St. Catharines


St. Catharines
St. Catharines
—  City  —
From top left: The corner of St. Paul and Queen streets, the Silver Spire United Church on St. Paul, a ship traversing the Welland Canal with the Garden City Skyway in the background, the lighthouse of Port Dalhousie, the Arthur Schmon Tower of Brock University, and the gazebo in Montebello Park

Flag

Coat of arms

Logo
Nickname(s): The Garden City
Motto: Industry and Liberality
Location of St. Catharines and its census metropolitan area in Ontario
Coordinates: 43°11′N 79°14′W / 43.183°N 79.233°W / 43.183; -79.233Coordinates: 43°11′N 79°14′W / 43.183°N 79.233°W / 43.183; -79.233
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
Region Niagara
Settled 1783
Incorporated 1845 (town)
  1876 (city)
Government
 – Mayor Brian McMullan
 – Governing body St. Catharines City Council
 – MPs Rick Dykstra, Malcolm Allen
 – MPPs Jim Bradley, Peter Kormos
Area[1][2]
 – Land 96.11 km2 (37.1 sq mi)
 – Urban 382.68 km2 (147.8 sq mi)
 – Metro 1,397.50 km2 (539.6 sq mi)
Elevation 97.8 m (321 ft)
Population (2006)[1][2]
 – City 131,989 (Ranked 33rd)
 – Density 1,373.3/km2 (3,556.8/sq mi)
 – Urban 308,596 (Ranked 12th)
 – Urban density 806.4/km2 (2,088.6/sq mi)
 – Metro 390,317 (Ranked 12th)
 – Metro density 279.3/km2 (723.4/sq mi)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC−5)
 – Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
Postal code L2M-L2W, L0S
Area code(s) 905, 289, 365
Website www.stcatharines.ca

St. Catharines (2006 population 131,989; metropolitan population 390,317) is the largest city in Canada's Niagara Region and the sixth largest urban area in Ontario, Canada, with 97.11 square kilometres (37.5 sq mi) of land. It lies in Southern Ontario 51 kilometres (32 mi) south of Toronto across Lake Ontario, and is 19 kilometres (12 mi) inland from the international boundary with the United States along the Niagara River. It is the northern entrance of the Welland Canal. Residents of St. Catharines are known as St. Catharinites.

St. Catharines carries the official nickname "The Garden City" due to its 1,000 acres (4 km2) of parks, gardens and trails.

St. Catharines is situated in an area for commerce and trade since it is located between the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and the Fort Erie- US Border. Manufacturing is the city's dominant industry, as noted by the heraldic motto, "Industry and Liberality". General Motors of Canada, Ltd., the Canadian subsidiary of General Motors, operates two plants in the city (one plant was partially shut down in 2010) and until recently was the city's largest employer, a distinction now held by the District School Board of Niagara. TRW operate a plant in the city, though in recent years employment has shifted from heavy industry and manufacturing to services.

St. Catharines lies on one of the main telecommunications backbones between Canada and the United States, and as a result a number of call centres operate in the city.

Contents

History

The old water mill at Decew Falls, Niagara Escarpment, St. Catharines

The city was first settled by Loyalists in the 1780s. Early histories credit Serjeant Jacob Dittrick and Private John Hainer formerly of Butler's Rangers,among the first to come to the area taking up their Crown Patents where Dick’s Creek and 12 Mile Creek merge, now the city centre of St. Catharines. Although never documented, some local St. Catharine's historians speculate Dick’s Creek was named after Richard Pierpoint, a black Loyalist. Secondary to water routes, native trails provided transportation networks, resulting in the present day radial road pattern from the City centre. The surrounding land was surveyed and Townships created between 1787 and 1789.

After the Butler’s Rangers disbanded in 1784 and settled the area, Duncan Murray [3] as a former Quartermaster in the 84th Regiment of Foot (Royal Highland Emigrants) was appointed by the Crown the right to distribute free Government supplies (victuals) for 2 years. He did this from his mill, built on the 12 Mile Creek in Power Glen. After his death in 1786, his holdings were forfeited to merchant Robert Hamilton of Queenston. Hamilton attempted to operate for profit the already well established Murray’s Distribution Centre and Mill under the management of his cousin. Among other ventures, Hamilton became land wealthy expropriating lands from subsistence Loyalist settlers who were incapable of settling their debts.[4] Murray’s distribution centre, later Hamilton’s warehouse, and its location have long been a mystery. Hamilton’s major profits were derived from transhipping supplies for the military and civic establishments from his Queenston enterprise, not from charitably supplying the subsistence Loyalist settlers. With Hamilton’s lack of interest in social development [5] the business was sold to Jesse Thompson before the turn of the 18th Century.

