Wednesday

David Haywood


The time is ripe for change Merritton, and I want to be your voice on St. Catharines City Council!

David Haywood
Merritton Ward Candidate
(905) 324- 0123
 For more information
Email: davehaywood444@msn.com


 “I believe that the next four years are crucial for the Merritton Ward. Years of high unemployment and business closings have been felt by the residents of the area. If elected, I promise to increase resident participation in all major city initiatives and decision-making processes. I will push fellow city councilors to review all current and future city expenditures to ensure that tax payers’ money is spent effectively and efficiently- without cutting vital social services. Lastly, I will help the city develop and implement a long-term fiscally sustainable road map for a prosperous future- par­ticularly for the residents of the Merritton area.”    
— David Haywood
A little about me... 

  • Born and raised a resident of the Merritton Ward
  • Have volunteered with the St. Catharines Boxing Club, the Niagara Catholic District School Board, Fallsview Casino Cares Foundation, and other local organizations.
  • Married to high school sweetheart and current teacher for the Niagara Catholic District School Board, Kerry Haywood
  • Currently employed by Fallsview Casino Resort as a full-time security officer and shift investigator
  • Union representative (over 10 years' experience) with the CAW Local 199 and OPSEU Local 278
  • Studied political science and public administration at Brock University 

On October 25th, 2010, vote David Haywood to St.Catharines City Council as a representative for the Merritton Ward.
  For more information about the 2010 St. Catharines elections, including advanced voting and voting locations, visit: www.stcatharines.ca under 2010 elections.
 



Thursday

Merritton History - Part 1

During the 1840s, the present area of Merritton was then a portion of Grantham Township. The area consisted of four settlements: Centreville (at Lock 9), Westport (at Lock 15), Protestant Hill, and Slabtown (at Oak and Elm Streets). Since the area was around the Welland Canals that were built locally in 1829, the four settlements took the name Welland City in 1850. In 1858, Welland City decided to switch names with a place called Merrittville (present day location for the City of Welland) and was renamed Merritton. The idea was appealing to local residents in both settlements since the new City of Welland was on the Welland River and the “seat” of Welland County; while on the other hand, Merritton had the Honourable William Hamilton Merritt – a prominent local entrepreneur and the founder of the Welland Canal Company.
Formation of the Welland Canal Loan Company and the purchase by this company of large areas of land “to found an industrial manufacturing area and develop water power” lead to the tremendous growth of Merritton. Sawmills and gristmills were established locally which dotted the banks of the first Welland Canal. These new mills were operated by soon-to-be long-term area families such as the Hendershot, Beatty, Brown, Phelps, and Waite.
In 1852, the Great Western Railroad came to the area and a rail line was laid through to Niagara Falls. Merritton was home to the first electric railway in North America, when in 1887 one was built to connect Merritton with St.Catharines.
The mid 1850’s saw heavy industrial manufacturing begin to appear with construction by the Beaver Cotton Mills Company of the stone building which later became the Independent Rubber Company. The rubber plant closed in the 1920s and the building was acquired by Interlake Tissue Mills for storage until the place was ravaged by fire in 1961. The remains of the building are one of many local heritage sites is currently occupied by the Keg restaurant. Part of the building was painstakingly restored to its original condition by Merritton Development Inc and then sold to the Keg restaurant in the early 2000s.
In 1861, across the road, Gordon McKay built the Canadian Coloured Cotton Mills. The factory was later renamed the Lybster Division of Dominion Tar and Chemical. The site is another example of a local heritage site extensively renovated. Currently the location is occupied by Johnny Rocco’s Bar and Grill restaurant.
In 1862, Canada Carbide built a plant on what is now Oakdale Avenue and also constructed a series of power houses at Locks 8, 9, and 10. This was followed in 1871 by Lincoln Pulp and Paper Mill, built by Sylvester Neilon. This mill was later owned by the Woodruff family but was later acquired by the Dominion Tar and Chemical Company. In 1864, the first sulphite process mill was built by John Riordan. This mill operated until 1923 when it passed into the hands of receivers and lay idle for many years. It was briefly occupied by Kaupp Electric and White Supply but for decades has been used by Sun Collision for storage purposes.

