your efforts in navigating all Canadians through these treacherous waters.

We wanted to take the opportunity to weigh in on the vaccine passport issue, which we understand has been a point of contention and a potentially divisive issue. Viewing with alarm the situation in Europe, the United States, and more recently, in Alberta and British Columbia, we wanted to offer our thoughts on the issue. Continue reading

Trudeau Expected To Call Snap Election for September 20th – Breaking News from CBC

Are You Ready for This? Do You Want a Federal Election Now?

A Brief One Posted by Doug Draper on Niagara At Large

August 12th, 2021

According to a breaking report from CBC News, issued at noon hour this August 12th, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected, as soon as this coming weekend, to call a snap election, with voters going to the polls on September 20th.

So here we apparently go, even as COVID-19 case numbers ramp up across the country due to a highly infectious Delta variant of the virus.

More on this later. In the meantime, what do you think about a federal election now?

Here is a link to CBC’s breaking news report –

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

Join a Citizens Campaign to Save Endangered and Waverly Woods in Fort Erie

A Message from Marcie Jacklin and Community Voices of Fort Erie

Posted August 12th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

One of the many residents of Waverly Woods – now a target for urban development

Fort Erie, Canada – One of the most important things about the Waverley Woods/Erie Beach property (now a target for urban development in Fort Erie) is that it is host to a variety of species of birds, plants, and other wildlife.

It is essential that these species are documented, and there are several ways that you can help to build the natural science information database available for this special place.   One easy way is to use the app called “” .

This useful app (which you can download either to your phone or computer) will help you identify what you see, as well as record your sightings and add photos.  Another way of submitting data is by completing the form at Docs/EN/ProvincialServices/NHIC Multiple Observation Reporting ‘ Continue reading

Join the NPCA In Shaping The Next 10 Years Of Conservation, Together

The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority Invites Community to Virtual Public Information Session on Thursday, August 19

A Call-Out of All of Us from the Niagara Peninsula Peninsula Conservation Authority

Posted August 12th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) invites members of the community in Niagara, Haldimand, and Hamilton to its upcoming virtual information session on August 19. Residents of the watershed will have a first look at key components of the NPCA’s new 10-year Strategic Plan, developed through the recent involvement of the community and stakeholders.


Earlier in the spring, the NPCA engaged with the watershed community through a public survey to obtain input on broad strategic priorities and gather ideas toward a shared vision.

More than 500 surveys were received and considered while preparing the components of the draft strategic plan, led by staff under the direction of a Strategic Planning Committee of the NPCA Board of Directors and advice from the NPCA Public Advisory Committee.   Continue reading

On Vaccine Passports, Liberal Government Steps Up To Fill Doug Ford’s Leadership Void

“Ontario Liberals have been fighting for this responsible public health measure for weeks while Doug Ford has pandered to his fringe anti-vaxxer supporters.” – Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca

‘This is about protecting our most vulnerable, stopping a fourth wave, and keeping Ontario open for good.’

A Statement from Ontaro’s Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca

Posted August 12th , 2021 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO – Ontario Liberal Leader, Steven Del Duca issued the following statement:

“On behalf of the Ontario Liberal Party and all Ontarians, I would like to thank Prime Minister Trudeau for stepping up (this August 11th) and pledging a secure vaccination certification tool.

Ontario Liberals are calling on Doug Ford to immediately begin working with the federal Liberal Government to get this right. Continue reading

The Solutions to the Climate Crisis No One Is Talking About

“If these solutions sound drastic to you, it’s because they are. They have to be if we have any hope of keeping our planet habitable.”

By Robert Reich, from the the American economist’s and former Labour Secretary for U.S. President Bill Clinton’s Blog site

Posted August 12th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

American economist and former staffer for three U.S. presidents, Robert Reich

In light of the latest (United Nations) IPCC report on climate change, it’s crucial we remember these four steps to avoiding a climate catastrophe.

First, create green jobs. Investing in renewable energy could create millions of family sustaining, union jobs and build the infrastructure we need for marginalized communities to access clean water and air.

Second, stop dirty energy. A massive investment in renewable energy jobs isn’t enough to combat the climate crisis. If we are going to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we must tackle the problem at its source: Stop digging up and burning more oil, gas, and coal. Continue reading

Alarming Threat Against Fort Erie Black Woman Triggers Calls for RCMP Investigation

Fort Erie Mayor Asks Niagara Regional Police About Referring Investigation to RCMP As Over 100 Rally in Support of Fort Erie Black Woman Under Anonymous Threats

News from the Niagara Region Anti-Racism Association

Posted August 11th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

FORT ERIE, Ontario  – Over 100 people rallied (recently) in support of Natalee Cole, a Black resident of Fort Erie, who has been receiving anonymous threatening letters complaining about her music which escalated to a terrorist threat, “your neighbours and I will burn your house down with you inside.”

Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop, among those attending in support, has asked the Niagara Regional Police (NRP) about referring the investigation to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

The threats are being investigated by the NRP as serious under incident# 21-78814. Ms. Cole’s family is one of only two Black households in the neighborhood. The rally was organized on July 31, 2021 by the Niagara Region Anti-Racism Association (NRARA) which is supporting Ms. Cole.

Ms. Cole and her daughter moved to Fort Erie two years ago and are one of only two Black households in the neighborhood. Other neighbors play music at a comparable volume but only Ms. Cole has received threatening letters.

She has received several anonymous letters as have Fort Erie City Hall and the Niagara Regional Police, who saw no cause to take action against Ms. Cole over the volume of music. Continue reading

Canada’s PM Slams China on Sham Trial and Sentencing of Canadian Citizen

“China’s conviction and sentencing of Michael Spavor is absolutely unacceptable and unjust.” – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

All Communist China Nationals should be barred from Canada and Have Any Asset They Own Here Frozen – Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

A Statement by the Prime Minister on the verdict of Michael Spavor

Posted August 11th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

A Brief Foreword from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large –

Michael Spavor, jut one Canadian targetted for a sham trial and harsh sentencing in Communist China

It is at least heartening to see Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finally issue some tough language after spending too much of the last six years pandering and genuflecting to China’s Communist government for crass business reasons.

Yet what is Trudeau going to do to put some fire behind his words?

Here are just a few ideas I have heard from foreign affairs experts over the past couple of days since this outrageous sentence was delivered by one of the Communist China kangaroo courts to one of Canada’s ‘two Michaels.’

First, immediately ban entrance to Canada of all Chinese students wanting to attend universities and colleges in our country. As has been said, many if not all of these students are members of elite China families who are in bed with that country’s brutal communist regime. They come here, reportedly,  because they prize a so-called English education, so let’s bar them of that.

 Canada should immediately urge our allies, including the United States and all free, democratic countries in Europe to do the same. Continue reading

Vaccine Certificates – You Can Call Them Vaccine Passports, If Care To – CANNOT WAIT – Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party

“The millions of Ontarians who did the right thing and got a vaccine deserve a certificate (passport) program that will help us return to normal life.”                                  – Ontario  Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

News from Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party

Posted August 10th on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

Ontario, Canada – Andrea Horwath and the Ontario NDP support vaccine certificates — and say that the stubborn rise in COVID cases shows that a certificate program can’t wait.

“Doug Ford must follow the advice of the Science Table and bring in an Ontario Vaccine Certificate program. His choice to do nothing is harmful to public health, hurts our economic recovery and is a confusing burden for people and local businesses,” said Horwath.

“The millions of Ontarians who did the right thing and got a vaccine deserve a certificate program that will help us return to normal life.” Continue reading

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Is Resigning In The Wake of Sexual Harassment Allegations

A Brief Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted August 10th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

New York State was flying so high in the eyes of the world before suddenly crashing down.

One short year ago, he was riding so high as one of the  world-wide leaders in fighting COVID-19.

Many of us on both sides of the New York, Ontario border were tuning into his daily press briefings back then, impressed with the way he was addressing the COVID crisis and rallying people in his state to work together to beat this killer virus down.

Then it all came crashing down.

