• This Week In Niagara… October 10th, 2014


    Written by: Sandy Howe

    As we head into the Thanksgiving long weekend and Reading Week on campus, I hope, looking back, that you can easily think of a few things you are grateful for.  For me, this is simple:

    • friends and loved ones that I love spending time with or catching up with when we’re far apart
    • my personal wellness (mental and physical) and the ability to be happy, choose a positive outlook on life, smell the fresh fall air, and try all kinds of fun new things
    • live in an area where I have access  to more great things to do and experience than I could ever find time for!

    This list obviously doesn’t include all the little things that make life so sweet: great music to sing out loud in the shower (where I sound like a superstar), warm homemade cookies, a good belly laugh, and dogs…I love dogs. This is just the icing on the cake and taking time each day to appreciate these things, whatever they may be for you, is key.

    Going back to my list, just because it’s a holiday weekend certainly doesn’t mean that everyone stays in and eats themselves into a turkey coma – there is still plenty to do in Niagara!  Here are a few things to keep in mind if you have time to get out this week:

    • Ball’s Falls Thanksgiving Festival – Friday-Monday, October  10-13 from  9am-5pm  in Jordan, ON ($6 to enter).  Join over 130 artisans and exhibitors (find some really creative, beautiful items), gourmet food vendors, wine makers and craft beer brewers at one of the region’s largest shows.  Be part of the Thanksgiving spirit at Ball’s Falls as the festival celebrates its 40th year!
    • Canal Bank Shuffle Blues Festival – Thursday –Sunday, October 16-19 in Thorold, ON.  Take in a few of more than 30 blues shows over four days and support local charities with the proceeds from your ticket.  Visit the website for the schedule, locations, and where to pick up tickets.
    • Opening Ceremony of the Meridian Centre – Saturday, October 11 (downtown St. Catharines).  Join the Niagara community at the big reveal of our brand new, $50 million facility that will host the IceDogs (our OHL team), concerts, conventions and more!
    • Niagara IceDogs Home Opener – Thursday, October 16 at 7:00pm (downtown St. Catharines).  Not only come out for a great night of hockey as the IceDogs battle Belleville (and the IceDogs have some game!), but also be sure to check-out the brand new Meridian Centre – Home of the IceDogs.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend and enjoy getting out to #ExploreNiagara!

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  • This Week In Niagara… October 3rd, 2014


    Written by: Sandy Howe

    With the smell of fall in the air, trees turning colour, and leaves on the ground, there is plenty of great things to experience in Niagara.  Simply take a walk up the Glenridge Hill or get on the trails around campus to admire the beauty we’re surrounded by as one of the most serene campuses in the province!

    This season also comes with great festivals and events in Niagara.  Get out this fall and check out some great things are region has to offer:

    Howell’s Pumpkin Farm  – This is a Niagara staple around Thanksgiving and Halloween and one of the top recommendations on my list.  There is plenty to do here to ignite the fall spirit and to bring out the fun in everyone! Wagon rides, a haunted house and corn maze, pig races, giant pumpkin slingshots and delicious eats (try the famous pumpkin donuts or pumpkin sausage if you’re looking for a food adventure!) along with great places to take photos around the grounds are just a few of the many highlights of Howell’s!

    Yoga Fest – Friday, October 3, 6-9pm at White Oaks Resort & Spa.  Your $25 ticket includes participation in a 2-hour master yoga class ( with 5 teachers from local yoga studios), live kirtan music, wine and tea tasting, access to top yoga accessory and apparel vendors, plus a great swag bag from The Spa at White Oaks.

    5th Annual Queenston Harvest Festival – Saturday, October 4, 11am-3pm at Centennial Park (Oakdale Ave., St. Catharines – free admission).  Come and enjoy live music by a variety of artists, fresh produce from the Start Me Up Niagara Farm will be available for sale, as well as crafts, jewelry, art, baked goods and a pig roast!

    Small Batch to Burn – Sunday, October  5, 12pm – 5pmat Dillon’s Parkade (4833 Tufford Road, Beamsville – free entry but remember to bring cash!).  The 2nd Annual event showcases an afternoon outdoors sampling some of the hottest food and drink from the area (visit the website for a list of great beverage and food vendors) while a DJ spins live!

    Sexapalooza – Friday-Sunday, October 3-5 at Scotiabank Convention Centre (Niagara Falls).  Looking for something new? Interesting? Maybe a little risque? Check out this event for all of that and more (visit the website for the weekend’s schedule, a list of vendors and a 2-for-1 admission coupon for Sunday admission).

    Have a great weekend getting out to #ExploreNiagara and enjoy this great region!

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  • This Week In Niagara… Hiking Season


    Written by: Alex Pennington-Little

    Badgers, the warmth and sun of Niagara is on its way out for another winter season, but the colours on the trees have yet to change! Why not make the most of the next couple of weeks of T-shirt temperatures and get outside and explore the beautiful escarpment?