Monday

Notable Merrittonians


James Wilson

James Wilson was responsible for establishing the Merritton Foundry[i]  The factory produced all kinds of castings and general iron work but specialized in wire rope and contractors’ supplies. Mr. Wilson’s reputation for superior workmanship in manufacturing these goods was recognized throughout the region.1 back in the 1870s.  The foundry was one of the oldest industrial enterprises in Merritton and came to the area as a result of the development of the first Welland Canals.




 Frank Clark

The Clark family was responsible for establishing the Merritton Brass Foundry back in 1899.   Frank Clark, who replaced his decreased brother and founder of the factory Andrew Clark, was the owner of the business.1 The factory was located on Merritt Street and made brass castings to supply the different parts required in engines and industrial machinery.1 The Merritton Brass Foundry developed into a large company that manufactured products in locations throughout the Niagara Region.


[i] The Standard, The Standard, St.Catharines Special Souvenir Number 1907 (St.Catharines: The Standard, 1907) 50.

Merrritton Parade and Reunion


Merritton Labour Day Parade

Monday September 6, 2010
Parade Assembles at Kernahan High School - Bunting Rd. near Queenston at 9:00 AM
Parade moves out at 11:00 AM sharp!
The Route follows Bunting Rd. south to Queenston St. west, then south on Hartzel Rd. to Seymour St. east to Carnival Grounds at
To enter a float or other unit in the Parade
Please Contact:     Lion Jeff White          

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Merritton High School Reunion

Saturaday October 23rd, 2010
Merritton Community Centre

Tickets available online at:
www.merrittonreunion.com

You can also purchase tickets by calling our contact numbers:

Carol Rigby (905) 680-6007
OR
Bridget Luccciola (905) 684-7058

SATURDAY AFTERNOON OPEN HOUSE
AT MERRITTON HIGH SCHOOL

1-4PM
Come and see what Merritton High School looks like on the inside now. 
The fine people at Pinehurst School are welcoming back all Tiger Alumni for an open house.
The open house will be held on Saturday October 23, 2010, from 1 - 4 pm.
If you choose to go to the Saturday night event, the open house event will be included with your ticket purchase. 
If you are interested in just stopping by the school for the open house, tickets will be available at the door for $15.00. 
Saturday Night Party #2
When: 10/23/2010 at 7 pm - 1 am
Where: Merritton Community Centre

Come and join us for a cocktail party catered by Niagara Gourmet Caterers.  Enjoy the music of "Flatbroke", featuring their new show, "Reunion Jack".  There will be 500 tickets maximum available for this party. Your ticket will include coming together for the Saturday afternoon Open House at Pinehurst School (the former Merritton High School building).