The small settlement was known as “The Twelve” and as “Murray’s District” to military and civic officials but to the local residents in 1796 and earlier as St. Catharines.[6] This is confirmed in St.Catharines’ first history written by J.P. Merritt “to be historically accurate the name St. Catharines preceded all of these….” [7]

The Merritt family arrived after this time being late Loyalists who had re-established themselves after the American Revolution, in the Carolinas, New York and New Brunswick. In 1796, Thomas Merritt arrived to benefit from the favours of his former Commander and Queen's Ranger, John Graves Simcoe, now the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada.[8]

At an unknown early date, an inn was built by Thomas Adams, located on the east side of what is now Ontario Street. It became a community meeting place, election centre, stagecoach stop, and mail delivery deposit. This was preceded by the Church and log school house completed before 1797 [9] all located on the east bank of the 12 Mile Creek at the extreme west end of the what was known at that time as Main Street- an extension of the old Iroquois Trail and renamed St.Paul Street by the mid-19th Century. Several mills, salt works, numerous retail outlets, a ship building yard, distillery and various other businesses followed.

The first Welland Canal was constructed from 1824 to 33 behind what is now known as St. Paul Street, using Twelve Mile and Dick's Creek. William Hamilton Merritt worked to promote the ambitious venture, both by raising funds and by enlisting government support. The canal established St. Catharines as the hub of commerce and industry for the Niagara Peninsula.

Merritt also played a role in making St. Catharines an important place of abolitionist activity. In 1855, the British Methodist Episcopal Church and Salem Chapel was established at the corner of Geneva and North streets, on land granted to the congregation by Merritt in the early 1840s. The area became known to escaped slaves as a place of "refuge and rest", and cemented it as a final terminus on the Underground Railroad for African American slaves. By the mid-1850s the population was about 6000, 800 of whom were "of African descent".[1] St. Catharines remains an important place in Black Canadian history.

The Town of St. Catharines was incorporated in 1845. St. Catharines was incorporated as a city in 1876.

The St. Catharines Armoury is a recognized Federal Heritage building 1991 on the Register of the Government of Canada Heritage Buildings. [10]

Geography and climate

St. Catharines' climate is humid continental (Köppen Dfb) and can be considered a unique micro-climate because of the moderating influence of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie and the sheltering effect of the Niagara Escarpment to the south. As a result, the city can record a large number of frost-free days in the winter, although it sometimes receives lake-effect snow. The summer season is predominantly warm, sometimes hot, with an average high temperature of 27 °C (81 °F) in July, and humidity is often high. Summer thunderstorms are commonplace but less prevalent and less severe than further west in Southern Ontario due to the diminishing effect from the surrounding lakes.

Climate data for St. Catharines
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 18.5
(65.3)
19.4
(66.9)
26.7
(80.1)
30.3
(86.5)
32.4
(90.3)
35
(95)
37.4
(99.3)
35.6
(96.1)
33.3
(91.9)
28.9
(84.0)
22.2
(72.0)
21.9
(71.4)
37.4
(99.3)
Average high °C (°F) −0.5
(31.1)
0.3
(32.5)
5.4
(41.7)
12.2
(54.0)
19.4
(66.9)
24.3
(75.7)
27.1
(80.8)
25.9
(78.6)
21.5
(70.7)
14.9
(58.8)
8.3
(46.9)
2.4
(36.3)
13.4
Average low °C (°F) −7.7
(18.1)
−7.4
(18.7)
−3.2
(26.2)
2.1
(35.8)
7.8
(46.0)
13.3
(55.9)
16.4
(61.5)
15.7
(60.3)
11.6
(52.9)
5.6
(42.1)
0.9
(33.6)
−4.5
(23.9)
4.2
Record low °C (°F) −23.8
(−10.8)
−25.7
(−14.3)
−21.1
(−6.0)
−9.1
(15.6)
−1.7
(28.9)
1.7
(35.1)
8
(46)
2.6
(36.7)
0.4
(32.7)
−5
(23)
−10.6
(12.9)
−22.5
(−8.5)
−25.7
(−14.3)
Precipitation mm (inches) 63.1
(2.484)
51.9
(2.043)
67.9
(2.673)
77.8
(3.063)
74.9
(2.949)
82.5
(3.248)
73.6
(2.898)
72.1
(2.839)
91.5
(3.602)
68.5
(2.697)
75.5
(2.972)
74.2
(2.921)
873.6
(34.394)
Source: Environment Canada[11]
Grapes from a family vineyard near the city's west-end

The complex and extensive glacial history of the Niagara Peninsula has resulted in similarly complex soil stratigraphy in the area occupied by the city today. St. Catharines was once at the base of a glacial lake known as Glacial Lake Iroquois, which deposited thick layers of clay between the Escarpment and Lake Ontario. As a result of these factors, the city's soil is particularly conducive to fruit growing and is capable of producing grapes that are used to make award-winning wines. Three wineries operate in the city's west-end: Henry of Pelham Winery, Hernder Estates and Harvest Estates.

Since the opening of the first Welland Canal in 1829, the city has seen four different canal systems, whether modified or newly constructed, carved into its geographical landscape. The fourth and present-day canal forms the majority of the city's eastern boundary. The first three of the city's canals have largely been buried, portions of it beneath the present-day Highway 406 and Queen Elizabeth Way. Other remnants of the original canals can still be seen in various locations throughout the city, many of which are hidden within forested areas designated as city parks. There has been a growing movement in recent years to restore the original routing of the Welland Canal through the city. The restored waterway and locks would be open to pleasure craft and create a new tourist attraction within the city.

