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WINTER 2018/2019






Non-traditional ideas for a memorable wedding reception

Sit down with local hockey legends to discuss life after hockey, living in Niagara and much more

on the cover…


An interview with Isabella Pasco, host of Flavour Passport: Journey


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WINTER 2018/2019


Daniel A. Pasco Alexandra Mills, John Fillion, Katelyn Lococo, Tracey Parkes, Michael Speck, Adam Wickens David Mace


Brittney Hall


Darryl Grossi


Melissa Browne


Melissa Campo




Brittney Hall, Katie Miller Mariana Bockarova, Lauren Charley, Victoria Gilbert, Andrew Hind, Martine Mackenzie, Dr. Christina Plaskos, David Somerville, Jill Tham, Gabrielle Tieman-Lee, Sherman Zavitz

Daniel Vandersteen David Haskell 905.356.7283 or 1.877.888.2825 todaymagazine.ca



Today Magazine





WINTER 2018/2019

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Non-traditional ideas for a memorable wedding reception

Sit down with local hockey legends to discuss life after hockey, living in Niagara and much more

on the cover…


An interview with Isabella Pasco, host of Flavour Passport: Journey


Today Magazine Niagara Edition is published by Rev Publishing Inc. All opinions expressed in Today Magazine Niagara Edition are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Rev Publishing, its employees or owners. Reasonable care is taken to ensure that the information contained in this magazine is as up-to-date and accurate as possible, as of the time of publication, but no responsibility can be taken by Today Magazine Niagara Edition for any errors, omissions or comments made by writers or interviewees that are contained herein. Furthermore, responsibility for any losses, damages or distress resulting from adherence to any information made available through this magazine is not the responsibility of Today Magazine Niagara Edition. All unsolicited manuscripts and/or photographs submitted are assumed to be intended for publication or republication in whole or in part. The right to alter, edit or refuse photos and/or manuscripts intended for publication is assumed. All unsolicited material submitted to Today Magazine Niagara Edition are submitted at the author’s risk. Manuscripts and or photographs intended to be returned must be accompanied by sufficient postage. Today Magazine Niagara Edition does not assume any responsibility for any claims of our advertisers and reserves the right to refuse any advertising.

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DAVID GUENTHER @davidguenther

Discover fun and unique photoshoot ideas for your wedding or engagement with David Guenther’s amazing scenic shots.

Check out our “Unique Wedding Ideas” board on Pinterest to discover fun and unique wedding ideas!

ADAM + DAVIS @crownflora

Be inspired by these beautiful unique floral arrangements. With a wide selection of unique arrangements and bouquets to draw ideas from, this is definitely a page to check out!

NADIA & CO @nadiaandco

From cakes to donuts and macaron towers, this page will awaken your hunger and inspire a delicious dessert lineup for your special day.


we love



rockmywedding.co.uk/ tag/wedding-food/ Wedding food can be hit or miss. Read up on some amazing wedding food trends and DIY fun food projects!


Follow fairytale weddings across some of Canada’s most beautiful locations.

Men’s fashion is often overlooked when it comes to the wedding scene. Take a look into this blog to read up on men’s fashion trends. From ties to patterned shirts - this blog has it all!



Follow us on Issuu or online and get unlimited digital access to our lifestyle magazines and never miss what’s happening in your community!

issuu.com/todaymagazine or todaymagazine.ca




As we come to the end of 2018, I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank you all for your continued support over this past year. Though some things have changed, others have stayed the same, and we at Today Magazine continue to support our community and local businesses, ensuring the continued growth of our beautiful home in Niagara. I believe that when we work together, we can achieve anything. With the consistent and devoted work of our team, Today Magazine remains Niagara’s premier lifestyle magazine that promotes our local entrepreneurial community. As we move ahead, we will continue to bring you the most exciting and diverse content, with the most up-to-date digital media, establishing Today Magazine as an important player in the current publishing scene. Happy Holidays from my family to yours. I hope it’s filled with lots of laughter, leisure, and love.

Daniel Pasco PRESIDENT & CEO


MARIANA BOCKAROVA Mariana Bockarova is a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto, where she teaches Psychological Resiliency, the Science of Happiness, and the Psychology of Relationships. Her research explores narrative medicine and mental health. She also holds a Master’s degree from Harvard University concentrated in Psychology.


Dr. Plaskos received her Honours Bachelor of Science of Pharmacology and her medical degree from the University of Toronto. Dr. Plaskos also has continued her education by completing a fellowship at the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine which helps shape her practice at Aegis MD. Her mission is for everyone to ignite their well-being!



Lauren is a Copywriter and Journalist with a passion for travel and sharing stories. Born a tropical baby at heart, Lauren spent a year working for a magazine in the British Virgin Islands after graduating from The University of Western Ontario. Niagara-on-the-Lake will always be her home base, as she continues to allow her vocation to take her on adventures and discover the world.

The founding partner at Capital Wealth Management Inc. has a passion for learning that has led him to attain a Certified Financial Planner designation; the highest level of professionalism in providing financial planning advice. Specialized in providing comprehensive wealth and estate planning advice to business owners, medical professionals and individual investors.



Victoria is a print journalist, a documentary filmmaker, a writer of fiction and a lover of adventure. Based in Niagara-on-the-Lake, she spends much of her time wandering the world as a scuba diver, cyclist, skier, thrill seeker and wanderer.

Jill’s passion for writing came after seeing the movie Stand by Me. She prefers listening to Niagara bands to practising her guitar and running the track better than shopping. When Jill is not moonlighting as a freelance writer, she is an Elementary teacher juggling her three children.



Andrew is a freelance writer specializing in travel, history and lifestyle. He has a passion for new adventure and experiences, and also for exploring little known stories. Andrew is never without a book or three in hand and some obscure historical fact at the tip of his tongue. You should follow him @discoveriesAM

A writer for REV publishing for over three years, Gabrielle has written for numerous REV publications including Taste, Shopping & Travel. She is a graduate of the University of Ottawa’s Journalism program and has written for a variety of newspapers including the National Post, Ottawa Citizen and Montreal Gazette.



After retiring from a successful teaching career, Martine is finally realizing her dream of becoming a writer! Her features revolve around lifestyle, food and fashion. She loves to shop and never pays retail for anything. This born New Yorker is a bargain-hunter and thrift store-sourcing expert. Martine loves to cook, and spend time with her husband and two sons.

A retired teacher, Sherman Zavitz has had a fascination with the history of Niagara Falls and area for many years. He has been recognized for his historical expertise by being appointed official historian for both the City of Niagara Falls, Ontario and the Niagara Parks Commission.


ig h tl L ive E n te rt a in m e n t N N ia g a ra ’s L a rg e st T V


on O p e n D a il y Fro m N o

spycelounge.ca |


Located in Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel & Suites directly across from Fallsview Casino Resort 6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3V9 Complimentary parking for our dining guests.




PenFinancial’s Adam Rempel offers ten financial resolutions to help you achieve your financial goals in the New Year. 83 MONEY TALK


Get to know Niagara’s newest teen sensation! Isabella (Bella) Pasco is the face of Flavour Passport: Journey, our newest video series featuring local restaurants. Follow this “IT” girl all around the region and get a guided tour to tantalize your taste buds. 16 FESTIVE DRINKS

‘Tis the season! Take a look at all of these festive cocktails offered throughout the Niagara Region. Featured in this story are: Hopped-Up Hot Chocolate; The Great One; Gins N' Roses, and Biere de Noel. There’s something for everyone! What better time of year to round up friends and family and head out to these local establishments and raise a glass of holiday cheer. 20 ON THE TABLE

Executive Chef, Andy Di Pietro of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse shares his story and what makes him so passionate about food. 24 THE WHISKEY IS A GO-GO AT DOC MAGILLIGAN’S

What used to be considered a kitschy drink only shot back in neighbourhood bars has now become something very different. People, young and old, are talking whiskey! Whiskeys are up and coming! Doc Magilligan’s offers a tremendous selection of whiskeys from all over the world and has introduced flights of this delightful spirit. Whiskeys can be paired with anything on Doc’s menu and is even being infused within some of their dishes. Take a sneek peek behind the bar at Doc’s!


Niagara's clean, crisp weather, and white snow offer a hidden gem for winter wedding photos. 39 GROOM TRENDS

Grooms are taking as much time and putting in as much effort to attire themselves for their big day as do their betrothed. 41 THE (WEDDING) TRADITIONS WE KEEP

What’s behind all of these traditions anyway? Mariana Bockarova delves into the reasons why. 42 MORE THAN A BIG WHITE WEDDING

Steering away from the traditional wedding reception is one way for the bride and groom to put that stamp of originality on their special day. 48 ALTERNATIVE WEDDING CAKES

That three-tiered cake that has been a go-to for every couple in the past, is now being pushed aside for much trendier and functional options. 50 ROMANCE AT NIAGARA FALLS

The biggest wedding party ever organized in Canada took place at Oakes Garden Theatre and was billed as the Wedding of the Millennium. 56 SENSUAL NIAGARA

Canada is known for its winters. With nights being so much longer, the sexiness of star-studded skies makes way for couple time.

59 THE 80/20 RULE

Most of us only wear about 20% of our wardrobe. Learn how to pick and choose what’s best for your current style.

Holiday time can be stressful. David Somerville offers some great tips to keep you from the fear of opening up those credit card bills in January.