    There are a dozen or more hiking trails that can take you out of the Brock bubble and into the nature of the Niagara region. Below are some suggestions for places to visit to squeeze the daylight out of the last bit of summer weather.



    This one is right in the neighbourhood, easy to get to by bus on routes 4 or 18 at the Mountain Plaza stop.

    This is a small, self-contained, and totally free area to explore. The Mountain Locks park is nestled in behind the Keg building on Glendale ave. There is an open park space with benches and picnicking area, but if you explore along the treeline you will find several trail openings. These trails all join up at random points in the wooded area, and culminate in a meadow of long grass. In these woods you may find a creek, a firepit, and the abandoned and crumbling locks now sitting on a dried riverbed. Rumour has it that these trails have a GeoCache hidden somewhere!



    Located on Decew Road near the Pelham intersection in West St Catharines, this site is one of the most popular for Brock students.

    In the summertime swimming here is an option, but it  is open for visits year-round. The falls still hosts the Morningstar Turbine, one of the early power-producing stations for the region standing since the late 1800’s! The upper area of the falls is accessible, but the rest of the trail is very steep and muddy – make sure you’re prepared for the hike you’re in for.



    Entrance near the Butterfly Conservatory on Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls.

    This trail gets you up-close and personal with the incredible force coming from Niagara Falls. The gorge itself carved by the Niagara river has been curated to be a more comfortable hike, but don’t go into the trail lightly. The inclines are steep and the head of the trail is a ways from the riverside. The trip is worth it to see the whirlpools and the rocky gorge. While it is beautiful in the summer, autumn will show you amazing scenery with the changing colours, and luckily this trail is open year round, for free!



    Niagara is a world of waterfalls. This Conservation ares used to be the site of the Glen Elgin community, a town planned to settle where the mills at Ball’s Falls were taking advantage of the power if the waterways. The town never came to be, but many of the buildings still stand as part of the conservation effort. Ruins of the original mills are found along the walking trails to the falls with informational plaques giving you a little background on the area. This hike is one of the easier ones, with more level trails and an emphasis on natural preservation.

    There is a fee to park here, depending on the season it can be $18 or

    $14 per car for the day, or $5/person – but the regional history found here is worth a visit.



    Located a short drive from Pelham Road in West St Catharines, the Rockway Conservation Trail is an access point in Vineland to the Bruce Trail. You can park for free at the Conservation building and enter the trail straight from the parking lot. This hike can be quite steep as it takes you into the forest, and to the Rockway Falls. Besides the waterfall you can follow the waterline through a series of rapids, and rumour has it that there is a salt spring bringing natural salts to the Niagara community for hundreds of years! This is a great trail for enjoying the changing foliage we have to look forward to, before the world ices over.



    Not far from the Rockway Trail is the Pelham Road entrance to Short Hills, an official Provincial Park of Ontario that is curated and maintained year-round. Short Hills is perfect for anyone looking for some mountain biking, and has many different trails for different levels of hikers. This is a great park to explore and since it is maintained by the Ontario government, it is made accessible and enjoyable for many types of users including a picnic area, flat and semi-paved trails, mountain biking trails and deeper forest hiking routes. Short Hills can be an afternoon visit or a day-long event, and is free to use!


    Make the most of what’s left of the warm weather and your running shoes – enjoy the Niagara escarpment in all its natural glory!


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  • This Week In Niagara… September 26th, 2014


    Written by: Sandy Howe

    On the heels of a gorgeous week in Niagara, this weekend promises to be no different.  Great weather is in store, and with that, the perfect pairing – the Niagara Grape & Wine Festival!

    With the 63rd Annual Grande Parade Saturday morning at 11am, be sure to get in on the action by joining the Brock float*.  Follow this up with a great day in the park afterward with live music, great local food, fantastic Niagara wines (get yourself a commemorative wine glass as part of the experience!) and grab a piece of birthday cake to celebrate 50 years of Brock University – all in one stop!

    This event is a great way to celebrate some unique features of our region, and this is the weekend to be there.  See you in Montebello Park and be sure to post your highlights as you #ExploreNiagara!


    *details about being part of the Brock parade presence are available in ExperienceBU

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  • “It’s either all of us, or none of us”

    Written by: Julie Rorison

    Last fall I stumbled onto an event page for a conference taking place on a cool October weekend at my former school. It sounded really interesting and I’m always keen to learn and grow and decided to bring my mom along. I didn’t know it at the time that the Leadership Summit for Women would be one of the most transformational days of my life.

    The day was so inspirational and different from any other conference, lecture, seminar or workshop that I have been to with women and girls and allies of all ages, demographics, and life experiences coming together to share their experiences, their lessons and challenges of being a woman leader.