This August 10th, after serving close to three full terms as New York’s governor, he announced that he would be resigning in 14 days. The gravity of the harassment allegations against him, followed by a virtually complete lack of support among fellow Democrats, up to and including U.S. President Joe Biden, left him little or no room to hold on. Continue reading

Pop-Up COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic this Saturday, August 14th in  Crystal Beach, Fort Erie

“Pop-up clinics are designed to reduce vaccination barriers for people by eliminating the need to book an appointment or trek across the region to a mass vaccination site.”                                     –  Wayne Redekop, Mayor of the Town of Fort Erie, Ontario

News from Niagara Region’s Public Health Department

Posted August 10th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Residents who need a first or second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine are invited to pop in to an upcoming Niagara Region Public Health clinic at the Crystal Ridge Community Centre in Fort Erie.

As mass immunization efforts continue, pop-up clinics like this will hopefully give even more opportunity for people in Niagara to get vaccinated. This pop-up clinic will be available for walk-ins only, and both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will be offered. Continue reading

What Federal, Provincial and Local Leaders Must Do NOW to Address a ‘Code Red’ Climate Emergency

A Commentary by Liz Benneian, a Niagara, Ontario resident and leader of a large coalition of conservation groups across the Niagara region called the Biodiversity and Climate Action Committee – Niagara

Posted August 9th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

A Brief Foreword from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large –

This brief commentary by Liz Benneian follows in the wake of a United Nations report, released this August 9th, that concludes that we may have reached the point of no return, globally, on dealing with a climate crisis that is responsible for devastating wildlfires, floods, wind storms and other disaster know playing out in Canada, the United States and many other countries around the world.

This comment from Liz Benneian is just a first take and I am sure that she and many others, including this reporter, will have much more to say about this in the days ahead.

In the meantime, where in hell is the leadership from our governments?

  • Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

Now here is Liz Benneian’s comment – 

What could our Federal, Provincial and Local governments be doing that they are not?

Here’s just a couple of things they should do.

Too many discussions by our federal, provincial and municipal leaders sound like this. Where is the Climate Action Plan we need to save any kind of quality life for our children?

Federally: Stop subsidizing the fossil fuel industry; support green energy; increase rebates green vehicles; create a Climate Corps that would provide jobs for people focusing on reforesting and other climate change mitigation and adaption actions.

Provincially: Restart a Green Energy Program; reinstate electric vehicle rebates; change the building code to require more fuel efficient building; change the PPS and the Planning Act to protect agricultural land and natural areas, and focus development within current urban boundaries. Stop building highways and build fast efficient public transportation networks; expand the Greenbelt; re-empower Conservation Authorities.

Locally: stop expansions on green fields; protect natural areas and farmlands and cancel plans to destroy those things with new Regional roads; make all decisions with Climate impacts in mind (budgeting/staffing/planning/ purchasing/contracting and ensure that this happens through all departments being accountable to a body which ensures compliance; green communities; alleviate floods risks through tree planting, rain gardens, downspout disconnections, rain barrels, protecting wetlands and runoff areas.

And that’s just a start.

  • Liz Benneian, a resident of Niagara, Ontario and a long-time advocate for saving our environment

To read news Niagara At Large posted earlier this August 9th on the United Nation’s ‘Code Red’ warning on the climate crisis, click on –

To visit the online site of Biodiversity and Climate Action Committee – Niagara, 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

Startling United Nations  Report Shows That The Urgent Actions Proposed In Ontario NDP’s Climate Plan Are Critical

“Ontarians are already suffering the disastrous affects of climate change, each year we’re seeing more intense and frequent wildfires, tornadoes and floods that destroy people’s homes and communities.” – Peter Tabuns, NDP critic for the Climate Crisis.

A News Release from Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party

Posted August 9th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

QUEEN’S PARK – The startling new United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report shows that the urgent actions to cut emissions and transition to a clean economy proposed in the NDP’s climate plan ( , Climate. Jobs. Justice. A Green New Democratic Deal, are critical and cannot wait.

“Ontarians are already suffering the disastrous affects of climate change, each year we’re seeing more intense and frequent wildfires, tornadoes and floods that destroy people’s homes and communities,” said Peter Tabuns, NDP critic for the Climate Crisis.

“The IPCC report is a call to action. This is our opportunity to shift to a cleaner, more sustainable economy, and ensure that our province – and our planet – is liveable for our children and grandchildren.” Continue reading

Hello Niagara- Here Come the ‘Fully Vaccinated Americans’

All We Can Do Now is Hope for the Best

A Brief Comment by Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted August 9th, 2021

The Peace Bridge crossing between Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, New York is busy with Americans crossing for the first time in a year and a half

For the first time in a year and a half, border bridges between the Canada and United States are open to fully vaccinated Americans.

Despite rising daily case counts of COVID-19 in both countries – thanks in large part to a highly infectious Delta variant of the virus and far too many people who resist getting vaccinated – Canada’s Liberal government has followed through on its announced plans a few weeks back to open the border to fully vaccinated Americans.

Those Americans crossing the Peace Bridge, Rainbow Bridge and other points of entry must also get a COVID-19 test, showing that they are not infected, before they arrive. Continue reading

United Nations Sends a “Code Red” Warning to the World on Climate Crisis

“It has been clear for decades that the Earth’s climate is changing, and the role of human influence on the climate system is undisputed” – the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group I Co-Chair, Valérie Masson-Delmotte.

News from the United Nations

Posted August 9th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Climate change is widespread, rapid, and intensifying, and some trends are now irreversible, at least during the present time frame, according to the latest much-anticipated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, released on Monday.

Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe. Scientists are also observing changes across the whole of Earth’s climate system; in the atmosphere, in the oceans, ice floes, and on land.

Many of these changes are unprecedented, and some of the shifts are in motion now, while some – such as continued sea level rise – are already ‘irreversible’ for centuries to millennia, ahead, the report warns.

But there is still time to limit climate change, IPCC experts say. Strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases, could quickly make air quality better, and in 20 to 30 years global temperatures could stabilize. Continue reading

Ontario’s Last Red Tory Leader – Former Premier Bill Davis – Dies at Age 92

A Brief Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted August 9th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Former Ontario Premier Bill Davis, as he looked in his heyday.

I can hardly believe, given what we have experience in this province for leadership in recent decades, and especially now, that I once thought Bill Davis was too conservative.

By today’s standards, he was a progressive liberal. The only leadership in Ontario that matched him on the more  progressive were the 10 years (from 1985 to 1995) we had with Liberal Party Premier David Peterson and then NDP Premier Bob Rae (and for a couple of years, a coalition of both) at the helm.

Bill Davis, who led a Conservative Party as the province’s Premier from 1971 to 1985, worked to modernize and generously fund Ontario’s public schools, including its colleges and university – making it possible for virtually any young person to attend college or university without graduating under the burden of massive debts. Continue reading

Canada’s Olympic Champions – Niagara Athletes Included – Did Us Proud

A Statement from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Posted August 8th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, this August 8th, 2021) issued the following statement on the closing of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan:

“From July 23 to August 8, 2021, Canadian athletes participated in the Tokyo Olympic Games alongside athletes from around the world. As the Games officially come to a close, I congratulate, on behalf of the whole country, our Canadian athletes on their achievements throughout the past two weeks.

“Over the course of the Games, our athletes made us proud and showed us why Canadians are some of the best athletes in the world. While seven gold medals, six silver medals, and 11 bronze medals are impressive, all of our athletes gave their best and should take pride in their performances. Continue reading

Ontario NDP’s  Housing Platform To Help People Stay And Buy In Niagara Region

“The housing situation has been getting further and further out of control in this region. We want our sons and daughters to be able to move out of the basement, and not be forced to move out of the city” – Ontario NDP MPP Jennie Stevens, St. Catharines Riding

News from Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party

Posted August 6th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

ST. CATHARINES/Niagara  — Finding an affordable place to live in St. Catharines and throughout the Niagara region has gotten much harder — but Leader of the Official Opposition New Democrats Andrea Horwath says her housing platform will help young workers and families afford the life they’re working for.

“Parents are worried their kids won’t be able to afford to stay in St. Catharines, buy a home and settle in, like they did,” said Horwath. “There are young people putting off growing their family because they can’t afford a bigger place. There are born-and-raised Niagara-region workers leaving because they can’t find a home in their price-range. It’s heartbreaking.

