Monday, May 27, 2013

Celebrate Fenwick this Saturday!

On August 6, 1978, Mrs. Edna Elliott, former head librarian in Fenwick, wrote about the Village of Fenwick’s origins:

“On April 1 in the year 1953, the little community of Canboro Road known as Diffins’ Corners officially became known as Fenwick when the first post office was opened by pioneer Leonard Haney.
“…According to the most probable records, the name was chosen because it was the birthplace of Dr. John Fraser, who was Reeve of Pelham Township from 1850 to 1856 and was the first Warden of Welland County.”

This year, therefore, commemorates the 160th Anniversary of the Founding of the Village of Fenwick. A very dedicated and hard-working volunteer committee has met and planned over the last number of months to celebrate the Village’s heritage.

Why 160 years?

As part of the wonderful 150 anniversary celebration of Fenwick in 2003, the organizing committee collected funds to improve and refurbish the Fenwick Flagpole at Canboro Road and Maple Street. With the Town revitalizing Fenwick’s Downtown area this year – helping to make it more pedestrian friendly, reconstructing the road, burying the hydro lines – we have also used these funds to refurbish and extend the historic flagpole, and install rigging and lighting. Further, at the suggestion of the community and the heritage committee, Council officially designated the Fenwick Flagpole as a significant heritage structure on May 21 – the first flagpole so designated in Ontario!

So, on Saturday, June 1st from 10 AM to 11 PM, the organizing committee invites all to “Celebrate our Heritage” and “Come Home Again to Fenwick.”

Events at the Flagpole include and unveiling of the Heritage Plaque and a formal Flag Raising at 10 AM, a War Bird Fly Over and Downtown Beautification sod turning at 11 AM, and a formal Flagpole lighting and fireworks at dusk. (You can also purchase commemorative, engraved bricks, to be installed around the Flagpole during the reconstruction.)

The municipal parking lot will house the “Big Tent” with live music and a street dance from 11 AM until 11 PM. All along Canboro Road, activities will include classic cars and antique power displays, live bands and street entertainers, children’s activities, buskers and venders, a Victorian Tea room, period demonstrations, the model railroad display, and museum. (To facilitate these lively activities, Canboro from Cherry Ridge to Church and Maple from Sandra to the Flagpole will be closed to vehicles.)

The event will also include carriage Heritage Tours of 30 sites from noon to 5 PM.

Finally, many historic buildings and homes both in the Downtown area and across the Town are displaying commemorative bunting and bows to celebrate “160 Year of Pioneer Spirit.”

Please join us for 160th Anniversary of the Village of Fenwick this Saturday!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Patio Policy Helps Enliven Downtowns

The first patio of the season emerged last week in Downtown Fonthill at Gelato Village. I understand that at least two more – a patio at Café on Main and a table and a couple of chairs at Presentations – are in the works.

Last summer Council allowed Café on Main to build a patio on Pelham Street. While approved without a formal policy, Council agreed to the request as a way to help the Town develop a policy and to gauge the public reaction.

Many loved the patio and saw it as a progressive move to help encourage lively streets and to extend activities in the Downtown. Some expressed concern that the patio forced them to walk around it and closer to the busy street. Others lamented the loss of the parking spot and found it inconvenient or, in the case of people with disabilities, difficult to walk a little bit further.

Council considered the feedback and approved a patio policy that addressed these concerns.

The policy reads: “The Town of Pelham… recognizes that streets play an important role in the urban environment. To encourage lively streetscapes, extended activities including the use of sidewalks may be appropriate. One way to achieve this is through the creation of opportunities for places to sit and gather, such as outdoor cafés and patios. A sidewalk café affords people the opportunity to dine al fresco (in open air) while enjoying the street’s vitality and when designed appropriately can make a significant contribution to the downtown community.”

To operate a sidewalk café, a business must enter into an agreement with the Town and can only operate it between May 1st and October 31st.

Because streets and sidewalks are public property, business applying for an agreement must take into consideration elements such as benches, light standards, planters and waste receptacles. Further, sidewalk cafés must not interfere with the use of the public right-of-way or pose a threat to public safety; that’s why, for example, Gelato Village used bollards to delineate a 1.5 metre pathway for pedestrians.

Finally, sidewalk patios must maintain barrier-free access for persons with disabilities and comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

If you are interested in reviewing the policy and design principles, please click here or ask for a copy at Town Hall.

I hope that the fulfillment of this new patio policy will ensure public safety while encouraging the establishment of successful cafés in Pelham’s Downtowns.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Demonstrating Pelham’s Vibrancy

Have you looked ahead to the number and variety of events and activities that are scheduled for May / early June? These events further demonstrate the vibrancy and vitality of our community!

Pelham Art Festival – May 10-12:
Now in its 27th year, the Pelham Art Festival features more than 65 artists, artisans, and photographers from Ontario, Quebec and the US at the Pelham Arena over the Mother's Day weekend. As the Premiere Spring Art Exhibition in Southern Ontario, the Art Festival’s large indoor show offers an Opening Night Wine Garden on Friday night, and live musical entertainment and delicious food in the “Salvador Deli” all weekend long. Over the years, the dedicated Festival volunteers have raised more than $350,000 in support of Pelham’s Libraries and Community Arts Programs. For more information see

EL Crossley 50th Anniversary Reunion – May 17-19:
After 50 years of educating students and serving the community, E.L. Crossley Secondary School alumni and staff are organizing an anniversary reunion over the long weekend in May. Following the opening ceremonies, Friday night will include a “Welcome Back Pub Night” and Memory Lane Decade Rooms to catch-up with other alumni. Saturday events include a Sports Skills Competition, a Street Dance (including Redline, Smoothies, Gormans, and 83 Allstars), and a Dedication of the Gymnasium in honour of Lorne Ward. The celebrations conclude on Sunday with a Family Day and Arts, Drama, and Music presentations.  For more information, please see:

Fenwick Lions Parade & Carnival – May 24-26:
The annual Fenwick Lions Carnival opens with a parade through Downtown Fenwick at 6:30 PM on Friday night followed by rides, games and food of the Midway at Centennial Park. Saturday and Sunday will include automotive, tractor, and ATV displays, the Midway, the Fenwick Lioness penny raffle, and delicious Lions BBQ. Special events include a Plant Auction at 2:00 PM and Fabulous Firework at 10:00 PM on Saturday and the Purina Walk for Dog Guides at noon on Sunday. Don’t forget buying tickets on the Cow Plop Lottery! For more information, please see:

Fifth Annual Mayor’s Gala – May 25:
Already sold-out for weeks, the 5th Annual Pelham Mayor’s Gala will support the Riehl Skate Park, Niagara Centre Skating Club and the Pelham Community Fund at the James Bond themed event at Lookout Point Country Club. The “Casino Royale” will include fun gaming, a mystery dinner theatre and a live auction. In previous years, the Pelham community has generously supported the Mayor’s Gala, helping to raise more than $110,000.

Fenwick 160th Anniversary Celebration – June 1:
Enjoy a summer’s day filled with heritage, activities, food, music and buskers – all for free – on the closed streets from 10 AM to 11 PM. The event will also rededicate the newly refurbished Flagpole while area residents and business display heritage bows and swags. Volunteers will also sell commemorative granite bricks that the Town will incorporate into the imminent Downtown Fenwick revitalization work.