    I came away feeling very inspired to share this movement with my home community in Niagara. And here we are, with the support of some great community partners, for the first Niagara Leadership Summit for Women.

    Why do we need to talk about women’s leadership in our community?

    Improving women’s equality and representation is, unfortunately, a challenge that continues before us in 2014 and beyond. Our reality is that women are not represented equally in political institutions, around boardroom tables, nor do we receive equal pay for equal work.

    But that doesn’t mean that women’s leadership is not equally as important or valuable. We need to recognize our own leadership and value women’s leadership in all of its shapes and forms and colours, to really make an impact.

    In many ways, Niagara is at a critical juncture in our history. As we begin to transform our economy and community, there are many opportunities to redefine and rethink our future. Who do we want to be? What type of community do we want to become? How can we improve the lives of our residents and create a positive future for next generations?

    We need to take advantage of the potential of our greatest assets – our people and communities – by recognizing, redefining and revolutionizing ideas about leadership to more fully support and include women leaders.

    Supporting women and young leaders is important for all of us. With diverse voices, ideas and perspectives around the table we can make better decisions with more just outcomes that will benefit everyone.

    That’s what leadership means to me. It’s not about your title or position or profile. That’s what this is all about.

    I’m so excited to be able to share this experience with you – my friends, sisters, colleagues, neighbours and allies.

    See you on October 18.


    For more information about the Niagara Student Leadership Summit for Women, please visit http://www.niagaralsw.ca/page/home.


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  • Random Things to Think About: I Can’t Believe I Haven’t Done This Before!

    Random Things to Think About

    Written by: Madeline Van Hemert

    This summer was my first summer staying in the Niagara Region and I was able to do so many things that were never on my radar when I was living in my Brock bubble during the school year. On Wednesdays from 4:30 to dusk the Wednesday Evening Supper Market happens in Niagara on the lake, just 15-20 minutes away from the school. It was so neat to see so many local farms and companies participating in this market. When I went I was able to try lobster macaroni and cheese as well as a peach and mango iced tea. There were also trucks offering fresh cut fries, craft beer, pulled pork and so much more!

    Along with those nights, I also had the opportunity to check out the Brock Farmers Market, which happens every Friday from May to September from 11:30am – 1pm out in Jubilee Court.  There are also Farmers Markets that happen in St. Catharines at the Market Square on King St. (right by the bus terminal) multiple times per week. In addition, there are different markets and festivals that happen each weekend depending on what is being harvested at the time.

    Now that the Niagara Region is in Grape & Wine mode, there are numerous food & wine expos happening, as well as parades, wine tasting events, winery tours and so much more! I wish I had known about these events when I had first started at Brock because I would have loved to experience more of what Niagara has to offer. To learn more about what is going on in Niagara, check out http://niagarafallstourism.com/events/. You can also read Sandy Howe’s blog, This Week In Niagara.

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  • This Week In Niagara… September 19th, 2014


    Written by: Sandy Howe

    Can you believe it’s Homecoming already?!

    With Brock having it’s 50th anniversary to celebrate, I’m a bit biased this week in saying that I think some of the best events in Niagara will be happening right on our campus.  From the Grape Stomp today, Brock Cares Day of Service tomorrow, spirited fans decked out in Brock gear at athletic games and photos of people forming “50s” all weekend, this is certainly the place to be.

    There is one event in Niagara in particular this week that everyone should be sure to fit in.  Definitely make plans to get off campus and check out what those who live in Niagara love to celebrate – the Niagara Wine Festival.  This is taking place at Montebello Park (free admission) all weekend for two weeks: Friday-Sunday September 19-21 and also September 26-28.  Take in some great live bands and purchase tokens when you arrive to sample dozens of fantastic Niagara wines, great local food, and pick up your commemorative wine glass!  This is a festive way to spend an afternoon or evening and a great way to experience what makes our region so unique.

    Also consider marking your calendars for next Saturday, September 27th to be part of the Brock float in the Grape & Wine Festival Grande Parade – one of the largest parades in North America right in our downtown!

    Have a great week, get involved, and be sure to #ExploreNiagara and share with us how you enjoyed it!

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  • Random Things to Think About: Free Time

    Random Things to Think About

    Written by: Madeline Van Hemert

    What does it mean to have free time? Does it mean that it’s the time to do absolutely nothing, time to think, or maybe time to spend with loved ones? I realize free time takes form differently from person to person but it is still a thing none the less. For me it’s the time to remove myself from people and things and just be in my own thoughts. If it’s nice outside I’ll go for a walk or a run and if not I’ll listen to music and take time cleaning and organizing things. It’s easy to go through the motions and get sucked into working yourself until you are unwell, but it is also important to take breaks and time to yourself.

    As of July 1st, 2014, the government of Sweden will be conducting an experiment in which 8-hour work days will be reduced to 6-hour work days. Check out this link for more information: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/05/sweden-work-hours_n_5446579.html. I guess my question to you would be: What do you do with your free time and would a 6-hour work day be something of interest to you?