“The NDP has a plan that offers concrete solutions. It’ll help you afford the life you’re working hard for.” Continue reading

At Long Last, Here Come the Vaccine Passports

With More Deadly Variants of COVID-19 in the Air, Why Should Fully Vaccinated People Have to Sit in the Same Restaurant or Movie Theatre as Vaccine Resisters?

A Brief Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted August 5th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

In the wake of what looks like a coming fourth wave – thanks in no small part to a more highly infectious Delta variant in the air and far too many people still resisting the vaccines – we had to know vaccine passports would be coming.

This August 5th, Quebec Premier François Legault announced that his province would be the first in Canada to implement a vaccine passport system, and you can bet all the money you’ve got in the bank that other provinces, like Ontario, won’t be very far behind.

“The system will allow the province to avoid the widespread closures that have marked its pandemic response to date,’ CBC News quoted the Quebec premier saying.

“People who made the effort to get their two doses should be able to live a somewhat normal life.” Legault said.

And let’s share some full-throated cheers for that.

Continue reading

Good Grief Governor Cuomo- Say It Ain’t So!

Just When So Many of Us Thought We Found a True Hero in Politics, What a Letdown

A Brief Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted August 5th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Yes I know. At least some of you may be asking why is a news site that should be focused on issues in Niagara, Ontario posting a commentary on the Governor of New York State for.

Well here is the reason why?

Just one year ago, there were people across the United States and around the world, hoping that New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo would run against Trump for the U.S. presidency. Now almost everybody, it seems, wants him gone.

Back last year, when a COVID-19 pandemic that would ultimately take the lives of more than 600,000 Americans and Canadians – more that died in two World Wars combined – New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo held daily public briefings that were so inspiring, they went viral across his country, and across Canada and other countries around the world.

At these briefings, Cuomo soared to prominence as one political leader who inspired us to do whatever we could to fight this killer plague in the name of the common good, and who was putting into practice plans to turn around the health and economic damage.

Those briefings were so well received that I remember many in Niagara, Ontario saying they wished we had more of that kind of leadership in Canada and I have to admit, I often felt that way too. Continue reading

Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Leader Says Ford Government is Gambling With Our Kid’s School Year

“I hoped we’d hear more of a plan (this August 4rth), not more excuses. Our kids, teachers and education workers deserve better. They deserve a robust gap-free strategy that lowers the risk as much as we possibly can.”                                                                                 – Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

A News Release from Ontario’s NDP Opposition Party

Posted August 4th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

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


Niagara West MPP and Ford government education ministry assistant Sam Oosterhoff. He was home schooled. And would he wear a mask in a public school if he wouldn’t wear one during a mask bylaw mandate in a Niagara Falls, Ontario restaurant? This is who we’ve got planning for our children, folks.

Did we just hear that Ontario’s Ford government is finally throwing out a bit of money to improve ventilation systems in schools across the province, just about four or five weeks before children are supposed to return to school as a Delta variant that hits younger people is raging on.

But never mind that. Let’s stuff our kids back in those schools. I am sure that Ontario’s assistant to the Education Minister – Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff – would have no problem with that.

After all, Oosterhoff was home schooled and so, I suspect, are many of his constituents out there in Niagara’s right-wing Christian Bible belt.

To hell with the rest of us .

  •  Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

Now here is the Ontario NDP Leader’s News Release –

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Education Minister Stephen Lecce’s Wednesday (August 4rth) press conference provided no comfort to parents, teachers or education workers worried that the Ford government is taking big risks with safety to avoid investing in safer schools. Continue reading

The Threat Enbridge Pipeline Poses to Our Great Lakes

A Brief Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted August 3rd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

One of the leading headlines from Canada’s National News network, CBC, this August 3rd said this –

“Line 5 pipeline between U.S. and Canada could cause ‘devastating damage’ to Great Lakes, say environmentalists”

Of course, what do environmentalists know?

They were wrong about the poisonous effects of DDT, PCBs and other toxic chemicals on humans and wildlife weren’t they?

Weren’t they also wrong some 40 or more years ago in predicting the further catastrophic effects of climate change? There would be no ever so frequent disastrous floods, droughts, wind storm and wildfires, would there?

And now, never mind any possible rupture of a gas or oil pipe in the Great Lakes, a source of drinking water and a whole host of economic benefits for tens-of-millions of Canadians and Americans living around them. Continue reading

As Canada Prepares to Reopen Border, Buffalo Area Congressman Sounds the Alarm on U.S. Readiness

Questions Remain About Testing Capacity & Costs, Border Staffing & Logistics

“If the Government of Canada – representing a country with a population one-tenth of ours – can devise a plan to safely admit millions of fully vaccinated Americans to their country, then surely so can the United States of America.”                                           – Buffalo, New York Area Congressman Brian Higgins

News from the Buffalo, New York office of Democratic U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins

Posted August 3rd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Buffalo, New York area  Congressman Brian Higgins, seen in this file photo, speaking at a news conference with Peace Bridge crossing in background

With Canada’s plan to reopen the border to United States citizens less than a week away, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) is raising serious concerns about the lack of information and planning coming from the United States government.

In separate letters to the White House and U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Higgins is pressing for the U.S. government to address unanswered questions related to testing in border communities and logistics at Land Ports of Entry.

In a letter to the White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator, Higgins asks what the U.S. is doing to ensure border communities have the testing capacity to meet the new Canadian requirement for proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

Higgins points out the need to make sure tests are available to meet the demand and the need for results to be delivered swiftly to allow for compliance with Canada’s 72-hour requirement. Continue reading

With a Troubling Surge in Delta Variant Cases, Does An August 9th Re-Opening of Border Crossings to Americans Still Make Sense?

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted August 1st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Here we are, observing the 1st day of August with the summer too rapidly racing away.

And here is a question.

With Canada-U.S. border communities like Niagara now little more a week away from that August 9th date Canada’s federal government said it would open our border bridges to fully vaccinated Americans, the question is – will that August 9th re-opening date hold or will Canada’s Trudeau government have to walk it back?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – as indecisive as he so often is – will likely have to answer that question in the hours and days following this long weekend, if not sooner.

The reasons are pretty plain for anyone who follows legitimate venues for news, as opposed to those that peddle garbage that has little or nothing to do with facts. Continue reading

Young People Resist Adopting Key Actions To Mitigate Climate Change – Brock Research

“Climate change education in Canadian schools, limited as it is, focuses on environmental science. There’s practically nothing in the curricula that addresses the question of what I can do as an individual and how much of a difference each of my actions and inactions make to climate mitigation.” ­                        – Research leader Gary Pickering, Brock Professor of Biological Sciences and Psychology

News from Brock University in Niagara, Ontario

Posted July 29th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Although young Canadians are taking steps to address climate change, they don’t plan on adopting the three lifestyle changes that are most effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, says new research from Brock University.

In a cross-Canada survey of 17- and 18-year-olds, many youth identified recycling, using public transport and conserving energy in the home as actions they had adopted to mitigate climate change.

But they were less open to eating a reduced amount of red meat, purchasing an electric car, or having one fewer child or no children, says the study, “Lifestyle decisions and climate mitigation: current action and behavioural intent of youth<>.” Continue reading

Niagara, Ontario Businesses Continue to Stand Up for Their Employees & a Living Wage

“We’re pleased to see local employers recognizing the value and benefits of paying at least a living wage. Paying a living wage is direct action to address poverty, and helps people afford the cost of living.”                                                                                                        – Aidan Johnson, Chair, Niagara Poverty Reduction Network.

News from the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network

Posted July 27th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Flavour Art North America is Niagara’s* *Latest Certified Living Wage Employer 

Niagara, Ontario – The Niagara Poverty Reduction Network is pleased to announce that Flavour Art North America <> has become a certified living wage employer at the Champion level.

Flavour Art North America is an international synthetic flavouring and aroma manufacturer located in Niagara region. They currently employ 15 full time employees.