Sunday

Merritton Development Update #8

A s readers know from past columns, I'm fascinated by the transformation of Glendale Ave.
We're talking the stretch between Mountain and Merritt streets where paper mill giant Domtar once reigned supreme.
I may be guilty of having a selective memory, but the only other stretch of urban thoroughfare in St. Catharines that has changed more
dramatically in the past 30 years is Fourth Ave.
What makes Glendale more interesting, though, is its brownfield past.
The lands bordering Fourth Ave. were just another greenfield on the city's periphery waiting to be plowed under.
Glendale had a couple of notable industrial buildings that have been wonderfully restored and retrofitted for modern use.
I'll spare you any attempt at playing restaurant critic and simply note the interiors of both The Keg and Johnny Rocco's look terrific.
But then, given the crowded parking lots of each, there's a good chance you already know that.
All of which helps explain why, while driving along Glendale last week, my eyes were drawn to some construction activity taking place at the Lybster Mill building.
It appeared an addition was being built at the Johnny Rocco's end.
My interest was further piqued when I dropped into the building.
The wood railing of the lobby's grand staircase was being stained.
The Sherlock Holmes in me detected something was up.
The solution seemed elementary. I would talk to building owner and the man behind the Glendale transformation, Nino Donatelli.
Turns out the addition is a 280-seat banquet hall.
The hall will be run by Donatelli and catered by Johnny Rocco's.
It's all part of a grand, integrated plan that will
culminate with the development of the Stone Mill Boutique Hotel in the building, said Donatelli.
This is great news for city boosters who have been pining for a downtown boutique hotel. Mind you, they had downtown St. Catharines in mind as opposed to downtown Merritton. But why quibble?
While Donatelli has always talked about the possibility of an inn for the building, the immediate and ccess of Johnny Rocco's has confirmed the idea and accelerated its development.
Here's how the integrated concept works:
People can book a wedding reception at the banquet hall, stay at the boutique inn, have their nails and hair done at the Lybster Mill's spa and the next morning have breakfast at a planned bakery/deli/coffee shop in a 2,500-square-foot space at the north end of the building.
I understand it completely. Well, except for the hair and nails thing. Women, eh?
At any rate, it's hoped the banquet hall will be completed by October, which will be in time for Christmas party bookings.
After that, work will start on building 23 hotel rooms on the second floor.
"We can't stop now," said Donatelli, adding he hopes the rooms will be ready for occupancy next spring.
Another 23 rooms will eventually be built on the top floor, he said.
In the time since Donatelli bought the old rubber
processing mill (now The Keg) in 2001 and the Domtar buildings in 2004, he has put forward a number of various development scenarios for the properties.
Some didn't work out and others may have taken longer to reach fruition than anticipated. But overall, his track record for delivering what he's promised is pretty good.
In that spirit, I note another of his ideas.
Still intact on site is an underground parking garage used by Domtar. Donatelli said it's structurally sound enough to support a 10-storey addition to the boutique hotel.
He's only talking in terms of a five-storey addition. And that's presuming the hotel now on the drawing board is a success and "I live long enough" to oversee the next project, which he figures is 10 years away.
Meantime, though, there's a banquet hall to be built as part of the expanded Lybster Mill project.
Donatelli said stone was being dug up as we spoke for the exterior of the hall. What choice did he have for a place that will be called the Stone Mill Boutique Hotel?
"I don't want to blow my horn," said Donatelli, "but I want to do this so it looks spectacular in the end."
dherod@stcatharinesstandard.ca

Merritton Development Update #7

Keen observers of the local political scene may recall St. Catharines city council recently focused its collective gaze on a municipally owned patch of grass next to the Keg parking lot at the corner of Glendale Ave. and Mountain St.
At issue was whether to declare the patch surplus to the city's needs and offer it for sale.
The prospective buyer would be the owners of the Keg property. Their intentions are to transform the 0.24-acre patch into a few additional parking spots.
Selling to the private sector did not sit well with some on council. They, along with assorted canal heritage buffs, feared private-sector ownership would torpedo future attempts to improve access to nearby Mountain Locks Park. The park's boosters hold out hope that dormant civic plans to rejuvenate the old Welland Canal site can be realized one day.
It is, indeed, a park that has interesting potential.
But the city's parks department told the
aforementioned hand wringers to chill out. Parks staff said the patch of grass in question matters not a whit in bringing Mountain Locks Park to future glory.
As a not inconsiderable aside, the buyer-in-waiting, Nino Donatelli, has almost single-handedly raised the profile of that stretch of Glendale to the point where heavily investing in the park might actually make sense.
Nice potential message city council would be sending to business, eh? Thanks for spending millions turning a frog into a prince, but we're depriving you of a small piece of adjacent property our staff doesn't believe we need.
At any rate, sanity prevailed and the patch was declared surplus.
During the discussion that night, it was noted the lands east of the Keg -- all part of the same property ownership on Glendale -- were about to be developed.
A chat with the local representative of the soon-to- be new owners confirmed development is nigh.
Stephen Kaiser said Crownview Holdings Inc., a Toronto commercial developer, is "right on the cusp" of filing a formal site application with the city.
The plan calls for a standalone bank building at the property's north-east quadrant (near Kaupp Electric), a "recognizable" restaurant (Donatelli has been telling me for two years it's Swiss Chalet moving from the Pen) and a 1,080 square metre (about 12,000 square foot) building that can be divided into a number of commercial/retail units.
Kaiser said Crownview, which re-fashioned the Fonthill Plaza on Regional Rd. 20 a few years ago, wants the new development to complement as best it can the iconic Keg building, a former 19th century industrial structure.
"We're trying to add some features that you wouldn't see as standard on these types of buildings. Hopefully, when we come up with the final site plan ... we'll have everybody nodding and happy and ready to move forward."
The sale of the Glendale site to Crownview from Donatelli's Merritton Development Inc. awaits Ministry of the Environment sign-off on the property's clean-up, an approval that's expected shortly.
Kaiser said Crownview hopes to break ground on the site in September and have some openings next spring.
Say, maybe one of the retail units will be a high-end, licenced cafe where one can read a book in quiet surroundings while sipping wine and ... zzzzzzzzz.
dherod@stcatharinesstandard.ca