Adriana Del Vasto of OGGI SPA offers some great tips to keep winter skin looking its best. 65 TO THE HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTEST

A bottle of wine seems to be the go-to when it comes to gifting the hostesses of the many holiday parties you will no doubt be invited to this season. But look beyond… 69 COULD MOVIES SAVE YOUR RELATIONSHIP?

With the cold weather here, there is no better time to re-connect snuggled under a blanket, watching a rom-com with some wine, popcorn, and of course your significant other. 70 YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY SHOES

When your favourite pair of shoes has seen better days but you’re just not ready to let them go, make your way to George’s Shoes and Repair. 73 CULTIVATE YOUR INNER AND OUTER RADIANCE

Dr. Christina Plaskos offers some amazing tips on how to be the best version of yourself. 75 SNOWY SCENES AND A SOOTHING SPA

Niagara-on-the-Lake looks like a Christmas card in the winter. Andrew Hind takes us into the 100 Fountain Spa at the Pillar and Post.


In-depth coverage of the 2018 Niagara Music Awards. 86 LIVE LIKE THE LOCALS

Winter edition of amazing places that offer food, beverage, and entertainment. 89 SENTINEAL CARRIAGES

Sentineal Carriages offers everything a would-be prince and princess could want with their rides through historic Niagara-on-the-Lake. 90 DE SIMONE WINERY

Enter the world of De Simone Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake and get an idea of what this place has to offer. 95 TWO MINUTES IN THE BOX

Spend “Two Minutes in the Box” with these local hockey legends. 104 TOBOGGANING HILLS IN NIAGARA

A guide to the best toboggan hills and ice rinks that Niagara has to offer.


Camera Ready: An interview with

Isabella Pasco, the host of Flavour Passport: Journey By Brittney Hall

If you are a foodie in Niagara, you are likely familiar with Flavour Passport, the ultimate guide to all the restaurants in the area. Featuring hundreds of restaurants, Flavour Passport is boosting their user experience with Flavour Passport: Journey. This new video series will feature restaurants across Niagara, giving audiences the opportunity to experience the ambiance of these establishments through their screens! I caught up with Isabella “Bella” Pasco, the host of Flavour Passport: Journey. She is probably the hardestworking high school senior you’ll ever meet, juggling dance, work, family and friends, all while taking on this massive project. With everything going on in her life she is not slowing down anytime soon.

Can you tell me a bit about Flavour Passport and what inspired it? Flavour Passport is a unique online media site that advocates for the unique dining options available in the Niagara region. It was inspired from the exploration of what the Niagara region has to offer. What excites you most about filming the Flavour Passport: Journey videos? Trying the food, and meeting new people! The conversations take off and it’s exciting to hear and see what their opinions are […] It’s really exciting to dive into an entirely new environment and see people’s passion shine through as I interview them! What do you want your audience to take away from these segments? I want the audience to take away the genuine excitement both the restaurant and I share for what they have to offer. Each restaurant has a unique aspect to offer and I want the audience to see the genuine positivity and enthusiasm depicted in each segment. What’s your all-time favourite food? I would have to say that pasta is one of my favourite foods. There are so many ways in which one can make a pasta dish entirely innovative. It’s like a different meal every time! What’s your routine to making sure you’re camera ready? A good night’s sleep is the best thing prior to camera time as it allows for you to be energized and ready to adapt to whatever it is the director needs you to do. I loved your outfit in the first segment. What are your favourite shopping hotspots? Thank you! I love getting little pieces from small boutiques. I find that they offer unique pieces that one wouldn’t necessarily find with a larger retailer.

What pieces do you think every young woman should have in her closet and why? I think every young woman should have her basics! A white turtleneck can go a long way. It’s easier to accessorize and add points of interest to a basic piece of clothing than it is to create an entirely innovative outfit. The holidays are right around the corner. What are some holiday traditions in your family? Holidays, for me, are always spent with family as much as possible. Our annual gift exchange and large Christmas dinner is one of our favourite traditions. What do you look forward to most about the holidays? During the holidays I mostly look forward to spending time with family that I don’t get to see on a daily basis. To me, there is nothing better than creating quality memories with the people I love. If you could give someone looking to get into hosting three tips, what would they be? Three tips I would give to someone looking into hosting would be one, to always go with the flow. If you feel as though the question you have allocated for this part of the segment will sound choppy or won’t highlight the right point of interest, jump to another question. Two, be genuine. The more genuine you are the more the positivity of the segment will be illustrated to the audience, making the restaurant look good and you will avoid making yourself look frantic. Three, have fun with it! The more fun you have the easier the conversations will develop and the better the entire segment will look. Afterall, it is a very fun gig! What does the future hold for Isabella Pasco? As time progresses, I will be furthering my studies in international business and working further with Flavour Passport to find new ways to enhance the unique dining options offered here in Niagara.

// F O O D & D R I N K

It’s really exciting to dive into an entirely new environment and see people’s passion shine through as I interview them!

Photo courtesy of Haskell Photography





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Festive Drinks By Jill Tham

Hopped Up Hot Chocolate The Olde Angel Inn, NOTL

What goes with a historic ghost walk on a brisk night? A winter warm up in a haunted restaurant. “The Angel was built in 1789, burnt down during the war of 1812, and then was rebuilt in 1815,” explains Stephane Penman, Restaurant Manager at The Olde Angel Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake. “We are the home of none other than the famous “Captain Swayze” ghost, who enjoys frequently visiting our guests who are sleeping at the Inn during the night,” says Penman. Inspired by the Winter blues, Hopped Up Hot Chocolate combines a little of this and a little of that to create the perfect winter treat. “Customers will enjoy the Baileys, Peppermint Schnapps, and giant heap of whipped cream,” says Penman. “It’s a warm drink on a cold winter day, and everyone could use a little kick in their cup with the stress of the holidays.” The Olde Angel Inn also has a lunch and dinner menu. “We are open every day except Christmas, all with smiling faces to show our guests a good time!” says Penman.

The Great One Play Bar and Grill, NOTL

Inspired by Lexi Knox’s hatred of the cold and love of cream liqueurs, The Great One has become a new menu item at Play Bar and Grill located in White Oaks Resort. “I love the way the snow looks sitting perched on tree limbs, or untouched on a yard with holiday decorations...but why does it have to be cold!?” says Knox, Food and Beverage Outlets Assistant Manager. “After tasting the Wayne Gretzky Cream Whisky, with its velvet texture and almond flavours, I knew it would pair beautifully with the Ciroc French Vanilla vodka,” says Knox. “I believe the customers will really love the smooth taste of this after dinner cocktail! Whether enjoying it at the end of a meal or as a night cap watching our live entertainment on weekends, this drink is sure to please everyone,” says Knox. Play has a menu that Knox guarantees will deliver, “new takes on old pub faves.” “LIV, the second restaurant in the Resort, is our four-diamond, fivestar fine dining experience with a muted and chic ambiance and a menu, created by Chef Michael Price, that focuses on locally grown produce,” says Knox. If you despise the cold, head to Play Bar and Grill for some much needed sympathy from the staff. “This drink is perfect on cold wintry days!,” says Knox. “There is nothing more relaxing than a hot boozy cocktail to warm up with.” TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 17

Gins N’ Roses

Odd Bird, St Catharines Odd Bird opened its doors in downtown St. Catharines roughly one year ago to rave reviews for their offbeat chalkboard menu that includes oysters, craft beer, and original cocktails. Behind the bar is Maestro Jesse Galati. “Customers return for my cocktails because they are unique and I take into account the customers' tastes in making them individual and making the person feel special,” says Galati. “Gins N’ Roses was a drink based from a gin and pine cocktail called Pins and Needles but it shares very little in flavour profile,” says Galati. This version has a touch more sweetness and a lot more of a floral element,” adds Galati. What makes this cocktail one of a kind is the secret ingredient: two jiggers of Christmas tree bitters made from Manager Dana Roper’s 2017 Christmas tree. “This is a unique flavour combination of rose, pine, and orange and draws attention,” says Galati. “Gins N’ Roses is perfect for the holidays because it’s like a good holiday: short, perfectly sweet, and has a lot of alcohol.” “OddBird is people doing their craft well, very well,” says Galati. “Everything changes all the time, so it’s a new restaurant every week,” says Galati. Be sure to stop into Odd Bird this winter season. Although they don’t take reservations, with bartenders like Galati, it will be worth the wait. “We will always do our best to make any waiting as pain-free as possible,” says Galati.