“Making a commitment to a living wage is a natural progression for Flavour Art as we have long prioritized and advocated for our employees. After all, our dedication to Quality, Research, Testing, and Safety begins with our employees. Continue reading

It’s Time To Wall Off COVID-Friendly, Anti-Vaxxers From The Rest of Us

A News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted July 25th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Enough is enough!

We’ve tried reasoning with these folks, and one thing has become abundantly clear.

When it comes to the hard-core anti-vaxxers, you can’t.

Indeed, when it comes to those who have dug themselves in to the idea that there is some vast, orchestrated conspiracy made up of infectious disease experts, nurses and doctors, drug manufacturers, political leaders and others who they are convinced are out there to make money off this pandemic and interrupt their freedom of movement and fun, there is little to nothing more that  the rest of us can say or do.

It is like trying to talk to members of a cult. They are going to drink the Kool-Aid of conspiracy theories and mis-information whether we like it or not. Continue reading

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Slams Ontario’s Ford Government for Not Enforcing Certification for Skilled Trade Workers

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

MPP Wayne Gates demands province resume enforcement of trades certifications

“By choosing not to invest in enforcing certifications, the government is devaluing the work of skilled tradespeople, undermining consumer confidence.”                                                     – Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates

A News Release from the Constituence Office of Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

Posted July 23rd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

A Foreword Note from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

I was not aware of this until a good reader of our news site sent me a CBC story a few days ago. But reportedly, Ontario’s ‘get-back-the-province-back-to-business-at-almost-any-cost’ Ford Government, decided three years ago, shortly after it was sworn into power, to let just about anyone who thinks they know what they are doing to tinker around with your home.

Thanks to Ontario’s Doug Ford and his Ontario Conservatives, you can now have this guy doing your plumbing.

In other words, if you need the electrical wiring repaired or replace in your home, or you need plumbing done (just to mention a few examples), why have a fully trained, certified trades person do it when you can hire an uncertified freelancer for a cheaper price.

Is that what Doug Ford and his Conservatives mean when they boast about growing business in Ontario and putting more people back to work. Continue reading

Start Me Up Niagara Leader Honoured With Humanitarian Award

Susan Venditti named 2021 T. Roy Adams Humanitarian Award Recipient

A News Release from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted July 23rd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara’s Susan Venditti receives annual humanitarian award

Niagara, Ontario – Susan Venditti has been named the 2021 recipient of the T. Roy Adams Humanitarian Award in recognition of her lifelong dedication to caring for those less fortunate in our community.

Venditti recently retired as CEO of Start Me Up Niagara, an organization she founded and has overseen since 1998.

Her leadership and limitless energy has provided new opportunities for countless individuals experiencing poverty, homelessness, disabilities, addictions and mental health issues to increase their level of self-sufficiency and improve their quality of life.

Venditti has also been an inspiration to other volunteers in Niagara, identifying each individual’s unique gifts, and encouraging them to find ways to give back to their community. She has built a community of support for those in need while at the same partnering with other agencies and organizations to fill in the gaps. Continue reading

Ford Must Declare State Of Emergency For Unprecedented Number Of Wildfires In Ontario

“Ontario has seen a total of 724 fires this season as compared to 414 last year. The 10-year average is 458 fires by July 18 annually. This increase is extremely troubling.”

An Open Letter from Members of Ontario’s NDP Caucus

Posted July 22nd on Niagara At Large

A Brief Foreword Note from Doug Draper At Niagara At Large –

Yes, the young climate activist Greta Thunberg is right. “Our house – the only place we have to live in this universe – is on fire.”

While these raging wildfires are occurring in northern Ontario and not here in the Niagara area, don’t think for a minute that they don’t significantly impact us.

We will all – and that means every single one one of us who have property or car insurance – end up paying higher premiums to cover the countless billions of dollars’ worth of damage caused by these fires. And  fire-fighting resources across southern regions of the province are being deployed to help combat these blazes, making for less resources in the event of emergencies here. .

Meanwhile, we have a Ford government that has never taken the climate crisis that is leading to more frequent and severe episodes of wildfires, floods, life-threatening winds and other costly climate –related disasters seriously and probably never will.

It is simply NOT in the DNA of today’s Conservative partisans in Canada – provincial or federal – to take environmental threats like this seriously. Continue reading

Loss of Welland House Hotel Highlights Need To Preserve Heritage – Brock University Profs

“Even if the Welland House Hotel is rebuilt, we can never truly bring it back,” Vlossak says. “Now that the building is gone, it becomes even more important that we capture, record and preserve its stories and memories.”                                                        – Brock University Associate Professor of History Elizabeth Vlossak

A Report from Brock News at Brock University in St. Catharines/Niagara, Ontario

Posted on July 21st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The historic Welland House Hotel in St. Catharines burned down Monday, July 12. The loss of the building is about more than bricks and mortar, says Brock Associate Professor of History Elizabeth Vlossak.

When the Welland House Hotel burned down Monday, July 12th, a significant witness to St. Catharines history was lost.

Elizabeth Vlossak. (Image courtesy of Woodruff Family Fonds from the Brock University Archives)

“Its value to our cultural heritage lay not so much in its bricks and mortar, or the artifacts within it, but in its role as a ‘witness’ to the historical events that have shaped our community over the past 170 years, and in the stories of the people who worked, stayed, played and organized there,” says Brock Associate Professor of History Elizabeth Vlossak. Continue reading

U.S. to Continue Baring Canadians from Crossing Border Through August 21st

Canada Has Said ‘Yes’ To Americans Crossing Starting August 9th, While U.S. Continues to Say ‘No’ to Canadians

Buffalo, New York area Democratic U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins

“While the United States does nothing, loved ones (from Canada) remain separated and communities whose economies rely on the cross-border exchange continue to suffer economically. Continuation of this shutdown is illogical.”                                     – Brian Higgins,  U.S. Democratic Congressman representing people in the Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York area

A Statement by Buffalo, New York-Area Congressman Brian Higgins in Response to U.S. Extension of Border Restrictions between the United States and Canada

Posted July 21st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Uncle Sam continues to tell “non-essential” Canadian travellers to stay out of the United States.

Infuriated by today’s (July 21st, 2021) announcement<> that the United States government will extend restrictions on non-essential travel at the border between the United States and Canada for another month, (Buffalo, New York area) Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) released the following statement:

“For months now people and businesses along the border have been strung along month after month holding out hope for the border to reopen. Today’s decision by the Biden administration harms economic recovery and hurts families all across America’s northern border; this is completely unnecessary. Continue reading

Buffalo, New York Congressman Pressures His Government to Open Border to Canadians

Canada is Soon Opening Border Bridges to Fully Vaccinated Americans. When Is the U.S. Going to Do the Same for Fully Vaccinated Candians?

A News Release from the Buffalo, New York Office of U.S. Democratic Congressman Brian Higgins

Posted July 20th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Pre-pandemic lines of cars crossing the Peace Bridge to Buffalo, New York

Buffalo, New York – Following an announcement by the Canadian government of plans to reopen the border between the United States and Canada to vaccinated Americans on August 9th, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) is pushing the United States government to act.  Higgins expressed his dissatisfaction with the lack of response by the U.S. in remarks on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Higgins said in part, “This week the Canadian Government announced plans to reopen the border to fully vaccinated Americans on August 9th. On January 21st of this year, we were promised a plan would be developed by the United States to address travel to Canada within 14 days. 180 days have now passed.  We are still waiting for that plan.” Continue reading

Latest Marineland Story Is Just So Sad

When Are We Going To Shut These God-Awful Marine Mammal Prisons Down?

A Brief Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted July 20th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Another one of the many demonstrations, staged by all too few of us, outside the gates of the Marineland Park in Niagara, Ontario. file photo by Doug Draper

How damn sad the latest Canadian Press news story is  about the conditions aquatic animals are reportedly enduring at Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Then again, I feel just as sad as I wonder.. How many of you out there  give a damn? Let’s be honest after all of these almost seven decades this amusement park has been in operation, with all the concerns raised, over and over again, about the condition of marine mammals there.

How many of you really do?