Major parks

Montebello Park
The Old Courthouse, at the corner of James and King streets
  • Lakeside Park — Located in the North end, along the shores of Lake Ontario in the community known as Port Dalhousie. Hosts yearly fireworks displays on July 1 (Canada Day). Has picnic areas, a pavilion, snack bar, change rooms, washrooms, playground equipment, boardwalk, the Lakeside Park Carousel, and public docks for visiting boaters. The beach offers magnificent sunset views over Lake Ontario. Lakeside Park inspired a song by Rush which describes the park itself and Neil Peart's memories there.
  • Happy Rolph’s Bird Sanctuary — A 6-hectare (0.06 km2) park on the shores of Lake Ontario in the community of Port Weller. It is home to hundreds of native and migratory birds and features an exotic collection of flowering rhododendrons. An onsite petting farm (containing horses, pigs, sheep, goats and llamas, as well as a donkey named 'Hoti'—'Don Quixote') is operated by the city from Victoria Day to Thanksgiving Weekend. A trail running throughout the park leads to a peaceful waterfront memorial to Canadian victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
  • Ontario Jaycee Gardens — Overlooking the Henley Rowing Course, this is the city's largest horticultural park with more than 8 hectares (0.08 km2) of meticulously landscaped gardens and flower displays. Among the displays is a beautiful memorial site dedicated to Kristen French. The park exists on land that once featured the Third Welland Canal. The former entrance to the canal can still be seen at the North-West end of the park.
  • Walker Arboretum — Located along the hillside of Rodman Hall and the Twelve Mile Creek below, the original owner of this estate was Thomas Rodman Merritt, son of William Hamilton Merritt. In the late 19th century, an English landscape designer named Samuel Richardson was hired by Merritt to tend the grounds. As a result, the arboretum is an extensive, rambling garden with rare conifers which benefit from an exceptional micro-climate. It boasts one of the largest Chinese Empress trees in Canada.
  • Woodgale Park — Located along Glendale Avenue between Glenridge Avenue and the Pen Centre. Features wide open spaces, flowing fruit trees, rare birds, a soccer field and tennis courts. Also features a memorial to the original farm building on the north end of the park near Denis Morris Catholic High School. Locally known as Doug Hill Park, after a nearby resident who coached a number of baseball and tug of war teams in this area.

Government and politics

Municipal

The Six Municipal Wards of St. Catharines

St. Catharines is governed by a mayor and city council of twelve city councillors, with two councillors representing each of the six municipal wards in the city. A city councillor is also elected by the council as a whole to serve as deputy mayor, who only fills the role should the elected mayor not be available. St. Catharines City Council meets every Monday and is open to participation by the community. Matters put forwarded are voted on by members of city council; the mayor presides over council debate and serves very much like the speaker, and as a result only votes in the case of a tie. After 2006, municipal elections will be in November every four years rather than the previous three. Unlike most cities its size, city councillors only serve on a part-time basis and continue with their non-political careers in the community. Only the mayor is elected to a full-time position. St. Catharines City Hall is located downtown on Church Street. Tim Rigby was the Mayor of St. Catharines from 1997 to 2006; Brian McMullan was elected to succeed Rigby on November 13, 2006, and was sworn in on December 4.

St. Catharines uses a council-manager government, and as a result a Chief Administrative Officer is appointed by council to oversee the day-to-day operations of the city and its departments. The CAO, in effect, is the highest ranking municipal civil servant and has authority over the spending of municipal tax dollars. The CAO advises council on policy matters and acts as liaison between the administrative staff and elected officials. Some of the CAOs duties include assisting in the creation of the municipal budget, and ensuring that municipal funds are spent in a responsible manner. Colin Briggs is CAO, replacing B. Robert Puhach who resigned in February 2007.

Residents of St. Catharines also elect six regional councillors to the Niagara Regional Council on an at-large basis. Unlike many other regional municipalities in Ontario, regional councillors do not sit on city council and instead only represent at the regional level. Four school board trustees for the District School Board of Niagara representing St. Catharines and Niagara-on-the-Lake are elected, as well as and three trustees for the Niagara Catholic District School Board, two for five of St. Catharines' wards, and one for Thorold and the Merriton Ward of St. Catharines. Regional councillors and school board trustees are elected at the same time, and on the same ballot, as the mayor and city councillors.

St. Catharines has one of the lowest resident/representative ratios of any large city in Ontario. There are just under 7,000 people per elected municipal representative in St. Catharines, while Oshawa (a similar-sized city in Ontario) has one representative per 13,500 people. London, Ontario has one representative per 30,500 people, and Toronto has one representative per 55,000 people. There has been recent discussion regarding a modification of the city/regional council arrangement, with the possibility of reducing city council to six full-time representatives and having the six regional councillors serve on city council. While there is growing support in the business community for such an arrangement, city council has been unreceptive to such ideas.

Provincial

Federal and provincial ridings representing St. Catharines prior to 2007

At the provincial level, St. Catharines is well-known for electing high-profile members of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Jim Bradley, the current member for St. Catharines and Ontario's longest serving Member of Provincial Parliament, is the current Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services in the Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty, and served as Minister of Environment in the government of David Peterson. Bradley recently celebrated 30 years in provincial politics, and it was noted that he actually served in the Ontario Legislature with the parents of five current MPPs.[12] Peter Kormos, who represents the southern portions of the city as part of the Welland riding, is a prominent vocal member of the Ontario New Democratic Party caucus and served previously as Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations in the Bob Rae government.