Biere de Noel

Niagara Oast House Brewers, NOTL With their undying love of hops and barley, each year Niagara Oast House Brewers creates seasonally inspired beers that not only compliment their regular taps, but are guaranteed to please even the pickiest of beer drinkers. “It tastes like Christmas in a bottle,” describes Stephanie Schipper, Retail and Marketing. “Our Biere de Noel has heavy Christmas flavours that give it a warm spicy finish,” says Schipper. “You will enjoy the rich and full-bodied brew that showcases a dark malt.” Oast House spends a great deal of time throughout the year preparing for the release of Biere de Noel. “It is not something we brew in seven to ten days like our Barnraiser,” says Schipper. “It ages for eight to nine months. “Our beer is aged in bourbon barrels from Woodford Distillery in Kentucky, USA,” says Schipper. “You get the flavour of the bourbon without the big liquor punch.” Biere de Noel will definitely be on tap for the 5th annual Christmas Ho Down, on December 23, 2018. “This year will be our first with our new restaurant,” says Schipper. Don’t miss the biggest Christmas party in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Pop by Oast House and sample one of their three seasonal brews: Biere de Noel, Gingerbread Porter, and Roasted Chestnut Beer. Design and Illustration by Insite Design

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// O N T H E T A B L E


Andy DiPietro

of Ruth's Chris Steakhouse by Martine Mackenzie

Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet and interview Andy Di Pietro, executive chef at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. I was greeted very warmly by this friendly, gregarious and charming man who is not only a master in the kitchen with a passion for cooking, but also a man with a great sense of humour who just loves to share his stories. Tell me a bit about your background and why you became a chef? I was 10 or 11 and was always interested in being in the kitchen with my mother. When I was 13, my father asked me what I wanted to do and I said, “maybe cooking”. That’s when I started making pizzas at Trevi’s Pizza in Stoney Creek. My first job. What’s your favourite thing about being a chef? Making people happy. It’s all about the food. Bringing people in, getting them together and making them happy. If you could give people three cooking tips, what would they be? What makes a great chef…Salt! Know how to use salt. That’s one of the biggest things. Use great ingredients and keep it simple. Make the food speak for itself. Photos courtesy of Stephanie Dychtiar and Modern Vision Photography Inc.

Do you have a favourite ingredient to work with? I like to play with a lot of ingredients. But my favourite thing to work with has to be pasta. Pasta of any kind. With a simple tomato sauce. But it’s got to be good pasta. What would you say is one of the most challenging ingredients to work with? Any ingredient can be challenging. It’s how you find your way to work with them and put them together. When it’s your day off, and you go out to eat, where do you like to go? Korean. It’s my favourite. I love the balance of flavours. It’s not over the top. It’s very simple with the saltiness and sweetness and the spice. It’s unbelievable! It’s so fresh. What city in the world would you say has the best food? I love Montreal! It’s my favourite city. It has everything. It has that European feel. If you weren’t a chef, what would you do for a living? I’d be a chartered accountant. I love numbers. I’m great with numbers but I don’t really use numbers when I cook. I free hand, except for when it comes to baking because it’s more of an exact science. But I always freehand when I cook. Like when I make a sauce…a little pinch of this, a little pinch of that. I season at the end because you don’t know what the cooking process will do to that sauce. Do you have an embarrassing cooking moment? When I used to work at Pazzo Mato, my front of the house manager used to purposely stack the plates too high so I couldn’t reach them. It was more annoying than embarrassing. (laughingly) I ended up marrying that woman, my front of the house manager. Something good came from her pranks.

What excites you in the world of food these days? The diversity. Farm to table, the fusion with Asian, Italian. The diversity of combining cultures and then the freshness and simplicity of farm to table. Chefs today are so unbelievably talented and cutting edge. Do you have a cooking pet peeve? A kitchen that is not clean. Everything needs to be completely sanitary. 100 per cent my biggest pet peeve. W hat would you say is your favourite thing about being a chef in Niagara? I think it’s all the different people that I get to meet from around the world. I love it! It’s about making that connection. Social media helps me keep those connections. How do you stay relevant in the culinary world? I eat out a lot. I try a lot of places to see what other people are doing. I train my palette that way. Instagram is fantastic because I can see trends. I use cookbooks but one of my favourite things is a magazine I subscribe to called Art Culinaire which truly keeps me up to date on everything from different foods, to plating techniques and trends. How would you describe a day working in your kitchen? Busy! Always busy! It’s like an organized chaos. That’s what we love. It’s that rush. When we’re doing à la carte for Ruth’s Chris, then doing Fallsview events, it’s that rush. My team is fantastic! What are your guilty pleasures food-wise? Where do I start? (laughingly) Chocolate! Snacks! I’m big on snacks. I love chips. Savoury and sweet, but I go in spurts. I’ll go from a chocolate binge to salty nuts. I just love snacks. What would you request for your last supper ever? It’s gotta be pizza. Any kind of pizza. Nice thin-crust. It would have to be pizza. TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 21


exp erien c e Take a trip with us and enjoy one of our custom whiskey flights. We have Niagara’s largest selection with over 100 whiskies from Ireland, Scotland, Canada and the United States.

Upcoming whiskey events…




docmagilligans.com 6400 LUNDY’S LANE, NIAGARA FALLS • 905-374-0021

Whiskey seems to have always gotten a bad rap.

Typically, this spirit has been associated with pool halls and biker bars. Well, this is no longer the case as whiskey is now becoming what the Cosmopolitan was to the early part of the decade. Whiskey is very versatile and can be ordered on the rocks, straight up, or in a cocktail. One of the most common errors that individuals make when ordering a dram of whiskey is to take it as a “shot”. On the contrary…every drop of whiskey should be sipped and savoured. In Ireland, having a dram of whiskey alongside your pint is very common as the flavour profiles between the two are very similar. Having a pint first reddens your palette allowing the whiskey to pair very well with it. Our very own taste of Ireland right here in Niagara, Doc Magilligan’s, is embracing the current trend. Doc’s currently offers 100 plus whiskeys, scotches, and bourbons stemming from Ireland, Scotland, the USA, and Canada. Ken Ahern from Doc’s, is responsible for bringing whiskey to the forefront and for the upcoming launch of various and affordable whiskey flights. Ken witnessed the success of beer flights firsthand and decided to apply this winning concept to whiskey. “I noticed that whiskey was moving here in the bar, so we began by introducing Whiskey Wednesday, where different whiskeys are featured.” The whiskey flights are now taking off. They include: “Around the World”, taking in the best of old and new world whiskeys; “The Bourbon Trail”, which features great bourbons

from all over the United States; “Blends vs Single Malts”, which is a blind taste test offering a selection of blend and single malts; and finally, “The Big Spender” for those whiskey lovers with deeper pockets. Overall, these flights have very friendly pricing and provide a great experience for both whiskey connoisseurs as well as up-andcomers. At Doc’s, all of their whiskeys are served in the proper stemware for the best possible experience. Doc Magilligan’s has also found a way to make this spirit part of their food. Executive Chef, Gary Beynon infuses whiskey into many of the pub’s dishes, from sautéed mushrooms on their home-made burgers, to the whiskey-rubbed baby back ribs basted with Irish whiskey BBQ sauce. This winter, Doc’s will feature various whiskeythemed events, beginning in January with the traditional Robbie Burns Supper offering a Scotch tasting prior to the festivities. Of course, there will also be many toasts throughout the night! There will also be whiskey dinners featuring local whiskeys from Forty Creek and an Irish Nosing leading up to St. Paddy’s Day, just to name a few.

The pub also offers special perks to customers who join Doc’s Whiskey Club. There is no cost to the membership and the club hosts exclusive tasting events and gives out prizes to those who complete different tasting lists. It’s time to pony on up to the bar at Doc’s and give whiskey a go-go.

"Dram Good!" It’s all



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YOUR FLAVOUR PASSPORT In Good Taste showcases a variety of Niagara’s most melt in your mouth, showstopping, foot stomping, lick your lips, delectable dishes. Whether these items are unique to a restaurant or a familiar food that is prepared in a way you’ve never tasted before, it’s evident that Niagara is home to a food culture that is growing every day, and while it can be hard to choose where to engage your taste buds first, we hope this guide gives you a good head start.





7A Race Street, St. Catharines 905.685.8588 24cakes.ca

242 Mary Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake 289.272.1242 backhouse.xyz

6361 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.353.7187 brasaniagara.com

Our cakes and cupcakes will definitely make your day extraordinary! Baked daily with all natural, quality ingredients, our delectable varieties always delight the palate. We offer handcraft fondant custom cakes, wedding cakes and sugar paste cookies for any special occasion. Visit us for fresh treats, a cup of coffee and a cozy environment with great customer service.

One of Canada’s best restaurants. Backhouse offers a continuously evolving menu with a commitment to integrated cool climate cuisine and enlightened hospitality. Boasting a finely curated local and international wine list dedicated to low intervention winemaking, craft cocktails, and tasting menus, guests are assured to have one of their best dining experiences.

Nestled inside the Hilton Niagara Falls/ Fallsview Hotel and Suites, Brasa showcases the flavours and cultural flair of Brazil. Following a centuries-old tradition of cooking on an open fire, diners can experience endless cuts of succulent beef, pork, lamb, and chicken carved tableside in the style of authentic Brazilian gauchos.




6039 Fallsview Blvd., Niagara Falls 905.353.4111 buchanansniagara.ca

3 Race Street, St. Catharines 905.641.5009 caffegatti.com

5717 Lewis Avenue, Niagara Falls 289.292.0228 chefcaldas@live.com

A blend of modern steakhouse and chic lounge. This home-grown restaurant offers an appealing selection of hand-cut steaks charbroiled to your liking, tasty seafood, pasta, fresh salads, vegan and more. Lunch $14-16, Dinner $1838. Happy hour daily 2-6 pm: VQA wine or craft brew with appetizer $15. Complimentary parking. Event space for up to 250 guests.

Sisters Clara and Sarah welcome you to Caffe Gatti. Serving up smiles with artisan Roman style pizza, salads, soups, gourmet sandwiches and fresh Italian cakes, pastries and gelato. Choose from freshly brewed, locally roasted coffee, espresso, cappuccino, lattes, and organic teas to local/imported beer or wines. Serving all day breakfast and lunch, Caffe Gatti caters in house or to your next event!

