Winners of 2022 Arts Awards announced
The recipients of the 2022 Arts Awards were celebrated at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre on Nov. 29.
There were 20 nominees for awards in five categories: Making a Difference, Arts in Education, Emerging Artist, Established Artist, and a Jury’s Pick award. One special resident was also recognized with the Patron of the Arts award.
The Making a Difference award was presented to Emily Oriold. Oriold is a co-founder and artistic producer of The Foster Festival. She has a great passion for the arts and has been a professional actor and director for more than 20 years.
Dr. Rachel Rensink-Hoff was presented with the Arts in Education award, recognizing her contributions as an associate professor of music at the Brock University Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, conductor of the Brock University Choir and Sora Singers, and artistic director of the Avanti Chamber Singers.
The Emerging Artist award was presented to Kathryn Sinopoli, a Canadian singer-songwriter, billboard charting artist, and a member of Nashville Songwriters Association International.
Well-known local artist Amy Friend was presented with the Established Artist award. Friend is the chair of the department of visual arts at Brock University and her work has been exhibited all over the world.
The Jury’s Pick was Monica Dufault, the artistic director for Carousel Players. Dufault has been an active member of the Niagara arts community for more than 20 years as an actor, director, and arts educator.
The Patron of the Arts Award was presented to Frank Goldspink of the TAG Art Gallery for all of his contributions to the art community in St. Catharines over the last 16 years.
In case you missed it, you can watch the ceremony on YouTube.
City offering discounts to encourage lifeguard, swim instructor certification
The City of St. Catharines is offering the opportunity for heavily discounted aquatic certification courses to avid swimmers interested in becoming a lifeguard and instructor for the City.
Jurisdictions across North America have been facing lifeguard shortages, so in an effort to make lifeguard opportunities more accessible and to ensure adequate staffing is in place, the City will cover the cost of the course and certification fees for those aged 13 and older. Candidates will only be responsible for purchasing the course material (such as course books) – a savings of 70 per cent upon completion of all seven certifications.
Discounts are available for all aquatic certification courses including:
- Bronze Medallion
- Standard First Aid
- Bronze Cross
- Swim Instructor
- Lifesaving Instructor
- National Lifeguard Pool
- High Five
Those interested in the certification will need to pass a skills assessment. Those who are successful in the assessment will be offered the opportunity to participate in upcoming training courses. Interested individuals can register to take the skills assessment. The first assessment is scheduled to take place on Saturday, Dec. 3.
Individuals with one or all of the certifications listed, even if certified long ago, are encouraged to email email@example.com to learn more about the potential opportunity to be fast-tracked through the process.
In addition to the City covering certification costs, with the support of a Canadian Jumpstart Charities grant the City is also able to offer assistance to cover the cost of the course materials. Those wishing to apply for financial support can do so online.
Support of art and culture continues with new round of SCCIP funding
The City of St. Catharines continues to make investments to help strengthen and build the arts community.
At its Nov. 28 meeting, St. Catharines City Council approved the final rounds of the 2022 St. Catharines Cultural Investment Program (SCCIP) funding, allocating $97,584 to nine applicants through the Arts Development Program, Culture Builds Community Program and Sustaining - Festival Program. The approvals bring the total SCCIP funding allocated in 2022 to $400,000.
Successful applicants for rounds three and four of funding include:
- Arts Development Program: Aeris Körper Contemporary Dance, $3,000; Avanti Chamber Singers, $3,500; Port Dalhousie Beautification and Works Committee, $4,000; and Silver Spire United Church, $5,884.
- Culture Builds Community Program: Start Me Up Niagara, $9,000; and Willow Arts Community, $8,500.
- Sustaining – Festival Program: Bravo Niagara! Festival of the Arts, $19,700; The Norm Foster Theatre Festival, $27,500; and TD Niagara Jazz Festival, $16,500.