From 1999 to 2003, during the premierships of Mike Harris and Ernie Eves, St. Catharines was the only large city in Ontario to not have at least one government member representing the city, as the Progressive Conservative-held ridings of Lincoln and St. Catharines—Brock were eliminated as a cost saving measure. Robert Welch, a long-time Deputy Premier of Ontario, represented the now-eliminated Lincoln and St. Catharines—Brock ridings throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

Federal

Federally, St. Catharines is one of the most bellwether of any riding in Canada, having only elected an opposition MP twice in its history. Rick Dykstra is the current MP for St. Catharines and is a member of the Conservative Party of Canada, which currently forms Canada's government. The southern portion of the city is included as part of the Welland riding, and is represented by Malcolm Allen, an NDP MP. Most federal representatives from St. Catharines have maintained a low profile on either the government or opposition backbenches. The exception was Gilbert Parent, who served as Speaker of the House for seven years while Jean Chrétien was Prime Minister.

Legal

St. Catharines is the judicial seat of the Niagara North Judicial District of Ontario, Central South Region, which represents the northern half of the Niagara Region equivalent to historic Lincoln County. The Superior Court of Justice is located on Church Street across from City Hall. A satellite court is located in Grimsby. Wally Essert is the current Crown Attorney.

The city forms "1 District" of the Niagara Regional Police Service. The NRPS headquarters are located on Church Street, with administrative offices on James Street and support services on Cushman Road.

Transportation

The lake freighter John B. Aird traversing the Welland Canal, with the Garden City Skyway in the background.

The most defining transportation icon of St. Catharines is the Welland Canal, a ship canal that runs 43.4 kilometres (27.0 mi), passing through the city. Three of its locks are within city boundaries. The canal allows shipping vessels to traverse the 99.5 metre (326.5 ft) drop in altitude from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.

The main access routes into and out of St. Catharines are served by two major freeways. The Queen Elizabeth Way runs east (at 15-Mile Creek) to west (at Garden City Skyway) and Highway 406 runs north (at QEW) to south (at St. David's Road). Prior to the construction of these freeways, St. Paul Street (former Highway 8, now Regional Road 81) and Hartzel Road (former Highway 58, now a city-maintained street) provided east-west and north-south access to the city. The QEW is currently undergoing an extensive reconstruction and widening project through the city, which will see it reduced to one lane in each direction for the majority of the construction project. Motorists travelling through St. Catharines are advised to bypass the city, and the Ministry of Transportation has posted special detour signs directing traffic to exit and follow Thorold Stone Road in Niagara Falls through the Thorold Tunnel and back to the QEW via Highway 406. The construction project is expected to be complete by 2012.

Public transportation is served by the St. Catharines Transit Commission, which operates bus routes throughout the city and neighbouring Thorold.

Ministry of Transportation Headquarters

All major routes converge at the St. Catharines Bus Terminal, which is located downtown within the headquarters of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. The central station is also served by Greyhound Lines and Coach Canada, en route to Toronto and New York City and connecting it to major cities throughout Canada and the United States.

Though transportation by rail is becoming increasingly popular, the St. Catharines train station is largely underutilized, with car and bus travel being the dominant forms of transportation for the city. The station is located in its original building, outside the downtown core (because of issues involving the crossing of 12-Mile Creek). It is served daily by Via Rail and Amtrak trains connecting it to Toronto and New York City. The provincial and federal government recently committed $385 million each to GO Transit to aid in the development of their 10-Year Capital Expansion Plan, which includes an expansion bus line servicing the Niagara Region. Currently, regular GO Bus service exists to St. Catharines with a stop at Fairview Mall, allowing riders to travel either west toward Burlington or east toward Niagara Falls. A potential rail link with GO Transit in the near future continues to be debated among the City of St. Catharines and GO Transit.

St. Catharines/Niagara District Airport services general aviation as well as chartered jetliner flights. It is located near the city's east-end in neighbouring Niagara-on-the-Lake.

St. Catharines had one of the first interurban electric streetcar routes, which ran between the city and Merritton and was eventually extended to Port Dalhousie in the north and Thorold to the south. Like most streetcar routes throughout the world, it was decommissioned in the 1960s, and the right-of-way has since been converted to parks and trails.

Education

St. Catharines is home to Brock University (established 1964), a modern comprehensive university located on the Niagara Escarpment. A partnership between the university and the Ontario Grape and Wine Industry established the city as a centre for cool-climate grape and wine research. "Brock" offers an Honours Bachelor of Science in Oenology and Viticulture.

McMaster University's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine opened a satellite campus in St. Catharines in September 2008. The Hamilton, Ontario-based university educates 28 first-year medical students in local hospitals within the city.

Ridley College, located near the city's downtown core in the Western Hill neighbourhood, is a distinguished co-educational boarding and day school. It was established as a boys' school in 1889, and became co-educational in 1973.

