Niagara Region, 12 Local Municipalities Call on Senior Levels of Government for Financial Relief

Niagara submits joint request for COVID-19 financial relief to the provincial and federal government

Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

“The financial effects of COVID-19 on municipalities is significant and will likely have a lasting impact for some time. … While these are challenging times, I am confident we will emerge on the other side a stronger and more resilient community.””                              ~ Jim Bradley, Niagara Regional Chair

News from Niagara, Ontario’s Regional Government

Posted May 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Niagara’s 12 municipalities, in close partnership with the Region, have formally submitted a request to the Province of Ontario and Government of Canada for financial relief for the costs incurred from the COVID-19 crisis.

The region has projected the gross costs related to COVID-19 will be nearly $50 million by the end of June. While some costs have been accommodated through the current budget and a number of strategic mitigation efforts, there is still a significant deficit that is only expected to increase as a clearer picture of the crisis unfolds. Continue reading

For Sake of Public Safety, Ford Government is Extending Emergency Orders

Ontario Extending Emergency Orders During COVID-19 Outbreak

Ontario government decides to extend ‘state of emergency’ for some activities. See details below

Public health and safety remain top priorities

A COVID-19 Update from the Office of the Ontario Premier

Posted May 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO — The Ontario government continues to protect the health and safety of the public during the COVID-19 outbreak by extending all emergency orders in force under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

Current emergency orders include the closure of outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment, public swimming pools and outdoor water facilities, as well as bars and restaurants except for takeout and delivery. Continue reading


‘Horrific, Disgusting, Heartbreaking and Gut-Wrenching’, says Ontario Premier Doug Ford

A Brief Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted May 26th, 2020 on Niagara At Large.

Sometimes you ask yourself; ‘What is the point? What is the fucking point?’

Why bother reporting anything more  on economic injustice, our environment, or on anything else if we don’t treat some of the most vulnerable among us – our senior citizens – like anything less than human garbage.

Another hearse pulls out from a long-term care home in Ontario

We just went through the rituals of observing – at least some of us did – the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War when what we collectively pretend to remember as “the greatest generation” fought and sacrificed for the freedoms we have today.

Yet this is the way that we collectively in Ontario treat them – like human garbage, crying for help, dying in dirty diapers with cockroaches crawling around. And why? Continue reading

Like Many Colleges and Universities Around the World, Brock U. to Hold VIRTUAL Spring Convocation

On-Line Convocation Scheduled for Friday, June 19th

“We know that Convocation will look very different this year, but we recognize that this is one of the biggest moments in a student’s life. … We may not be able to come together in person, but … we want to make this something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.”                                                                                                    – Geraldine Jones, Brock University Registrar and Associate Vice-President, Enrolment Services

News from Brock University in Niagara, Ontario

Posted May 26th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Convocation is a monumental occasion in the life of any post-secondary student, and Brock University won’t let the Class of 2020 go uncelebrated.

With large gatherings banned due to the COVID-19 pandemic, post-secondary institutions around the world have been coming up with creative ways to mark the occasion.

In-person ceremonies are on hold, so Brock University’s 107th Convocation, originally scheduled for the second week of June, will move online. A future in-person celebration is also planned when it’s safe to do so.

In the meantime, the University’s 2020 Virtual Convocation will launch on Friday, June 19. Continue reading

New Film Focuses on Former Marineland Trainer and Whistleblower & His Epic Battle with an Iconic Niagara, Falls Amusement Park

See the World Premier of “THE WALRUS AND THE WHISTLEBLOWER” on Hot Docs @ Home on CBC and CBC Gem on Thursday, May 28th at 8 pm ET

You can also watch it on the same night at 9 p.m. on the Documentary Channel at 9 p.m. ET

A Foreword by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper, followed by more information about the film.

Posted May 25th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

I was originally planning to do my own news story and commentary leading up to the premier this May 28th of this film but found myself backing away from that idea.

Animal activists staged another in a series of demonstrations in front of Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario – this one on Labour Day 2018. File photo by Doug Draper

I have decided to leave any write-ups of the film in the days leading up to its televised debut to other media outlets, although I will likely have something to post about the film, and about Marineland’s past and ongoing existence as a keeper and displayer of wild animals in the days and weeks following the debut.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I apparently appear in this film as one of a number of talking heads, and I shared some of my information and thoughts about Marineland and its practice of keeping whales and other animals in captivity with the film’s director Nathalie Bibeau. Continue reading

Just When We Thought It Was Safe to Begin Re-Opening Again

Brace Yourselves Folks. It’s Time to Get Ready for a More Lethal Second Wave of this Killer Virus

Dr Bonnie Henry of British Columbia, one of Canada’s most respected voices during this pandemic

You know what? We’ve never had a pandemic in recorded history that has not had a second wave.”                                                      – Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia’s Chief Health Officer who, like New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to the south of us, has earned kudos around the world for her honest leadership during this COVID-19 nightmare

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

Posted May 24th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

I went out for a short drive to a garden centre this weekend, and I don’t think it was just my imagination when I thought I saw the amount of traffic around the Pen Centre shopping mall and just a little further east near a mall that boasts an LCBO and a Sobey’s grocery store as busy as it might be on any “normal” weekend this time of year.

Traffic on our roads in Niagara seems to be getting back to normal again. On this stretch of Glendale Avenue in St. Catharines, there was barely a car on the road earlier this May. All this, while we are hearing that cases of COVID in the province are ticking up again. Photo by Doug Draper, taken May 23rd, 2020

Just a couple of weeks earlier, stretches of this same area along Glendale Avenue near the Highway 406 interchange were so void of traffic that a bunch of kids could have played a game or road hockey on it, if team sports were allowed at the time.

I don’t think it is just my imagination though.

I turned on the CBC this May 24th to reports of crowded sidewalks, beaches and parks this weekend, and this Sunday’s front cover of The Toronto Sun, a conservative-leaning paper that has not shown a report of being as much of an advocate for lockdowns and social-distancing as, let’s say a newspaper like The Toronto Star, featured a park in Toronto packed with people, many of them not appearing to be wearing masks or keeping two metres apart.

“T.O.’s COVIDIOTS” reads the headline Toronto Sun editors burned in big letters above an image of a mass of ‘Covidiots’ in one of the city’s parks.

All of this while, in Ontario alone, the province’s Premier Doug Ford has had to report, as recently as this May 24th, that for a number of days in a row, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario are actually going up. That after watching the numbers go down for a while. Continue reading

Paying Tribute to Our Front-line Paramedics and Communications Officers at the onset of Paramedic Services Week in Canada

“Throughout this pandemic, paramedics have shown up for Canadians, and they have  shown us the very best of courage, compassion, and dedication. And we’re determined to be there for them too.”                                                                                              – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

A Statement from Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau

Posted May 24th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today(this May 24th)  issued the following statement on Paramedic Services Week, which runs from May 24 to 30:

Niagara Region’s Parademics have been their, doing their job with courage, throughout these perilous times. Photo courtesy of Niagara Region

“Today marks the start of Paramedic Services Week. It’s a time for all of us to celebrate and thank the women and men on the front lines of our healthcare system.

“Across the country, more than 40,000 paramedics and communications officers  stand ready to help Canadians in need. Day in and day out, they answer our calls for help and put themselves in harm’s way to save lives. And this year, we’re particularly grateful for their sacrifice and their service in the face of COVID-19. So to all the paramedics across Canada: thank you. Continue reading