Much to the many reasons that lead to my demise in journalism at Niagara newspapers, I started writing about questions and concerns around the Marineland park in Niagara Falls and the ethics around keeping mammals like whales, dolphins and seals there for our amusement, in cement ponds filed with chlorinated water, going back to at least the late 1980s, when I was still working as an environment reporter at The St. Catharines Standard. Continue reading

Buffalo, N.Y. Congressman Applauds Canadian Plan for Fully-Vaccinated Americans to Cross Border

Congressman Brian Higgins, Chair of the Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Grou and Northern Border Caucus, Calls on U.S. Government to do Same for Canadians

Fully-Vaccinated Americans Can Begin Crossing August 9th

The Peace Bridge crossing between Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, New York will probably not be anywhere near this empty of traffic by the middle of this coming August

A News Release from the Buffalo, New York Office of U.S. Democratic Congressman Brian Higgins

Posted July 19th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Buffalo, New York area Democratic U.S. Congressman has had an ongoing record of speaking out for our shared Great Lakes, with no apparent support from his Liberal MP counterparts on the Canadian side.

Buffalo, New York – Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) who serves as co-chair of the Canada – U.S. Interparliamentary Group and the Northern Border Caucus released the following statement in response to an announcement by the Canadian government<> detailing plans to lift border restrictions for fully vaccinated Americans effective August 9, 2021.

“We have missed you Canada and we are thrilled at the opportunity to return soon. Today’s announcement by the Canadian government puts policy in line with science. This will allow fully vaccinated Americans separated from their families and property in Canada for a year and a half, to be re-united in three weeks. “

This measure can’t come soon enough.

Continue reading

Ontario Invests Over $1.9 million to Protect and Restore the Great Lakes

44 local projects receive funding through the new Great Lakes Local Action Fund

Recipients of Provincial Funding Include Niagara Chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada and Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

A News Release from the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks

Posted July 19th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO — The Ontario government has selected 44 community-based projects to receive $1.9 million in funding through the Great Lakes Local Action Fund, which supports local projects that protect and restore the Great Lakes.

“The health of the Great Lakes is closely connected to our province’s health and prosperity – supplying water to our communities, sustaining traditional activities of Indigenous peoples and providing healthy ecosystems for recreation and tourism,” said David Piccini, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.

“This funding allows local organizations and groups to take environmental actions in their own communities – building a better future with clean, green growth.” Continue reading

Niagara At Large Will Soon Be Cutting Off Facebook and the Evil Bastard Who Runs It

A Brief Message from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher    Doug Draper

Posted July 17th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

At the risk of losing a good number of followers, Niagara At Large will soon stop posting our content on Facebook. I always saw Facebook – an out-of-control, global corporate monster that, among other things, has torn the guts out of community newsrooms across this continent – as a necessary evil for drawing more readers to online news sites like Niagara At Large.

Trump and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg – working together to spread dangerous misinformation, and to kill truth and democracy

Now,  far more often than not, I view it and Mark  Zuckerberg,  the multi-billionaire creator of this Frankenstein monster – as a force for dangerous misinformation that is, in fact, waging war against fact-based debate and democracy, and is, through the garbage it is peddling on the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination, literally killing people. In fact, that is exactly what current U.S. President Joe Biden said about Facebook on the White House lawn this July 16th, and he is right.

To watch Biden saying it, click on the screen below –

 I urge as many of us as possible to dump Facebook and to take a little more time to search out and key in information they might find of interest on sites like ours – Niagara At large, which you can go to directly by keying in

Please visit and even subscribe to Niagara At Large by clicking in  to check out the news and commentary we feature here. And do the same with other media outlets struggling to deliver fair and accurate news, even as Facebook continues to work to destroy everything that a dedicated free press in a democracy is all about.

I will leave one of the last words here to American humorist and political/social critic Bill Maher, which you can hear by clicking on the screen immediately below –

I beg you all folks. Tear yourself away from poison like Facebook and seek out other ways of staying in touch with your friends and community. FACEBOOK IS NOT OUR FRIEND.

And if severing ties with it means the end for Niagara At Large, well then what can I say. Enjoy your Facebook “friends” and have a good life.

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

Ontario Enters Step Three of Roadmap to Reopen this Friday, July 16

Continuing Improvements in Key Indicators Allowing Province to Safely Expand Indoor Settings and Capacity Limits

News from the Government of Ontario

Posted July 16, 2021 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO — With key public health and health care indicators continuing to improve and the provincewide vaccination rate surpassing the targets outlined in the province’s Roadmap to Reopen, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health the Ontario government is moving the province into Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 16, 2021.

“Thanks to the tireless efforts of our frontline heroes, and the ongoing commitment of Ontarians to get vaccinated, we have surpassed the targets we set in order to enter Step Three of our Roadmap,” said Premier Doug Ford.

“While this is welcome news for everyone who wants a return to normal, we will not slow down our efforts to fully vaccinate everyone who wants to be and put this pandemic behind us once and for all.” Continue reading

Buffao, N.Y. Congressman Welcomes Ongoing Discussion to Reopen the US-Canada Border to Vaccinated Travelers in August

U.S. Congressman and Northern Border Caucus Co-Chair Brian Higgins Calls Action Long Overdue

A News Release from the Buffalo, New York Office of Democratic Congressman Brian Higgins

Posted July 16th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Buffalo-area Congressman Brian Higgins seen speaking about the Canada-U.S. border crossings in this file photo

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) responded to positive developments toward lifting restrictions for vaccinated travelers wishing to cross at Land Ports of Entry between the United States and Canada.

Higgins said, “The finish line is finally in sight for people who have been separated from their families and properties for way too long.

“For Americans and Canadians who live along the border and frequently cross as a way-of-life, action lifting restrictions for those vaccinated can’t come soon enough. This progress, following month after month of disappointing inaction, is welcome and long-overdue.” Continue reading

Memorial for Niagara’s COVID Victims Should be Embraced by Region Councillors

It is a Welcome Idea that Certainly Beats Publicly Flogging the Region’s Acting Medical Health Officer 

A Brief Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted July 15th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Thank You St. Catharines Regional Councillor Laura Ip. We certainly needed something out of this Niagara Region after the recent slap down that our acting Medical Officer of Health received at an earlier Regional Council meeting.

Well here are two thumbs up for St. Catharines Regional Councillor Laura Ip

While so many of us across Niagara are still trying to wash from our mouths the foul after-taste of the Regional Council’s dumping all over the Region’s acting Medical Health Chief Dr. Mustafa Hirji for daring to publicly air his concerns about opening the Canada/U.S. border too soon, it was a relief to hear a Niagara Regional Councillor express a positive idea

That Regional Councillor was Laura Ip and the idea, as she outlined it at a meeting of the Region’s Public Health  and Social Services Committee this past July 13th, is to create a community memorial for us to go to remember the more than 425 Niagara residents who have so far died from a killer COVID-19 pandemic that, going by the shameful garbage Dr. Hirji had to endure at that June 8th Regional Council meetings, too many of our elected politician across this region, still do not take as seriously as they should.

Ip’s idea, first to create a temporary memorial, possibly on the property of Niagara’s Regional Headquarters in Thorold, then a permanent one at a site deemed to be accessible to all, received enough support to have the Region’s staff prepare a report for Regional Councillors in the weeks ahead. Continue reading

Ontario’s New Democrats Lay Out Plan to Build, By and Ride Electric Vehicles

NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath is committed to launch Ontario’s first zero-emissions vehicles strategy.

A News Release from Ontario’s Official Opposition New Democrats

Posted July 15th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Official Opposition New Democrats, has committed to launch Ontario’s first zero-emissions vehicles strategy, ramping up electric vehicle sales to 100 per cent of all new auto sales in Ontario by 2035.

“We’re going to make Ontario a global leader in electric auto engineering and manufacturing, we’re going to create new jobs in the auto industry of the future, and we’re going to make it easy and affordable for everyone to buy, charge and ride electric,” said Horwath.

“The climate crisis is the greatest threat our world faces. But with how we respond to that crisis, we can create an incredible opportunity when it comes to the auto industry in Ontario.” Continue reading

Why Does Niagara Need A Chief Health Officer When We Have ‘Dr. Diodati’?