From generation to generation, since working at his parent’s bakery, Pastry Chef Vasco Caldas has brought Portuguese culinary delights to Niagara. Come and enjoy his renowned pastry “Pastel de Nata” (custard tart), and experience authentic Portuguese cuisine...the best seafood in town. Casa Das Natas offers a variety of beverages from coffees to beer & wine. One visit, and you will be coming back for more! TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 29




6423 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls 905.358.6964 charmsjerkhut.com

5339 Murray Street, Niagara Falls 905.356.1333 ext. 171 cocosniagarafalls.com

Charm’s Jerk Hut brings the mouth-watering taste of the Caribbean to Niagara Falls. Experience the taste of Jamaican jerk cooking, with fresh ingredients and flavourful spices. Try classic Island dishes like our Jerk Chicken Leg Dinner, the classic Ackee & Saltfish, or the Jerk Pork Roti. Come and experience great Jamaican cuisine at our new location on Lundy’s Lane and taste the difference.

Guests of Coco’s rave about our famous wood-fired steaks and gourmet pizzas. Enjoy the awesome ambiance under the starlit Niagara skies as we offer nightly entertainment on the Terrace from 7pm onwards (in season only). We also offer ample free parking for all our guests! Next time you’re in Niagara Falls, visit Coco’s and enjoy good times and great food.

Nominee for North America’s Best Irish Pubs and winner of the Best Irish Pub Chef, North America (2017) by Irish Pub’s Global. Stunningly-accurate design, great food, drink, music and, most of all, people. Guests are immersed in a world of warmth, conversation, laughter and fun. What the Irish call ‘the craic’... Comfort food at its best, using heritage Irish recipes.




6400 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls 905.374.0021 docmagilligans.com

7104 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls 905.358.3211 ext. 1 fallsmanor.com

6519 Stanley Avenue, Niagara Falls 289.296.6367 frontierniagara.com

4556 Lincoln Avenue, Beamsville 905.563.6333 goodearthfoodandwine.com

For more than six decades, Falls Manor Resort and Restaurant has been serving up delicious, home style meals at affordable prices for the family! Niagara Region’s Original Home of Broasted Chicken. We’ve won the Reader’s Choice award for breakfast 16yrs. Try our warm Belgian waffles or golden dipped pancakes or any of our scrumptious omelets. Skip the cooking and pick up dinner today!

There’s something for everyone at Niagara’s only all-you-can-eat Southern style BBQ buffet. Enjoy house-seasoned smoked meats and signature brisket direct from the grill; plus over 50 hot and cold seasonal items including the ultimate potato bar with five types of potatoes and over 20 topping choices.

As one of Niagara’s original “farm to table” experiences, we use only the freshest ingredients – and wherever possible we work with local ingredients, because local tastes better! Executive Chef Andrew Thorne takes on classic bistro fare and elevates it, in dishes that delight both the palate and the eye. Come in and enjoy a delicious meal – see what’s cooking on our current Bistro menu.





1607 8th Avenue Louth, St. Catharines 905.684.3300 hernder.com

5458 Victoria Avenue, Niagara Falls 905.356.3866 italianicecream.ca

Lundy’s Lane, NF / Merritt St., SC johnnyroccos.com

Hernder Estate Wines is open 7 days a week, year round for complimentary tastings and weekend tours at 1pm. 30 VQA wines, fruit wines and icewines. Licensed patio, wine boutique and two floors of rustic beauty for weddings, private parties and dinners. Our Niagara Vinegar section includes grapeseed oil, vinegars, reductions, hot sauces and homemade jellies.

We have been producing our own gelato since the day we opened and never stopped improving the quality or variety of our flavours. We offer 24 flavours of milk base and water base gelato. Try our espresso, teas, panini, desserts and imported drinks. We are fully licensed and have a beautiful patio to enjoy your treats on.

Savour the flavours of Italy! From our succulent hand rolled Zia’s Rice Balls, to our hand tossed pizza dough, cooked to perfection in our 600 degree wood fired oven. Pair our traditional dishes with our vast array of Italian & local wines. At Johnny Rocco’s gli amici sono la famiglia — Our friends are all family!



THE K ASBAH MEDITERRANEAN QSINE 6130 Dunn Street, Niagara Falls 905.357.1000 thekasbah.ca

161 Church Street, St. Catharines 289.362.2288 langrestaurant.com

253 Taylor Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake 905.688.2550 ext. 5248 whiteoaksresort.com

The Kasbah Mediterranean Qsine features the incredible cuisine of Vaughan Bulganian. Farm to table Mediterranean delights from Greece, Lebanon, Armenia & more. All menus include vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options. The Kasbah is fully licensed with a total of 230 seats (patio, party room, dining, bar & lounge). Join us for an incredible evening with amazing food, service, wine and Mediterranean music.

Canada’s 1st All You Can Eat Vietnamese BBQ & Hot Pot.

LIV Restaurant is the signature restaurant for White Oaks Resort and offers a fantastic dining experience. The menu is sublime, the wine list award winning and ambiance beautiful. LIV is where you want to celebrate special moments and treat yourself to a night of fine dining, fabulous wine and conversation.

In Vietnamese “L`ang” means “Village”. Our spices, flavours and methods of cooking cuisine are unique. Whether you’re barbecuing your meal on a fire or cooking your food in the aromatic broth at your table you’ll get the full Vietnamese experience at L`ang!




7600 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls 905.357.6543 mickandangelos.com

4740 Valley Way, Niagara Falls 289.296.8858 mooseandpepper.com

6220 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls 905.357.1303 redlobster.ca

At the Moose and Pepper we want you to relax, sip some wine or a craft beer and enjoy our fare. Come for dinner and let the candlelight and jazz be your escape. An ensemble of flavours awaits you between the pages of our menu, sure to satisfy the most discerning taste buds. Whatever you choose on your journey with us, be assured we want you to be as pleased with your selections as we are preparing them.

Red Lobster is passionate about serving great seafood, which is why we go the extra mile to provide the best dining experience possible for our guests. Every restaurant takes pride in preparing only the highest-quality seafood, while our servers pull out all the stops to make every dining experience special.

Rediscover Mick & Angelo’s!! Whether you are looking for a great meal, a place to watch the big game or booking a function... look no further. Mick’s boasts a large bar with numerous TV’s, an updated dining room and 2 function rooms that are ideal to host any event.


Outlet Collection at Niagara, 300 Taylor Road, Unit 807, Niagara-on-the-Lake 905.685.5500 rockychoc.com

Clients and employees alike always appreciate premium-quality, hand-made chocolate - the ideal gift for all occasions. Call us or come in to one of our 3 Niagara locations and let us assist you in putting together your customized gift packages. All confections are made on premises for maximum freshness and flavour.




247 Bunting Road, Unit #6, St. Catharines 905.988.9143 savoiaonline.com

6361 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.354.7887 spycelounge.ca

Award-winning Executive Chef Oscar Turchi and his team bring satisfaction and culinary excitement to those looking to impress their guests with handcrafted hors d’oeuvres and canapés. Since 2002, Savoia Hors D’Oeuvres has evolved into a niche-specific catering service for private engagements, weddings, and wineries, and for the hospitality and food industry throughout Niagara and Toronto.

Street level and in the heart of Niagara Falls’ entertainment district, you will be in the center of the action. Spyce Lounge offers a sophisticated and lavish escape from life’s hustle and bustle with nightly entertainment and a full lounge menu.





782 Clare Avenue, Welland 905.714.1117 suesseafood.ca

420 Vansickle Rd. @ 4th Avenue, St. Catharines 905.641.1802 ext. 2 swisschalet.com

6361 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls 905.353.7138 watermarkrestaurant.com

Sue’s Seafood is a family owned and operated shop located in Welland, a short 20 minute drive from Niagara Falls or St. Catharines. The store has been here for 11 years now but experience goes back for years. The focus of the business is doing English Style fish and chips and doing it well. Offering haddock from Nova Scotia, halibut from Alaska and Lake Erie Perch when is season. Stop by and check us out.

You may not know just how special the chicken you’re about to order is! For a start, our rotisserie ovens only accept fresh (never frozen), grainfed, Canadian Grade A chickens. With a touch of secret seasoning and a 90 minute self-basting cooking process, your simple chicken dinner, is rather fancy after all.

As the signature restaurant at the Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel and Suites, The Watermark elevates guests’ dining experiences to new heights with gracious service, inventive cuisine, an extensive wine collection and stylish design that is only surpassed by the stunning floor-to-ceiling views of both the American and Horseshoe Falls.

eat. drink. save. THE WORKS 5717 Victoria Avenue, Niagara Falls 905.357.9675 theworksburger.com

At The WORKS, we are obsessed with making you the Worlds’ best Burger! We start with only fresh Canadian beef, hand press it daily and then we cook it to perfection. Come on in to kick back, and enjoy your Worlds’ best burger or dine at home with Skip the Dishes. Recent Winner of the Readers Choice Award for Best Burger and Best Family Restaurant.

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Botanical Gardens Photo Credit Niagara Parks

// W E D D I N G S & R O M A N C E

Photoshoot Spots ROMANTIC WINTER IN NIAGARA By Lauren Charley

Floral displays, botanical gardens, and the picturesque scenery of the Niagara River surrounded by wine country provide infinite spots for photoshoots during the spring and summer. With the rise of social media, photography has become a necessity to capture the moments of important milestones in our lives. Wedding photos are traditional, but now, couples like to share every moment of their matrimony with family and friends. Engagement photoshoots, proposals, anniversary and couples photography are very common, and the Niagara region is a great place to capture these moments on camera in every season, especially in winter.