Details on the 2023 SCCIP funding programs, which includes six different program streams, will be announced in the new year. Information on programs, eligibility, applications, and more can be found on the City's website.
Let it Glow brightens the holidays in St. Catharines
The City of St. Catharines is set to celebrate the magic of winter in downtown St. Catharines and Port Dalhousie with the return of Let it Glow - A Celebration of Light.
The family-friendly outdoor celebration will illuminate the city from Dec. 2, 2022, to Jan. 8, 2023, featuring a series of interactive light installations, opportunities to meet with Santa, entertainment, winter workshops and cultural programming aimed at creating stronger connections within our community.
Let it Glow is a free, self-guided tour of lights and installations. A variety of special events are also scheduled to take place including a downtown launch party on Dec. 2 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. featuring My Son the Hurricane, the Let it Glow Dance Production, a holiday vendor market and a visit from Santa.
Visit Lakeside Park in Port Dalhousie for A Night in the Magical Forest on Dec. 16 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. where a Let it Glow family parade will march from Lakeside Park to Rennie Park where Santa will be waiting to greet participants. Cultural programming, public swimming and skating, among other fun activities are scheduled.
For more details, including a map of the lighting installations and a full schedule of events, visit lovestc.ca/letitglow.
The St. Catharines Sports Hall of Fame welcomes its class of 2022
Five new champions of sport have gotten the call to the hall – the St. Catharines Sports Hall of Fame.
For the first time since 2019, the Sports Hall of Fame welcomed a new class of inductees at a public ceremony held Thursday, Nov. 24, at the Meridian Centre.
This year’s hall of fame class included athletes and builders who have significant achievements in sport, either in competition, or through other distinguished contributions, including athletes Barb Armbrust (rowing), David Cullen (hockey), and Daryl MacDonald (rowing), posthumously, as well as Doug Geddie (curling) and Donald F. Thom (rowing), posthumously, in the building category.
The new inductees have had their names added to the David S. Howes St. Catharines Sports Wall of Fame. They also received a commemorative trophy and plaque. This year’s class brings the total of inductees in the St. Catharines Sports Hall of Fame to more than 180.
Founded in 1990, the hall of fame recognizes the accomplishments of athletes and builders who have significantly contributed to the development of sport in St. Catharines, and went on to success at provincial, national and/or international levels.
To be eligible for the hall of fame, candidates must have been born or raised in St. Catharines or lived in the city during their sporting career.
The St. Catharines Sports Hall of Fame is available for viewing during public events at the Meridian Centre. In addition to the wall of fame, the hall of fame features an exhibition space showcasing a selection of sports artifacts and memorabilia.
The current exhibit highlights lacrosse in Ontario and was developed in partnership with the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
Still time to support the Tree of Giving
There is one week left to donate items for the City's Tree of Giving campaign.
Held annually in support of Community Care St. Catharines and Thorold, the community is invited to donate new, unwrapped gifts, gift cards or monetary donations, which will be distributed by Community Care to families registered in the organization’s Christmas program.
The campaign, previously known as the Tree of Little Angels, marks its 25th year in 2022.
This year's campaign takes place through Friday, Dec. 9, and there are a variety of ways the community can offer support. Donation bins will once again be set up at City facilities to accept donations of new, unwrapped toys or gift cards (which are preferred as they are more inclusive).
This year donation bins will be set up at Seymour-Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre, West St. Catharines Older Adults Centre, St. Catharines City Hall, Russell Avenue Community Centre, Dunlop Drive Older Adult Centre, St. Catharines Kiwanis Aquatics Centre, Port Weller Community Centre, St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre and Port Dalhousie Older Adult Centre.
New this year, residents can make monetary donations via the Tip Tap machines at St. Catharines Kiwanis Aquatics Centre, and Seymour-Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre. The machine enables a fast, contact-free donation of $5 per transaction with a simple tap with debit, credit or the donor’s e-wallet.