Niagara’s Regional Council Throws Our Medical Heath Officer – Dr. Mustafa Hirji – Under The Bus While It Pushes For Quick Re-Opening Canada/U.S. Border Crossings

A News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted July 12th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara’s acting Medical Officer of Health Mustafa Hirji  showed immeasurable class and kept his cool during a hammering from Niagara Regional Councillors this past July 8th over his views on re-opening the border crossings.

Whatever Dr. Mustafa Hirji is getting paid to serve as Niagara Region’s acting medical officer of health, it isn’t enough.

If I were him, after the drubbing he got from Niagara Regional Councillors at a meeting of the council this past July 8th, I would seriously consider quitting and saying – ‘To hell with you. If you want to send out messages to the public about the risks around this virus based on politics rather than science, why don’t you appoint Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati or Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop or St. Catharines Regional Councillor Tim Rigby to be Niagara’s Medical Health Officer?

“Obviously they know so much more about risks involved in opening our economy and re-opening the Canada/U.S. cross-border bridges than I do.”

I watched this disgraceful Niagara Regional Council on July 8th on-line, which is all we can do because they still won’t let us in to the Niagara Regional Headquarters or the council chambers there-in, and I left it with the feeling the feeling that, come next year’s municipal elections, do we ever need a cleaning of the house. Continue reading

Niagara Regional Police  Investigating Fire that Destroyed Historic Building  in St. Catharines

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Niagara Regional Police Service at 905-688-4111, ext. 1008429.

A Message from the Niagara Regional Police Service

Posted July 13th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Firefighters continued through most of Monday, July 12th to pour water on the smoldering remains of the once great building. Photo by Doug Draper

On Monday, July 12, 2021, at approximately 5:25am 1 District (St. Catharines) uniform officers and the St. Catharines Fire Department attended the area of Ontario Street and King Street, in the City of St. Catharines, in response to a structure fire (that gutted the former Welland House Hotel building at 30 Ontario Street).

Investigators remained at the scene for much of the day as fire personnel worked to contain the fire.

Detectives with 1 District are working with the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office as they are continuing to investigate the cause of the fire.

The scene is expected to be held for a significant amount of time as the investigation continues.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Niagara Regional Police Service at 905-688-4111, ext. 1008429.

To read a Niagara At Large commentary on this tragic fire, 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

St. Catharines has Shelter in Place following Major Building Fire in Downtown

A Brief Update from the City of St. Catharines

Posted July 12th on Niagara At Large

The battle to contain the fire went well into the afternoon. Photo by Doug Draper

The shelter in place that was in effect for the neighbourhood to the west of 30 Ontario St. has now been lifted. Fire personnel are still on scene and are expected to continue monitoring the situation overnight.

The investigation continues. Attached below a news release from our partners at Niagara Regional Police that they distributed earlier this July 12th

The City will continue to provide updates on social media, and, when appropriate, by way of news release. Continue reading

Massive Fire Guts One of Niagara’s Most Historic Buildings

The More Than 165-Year-Old Welland House Hotel – Located in Downtown St. Catharines – Was Destroyed in a Fire Believed to Have Started in the Early Hours of this July 12

A News Commentary by Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

How tragic and yes, at the same time, how curious.

Early this July 12th, flames shoot out of the old Welland House Hotel building in downtown St. Catharines

Niagara, Ontario – Representatives of St. Catharines heritage community have been working last year to get the old Welland House Hotel designated as an Ontario heritage site in hopes of preserving it, and as that effort continued on, the multi-storey building – once the tallest in the city – burns down.

At the end of a media briefing held this July 12th, as the remains of the building continued to smolder a few blocks away, St. Catharines Fire Chief Jeff McCormick told this Niagara At Large reporter that his department’s investigators, will be working with police and fire marshal investigators from the province to determine whether there has been any foul play.

While we are waiting for the results of that investigation, about the only other thing we can do, unfortunately, is to write an obituary for yet another treasured old building that somehow got away from us.

Within hours, the building was virtually destroyed as firefighters from St. Catharines, Thorold and Pelham continued to contain what was left of the fire. Photo by Doug Draper

St. Catharines/Niagara area residents may not realize it due to the unsightly sheets of plywood that covered windows of the once-grand Welland House Hotel during recent years of abandonment, but in its earlier days it was once ranked as one of the go to spas in North America for more affluent people on both sides of the Canada/U.S. border, including prime ministers and presidents, and even Jefferson Davis, the former president of the U.S. Civil War-era, Confederate States of America. Continue reading

Shelter In Place Remains In Effect As Efforts Continue To Contain And Control Fire At 30 Ontario Street in downtown St. Catharines.

A News Release from the City of St. Catharines

Posted July 12th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

St. Catharines/Niagara — Firefighters continue to battle the fire at the former Welland House Hotal on 30 Ontario St., and those living in the Yates Street neighbourhood, and those downwind, are being advised to continue sheltering in place this afternoon due to the smoke.

Firefighters kept on working to contain the fire at the old Welland House Hotel in the downtown area of St. Catharines well into the afternoon of July 12th and expected to continue into the evening. Photo by Doug Draper

Fire Chief Jeff McCormick is asking residents to continue to remain in place, and asking individuals to avoid the area as firefighters from St. Catharines, along with Thorold and Pelham – who are providing mutual aid, continue their efforts to fight the fire. Firefighters have been on scene since 5:23 a.m. Continue reading

U.S., Canada Must Keep Their Relationship Special – A View from Buffalo, New York

Another Voice on Cross-border relations

By Kerry Mitchell

Posted July 12th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

A year or so before the pandemic started, signs like this began appearing on lawns in Buffalo neighbourhoods. Buffalo residents were trying to assure us that regardless of anything Trump had to say about Canada, they considered us to be friends.

After a career with the Consulate General of Canada in Buffalo, where I regularly wrote speeches, op-eds, etc., on the Canada-U.S. relationship for the consuls general under which I served, it is time again to put pen to paper on this theme – but this time as a concerned citizen, and under my own name.

Born American, but with the privilege of spending summers on the Canadian shores of Lake Erie, I always felt a special connection to Canada. That feeling amplified when working at the Canadian Consulate, where border issues were the lifeblood of our work.

Shared interests would bring folks together, but the personal relationships that formed provided the sustaining spirit. Continue reading

Ontario’s NDP Leader Renews Call for $1,000 Tax Credit for Struggling Tour Industry

A News Release from Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party

Posted July 12th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The Rainblow Bridge, crossing over to Niagara Falls, Ontario’s tourist district has been virtually empty to all but essential traffic since the pandemic began to take hold in early 2020, making for very hard times for people working in the tourist industry.

NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario — NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is renewing the call for a $1,000 tax credit for Ontarians to stay and play in Ontario this summer, just as the Ford government appears to be walking away from the economic boost for the tourism industry.

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, in Niagara Falls, Ontario this July 12th, calling for more government assistance for struggling tourist industry.

“Tourism businesses — restaurants, campgrounds, museums, attractions and more — have been devastated by the pandemic. People’s jobs and livelihoods are still at risk. Entrepreneurs’ dreams are on the line. And local economies are desperate for a boost,” said Horwath.

“The Travel Ontario Tax Credit is the help we need right now. Let’s give working families a well-needed vacation this summer, and get the hospitality, arts and culture sectors back on track. For every dollar a person spends, they’ll get a dollar back up to $1,000.” Continue reading

Brock U. Immunologist Calls For National Conversation to Reach the Unvaccinated

“We are at a pivot point. … (We need to reach)  those pockets of people who are hesitant because of misinformation or perhaps for ideological reasons.”        – Brock University immunologist Adam MacNeil

A News Release from Brock University in Niagara, Ontario

Posted July 9th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Brock University immunologist Adam MacNeil

Niagara, Ontario – Estimating Canada may need to achieve a vaccination rate of close to 90 per cent for the population to be fully protected, Brock University immunologist Adam MacNeil is calling for a “national conversation” to reach Canadians reluctant to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Associate Professor of Immunology says that while there are a number of authoritative sources providing reliable information in the media and elsewhere, and Canadians have a relatively high vaccination rate, it’s not high enough to achieve herd immunity.