Oakes Garden Theatre

With free entry year-round, Oakes Garden Theatre provides magnificent views of Niagara Falls. A central amphitheatre surrounded by shrub gardens, fountains, ponds, and colourful floral displays provides a beautiful setting to commemorate special occasions. It is far less busy in the winter time, yet still a romantic place to take pictures. When covered in snow, the site becomes a true Winter Wonderland, as the sparkle of the sun-kissed white garden creates a beautiful backdrop.

Horse and Carriage Rides

Bundle up under blankets and enjoy a romantic ride around the quaint town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, or by the breathtaking views of Niagara Falls. Some companies provide an option for professional photoshoots, where you select the colour of the carriage, horse and decorations. These will make beautiful shots for your first Holiday Greeting Cards together as a couple.

Botanical Gardens

Open year-round, the Botanical Gardens features 99 acres of European-style gardens with herb and vegetable plantings, perennials, rhododendrons, azaleas, and a world famous rose-garden with over 2400 roses. Though most of this vegetation blooms in the warmer months, the Botanical Gardens offers a wonderful spot for winter photos. Featuring walkways, bridges, ponds, and gardens, when there is light snow, the property is great for unobstructed photos. The gardens are next to the Butterfly Conservatory, where you can warm-up inside the glass-enclosed observatory.

Niagara-on-the-Lake Gazebo

Down by the water in the historic old town of the Niagaraon-the-Lake, you’ll find the iconic white gazebo at Queens Royal Park. Offering views out to the peaceful lake and over to the United States, the spot can be reserved for private weddings, and is also an attractive spot for romantic photography. In winter, the area is surrounded by snow with a backdrop looking out to the frosty lake, where on clear days you can get a great view of the Toronto skyline.

Left Page: Oakes Garden Theatre photo courtesy Niagara Parks Right page: Niagara Falls photo courtesy Niagara Parks

Winter Festival of Lights

This year from November 3rd to January 31st, the annual Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights offers a perfect setting for couples to get beautiful outdoor photos at night. The 8km stretch of magnificent light presentations begins at Queen Victoria Park- a great spot to get a shot with the iconic Skylon Tower in the background. The display stretches through landscapes of the Niagara Parks and Dufferin Islands, which also provide beautiful winter scenery for photos during the day time.

Queenston Heights Park

One of Niagara’s historical sites, Queenston Heights is a landscaped city park which attracts visitors and locals year-round. Nestled at the top of the Niagara Escarpment, the park houses the Brock and Laura Secord Monuments, the Six Nations and Native Allies Commemorative Memorial, picnic pavilions, trees, wildlife, and an upscale restaurant featuring seasonal fine dining. As the trees turn vivid shades of red, yellow, and orange in the autumn, the park is a beautiful location for brides with fall weddings. In the winter, when covered by snow, the park is open, offering a traditional winter setting for special photography.

Niagara Falls

In the middle of winter when the temperatures fall far below freezing, witness the magic of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls when they become frozen. A one of a kind spectacle, this natural phenomenon creates a beautiful backdrop for romantic photography. At night, the falls are illuminated by a multicoloured light display and make for outstanding photographs if captured by the right camera. With so many locations to choose from for winter photography, you can capture romantic moments for all special occasions. Remember, that although photography is welcomed at many public parks and locations, inquire about permits ahead of time and be respectful of other events taking place before arranging professional photography.


Mount Carmel Center 3770 Montrose Road, Niagara Falls Phone: 905.356.1641 | Fax: 905.356.5300 caswellsclothing.com

Groom Trends CASWELL’S FINE MENSWEAR By Jill Tham Before the bride walks down the aisle, a sharply dressed groom can catch the attention of the crowd. Gone are the days where a groom’s only job was to order his tuxedo and cummerbund to match the bridesmaids’ dress colour. Keeping a keen eye on the trends for the modern day groom, Caswell’s Fine Menswear in Niagara Falls has been measuring and fitting grooms in style since 1959. Today’s groom isn’t afraid to venture away from the traditional black tuxedo. “It’s blue, blue, and blue,” says Michael Caswell, Store Manager at Caswell’s Fine Menswear. “For suit colours, men are favouring blue paired with tan shoes. It’s a hot colour right now. Followed by grey and black.” In terms of style and accessories, Caswell’s is on top of the current trends and classic looks. “Slim fit is still in and bow ties are making a comeback,” says Caswell. “Anything goes, depending on the wedding party,” he adds. “In the last several years we are seeing more of a shift towards buying suits instead of renting a tuxedo,” says Caswell, who adds that some of the decline is due to the rise in destination weddings. “We see a lot of beach weddings where grooms are wearing linen, silk, or light coloured pants,” says Caswell. “Every November, we start bringing in the destination wedding program,” explains Caswell. Tommy Bahamas’ clothing line is a popular choice for beach weddings.” Destination weddings and fashion choices are not the only reasons for the shift from tuxedo rentals to the purchase of suits. “A lot of suit rental places closed down when Freeman Formal Wear, who supplies the majority of suits, streamlined the market and made one price across the board,” explains Caswell. “This eliminated the need for grooms to shop around the region to see who had the best deal,” explains Caswell. Despite the shift, Caswell’s still caters to a lot of suit rentals with a price that can’t be beat. “We supply everything including shoes and a vest for $179.00,” says Caswell. “Well, everything except socks and underwear,” laughs Caswell.

Understanding that one of the most important rules in fashion is that the suit fits properly, Caswell’s has a tailor on site making any adjustment needed to achieve the perfect fit. “We offer free alterations on purchases and over 50 per cent of the garments we sell, we end up altering,” says Caswell, adding that their alterations have a quick turnaround. “Whether it be tailoring shirts or pants, people come to us for the service and the quality,” states Caswell. Caswell’s also services grooms who travel to Niagara to tie the knot. “We have delivered to the hotels and worked with grooms who send in their measurements ahead of time,” says Caswell. Over the years, Michael Caswell has observed an evolution in men’s fashion. “Now, there is more colour for men and the shirts are a little louder,” says Caswell who states their biggest selling shirts are the colourful and patterned Au Noir brand. “It’s not a traditional look. Men are coming in searching for something different they can’t find anywhere else,” says Caswell. “That is why they come into our store.” If wearing a bold shirt is a little out of your comfort zone, Caswell suggests adding a touch of pattern, colour, and style to your suit with a pocket square. When compared to women’s fashion, Caswell’s rolls with the punches. “Women’s fashion usually dictates how it’s going to go,” says Caswell. “There is more fast fashion with women and men tend to have a classic look that changes more with pattern and colour,” explains Caswell. “Grooms often come in and look and then bring in the bride to help them make the final decision. That part of weddings hasn’t changed,” laughs Caswell. Outside of weddings, Caswell’s has a lot of hot ticket items in the store. “The days of dress pants and sport jackets are gone and it is all denim with blazers,” explains Caswell. “The louder the better with fashion shirts,” he adds. Next year the Caswell family and staff will celebrate 60 years in the business. “My grandfather, Harrold, opened the store in 1959 in the Town and Country Plaza. Ten years ago, we moved to the Montrose Road location,” says Caswell. “We have shifted to a more fashionable and a little higher end product line.” An understanding that a well-dressed man stands out in a crowd, high quality clothing, and customer service is what will make Caswell’s Fine Menswear the leading store for men’s fashion in Niagara for many more years to come. TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 39



The (Wedding)

Traditions We Keep By Mariana Bockarova

Some Saturdays ago, I attended one of my best friend’s weddings in Greenwich, Connecticut. She, a southern belle, and I, a Toronto native, met while studying in Boston years ago and forged a strong friendship which managed to survive international borders through making plans to see each other one mandatory weekend each fall. The wonderful thing about attending this wedding – apart from witnessing a dear friend marry and performing the duties of a bridesmaid, which comes with its own cherishment – was the chance to view and reflect on customary traditions that seem to be involved in weddings in the West. It got me thinking: why do we have the traditions that we do, why do we keep them, and what do they mean? Of course, perhaps the greatest tradition of all is that of the dress. If popular media is any indication – in which shows like ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ and others revolve around women picking their white wedding gown, women picking their bridesmaids’ dresses, or women helping their mothers pick out their dresses – the white wedding dress may uniquely be the official symbol of the bride. Interestingly enough, wearing white as a wedding dress was not popularized until fairly recently. Prior to Queen Victoria, who wore a white silk-spun lace gown when marrying Prince Albert in 1840, it was customary to wear dresses of different colors, some lined with fur, and many with jewels or shells to depict familial wealth. In those times, marriage was more a business contract between families than a celebration of the love of between two people. It’s possible that Queen Victoria, obviously abundant in wealth, wore a more demure gown to symbolize the meaning of her own marriage – one forged less for money and monarchy and more for love. Indeed, it was Queen Victoria who is credited for popularizing the white wedding gown. But why white? In more recent times, the thought behind white was to symbolize the bride’s virginity and purity of heart. However, this was not the reason behind a white gown chosen by Queen Victoria. She chose it to best show lace from a smaller town whose lace industry was struggling. Choosing white was also a nod to her status and position; the color white was not widely worn by the masses, but only the leisure class who didn’t have to work and therefore have dirty clothing. Though she did not wear diamonds and jewels encrusted on her gown, as was custom at the time, she did show some of her status in the colour choice. Why do we still cherish the white gown today? After the Second World War, particularly, with advances in mass media technology like film and, later television, depictions of women marrying in white became the norm and indeed a symbol of bridal beauty, which is still followed today.