A campus of the Niagara College of Applied Arts and Technology is located near the city's east end. Niagara College is the only fully licensed teaching winery in Canada. The "Niagara College Teaching Winery" (or NCT for short) has created award winning wines. Niagara College has also taken home various medals from international wine competitions such as "Cuvee", "The Ontario Wine Awards" and "The Finger Lakes International Competition" to name a few. The school's Horticultural Campus was once located on 360 Niagara Street in the 1970s-1990s but has since been relocated to Niagara-on-the-Lake. One of its greatest teachers, R. Roy Forster, was recognized with the Order of Canada on April 14, 1999, for his work in creating the VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The District School Board of Niagara (DSBN), responsible for managing a school system of nearly 119 faculties, contains 8 Secondary Schools in the city of St. Catharines, Kernahan Park, Laura Secord, Sir Winston Churchill, Governor Simcoe, St. Catharines Collegiate, Eden, West Park, and Lakeport.

The Niagara Catholic District School Board (NCDSB) manages 61 elementary and secondary schools within the Niagara Region and operates 3 Catholic Secondary Schools within the city, Holy Cross, Denis Morris Catholic High School, and St. Francis.

Communities and development

The Communities of St. Catharines

St. Catharines' development history has resulted in a number of unique and distinct communities within the city. The historical area of St. Catharines consisted of nothing more than what is now the downtown core, with the remaining land being part of Louth Township on the west and Grantham Township on the east. St. Catharines continued to steadily grow through the late 19th and early 20th centuries, eventually annexing land to the southwest that would become Western Hill and Old Glenridge, and to the east and north that would collectively become the central part of St. Catharines. In addition to the growth of St. Catharines, the Town of Merritton and the Town of Port Dalhousie existed as separate municipalities to the South and North of the city, each slowly growing their own residential base.

St. Catharines has grown by nearly 100,000 residents since 1956

Along with the rest of Ontario, St. Catharines experienced explosive growth after World War II. St. Catharines continued to annex Grantham Township as development continued, including the large swaths of land to the north known now as "The North End". St. Catharines would also absorb Merritton and Port Dalhousie in 1961, making them part of the city. During this time, St. Catharines nearly tripled in population.

With the formation of the Regional Municipality of Niagara in 1970, the portion of Louth Township east of Fifteen Mile Creek was transferred to the City of St. Catharines. This included the eastern portion of the Hamlet of Rockway, as well as the Hamlet of Power Glen. The few remaining portions of Grantham Township in the Northeast corner of the area, including Port Weller, were also transferred to the city. With the new Louth Township lands belonging to the city, St. Catharines would begin two developments in the west end — Martindale in 1983, and Vansickle in 1987. These developments are nearing completion. There was also a push to continue further expansion to the west in the late 1990s, but this has since been halted by Ontario Greenbelt legislation.

The following distinct communities exist within St. Catharines:

Historic buildings line St. Paul Street in Downtown St. Catharines; the former bed of the First Welland canal is in the foreground.
Lakeport Road, in Old Port Dalhousie

Demographics

Ethnic Origin [1] Population Percent
English 40,430 31.09%
Scottish 28,645 22.03%
Irish 23,830 18.33%
German 18,450 14.19%
French 15,120 11.63%
Italian 7,820 8.61%
Dutch 7,820 6.17%
Polish 6,940 5.47%
Ukrainian 6,875 5.42%
Census Population
1841 3,500
1871 7,864
1881 9,631
1891 9,170
1901 9,946
1911 12,484
1921 19,881
1931 24,753
1941 30,025
1951 37,984
1961 84,472
1971 109,722
1981 124,018
1991 129,300
2001 129,170
2006 131,989

According to the 2006 census, there were 131,989 people residing in city of St. Catharines, located in the province of Ontario, of whom 47.8% were male and 52.2% were female. Minors (youth under the age of 19) totalled 22.6 percent of the population compared to pensioners who number 18.1 percent. This compares with the Canadian average of 24.4 percent (minors) and 13.7 percent (pensioners). The average age of St. Catharines residents is 41.7 compared to the Canadian average of 39.5. In the five years between 2001 and 2006, the population of St. Catharines grew by 2.2%, while Canada as a whole grew by 5.4 percent.[1]

As of 2006, 90.00% of the population was White. Other groups include black: 2.0%, Aboriginal: 1.6%, mixed race: 1.5%, south Asian: 1.3%, and Chinese: 1.1%. Approximately 21 percent of the population was foreign born.[1]

Christianity is the dominant religion of the city. Some 81.0 percent of the population profess a Christian faith, the largest being various Protestant groups (42.9%), followed by Roman Catholicism (34.2%), while the remaining consists of Orthodox, and independent Christian groups. Non-Christian groups are also present, namely Islam (1.5%), Judaism (0.5%), and Buddhism (0.5%). (The city contains a synagogue and Jewish community centre, as well a mosque). The remaining 16.5% report other or no religion.

Employment

  • Employment rate: 58.2%
  • Unemployment rate: 9.5%
  • Average earnings: $26,997

Top five employers:

City issues

Like most large Canadian centres, a number of social issues affect the city.

Obesity

Since 1998, St. Catharines has had one of the highest obesity rates of any centre in Canada. A 2001 analysis by Statistics Canada showed that 57.3 percent of its residents were overweight.[13] This has caused some elements of the media, including CTV,[13] the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation[14][15] and the Globe and Mail[16] to dub St. Catharines as Canada's "fattest" city.