“We are at a pivot point and need to elevate and disseminate the conversation into communities, leveraging all of our experts and their messages to create one unified, culturally-sensitive national voice that will reach those pockets of people who are hesitant because of misinformation or perhaps for ideological reasons,” MacNeil says.

This national conversation could be in the form of a televised countrywide town hall meeting, he says. Continue reading

Niagara Regional Council Urged Not to Destroy Provincial Significant Wetlands to Extend Road for Developers

“When citizens see planning like this (in this case, a plan to extend a road in Pelham/Niagara through ever more of what little is left of Niagara’s  wetlands), that ignores both the Climate Crisis and the Biodiversity Crisis that are coming together to form a perfect storm that threatens the continued existence of humankind, it convinces us that government is incapable of addressing the most pressing issues of our time.”

An Open Letter to Niagara Regional Council and Regional Transportation and Planning Staff from the A Large Coalition of Groups and Individual Citizens in Niagara Ontario

Posted July 8th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

From the Ontario Plant Restoration Alliance; Niagara Chapter Trout Unlimited Canada; SORE; Peninsula Field Naturalists; Niagara Falls Nature Club; Niagara Beekeepers’ Association of Niagara; Ontariogreen Conservation Association; Bert Miller Nature Club; Niagara Birding Conservation and Tourism Collaborative; Hamilton Naturalists; Friends of One Mile Creek; Extinction Rebellion Niagara; St. Catharines Environmental Alliance; Friends of Walker’s Creek; Pelham Tree Conservation Society; Speak For The Creek; Miriam Richards, Professor, Biological Sciences, Brock University; and members of Biodiversity and Climate Action Collective Niagara

The undersigned groups and citizens from around Niagara are writing to state our emphatic opposition to the Region’s plan to expand the existing sections of Merritt Road which will destroy adjacent wetlands, and to the plan to extend Merritt Road between Cataract Road and Rice Road right through the middle of a Provincially Significant Wetland which, again, will utterly destroy it.

One look inside the Merritt Road area targeted for destruction. After everything we are going through with this pandemic and everything we should have learned about the value of protecting and preserving what natural areas we have left, it is hard to believe that our Niagara Regional Government would give any consideration at all to gutting more woodlands and provincially significant wetlands in our region.

The area impacted by this road project includes: Provincially Significant Wetland; Significant Woodland, Area of Natural and Scientific Interest; Fish Habitat, potential Natural Heritage Corridor.

As has been well documented, Southern Ontario has lost over 90 percent of its original wetlands. In Niagara we have lost even more. As a Niagara Peninsula Conservation Watershed Report Card noted “wetlands cover an estimated 6.36% of the Niagara Watershed.”

Many reports have stated the importance of preserving what remains of our Natural environment[3] and one of the highest priorities for protection is Provincially Significant Wetlands. Continue reading

Ford Governments Makes More Problems for Ontario’s Conservation Authorities

New rules threaten public hiking trails, tree planting, recreational and educational services, dam repair, and protection of water from contamination.

Hiking trails and other public amenities may be disrupted or forced to close.

News from the Hamilton-based watchdog group, Citizen At City Hall

Posted July 7th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Conservation Authorities in Ontario are reeling from more major changes being imposed by the provincial government.

Newly released rules threaten public hiking trails, tree planting, recreational and educational services, dam maintenance, and the protection of streams and aquifers from contamination.

The latest Ford government regulations restrict) the “core mandate” of all Conservation Authorities and force them to negotiate with individual municipal councils to fund any other programs. This puts most of the long-standing services of the CAs in jeopardy at a time when the use of their lands are at an all time high.

Other Conservation Authority (CA) activities deemed non-mandatory include forest management, wetland enhancement, invasive species control, new land purchases and the provision of ecological expertise to municipal planning decisions.

Continue reading

Once Again, It Takes A U.S. Congressman from Buffalo to Stand Up for the Protection of Our Great Lakes

Where Are the Voices of his Federal Counterparts on the Canadian Side on Great Lakes Issues? To Quote the Title of an old Beatles Song – “Nowhere Man”

A News Release from the Buffalo, New York Office of U.S. Democratic Congressman Brian Higgins

Posted July 6th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Higgins Announces Passage of the Local Water Protection Act Legislation Addresses Waterway Pollution

A look at the world’s greatest single supply of fresh water from space.

Buffalo, New York – Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced passage of H.R. 2008, the Local Water Protection Act, a bill that authorizes $200 million annually in Fiscal Years 2022 through 2026 for programs that protect our nation’s waterways from runoff pollution.

“We have made significant progress in fighting the first generation of pollution from industries on the shores of the Great Lakes. Now, we must incorporate the second generation, nonpoint source pollution, into our prevention and revitalization strategies,” said Congressman Higgins. “The Great Lakes are an incredible resource economically, environmentally, and recreationally, and this federal funding will help continue the progress made towards their recovery.” Continue reading

“Do Not Eat Fish” Signs Around Lower Twelve Mile Creek Raise the Alarm

Old GM Site Off Ontario Street in St. Catharines is a “significant and continuous source” of PCB’s in our shared waters

An Editorial from the Coalition for a Better St. Catharines, a coalition  ‘advocating for a better City for all’

Posted July 6th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – For nearly two years the Coalition for a Better St Catharines has been pushing the city of St Catharines to take leadership in cleaning up the former GM site on Ontario Street.

We have focused on two primary concerns: the unsecured half-demolished buildings that present an ongoing hazard to community members on the site, and the proven concentrations of toxins on the property that present a danger to the environment and citizens.

During that time we have seen a series of misleading statements from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) and the City of St Catharines that minimized the dangers as they chose to adopt a stance of limited intervention on the site. Continue reading

Ontario’s Doug Ford Moves Us from One-Buck Beer to One Thousand Dollar Burgers

These Gold-Plated Burgers Are For Ford’s Rich Donors. The Rest of Us Can’t Even Find Ford’s A Buck-A-Beer Suds Any more

So Much for Ford’s Conservatives Self-Described “Party for the People”

A Brief Comment from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large followed by a Statement from a member of Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party

Posted July 5th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

By Doug Draper

When was the last time that you shelled out a thousand bucks to chow down one hamburger?

Probably never unless you are a well-healed member of Ontario’s development industry, or private long-term-care home industry or a corporate polluter or something of the like who wants to curry favour with Premier Doug Ford and his government Conservatives.

Hell, we can’t even go in to an LCBO store in the province and find the buck-a-can beer Ford promised us after he came to power almost three years ago. Not that it is much of a loss. When I went in to an LCBO outlet a couple of years ago and inquired about it, a member of the staff warned me that it tasted like “carbonated mule piss.” Continue reading

Have Your Say on the State of Our Great Lakes – One of the Greatest Single Sources of Freshwater in the World

State Your Views in a Survey Being Conducted Online – Right Now – by the Canada-U.S. International Joint Commission

A Call-Out from the International Joint Commission

Posted July 4th, 2021 on Niagara At Large


The International Joint Commission Great Lakes Water Quality Board invites you to complete the following survey about issues related to the Great Lakes and water quality.

This online poll explores the public’s opinions, values, and beliefs about the Great Lakes as well as their concerns and suggestions for the future. Building upon a random telephone survey conducted in January 2021, we are seeking a wide range of input from people like yourself in this online survey. Continue reading

Niagara Health’s COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Hits 200,000 Dose  Milestone

COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Seymour-Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre in St. Catharines reached a new milestone today by surpassing 200,000 vaccine doses administered.

A News Release from Niagara Health, Niagara, Ontario’s amalgamated system of hospital services

Posted July 4th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara resident Nick Swift, at left, received dose number 200,000. This is a Niagara Health photo

Niagara, Ontario – “I’m so grateful that here in Canada we have access to vaccines,” said Nick Swift of St. Catharines. “Being number 200,000 for Niagara Health has been a privilege and I’m so thankful to the team here today.”