The dress would not be complete without, of course, a bouquet. Although people (and non-humans alike, in the form of Neanderthals) have used flowers as the symbol of love for millennia, the tradition of the bride carrying a bouquet indeed existed in ancient times, albeit in the form of garland. Ancient Roman brides, often wore flowers which symbolized fertility and loyalty. In the middle ages, it is thought that herbs were carried, particularly dill, which was thought to ward off evil spirits and increase sexual desire and, of course, mask the smell of body odour in trying times! It was again Queen Victoria marrying Prince Albert which rose the popularity of flower bouquets through depictions of their wedding, which were widely spread. By holding an arrangement of different flowers, each individual flower thought to symbolically represent some part of the Queen and Prince’s courtship, the bouquet, along with a white dress, became widely popularized through the popular media, and the masses that followed. Although today, we choose bouquets mostly for colour and beauty, flowers have still remained a symbol of love. Now comes the question: why then, do brides toss their bouquets? The tradition originates from England, which quickly spread across most of the Western world. The symbolism behind tossing the bouquet comes from a bittersweet notion: on her wedding day, the guests would often try to rip a piece of the bride’s dress in order to obtain some of her good luck. The tossing of the bouquet was not only a way to pass on that luck while keeping the dress intact, but also served as a diversion tactic to quickly get away from an eager crowd! Apart from the bridal traditions of the dress, flowers, and the tossing of the bouquet, no wedding, of course, would be complete without the rings, the true symbol for marriage for both bride and groom. The rings themselves, a closed loop, symbolize ongoing, never-ending and eternal love. They are generally worn on the third finger, on the left hand customarily in the west. In ancient Roman times, it was believed that there was a vein that runs directly from that specific ring finger straight to the heart, furthering the notion of romantic love tied to marriage. Weddings, particularly in modern times, no longer symbolize the union of marriage as an exchange of wealth, as a forging of partners in economy, and an obligation to further family politics, but instead a symbolization of true love. The reason we continue on with these traditions is not because they are simply markers of a special day, but because we do hope to find true and great love in our lives, and keep hope that in some way, these traditions assure us that a loving life lies ahead. TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 41

More than a

Big White Wedding

Ideas for a Memorable Wedding Reception By Lauren Charley


hite doves, horse-drawn carriages, designer dresses with long trains and flowers scattered behind us; for modern brides, it’s not enough to do a traditional “Big White Wedding”. With wedding ideas trending on social media, and after attending enough to know our options, it’s no wonder that receptions are now the most important part of the bride and groom’s special day. Some ideas may be simple and inexpensive, where as others may only be an option for comfortable budgets. Whatever it may be, your wedding day is one of the most important milestones in your life, so you want to be sure that not only you, but that your guests remember it. Here are some trends in modern weddings, which may give you ideas for a memorable, dream day.

Photo Booth When caught up in the ‘awe’ of a wedding, guests often forget one of the most important parts of the day — to take pictures! Although almost every wedding has a photographer, the trend is now for couples to hire professional photo booth services to set up at their reception. On a drop background, your guests can gather and pose using props such as hats, wigs, signs, and masks provided by the photographer, and take home a print out picture. Hire a company, or supply your own props and get a volunteer from your wedding party to take photos and post them after the event.

DIY Flower Stations Allow your guests make their own bouquets and corsages to wear for the evening, afterwards encouraging them to turn the dry flowers into potpourri as a remembrance of your wedding. Ask your florist about DIY flower stations. They set up make-your-own-flower stations, providing ribbons with ‘bling’ and tags with the couple’s names and date on them.


Choreographed Wedding Party Dance Turn your wedding into a musical‌have your wedding party perform a surprise choreographed dance. Some couples have their bridesmaids and groomsmen dance down the aisles, and others save the performance for the reception.

Brunch Weddings Host your ceremony in the morning, and proceed with a reception which occurs over the brunch hour. Serve breakfast-buffet favourites like waffles, egg and bacon casserole and omelette stations. Offer a lighter selection of alcohol such as wine, beer, and the Bloody Mary!

Bubbly Bars A Champagne toast to the bride and groom is a wedding tradition. Rather than simply pass out a flight of sparkling wine, consider setting up a bar where guests can add syrups, fruits, and flavoured ice cubes to make a champagne cocktail. If your budget is flexible, you can supply the bar with take-home wine flutes engraved with the couple’s name.

Late Night Snack Bar After the cocktail reception with hors d’oeuvres, and three-course dinner with wedding cake, your guests will likely still have the late night munchies. “Build Your Own Poutine Stations” are among one the most unique choices for Canadian Brides. Fresh cut fries with toppings including gravy, pulled pork, cheese curds, short rib and sautéed mushrooms will be a hit amongst your friends.

Social Media Hashtags

Personalised Drink Coasters

Custom Take Out Boxes

Since social media has become integral in the lives of this generation’s newlyweds, it’s no wonder someone started the trend of assigning the wedding with a specific hashtag for social media. It’s a fun way for guests to post their photos and have everything in one place for other guests and the couple to see. Stick with something simple and traditional like “#StacyBenSmithWedding2018” or come up with something fun like “Blucytiestheknot18” (Ben/Lucy) and post signs for your guests around the venue.

If your guests are having fun at your wedding, chances are they’ll be mingling, dancing, and enjoying the venue, and not always with their drink in their hands. Drink coasters with a bespoke message such as “On the Dance Floor - Please Don’t Take My Drink”, ensure drinks aren’t accidentally cleared by the banquet staff. Order custom coasters with the bride’s and groom’s names and wedding date, and these will be souvenirs for your guests to take home.

Don’t let your catering go to waste. Ask the catering company to set aside left over food from your cocktail hour, main course, late night snacks and of course, the cake, and give guests the option to take food to go, in a personal take out container. Search “Wedding Favour Boxes” online and you can find many options for fancy yet affordable takeout containers, some even with the option to customize. If you choose a durable style, your guests can even keep the container as a souvenir.





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Wedding Cakes


Modern weddings have evolved into a beautiful representation of the couple being celebrated. From unique wedding gowns to custom calligraphy place cards, the wedding day has become an event uniquely yours. But when it comes time to choose dessert, many couples often forgo personality in favour of tradition. Just like puffy lace sleeves and Jordan almonds, the white sponge, confection iced cake is quickly becoming a trend of the past. After all, you’ve customized every other aspect of your day - why not the best part of the meal? The point being: wedding cakes no longer have to be, well, cakes! Choose to serve up a selection of distinctive treats that reflect your taste and style, or at the very least, a dessert you’ll actually look forward to eating at the end of the night!

Doughnut walls

Is there anything sweeter than a doughnut? Chocolate or sprinkled, glazed or dipped, the doughnut can cater to every sweet tooth. This plate free, grab and go dessert requires no break in the party for consumption; stack them in a tower, pile them on cake tiers or even build a very Pinterestworthy doughnut wall – a concept originally created by famed New York caterer Peter Callahan. “We started taking large pre-orders this year … most of the large preorders we have received thus far have been for weddings as an alternative for the cake or as a late night snack,” said Tayler Book, co-owner of Beechwood Doughnuts in St. Catharines. Beechwood can cater to most large orders, with a minimum of two-week’s notice given and prepayment for orders of six dozen and more.

Cupcakes and cake pops Sweet, savoury and always a fan favourite, cupcakes and cake pops are an easy-to-serve option which packs as much flavour as its layered big brother. “We do lots of weddings,” said Trudy Bowslaugh, owner of The Frosted Cupcake in St. Catharines. “I’d say it’s near half of our business. Cupcakes have definitely become a popular alternative to cake. They are much easier to serve, no cutting fees, and so much cheaper than getting a tiered cake that no one eats! And who doesn’t love a cupcake.” Lu Lu Lemon, Bananas Foster, Cocoa Chanel, After Eight – these tiny little cakes piped high with frosting are packed full of flavour and provide endless options for the customizing couple.

Naked wedding cake


For those who simply love cake and don’t want to break from tradition, the naked cake offers a modern twist on the timeless classic. Instead of frosting the outside of the cake with layer upon layer of fondant or buttercream, many bakers are increasing the filling between tiers and leaving layers exposed. Because really, isn’t it what’s inside that counts? The naked cake was brought to prominence by famed New York baker Christina Tosi, Chef, owner and founder of the international bakery Milk Bar. “I love to eat cake, so I asked myself: why was I hiding the colourful, textural parts of being in the kitchen behind a wall of décor?” said Tosi in an interview with Chef ’s Table. “Why not challenge the norm? Let the stars be the cakes themselves.” Many Niagara bakeries are beginning to embrace this fresh execution of the timeless cake, including Niagara Falls bakery Criveller Cakes, who are regionally famous for their beautiful and unique wedding cakes.

There is a certain nostalgia that is lattice twined into the beloved pie. These memory-filled desserts are a perfect finale to a wedding meal. Full-size pies cut into slices, individual mini pies, pie pops on a stick – the options are just as endless. “Because we feature Niagara fruit, we get many requests from brides who appreciate that and want their guests to have a local taste experience,” said Ruth Anne Schriefer, owner of The Pie Plate in Virgil. “Most of the weddings [catered] serve a variety of pies sliced by their caterer,” said Schriefer. “Some of the more casual weddings have opted for a pie buffet dessert table where guest help themselves to the pies on display … we have even done heart shaped pies for the bride and groom to cut in place of the traditional cake.”