    And that is that!

    – Maddy

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  • Brock Cares Day of Service: Contributing One Call at a Time

    Brock Cares Kels - Copy 2

    Written by: Kelsey Kavanagh

    Getting out of bed early is always difficult task, but as soon as I arrived at the school to participate in Brock Cares Day of Service one rainy Saturday morning, the energy from all of the volunteers was so contagious that I was beaming. My excitement grew as I was introduced to my team, a group of strangers that shared my passion for volunteering, not knowing that they would eventually become 6 new friends.

    When we arrived at our volunteer site, the Heart & Stroke Foundation, Matt, an employee, explained that we would be making phone calls throughout the day to encourage individuals in the region to canvas for their organization. As a look of apprehension emerged across all of our faces, Matt went on to explain how this organization saved his grandmother’s life. This was his motivation to make hundreds of phone calls every day with the hopes of gaining funds that will save another person’s life. All of us became inspired to reach out to others in the community and encourage them to volunteer for this amazing organization. By the end of the day, I had made about a hundred calls and only three people had agreed to canvas for the Heart & Stroke Foundation. Although this number may seem small, some days Matt would call three hundred phone numbers and not one person would agree to volunteer. So for Heart & Stroke, my three phone calls were considered a big win!

    Making this small contribution to an organization that impacts our community is one of the best feelings you can experience. While my friends were busy doing their hair and makeup for other homecoming celebrations that day, I was making a difference in the lives of others. Brock Cares is an amazing opportunity to give back to the Niagara community and I highly encourage anyone (and everyone) to participate in this unforgettable experience!


    It’s not too late to register online at ExperienceBU to participate in Homecoming: Brock Cares Day of Service on Saturday, September 20th.

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  • This Week In Niagara… September 12th, 2014


    Written by: Sandy Howe

    Can you believe that Orientation Week is over already?!  It (hopefully) flew by, leaving great memories and friendships that will continue, just like this entire school year will!

    It’s pretty tough during O-Week to venture off campus, or go too far beyond your neighbourhood, but now that we’re back to regular classes, the focus is shifting to establishing a “normal” schedule (what is that?!).  We’re finding classrooms and seminars, figuring out where the closest grocery store or Starbucks is, and learning how to get around campus and Niagara.  This is a great time to try new things and explore new places, making it part of your regular routine before life gets too busy and we focus on other priorities.  I mean, why not?!  It can only make you a better person in the end, having more great experience, places to go back to, and fun stories to share with others.

    This week, Niagara has plenty going on that’s worth checking out:

    • Handmade Market – Friday & Saturday, September 12 & 13 at 13th Street Winery (just passed the St. Catharines General Hospital on 4th Ave.).  Check out over 75 artisans offering jewellery, hand-sewn bags, fashion accessories, preserves, natural bath + body products, original art, home decor, wood products, leather goods, as well as live music, gourmet food and food trucks, wine by the glass and more!
    • Niagara Yoga Expo – Saturday, September 13 from 11:00am-6:00pm in Montebello Park (free).  This is your chance to try multiple styles of yoga by some of the best instructors and studios across Niagara!  Purchase the latest yoga gear, clothes, mats and more from a variety of vendors and take in an evening Kirtan Concert (tickets available on-line or at the door).
    • Thorold City-Wide Garage Sale – Saturday, September 13 from 9:00am-4:00pm.  Visit the Thorold website for more information or to register your address and take part.
    • Country Music Festival – Saturday, September 13 from 5:00-10:00pm at Peller Estate Winery, Niagara-on-the-Lake.  Enjoy Canadian country music artist Brett Kissell along with mechanical bull rides, 8+ food trucks, a pig roast and wonderful harvest wines.  Purchase your tickets on-line for $39 + tax.
    • Niagara Regional Exhibition – Thursday – Sunday, September 11-14, Welland ($5 for students, $8 for adults).  “Livestock & Living Well” is the theme for this year’s exhibition, which features livestock races, cattle and horse shows, a demolition derby, illusionists and midway rides – something for everyone!
    • Great Canadian Steampunk Exposition – Friday –Sunday, September 12-14, Fort George, Niagara-on-the-Lake.  Enjoy music from all over the continent, artisans, workshops, guided tours of the Fort, ghost tours of Niagara, entertainment including dancers, magicians, hot air balloon rides, and even a flea circus.  You don’t have to know a thing about Steampunk to participate, and you don’t have to have a costume – just come on down, explore everything, and enjoy yourself!

    Have a great weekend getting out to #ExploreNiagara, share your thoughts, highlights and photos with us, and please contact Sandy at showe@brocku.ca if you know of anything great happening in Niagara that we can include here!

    Enjoy this great region!

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