The system has previously been used to collect donations at City facilities such as Happy Rolph’s and the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre.
The City has also included QR codes on posters, the donation bins and other materials for the Tree of Giving campaign, allowing residents to make a donation directly to Community Care by focusing their mobile device’s camera on the QR code.
Give the gift of warmth during the Museum Mitten Tree Campaign
Giving the gift of winter warmth to those in need is a holiday tradition happening again this year at the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre.
The Mitten Tree campaign begins this Saturday, Dec. 3 and runs until Jan. 8, 2023, with donated items being delivered weekly to Community Care of St. Catharines and Thorold and Start Me Up Niagara’s Out of the Cold program.
A tree is set up at the museum where the public can come and decorate the display with donations of new or gently used winter wear such as mittens, gloves, scarves and toques anytime over the next month during the museum’s open hours.
Last year the clothing drive gathered over 800 winter items for individuals in need.
After dropping off donations, visitors can check out two new exhibits: Last Stop: In Their Own Words and also A Town Growing Into Note.
Last Stop is a people-focused view of how St. Catharines acted as a ‘last stop’ for Underground Railroad-supported Freedom Seeker refugees.
A Town Growing Into Note is the new permanent gallery and the first part of phase three of the Interpretive Plan implementation.
For more information on the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre visit stcatharines.ca/Museum.
A message from Mayor Mat Siscoe
Hello St. Catharines,
Our first council meeting of the 2022-2026 term took place this past Monday and it was a good start to what we all hope will be a productive term.
A few key highlights:
· Council voted to change the length of term for the Deputy Mayor role to become a 2 year term, replacing the rotating monthly schedule. Appointment of the Deputy Mayor will take place at the next council meeting on Dec. 12.
· Council whole-heartedly supported the appointment of long-standing Regional Councillor and former City Councillor, Bryan Heit to fill the seat vacated by the appointment of Jim Bradley to the Regional Chair role. Bryan’s experience will be a welcome addition to the representation of St. Catharines at the Regional level.
· The task of appointing councillors to our associations, boards, commissions (ABCs) and task forces was part of Monday’s meeting agenda and I am pleased to see a good representation of councillors across all of our ABCs. This will help ensure that the collective voice of residents across all wards in St. Catharines is heard.
Dec. 5- The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks will present the sampling results from the property at 282 Ontario Street (former GM lands) to St. Catharines Council at a special meeting on Dec. 5, 2022. The City is helping to facilitate an opportunity for residents to provide questions and comments to the Ministry. Inquiries or remarks regarding the presentation can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dec. 12 - Next Council Meeting
· The 2023 Capital Budget will be presented and voted on at the Dec. 12 meeting. The 2023 Operating Budget will be tabled for discussion and a vote in January. Residents with questions, comments or concerns about the budget can email email@example.com
· Appointment of the Deputy Mayor
· Public Meeting on Reptilia
As we roll into the holiday season make sure to check out all of the activities that St. Catharines has to offer. The Let it Glow – A Celebration of Light event begins Dec.2 and runs through Jan. 8, 2023. Let It Glow – A Celebration of Light is a family-friendly, outdoor festival featuring interactive light installations, entertainment, winter workshops and more. Dine, shop and explore amongst the glow of twinkling lights. Let it Glow officially kicks off in Downtown St. Catharines at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. Enjoy entertainment on the outdoor stage featuring My Son the Hurricane, the Let it Glow Dance Production, and DJ Dave Styles. Inside the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, Roberston Theatre will be transformed into a winter wonderland with a special appearance from Santa from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
For a full schedule of events please visit www.lovestc.ca/letitglow.
Have a great weekend,
Deputy mayor role to rotate on biennial basis
On Monday night City Council opted to appoint the Deputy Mayor for a two-year term of Council, moving it from the monthly rotation from the last term of Council.
The decision came following a request from a November Council meeting that staff prepare a report with options to appoint a deputy mayor on either a two- or four-year term.