Nothing quite says elegance like a French Macaron Tower. Petite, perfect rounds of sweet meringue are whipped and filled with delicate flavours which range from chocolate and caramel to lemon and earl grey. These picture-worthy towers are the perfect addition to a candy buffet or as a replacement to a wedding cake. Presented in front of the head table, it is sure to wow your guests. “The biggest trend that we have noticed is that a lot of couples are opting for a macaron tower,” said Kathleen Jabs, Assistant to Chef at Willow Cakes & Pastries in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Whether you choose a traditional cake or one of these many options, your day is sure to be that much sweeter! TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 49

Marriages & Honeymoons:

Romance at Niagara Falls By Sherman Zavitz

Writing about honeymooners at Niagara Falls for the May, 1947 issue of Chatelaine Magazine, well-known Canadian journalist Lotta Dempsey noted that most couples at the falls held hands and wandered around in a “dazed and daffy coma” – not a particularly romantic picture. Nevertheless, as a honeymoon destination, no place is more famous in North American culture than Niagara Falls. Americans Joseph and Theodosia Alston are often referred to as Niagara’s very first honeymooners, although that is a term they would not have been familiar with. Both were from wealthy, prominent families – Theodosia’s father, Aaron Burr, was the third vice president of the United States. Arriving here during the summer of 1801 on what they called their “northern journey,” their trip to Niagara did not take place just after their wedding. In fact, it was five months after the ceremony before they gazed in amazement at the mighty cataracts – a scene Theodosia called “magnificent.” Nor were they alone since a number of servants were with them. Not until the mid-1830s are there references about wedding journeys, (as they were once called), to Niagara Falls that took place soon after the marriage. Among the earliest are these: an

author visiting Niagara Falls in 1836 noted meeting “a young married couple who had come to pay true homage to nature by consecrating their new happiness at this shrine.” Three years later an article entitled “A letter from the Falls of Niagara” appeared in a well-known magazine of the time. It reported, “At the present genial season, this beautiful spot is a favourite resort of lately married pairs. I have counted several cooing couples, both Canadian and American, fulfilling the fleeting period of their honey lunacy” – a hint that the term ‘honeymoon” was starting to be used in popular vocabulary. So it would seem we can date the beginning of the private, romantic journey to Niagara Falls to the late 1830s. Still, it wasn’t until affordable, convenient, safe transportation became available that trips to Niagara Falls, honeymoon or otherwise, became common. Therefore, not until the railways arrived here in the 1840s and 1850s did Niagara Falls become accessible to most people. Only then did honeymoon trips to Niagara start to become a widely accepted custom. But why did Niagara Falls become such a major magnet for honeymooners? During the last half of the 19th century in particular, a visit to see the extraordinary spectacle that is

Photo Credit: Niagara Falls Tourism / Winter Festival of Lights

Niagara was, for many people, the trip of a lifetime. Understandably, there was no more appropriate occasion for the trip of a lifetime than a wedding journey or honeymoon. Expanding on this idea, one commentator has suggested that Niagara Falls is seen as set apart from the ordinary structured world, making it an appropriate place for the transition from a single life to marriage. Is there something to this point as well? A souvenir book of 1893 suggests that the thundering falls was suitable for newlyweds because “it distracts their attention gently from one another which is a kindness and when they speak together it prevents alien ears from overhearing what they say.” While Niagara Falls is renowned as the “Honeymoon Capital,” many couples have found it to be an equally great place to be married. One of the most famous examples of Niagara’s popularity as a marriage location took place on Valentine’s Day, 2000, when some 200 couples were married in one mass wedding. Hailed as the biggest wedding party ever organized in Canada, it took place in Oakes Garden Theatre, the beautiful outdoor amphitheatre at the foot of Clifton Hill, overlooking Niagara Falls. Arranged to coincide with the opening months of the 21st century, the event was billed as the Wedding of the Millennium, The concept came from Ontario 2000, a government-sponsored committee that helped to promote millennial programs throughout the province. While it would provide a welcome boost to the local tourism industry during what was usually a down-time period, tourism officials here were committed to keeping the focus firmly on the weddings rather than the economic impact. As Niagara Falls Tourism (the agency that organized the

complex event) explained, “We are doing our best to ensure that the magic and romance of Valentine’s Day in Niagara Falls and being married here, comes true for every couple in the way they want it to come true.” There was a $100 registration fee for each couple taking part. That covered such costs as honorariums for the 21 ministers involved, administration expenses and transportation to the wedding site. Each bride received a bouquet of flowers while grooms got a boutonniere. Every couple was given a commemorative certificate and a gift bag as well as an invitation to a post-ceremony wine and cheese reception at what is now the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Widely publicized, couples from such distant points as England, Alberta and Colorado registered for the Wedding of the Millennium which promised to be a unique, exciting and memorable event. Unfortunately, on February 14, 2000, the weatherman treated Niagara Falls to a snowstorm and very cold temperatures. Nevertheless, when the starting time of 4:30 p.m. arrived, the “marital spectacle,” as one reporter styled it, proceeded as planned and was a great success. Although, as the Niagara Falls Review’s coverage of the ceremony noted, “Over white gowns, many brides wore fur coats to stay warm.” The Review’s report concluded this way: “At the ceremony’s climax, just before the heart-shaped fireworks were set off over the Horseshoe Falls, the lead minister read a poem by Elizabeth Browning entitled: How do I Love thee? Let me Count the Ways. “The answer to that question is simple: 200.”




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Sensual Niagara

By Victoria Gilbert

The winters in Canada bring people inside — inside intimate restaurants, inside lounges with live music, inside firelit rooms and inside steamy baths. The outdoors in wintery Ontario become a little much to take – the average temperature in Niagara in winter hangs at a chilly -1 to -4 degrees Celsius - that’s before the wind-chill factor. Brrrr. Even if you consider Valentine’s Day a massive commercial business, there is something to be said for using a day or two in the long winter months to take some extra care of oneself. If the forecast is frigid for the next while, consider taking time for a sensual experience. Niagara Falls is still considered worldwide as the Honeymoon Capital of the world with reason. Let yourself succumb to it and find out why; enjoy as a couple, or with a couple of friends, or even alone. This could be just the experience you need to warm up and chill out on those chilly nights. The winding road into Niagara-on-the-Lake follows the wide blue Niagara River. A young Marilyn Monroe once looked at that same river in the early fifties when she was starring in a film called “Niagara.” She must have thought it was beautiful because well, it is beautiful and a perfect backdrop for the beginning of your day treating yourself to some well-earned pleasure.

Left to right: The Spa, Treadwell and Il Gelato Di Carlotta

The Niagara Parkway leads you to your first destination; a lovely little spa in the centre of Historic Niagara-on the Lake. The Spa at 124 Queen on Queen Street is quiet and elegant. The massage treatments take place down the stairs which you descend with all the stress of your life lessening as you go down each step. The website of the spa boasts you will, “emerge transformed” and it is possible because their Orchard Indulgence treatment ($140/75min) is a body scrub, wrap and facial which will make you smell as divine as you feel when you’re walking up the steps, feeling as if you are levitating. Float over to the intimate restaurant, Treadwell’s (114 Queen St., Niagara-on-the-Lake), which is the best place in old town to delight your culinary senses. The menu features “farm to table cuisine” which means Chef Treadwell and his staff select locally sourced meats and vegetables for their guests. Try the Pingue Prosciutto from Niagara locals Fernando Pingue and brother Mario Jr. and pair it with a glass of crisp chardonnay from Flat Rock Cellars to celebrate this day of sheer indulgence.

Clockwise: Spyce Lounge, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse (Photo courtesy of Stephanie Dychtiar and Modern Vision Photography Inc.), Sterling Inn & Spa and Outlet Collection Niagara

As you leave Niagara-on-the-Lake, make a stop at the new shopping centre, Outlet Collection Niagara, (300 Taylor Rd, Niagara-on-the-Lake) where some lovely fashions and deals can be found at Saks OFF 5th. Big designers the likes of Stella McCartney and Versace are featured along their discount racks, with prices to make your pampered heart swoon. La Vie En Rose Entrepôt, a short walk from Saks, has lingerie for both men and women. Go ahead and splurge on some silk! It feels fantastic against the skin after that body scrub. The boutique hotel, Sterling Inn & Spa (5195 Magdalen St, Niagara Falls) has four-poster beds, in-room jacuzzies and fireplaces in most rooms, which is likely why it has been ranked Number 1 out of 127 hotels in the Niagara Falls on Trip Advisor at the time of writing. Peel off all those layers of clothing, draw yourself a bath and unwind before the night falls and it’s time to slip out into the dark for the evening portion of pampering. From the moment you enter Ruth’s Chris Steak House (6455 Fallsview Blvd., Niagara Falls), you get the feeling you’re doing something naughty. The sensual dark lighting, the booths with the thick curtain you can pull across to hide behind and the towers of seafood to share served by the very attentive and attractive wait staff, make this restaurant the choice destination for a romantic dinner in the Falls. If you’re on your own, no problem. The lounge is an ideal spot to relax and people watch.