Niagara resident Nick Swift, at left, received dose number 200,000. This is a Niagara Health photo

The Niagara Health clinic team at Seymour-Hannah arena can administer approximately 2,500 vaccinations per day based on vaccine supply and has administered almost half of all doses in Niagara. Continue reading

Toxic Algae  Shows Up On Lake Ontario Shoreline in Niagara

Preliminary Tests Indicate The Presence Of Toxins From Blue-Green Algae At Charles Daley Park Beach In Lincoln, Niagara

A News Release from Niagara’s Regional Government in Niagara, Ontario

Posted July 2nd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Niagara Region Public Health is advising the public of the likely presence of blue-green algae in the beach area at Charles Daley Park in Lincoln. Preliminary laboratory test results were received on July 2 from the Niagara Region Public Works Environmental Centre indicating the presence of toxin produced by blue-green algae.

This photo shows toxic algae swamping up on shorelines in other regions of our Great Lakes, and was not takey at the Lincoln, Niagara shoreline site. Question is, where is this coming from and what are the sources?

The beach has been closed at this time for the safety of beachgoers. Final laboratory results are expected in the coming days.Blue-green algae was first observed in the pond draining into to the beach on June 29 by Public Health’s staff conducting routine beach water testing as part of Public Health’s daily work to ensure and report on the safety of beaches to Niagara residents and visitors. Continue reading

Niagara Regional Chair Announces Winners of inaugural Niagara Impact Awards

A News Release from Niagara’s Regional Government in Niagara, Ontario

Posted July 2nd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley (recently) announced the names of the eight winners of the inaugural Niagara Impact Awards at this evening’s meeting of Regional Council.

The Niagara Impact Awards were created to recognize individuals, non-profit organizations and private sector businesses who have gone above and beyond to improve the quality of life of those living in the Niagara region.

Having heard countless impressive stories of the community making sacrifices to support one another, the Niagara Impact Awards were announced at the Chair’s 2021 State of the Region address as a way to acknowledge those inspiring efforts.

With over 250 submitted nominations, hundreds of stories were shared about those who made a substantial, positive impact on our communities. The scope and scale of the nominations ranged from moving personal stories, to broad, region-wide examples of service. Continue reading

A Canada Day Message from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

“We as Canadians must be honest with ourselves about our past. And we must recognize that here in Canada there are still people who don’t feel safe walking the streets of their communities, who still don’t have the same opportunities as others, and who still face discrimination or systemic racism in their daily lives.”                                                        – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Posted on Canada Day, July 1st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Statement by the Prime Minister on Canada Day

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today (this July 1st) issued the following statement on Canada Day:

“Today, we celebrate our country and everyone who calls it home. We also reflect on everything we have accomplished, and look forward to what more we have to do.

“The pandemic has changed our daily lives, taught us hard lessons, and kept us apart. But through this challenge and crisis, Canadians were there for each other. We all – young and old – made personal sacrifices to help keep our communities safe and healthy.

“We put signs in our windows and banged pots and pans for our front-line health care workers. We ordered takeout and shopped at our local small businesses. And once vaccines became available, we got our shots as soon as possible, so our communities could return to normal. Continue reading

Canada Loses Another Dynamic Female Leader in Former Environment Canada Minister Catherine McKenna

In Hamilton Area MP Catharine McKenna, Self-Described “Feminist” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Sees Another Young, Dynamic Leader Leave the Room

A News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted June 29th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Catherine McKenna, arguably one of the best federal Environment Minister’s Canada has ever had, gas announced she won’t run in another election for Trudeau’s Liberals, .

When in 2015, Canada’s new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, appointed the newly-elected Liberal MP from Hamilton – Catherine McKenna – Canada’s Environment Minister ( the very first federal Environment Minister, by the way,   with the words ‘Climate Change’ in the portfolio’s name), this veteran environment journalist felt hopeful.

After too many years of Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his party’s (continued to this day) climate denying ways, here was an energetic young face expressing a passion to take on the climate emergency challenge.

Catherine McKenna, who this reporter crossed paths with twice,  often mentioned  that she had young children of her own who  she certinaly did not want to see t grow up in a world that might be unbearable to live in if we don’t take bold steps to address the climate crisis now. Continue reading

Niagara Falls to be Illuminated – This Monday, June 28th – in Celebration of Pride Month

A News Release from Ontario’Niagara Parks Commission

Posted June 28th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls, Ontario  – The Niagara Falls Illumination Board will be illuminating both the Canadian Horseshoe and American Falls in rainbow colours for 30 minutes tonight at the top of each hour at 9:00, 10:00 and 11:00pm in celebration of Pride Month.

The waters of Horseshoe Falls, illuminated in previous years, in rainbow colours, just as they will be again, this June 28th. Photo courtesy of Niagara Parks

Today’s date (June 28th) holds significance to the LGBTQ2S+ community as the anniversary of the Stonewall riots that took place on June 28, 1969, in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood of New York City, with members of the gay community protesting a police raid at the Stonewall Inn. Continue reading

Niagara,Ontario/New York Residents Rally at Rainbow Bridge for Border Re-Opening

A Brief One by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted June 27th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Expressions of frustration and anger are growing on both sides of the border as the ban on all but so-called “essential traffic” using land crossings to re-connect with friends and relatives, and properties they own on either side.

This Saturday, June 26th that frustration surfaced again when groups of residents from both sides of the border rallied at the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls, and took their protest to the middle of the bridge. Continue reading

Niagara Regional Chair Bradley and Chief LaForme of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation Build Stronger Relationship Through Productive First Meeting

‘As a next step, Chair Bradley and Chief LaForme (have) agreed to hold a special council meeting focused on educating members of (Niagara’s Regional Council) on First Nations, Indigenous and Metis issues.’

A News Release from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted June 26th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

Niagara, Ontario – As a step toward reconciliation, Regional Chair Jim Bradley met with Chief Stacey LaForme of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation yesterday to continue cultivating a respectful, long-term relationship between the two communities.

During their meeting, the Regional Chair and Chief LaForme discussed opportunities to raise awareness of First Nation treaty rights, the presence of Indigenous history and culture throughout Niagara, as well as prospective partnerships for new economic development initiatives.

Prior to the meeting, Niagara Region staff have been working closely with members of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, and other urban Indigenous communities, to ensure Indigenous interests are reflected in broad Regional policies. Regional Council is forging stronger relationships with Indigenous communities within Niagara  that will lead to equitable representation in Regional planning, and the delivery of services that support the health and well-being of Indigenous Peoples. Continue reading

Niagara’s Marcie Jacklin Honoured with Major Wildlife Conservation Award

Long-Time Conservationist Receives Award from One of Canada’s Most Time-Honoured Organizations in the Field of Natural Heritage Conservation                                                         – The Canadian Wildlife Federation.

A Foreword by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper, followed by Words of Tribute from the Canadian Wildlife Federation

Posted June 24th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

By Doug Draper –

Marcie Jacklin, Niagara resident and long-time citizen conservationist, is honoured with national award

On a scale from one to 10, I give her a 20.

Marcie Jacklin, a resident of Fort Erie in Niagara, Ontario, is one of Niagara’s longest standing citizen experts on birds and other wildlife, and their habitat, and most recently has been a community leader in the fight to save Waverly Woods – a natural haven along the Lake Erie shoreline in Fort Erie – from a developer’s chainsaws.

In this veteran environment reporter’s books, that makes Marcie Jacklin about as much of a treasure in this Niagara region as the biodiversity she has volunteered so many of her adult years working to protect and preserve.

So it was a thrill to learn this week that her decades of dedicated, volunteer work in the area of wildlife conservation has been recognized with one of only half a dozen annual awards from one of Canada’s premier conservation organizations, The Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF). Continue reading

Niagara’s Regional Council Adopts Region’s First Community Safety and Well-Being Plan

“The Plan identifies opportunities for action, alignment and monitoring in four areas of focus: mental health and addictions, housing and homelessness, poverty and income and systemic discrimination.”

A News Release from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted June 25th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Region’s headquarters

Niagara, Ontario – Niagara now has a sustainable and long-term plan to improve the safety and well-being of our community.

Approved by Regional Council at its June 24 meeting, Niagara’s first ever Community Safety and Well-Being (CSWB) Plan  <> will strengthen how Niagara’s governments, police service and agencies work together on important safety and well-being issues in our community, and provides a framework to address emerging issues through ongoing engagement and collaboration. Continue reading