In 2008, new statistics were released that show that the percentage obese or obese/overweight residents of Hamilton (74.3%), Kingston (70.1%), and St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador (70%) is now higher than St. Catharines-Niagara (69.3%), though the obesity rate in St. Catharines was higher in 2008 than in 1998.[17]

Social housing

St. Catharines also has a chronic shortage of social housing, causing hardship on low-income families.[18] Downtown St. Catharines also has an unusually high vacancy rate of 10%,[19] causing The Globe and Mail in early 2005 to call St. Catharines the Garbage City.[20] In 2006, many of these issues were brought to the forefront during municipal elections, with the hope that many of these issues can be addressed and changed in the coming years.[citation needed]

Poverty

The median total family income of $64,500 for the St. Catharines–Niagara census metropolitan area is the lowest in Ontario (2009).

Local media

Newspapers

  • St. Catharines Standard (daily)
  • Niagara This Week (community weekly)
  • The Brock Press (academic)
  • St. Catharines Shopping News (commercial advertiser)
  • SNAP St.catharines

Radio

In addition, numerous tourist and travel advisory stations are available off-air in the Niagara area.

Television

The Niagara region currently has no local television service of its own; however, stations broadcasting from Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo are available over-the-air in the region.

A local specialty news and information channel called Niagara News TV launched in February 2011, but ceased operations only 3 months later in April.

In 2003, a local business consortium applied to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for a licence to operate TV Niagara, a community television station in St. Catharines. The application was denied by the CRTC in 2005, citing concerns about the group's business plan and its dependence on gaining audience share in the Toronto market. The organization's appeal to the Cabinet of Canada failed in 2006. The TV Niagara website remains to be updated; the last update occurred in 2006.

Online news

  • Pulse Niagara
  • Niagara this Week
  • Niagara Region Info
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Sports and leisure

Hockey

St. Catharines entered into the Ontario Hockey Association Junior 'A' Hockey in 1943 as the St. Catharines Falcons. In 1947, they became the Teepees and were affiliated with the American Hockey League's Buffalo Bisons. When the National Hockey League's (NHL) Chicago Black Hawks made the Bisons their number one farm team, they inherited the Teepees. In the 1960s, the Jr. 'A' team went deeply into debt to the Chicago Black Hawks, but continued as a successful franchise and were named the St.Catharines Black Hawks. The Hamilton Fincups moved to St. Catharines in 1976 and played here for one year before moving back to Hamilton. The AHL St. Catharines Saints played in St. Catharines between 1982 and 1986, before being forced to re-locate to Newmarket due to protests from the NHL Buffalo Sabres. The St. Catharines Saints served as the farm team for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and today are known as the Toronto Marlies.

A new OHL team returned to St. Catharines, in time for the 2007-2008 season [2]. The Niagara IceDogs play out of Jack Gatecliff Arena, within the newly named Gatorade Garden City Complex. The city's Junior 'B' Hockey team, the St. Catharines Falcons, also plays out of the complex.

Baseball

The city was the home of the New York - Penn League's St. Catharines Blue Jays, the Short-season A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, from 1986 to 1999. In 1996 the team was renamed the St. Catharines Stompers, and was subsequently sold and relocated to Queens, New York City in late 1999, where they became the Queens Kings.

Rugby league

St. Catharines Bobcats were the first team to be announced in a re-launced Canadian rugby league.[21]

Soccer

The Canadian Soccer League's St. Catharines Wolves are one of the most successful professional soccer teams in Canada, and play at Club Roma in the west-end of the city.

Rowing

Martindale Pond in St. Catharines' Port Dalhousie is the site of the annual Royal Canadian Henley Regatta, a world-class event that brings over 3,000 athletes from various nations to the city. The site hosted the FISA World Rowing Championships in both 1970 and in 1999. More recently, the World Master's Rowing Championship was held at the Martindale Pond in the summer of 2010, with $500,000 in improvements to the facility such as: a weed harvester, new docking and a new timing system. There are currently talks to bring the Canadian Rowing Hall of Fame to St. Catharines sometime in the near future.[citation needed] The pond is also home to the St. Catharines rowing club, Brock University rowing club, Ridley College rowing club and to the annual CSSRA Championships, which draws hundreds of high school athletes from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. The Martindale Pond or Henley, continues to hold its world-renowned status as a major rowing venue in the world. The rowing event in the Pan American Games will be held in St. Catharines in 2015. Two Olympic medallists in rowing hail from St. Catharines, including Melanie Kok and Buffy Williams.

Trails system

Walker's Creek, one of the paths and parks for which St. Catharines is known.

The city's trail system offers over 90 kilometres (55 mi) of accessible pathways that are suitable for walking, jogging, cycling, hiking and cross-country skiing.