Merritton Development Update #6

OK, time to wrap up matters on the old Union House Tavern in Merritton.
Hey, don't blame me for the profusion of columns on the historic gin joint, also known in Merritton drinking circles as Hallett's.
Back in the late summer of 2006, I thought I was doing a one-off when writing about the newly formed Infamous Pub Co.'s renovation of the circa-1875 building.
Who knew the Pub Co., funded in considerable part by a local lottery winner, would quickly go bust, plunging the building into almost four years of darkness?
Given my initial interest, I felt obligated to track subsequent attempts to revive the watering hole's past glory.
Over the past few years, a couple of such efforts failed miserably.
This winter, the building was listed under power-of-sale again.
A few weeks ago, word emerged that the latest prospective buyer was Pete's Pizza.
Noticing some activity on the Merritt St. property this week, I dropped in for a visit.
On site was new owner Jerry DiPietro, who took ownership at the end of April and started renovating May 1.
For those interested in these sort of things, the property sold for $280,000 in 2000; $310,000 in 2005; and $355,000 in 2007.
Earlier this winter, it was being shopped around by realtor CB Richard Ellis Ltd. for $395,000.
DiPietro said he bought it for $285,000.
Who says you can't lose with real estate?
Anyway, the 41-year-old DiPietro is, indeed, involved with Pete's Pizza.
He's owned and operated the franchise in the strip plaza at the south-east corner of Merritt St. and Glendale Ave. since 1991. Before that, he had the franchise on Church St., near Queenston St.
"I always liked this building, always wanted to keep it going," he said, as we stood in the middle of the old tavern watching some floor-tiling take place.
He actually tried to grab it a couple of years ago but was beaten to the punch by one of the ill-fated business people.
After running the pizza franchise at the rather small plaza outlet for 19 years, DiPietro, who attended Laura Secord Secondary School, said he wanted to give it "a bigger place, something different."
"I needed a change. I was getting stale over there," he said of the plaza location.
"This is a big step up."
As much as DiPietro liked the old Hallett's -- he enjoyed stopping in for a draft and making his football pool picks -- he has no plans to
replicate the pub experience. Rather, he wants to create family atmosphere.
One side of the establishment will be for pizza pickup and quick eating at a few small tables; the other side will have booths for sit-down meals of the finger-food variety.
DiPietro intends to get a liquor licence, "but I'm not pushing the beer angle here."
He's been told the property only has enough parking to support 48 licenced-seats, and he said that's fine with him. (He added, however, that a couple of business neighbours have offered him some parking space should the need arise.)
DiPietro was hesitant to hazard a guess as to when the new Pete's Pizza eatery will open.
He said he needs to make sure all the i's are dotted and t's crossed to city bureaucrats' satisfaction.
But his current lease at the plaza expires in a couple of months, he noted, so that's a pretty good time target.
The plumbing is finally done, floor work has begun and he'll be getting in some electricians soon to re-wire the building. In addition to the pizzeria/ restaurant space, there are a couple of two-bedroom apartments on the top floor. DiPietro also intends to lease the north storefront space to J&A Athletics, which designs and sells sports jerseys.
Sounds like a plan. No doubt a downtown
Merritton community weary of the recent Union House curse hopes it works.
dherod@stcatharinesstandard.ca