The motion approved by Council also included an amendment that permits the appointment of an additional deputy mayor during unforeseen absences.
Staff will bring forward a report at the Dec. 12 Council meeting to appoint a deputy mayor effective Jan. 1, 2023.
Brian Heit selected to fill City's regional council vacancy
Following the news of Jim Bradley being reappointed to the role of Regional Chair at Niagara Region, the City of St. Catharines was left with a vacancy to fill.
Councillors voted to appoint Brian Heit to fill the vacancy. Heit was the next-place finisher on the ballot and also received more than 70 per cent of the votes of the sixth-place finisher.
A review on the City’s appointment policy will be presented to City Council in the future.
Council deems Marsdale Drive lands surplus
City Council has provided the green light for the sale of a portion of City-owned property that will provide the opportunity for three homeowners to align their backyards with those of their neighbours.
Council declared land adjacent to 66A, 66B and 66C Marsdale Drive as surplus at Monday night’s Council meeting, at the request of the property owners. The funds from the sale of the lands will be allocated to the City’s parkland fund for future parkland acquisition.
Council’s motion also said in order for the sale of the lands to occur, the following conditions will be applied:
· Building permits, if required, must be obtained for any decks that were previously constructed by the property owners;
· A 1.8-metre-high black chain-link fence must be installed along the new property line; and
· The removal of any trees is not permitted.
On Monday night Council voted on Councillor appointments to associations, boards, commissions and task forces, while amending the terms of reference for some and disbanding others.
Council’s committee representatives will include:
Budget Standing Committee - Dawn Dodge, Carlos Garcia, Robin McPherson, Bill Phillips and Caleb Ratzlaff (along with Mayor Mat Siscoe as per the terms of reference).
Canine Control Hearing Committee - Carlos Garcia, Matt Harris and Joe Kushner
Development Studies Task Force - Mark Stevens (along with the chair and vice-chair of the Budget Standing Committee once appointed as per the revised terms of reference)
Fallen Firefighters Memorial Task Force – Jackie Lindal and Dawn Dodge
FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre Board – Carlos Garcia and Robin McPherson
Neil Peart Commemorative Task Force – Bruce Williamson and Carlos Garcia
Niagara Airport Commission – Mark Stevens
Niagara Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors – Bill Phillips
Niagara Transit Commission Board – Dawn Dodge, Caleb Ratzlaff and Mat Siscoe
Niagara Wine Festival Board of Directors – Bill Phillips
St. Catharines Downtown Business Improvement Area Board – Robin McPherson
St. Catharines Hydro Inc. and St. Catharines Hydro Generation Inc. Board of Directors – Carlos Garcia, Matt Harris and Joe Kushner
St. Catharines Public Library Board – Jackie Lindal and Greg Miller
Surplus Lands Development Task Force – Jackie Lindal, Robin McPherson, Bruce Williamson and Dawn Dodge
Tourism St. Catharines Municipal Service Corporation – Robin McPherson
2029 Welland Canals Project Task Force – Bruce Williamson and Carlos Garcia (along with Merritton Councillors Greg Miller and Jackie Lindal as per the terms of reference)
Being disbanded is the Organizational Development Task Force and Outdoor Aquatic Facilities Task Force.
Public meetings set for Dec. 12
City Council received two reports on Monday night that will pave the way for public meetings at its Dec. 12 meeting.
These reports include an amendment to the development charges by-law, and a report for exemption to by-law 95-212 from Reptilia Inc. to establish operations in St. Catharines.
Council will also be holding a public meeting for the 2023 Capital Budget, Four-Year Forecast and Asset Management Status on Dec. 12.
Approval of 2023 City Council meeting schedule
City Councillors approved the meeting schedule for the upcoming year, including dates for City Council, Budget Standing Committee and some dates set aside for Council training.