  • Bruce Trail - Canada's oldest and longest hiking trail, following the Niagara Escarpment (designated as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve site) from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Tobermory. A 20-kilometre (12 mi) section with associated side trails winds through St. Catharines passing by places such as the Morningstar Mill.
  • Merritt Trail — a segmented 11 km (6.8 mi) trail that passes many of the old sections of the second Welland Canal and remnants of its locks.
  • Terry Fox Fitness Trail — named after Canadian hero Terry Fox, a 1.5 km trail that runs along the former interurban railway right-of-way through central St. Catharines. Placed strategically along the Terry Fox Fitness Trail are six exercise stations of Dynatract Fitness Course, with instruction boards at each station.
  • Waterfront Trail - follows the shore of Lake Ontario, connecting communities from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Brockville. The Port Dalhousie portion of the trail is a major highlight.
  • Welland Canals Parkway - provides an uninterrupted 9-kilometre (5.6 mi) paved path for non-motorized traffic, along the western-side of the scenic Welland Canal. It links with the waterfront trails of Niagara-on-the-Lake and Port Colbourne, and the Niagara Parkway to create the Greater Niagara Circle Route, measuring approximately 150 kilometres (90 mi). An equestrian trail is located on the east-side of the canal and is part of the parkway.

Whitewater park

James Street
Architecture on Ontario St.
The former Welland House

A dedicated group of local paddlers and businesses is trying to bring a Whitewater facility, suitable for hosting world-class kayaking events, to the City of St. Catharines. The proposed course would utilize the Wellandvale stretch of Twelve Mile Creek, near the downtown core. If made reality, the project would be Canada's first urban Whitewater facility.

Plans for the facility were made public in Toronto's bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. When Toronto lost the bid to Beijing, the Niagara Whitewater Park Association was created to keep the project alive. In September 2006, the St. Catharines Standard[3] reported that St. Catharines Hydro is in talks with Ontario Power Generation to construct a small generating station adjacent to the proposed site of the Whitewater facility. The proposed Shickluna Generating Station would create electricity for up to 5,000 homes while regulating waterflow to the course. Unfortunately the cost of operating the course was found to be aprox. $200,000 per year and the funds could not be found. The proposal has been tabled until an alternative can be found.

Arts and culture

Art councils

The St. Catharines and Area Arts Council is a not-for-profit organization working to facilitate communication, collaboration and programs among artists, arts organizations and the community with the goal of enhancing cultural life.

Art galleries

Rodman Hall runs a diverse program of exhibitions throughout the year, featuring the work of local, national and international artists. It also houses a permanent collection of over 850 works including paintings, photographs, sculptures and outdoor installations. Rodman Hall was a public-run gallery from 1960 to 2003 when financial issues provoked Brock University to purchase the building. Today, it is affiliated with the Brock School of Fine and Performing Arts and continues to serve and welcome the public.

The Niagara Artists' Centre (NAC) is a not-for-profit, charitably registered, collective formed by local community artists and dedicated to serving the working artists and art-enthusiasts of Niagara. It runs a series of diverse exhibitions throughout the year involving abstract paintings, sculptures, new media installations and film screenings. Recently, the Niagara Artists' Centre moved out of its former location on Bond St. to a newly renovated storefront building on St. Paul Street in the city's downtown.

Festivals

The Market is a venue for events like SCENE

The Folk Arts Festival was first presented to the city by representatives from the ethno cultural communities of Niagara over 35 years ago. From that first festival was created the Folk Arts Council of St. Catharines, which continues to run its festival each year throughout the month of May and concludes with "Folk Arts in the Park", which takes place in Montebello Park in the city's downtown.

The Art of Peace Festival is now in its fifth year, the Festival seeks to increase community engagement in art as a tool for reflecting on peace issues. Montebello Park fills with performing arts events, Speak Your Peace! open mic program, community art workshops, an elementary school art exhibition, vendors, and Peace Through Art Stations at which peace groups make information available and offer arts activities. Presented by St. Catharines and Area Arts Council and Project Ploughshares Niagara.

The Niagara Grape & Wine Festival is a non-profit organization that presents three popular wine festivals in St. Catharines and Niagara during the year. The Niagara Icewine Festival (Winter), the Niagara New Vintage Festival (Summer), and the Niagara Wine Festival (Fall), which is the largest of the festivals, attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to the region each year. This event known by most locals simply as "Grape and Wine" attracts young and old varying from partiers to wine connoisseurs.

The SCENE Music Festival is one-day event held in various clubs and pubs downtown. Rock, indie, pop, singer-songwriter, ska, punk, metal, and many other genres are represented by bands such as Alexisonfire, Bedouin Soundclash, Moneen, Del Tha Funky Homosapien, Damn 13, Shad, Sick Boys, Raising the Fawn, Supergarage, Sailboats Are White, Revenge of the Egg People, IllScarlett, Silverstein, Bang Theory, Dead and Divine, Teenage Head, Cancer Bats, The New Cities, Lights, Madball, Billy Talent and Down with Webster who have played at the festival, which has been sponsored by Solo Mobile in the past. Traditionally, a compact disc of select performers is included with admission prices — although in recent years the CD has been expanded to a 2-disc compilation — representative of the growth of the festival. SCENE 2008 and SCENE 2009 included a card with a PIN enabling 50 MP3 downloads, instead of CD's.

The International Chicken Chucking Championships takes placed every January in the St.Catharines neighbourhood of Port Dalhousie and attracts hundreds of participants and observers.[22] Chicken Chucking consists of pitching or sliding frozen chickens along the ice covered Martindale Pond similar to curling and shuffleboard. The bird-brained fundraiser began in 2000 by patrons of the Kilt and Clover after realizing that there was not much to do in Port Dalhousie in the middle of winter. The Kilt and Clover hosts the event and the money raised is given to local charities including the food bank.