Merritton Development Update #5

Cruising through beautiful downtown Merritton the other day when I noticed a Sold sign on the old Scotiabank building.
Did some snooping around and found out the deal closed late last week. So, I dropped in Wednesday.
After all, the former money-depositing joint is a well-preserved, attractive-looking structure of some heritage significance to Merrittonians. Figured they might want to know what was up.
Has to be a new bar, right? Or a coffee shop. Maybe a pizzeria.
Nope.
The building is being transformed into a church. The Life Centre, to be exact.
This news came courtesy of Peter McDonald, who shares pastor duties with wife Sharon at Life Centre.
McDonald, 55, was working on interior renovations when I entered unannounced and was kind enough to give me a tour of the place. Nice digs.
Indeed, it was exactly what Life Centre was looking for -- a reasonably priced building that wasn't in need of a major facelift.
The church paid $260,000 (asking price $295,000) for it, said McDonald, and with some relatively minor work -- removal of the old bank counter and an office, putting in a new floor, painting the interior -- the church sanctuary should be completed some time next week.
Life Centre officials more or less stumbled upon this spot. They had been seeking a home for about a year and a half, and in March decided to check out the old Union House Tavern.
The tour didn't go well.
"We went down to the basement and it was like a swimming pool," said
McDonald, who also described the loose wires hanging about as "an electrical nightmare."
"And they wanted $400,000 for it," he said with some incredulity.
But all was not lost. McDonald noticed next-door neighbour Scotiabank had a sign announcing the branch was moving to the Sobeys plaza on Glendale Avenue. He returned the next day to check into leasing possibilities and discovered a For Sale sign on the property.
The church put in a successful offer and got the early closing date it desired.
Goodbye hall of commerce, hello place of worship.
Let's not bid adieu, though, without acknowledging the site's bank history.
The Bank of Nova Scotia opened a branch there in 1912, setting up shop in a two-storey building previously occupied by the Imperial Bank and the Bank of Toronto.
In the mid-1930s, the wooden structure was moved to the back of the property, allowing the current building to be constructed in its streetfront place.
"The structure is modern in every respect," reported The Standard on the day of the official opening Oct. 24, 1936, "with two fine vaults, one on the ground floor and another storage vault in the basement."
A large rear addition was put on in 1956 and a smaller one in 1986.
A Scotiabank staff magazine from 1961 explained the demand for the major addition "was due mainly to increased employment at Alliance Paper Mills and other industrial establishments." "From 450 to 500 paper mills employees look to the Bank of Nova Scotia here to cash their weekly pay cheques. Several hundred employees of other industries help to turn the branch into a 'beehive of activity' every Thursday and Friday."
Ahh yes, those were the days. Part of that period is living on at the church, though. To his surprise, McDonald discovered the basement vault doors were home to a number of signatures and dates.
Turns out it was a tradition for bank managers to sign the doors on the date of their leaving. The first scribbling is from 1912, which suggests the vault was moved from the old digs to the new one.
Later, the signing tradition was broadened to include longtime branch employees recording their retirement dates and new managers noting their start times.
They're keepers, said McDonald of the signatures, explaining the vault doors are one piece of old bank memorabilia that won't be painted or removed.
As for New Life, the pastor, who has done missionary work all over the world for the past 20 years, said the church should be up to full speed soon.
I'm guessing you can bank on it.
dherod@stcatharinesstandard.ca