Council will meet 22 times in 2023 for regular City Council meetings – which is in keeping with the typical number of meetings annually. The report details timelines for budget discussions for the 2023 and 2024 operating and capital budgets, as well as information on the schedule, and meeting structure, for the Budget Standing Committee in 2023.
Special Council Meeting on Dec. 5
The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks will be presenting the sampling results from the property at 282 Ontario Street to St. Catharines Council at a special meeting on Dec. 5, 2022. The presentation can be found as part of the Council agenda.
The City is helping to facilitate an opportunity for residents to provide questions and comments to the Ministry. Any inquiries or remarks regarding the presentation can be emailed to
The meeting will be live-streamed on the City’s YouTube channel.
Pressures and Opportunities in the 2023 Budget and Beyond
At a special budget meeting held on Nov. 23, Council was presented with an overview of some of the fiscal challenges and pressures, as well as opportunities, that staff has identified during the development of the 2023 operating budget.
Chief Administrative Officer David Oakes highlighted the need to address the current pressures as they will significantly challenge the organization’s ability to continue to deliver programs and services at current levels.
Some of the identified pressures include legislative changes, inflationary and non-discretionary changes, matters relating to health and safety, some items that were previously deferred, and parking operations matters.
Legislative changes will impact the operating budget in that additional staffing will be required and a reduction in fee revenues is anticipated. Bill 109 (the More Homes for Everyone Act, 2022) and investments are required for Next Generation 911 implementation, additional staffing for municipalities for stormwater management and wastewater collection, and the continued reduction in Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund support will have budget implications.
Inflationary and Non-Discretionary Changes
In line with nationwide economic inflation, costs are increasing for contracted services, fuel, materials, and significant increases in software licensing fees.
Health and Safety
Investments in health and safety for staff are essential for the continued delivery of services specifically related to their safety when dealing with the current opioid, homelessness, and mental health crisis.
Previously Deferred Items and the way back from COVID-19
There are items that were deferred prior to the onset of the pandemic. Training and development of staff was delayed. Time-limited measures were employed to provide relief to taxpayers such an increased reliance on reserves and reduced operating contributions to the capital program. Parking demand was lower during the pandemic and had significant revenue impacts.
Oakes reviewed the opportunities the City can look forward to in 2023 and beyond such as new and expanded revenue sources, investment income, reduced reliance on reserves, and increased flexibility in project advancement and deferrals.
New and Expanded Revenue Sources
Some new and expanded revenue sources include the implementation of the development charge by-law and the community benefits charge by-law in 2022, the introduction of a Municipal Accommodation Tax in 2023 and a comprehensive fee review.
Investment Income and Regional Transit
Investment income in 2022 has increased and the trend is expected to continue next year. The transition to a regional transit service removes property tax obligations from the City.
Reduced Reliance on Reserves
The City is moving toward enhanced financial sustainability through reduced reliance on reserves. The City is looking forward to long-term improved financial independence by reducing the use of the Civic Project Fund and targeting zero Operating Budget support from the fund starting in 2027. The annual usage limit on special projects will be reduced in the 2023 Operating Budget.
Increased Flexibility in Project Advancement and Deferrals
Several projects have been advanced using current-year funding and certain projects and initiatives have been deferred to future years. These strategies are helping to mitigate the budget pressures for 2023.
The reduction of capital out of revenue percentage during 2021 and 2022 budget years has provided much-needed assistance to lessen the tax burden on St. Catharines residents, however, a long-term reduction is not sustainable. The 2023 operating budget reflects an increase toward the pre-pandemic percentage to ensure the City’s financial recovery.
These pressures and opportunities are expected to benefit residents significantly in
future years by ensuring the City is prepared to manage and proactively support longer
term Council and community objectives.
Throughout 2023, the City is planning substantial engagement with the community and will ensure the objectives established in the Strategic Plan are aligned to work plans and are supported by the operating and capital budget.
More Council business online