Museums

The St. Catharines Museum is located at Lock 3 on the Welland Canal, off the Welland Canals Parkway. An elevated viewing platform at the museum allows visitors to get a close-up look at ships from around the world as they climb this major section of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Along with its exhibits dedicated to the city's history and the canals, the museum is home to the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame and Museum.

Morningstar Mill, perched atop the Niagara Escarpment, is one of Ontario's oldest mills on an original site, and is fully powered by water. The picturesque park provides a glimpse into the innovative and pioneering spirit of the 19th Century.

The YMCA Discovery Centre (formerly The Children's Discovery Centre of Niagara), located in the former Niagara College Horticulture School, provides children and their families with an educational yet entertaining and stimulating place to visit using hands-on, interactive exhibits and outdoor activities.

Musical theatre

Garden City Productions (formerly the Operatic Society of Grantham United Church 1956-1962) puts on two community theatre shows per year at the Mandeville Theatre in Ridley College.

Theatre in Port put on a year-round schedule of professionally produced musicals, comedies and dramas.

Theatres

St. Catharines is also home to a variety of theatre companies. These include Carousel Players (located in the Courthouse), Mirror Theatre, Essential Collectives Theatre and the Empty Box Theatre Company.

Shopping

The Pen Centre
  • The Pen Centre - largest shopping mall in the Niagara Peninsula
  • Fairview Mall
  • Smart!Centres (formerly First Pro Garden City)
  • Lincoln Mall — demolished, replaced by Lincoln Value Centre
  • Downtown Farmers Market
  • Port Dalhousie Business District
  • Merritt Street, South St. Catharines (Downtown Merritton)

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d "St. Catharines (City) community profile". 2006 Census data. Statistics Canada. http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2006/dp-pd/prof/92-591/details/page.cfm?Lang=E&Geo1=CSD&Code1=3526053&Geo2=PR&Code2=35&Data=Count&SearchText=St.%20Catharines&SearchType=Begins&SearchPR=01&B1=All&Custom=. Retrieved 2011-02-03. 
  2. ^ a b "St. Catharines - Niagara (Census metropolitan area) community profile". 2006 Census data. Statistics Canada. http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2006/dp-pd/prof/92-591/details/page.cfm?Lang=E&Geo1=CMA&Code1=539&Geo2=PR&Code2=35&Data=Count&SearchText=St.%20Catharines&SearchType=Begins&SearchPR=01&B1=All&Custom=. Retrieved 2011-02-03. 
  3. ^ National Archives of Canada RG 19 Vol 4447 Parcel 3
  4. ^ Wilson, Bruce (1983) “The Enterprises of Robert Hamilton”
  5. ^ Wilson, Bruce (2000)<http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=2447&&PHPSESSID=elh9h7koc2m9fno702vclrpbb2
  6. ^ http://www.archive.org/stream/stgeorgesparish00unknuoft#page/24/mode/2up “Assignment to the Church at St. Catherines” Feb 17 1796; St. Georges Church Archives, St. Catharines, ON.
  7. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=AJG-y3oYU1IC&pg=PA49&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false J.P. Merritt (1875) Biography of Hon. W.H. Merritt M.P; page 49
  8. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=AJG-y3oYU1IC&pg=PA6&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false J.P. Merritt (1875) Biography of Hon. W.H. Merritt M.P; page 6
  9. ^ Ontario Historical Society, Papers & Records Vol. XXXVI ( 1975), “The Petition of John Hainer and Jacob Dittrick, page 201” and Upper Land Petitions “ H “ Bundle 3, 1797 (National Archives of Canada RG1 L3 Vol. 224)
  10. ^ http://www.pc.gc.ca/apps/beefp-fhbro/FHB_Rech_Search_e.asp Register of the Government of Canada Heritage Buildings.
  11. ^ Environment CanadaCanadian Climate Normals 1971–2000, accessed 13 August 2009
  12. ^ St. Catharines Standard - Ontario, CA
  13. ^ a b St. Catharines tops list of Canada's 'fattest' cities. W-Five, July 21, 2001
  14. ^ CBC.ca, National Population Health Survey 1998, Statistics Canada
  15. ^ CBC.ca, Obese Nation: Statistics, November 8, 2006
  16. ^ Fattest & Fittest, St. Catharines leads the fat parade. The Globe and Mail, July 21, 2001
  17. ^ "Regional differences in obesity" (PDF). Statistics Canada. http://www.statcan.ca/english/studies/82-003/archive/2006/17-3-c.pdf. 
  18. ^ http://www.regional.niagara.on.ca/living/saeo/reports/2005/COM14-2005.pdf[dead link]
  19. ^ http://www.stcathdowntown.com/economy.php
  20. ^ http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20051015.STCATHARINES15/TPStory/TPEntertainment/
  21. ^ http://www.canadarugbyleague.com/news/article.php?id=10036
  22. ^ Walter, Karena (January 17, 2009) "Time for a poultry-pitching party", The St. Catharines Standard. Retrieved December 27, 2009.

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