Take a short walk from the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel and enjoy some excellent live music at Spyce Lounge (6361 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls). Spyce is hopping every evening with local talent and if you happen to find yourself there when the cover band Xprime is playing, you’re going to dance. A small stage is all these three handsome Niagara boys of the band require. Neil Carson on bass, Steph Mercier on guitar and Phil Taylor on drums, rock the room with great vocals and fun twists on famous Canadian bands and popular classics. The high chairs at Spyce are comfortable and easy to sit in but by the end of the night, you’ll likely find yourself on the small dance floor before the band, enlivened by their infectious energy. Before heading back to your room, walk up to the Resort Mall promenade which is connected to Spyce Lounge so you don’t even have to exit the building. All that swaying to the music has made you peckish and nothing satisfies better than a rich, decadent gelato from Il Gelato Di Carlotta’s (6380 Fallsview Boulevard, Unit #212). The sugar-free hazelnut gelato is creamy and reminiscent of the centre of a Ferrero Rocher without the calories. The sky above the Falls is clear and black; time for the best part, falling into your bed as the energy of the Honeymoon Capital of the world pulses beyond your window. What you do now is entirely up to you. Sweet dreams.


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80/20 Rule By Mariana Bockarova

It’s an axiom known as the ‘Pareto principle’, named after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who discovered that roughly 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. It turns out, the same ratio could be applied pretty much anywhere: 80% of sales are made by the same 20% of clients, roughly 80% of the world’s wealth is owned by the top 20% of the wealthiest people, and if applied to fashion, then, roughly 20% of what’s in our wardrobe is what we spend 80% of our time wearing. Indeed, the principle may be correct: as I’m writing this, I’m wearing my all too familiar oversized black knit sweater atop grey joggers that have kept me warm through the winter months. It’s not for lack of clothing that I choose this as my ‘go-to’, but mostly for comfort, ease, and, frankly, what’s available – the first thing I see and reach for in my closet. The problem with the 20% that we often wear, however, is that it becomes clothing that comes to present us as ‘comfort’ – if not, frumpy, rather than fashionable, stylish, professional, or even ‘well-put together’. In efforts to remedy the 80/20 fashion cycle, I spoke to Toronto-based fashion designer, founder of Venao Swimwear, stylist, and influencer, Tetiana Paratchuk, for her go-to tips: “The 80/20 rule is very true and it is simply because of our comfort level and how we display our clothes in our closets. Most women forget the items they have in their closet until they get to cleaning it.” Tetiana’s first step to getting out of the 80/20 cycle: purge it. “Closet purging is something that every person should do and it involves you going through your entire closet and taking out everything you haven’t worn for 6-12 months. I absolutely recommend everyone do a closet purge, as through this process of “shedding” you’re making space for a new, upgraded you. I myself do this every season and donate the clothing to various charities and shelters.” When it comes to helping clients or giving recommendations, Tetiana advocates for not going at it alone: “This process is especially fun when combined with a friend and a glass of wine! Make sure your friend doesn’t allow you to try on the clothes and tells you the truth about the item if you truly need it or if it has to go. Don’t be tempted to keep it.” After the purge, organizing one’s closet becomes key to making sure the 80% of unworn clothing goes noticed: “I reorganize my clothing by color and whatever category the item is. For example, knee length dresses

and mini dresses would be hanging together, because they are in the same category of dress. Evening gowns would be hanging with other eveningwear or long jumpsuits. Blouses and casual shirts would be hanging together. It’s an easy way to find the items based on the occasion instead of going with what’s near. And keep purging - as you go through your seasonal clothes, you can now concentrate on the combinations of clothing you’d be wearing that season and everything that doesn’t make the cut, donate it”, advises Tetiana. One of the main keys to the organized closet is that you can now see everything you own, and, subsequently, everything you don’t, including a few key items Tetiana recommends: “There are go-to staples every woman should have”, she says. “A little black dress that fits you like a glove, strappy high-heeled sandals, preferably nude in color or red, fitted jeans, knee high boots, leather jacket, high wasted black trousers and a nice fitted off-white or light coloured blouse.” Other items she recommends include a blazer, trench coat and “of course, the perfect bikini that you feel sexy in.” Adding these items into the mix not only gives a professional, pulled together look, but offers classics that can be mixed and matched with already owned items in your closet. For more unique pieces, Tetiana suggests shopping for your measurements, most of all height, and continuously trying on new looks until you’ve settled on your own style: “Most of the time when women shop, they forget to take in consideration their height. It makes a huge difference in the way your clothing fits. Women who are under 5'5" need to purchase Petite clothing items that will sit perfectly on the waist line and give correct chest positioning. This is especially true with fitted items. To cultivate your own style, just keep trying new styles until it feels good. Once you find it you will have the internal feeling that ‘this is me’ and I love how I feel in it. It’s the reflection of your inner beauty and self-expression. I’m still learning and having fun with my style. It’s everchanging! I dress according to how I feel and as I grow, my style changes with me. I think it’s one of best parts of being a woman. You get to play with your style and you don’t have to be the same every single day.” And on that note, I think it’s time I trade in my joggers for trousers –but the black knit sweater, I’ll keep! TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 59



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Exfoliate! Exfoliate! Exfoliate! Out with the old and in with the new is not just for New Year's resolutions... it’s for skin too! Exfoliation is key to the whole hydration operation, because any cream you put on your skin needs optimal absorption to perform at its peak. One way to be sure that your face will get all of the moisture it needs is by treating yourself to regular facials. It feels aaa-mazing and is a key part of a healthy skin regimen for reducing lines and wrinkles as well as preventing break outs. Self-care is one of the best gifts you can give yourself during the holiday season, and I have a feeling you deserve it! At OGGI SPA we believe that customization is the best way to care for your skin. We’d love to meet you and discuss your individual skin needs to help you glow all year long! Please visit our website at: www.oggispaniagara.com Adriana Del Vasto has 25 years experience in the spa and wellness industry and is CIDESCO certified. She is thrilled to bring her philosophy, experience and oh-so amazing SOTHY’S product line to Niagara, available exclusively at OGGI SPA, at The Stone Mill Inn. oggispaniagara@gmail.com TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 63


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ith the holiday season coming upon us, it’s inevitable that one will receive several party invites. The time of year lends itself to celebration through giving. And thus the conundrum begins. To bring or not to bring a gift for the hostess. What should I bring? How much money should I be spending on said gift? As with any other gift, keep in mind your relationship with the recipient. You wouldn’t give your boss the same gift that you would give your best friend. Although there is no tried and true rule book of etiquette when it comes to gifting the hostess with a little something as thanks for the invite into her home, and although in all honesty, most hosts and hostesses don’t throw parties with the expectation of receiving gifts, it’s generally become the trend to NOT arrive empty-handed.

by Martine Mackenzie TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 65


he most popular, simple and easiest option for a hostess gift is a good bottle of wine. It’s a versatile gift and with the abundance of excellent wines that Niagara has to offer, there is no shortage of variety to choose from. Whether you choose a red, rosé, white, or even an ice wine, a good bottle of wine is always appreciated. Artisan jams and jellies in decorative little jars are a great choice. With Niagara also known for its tender fruits, many local shops carry gift packages of these jams and jellies, ready to be picked off the shelf. Other mainstream hostess gift ideas are: flowers, candies, potted plants, tins of cookies, decorator candles, guest soaps…the list goes on. And because the holiday season brings even more reason to throw a party, a hostess will most always welcome an ornament or decoration. As great as these ideas are, they are…well…a little boring and safe. It’s time to grab the bull by the horns and think out of the box for hostess gifts with choices that won’t just stand out and be memorable, but will offer the personal touch of being hand-made.

PERSONALIZED COASTERS Embellished cork coasters are a personal, practical hostess gift, all the while protecting table tops from guests’ frosty glasses. And they are easy to make. All you need are cork coasters, (available at any craft shop), masking tape, vinyl letters, stencil brush, and craft paint. Create stripes with masking tape and initials with vinyl letters. Apply craft paint with the stencil brush, let dry and remove tape. Tie them together with a decorative ribbon and give with a bottle of wine or a bottle of holiday spirit.



Leave the wine behind and show up with something hot – like home-made hot sauce. Depending on how much spice your host likes, you can infuse vinegar with mild long peppers, spicier Thai peppers, or five-alarm habaneros. To make the sauce, sterilize halfor three-quarter-litre glass bottles by using the sterilize button on the dishwasher or boiling them for 10 minutes. Wash peppers, cut a slit in each (you’ll need about 20 per half-litre bottle), and insert into bottles. Meanwhile, heat 2 to 3 cups white vinegar, or rice vinegar for a Thai version, to just boiling. Funnel into bottles to fill; let cool, and cork. Refrigerate. For giving, print tags and attach them with twine.

Trade in your store-bought cashews for these homemade pecans that carry a kick. Place the finished product in a jar and attach the recipe for a hostess gift with some zip. The recipe is simple and easy. All you need is: 4 cups unsalted pecan halves; 2 tbsp real maple syrup; 4 tsp of coarse salt; 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes; 1 tsp chili powder; 1 tsp cayenne pepper; 1 tsp chili paste. Preheat oven to 300º F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine all ingredients and 3 of the 4 tsp of salt. Toss to coat. Spread nuts in a single layer on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and toss with remaining tsp of salt and let cool. Serve immediately or store at room temperature in an air-tight container for up to one week.

SCENTED SUGARS Scented sugar adds a subtle perfume and flavour to coffee, fruit desserts, and baked goods. Layer granulated sugar with aromatic edibles like scented geranium leaves, rose petals, orange and lemon peel (first set out for a day to dry), or vanilla beans. Mix small batches, and let them sit for a few days in tightly sealed jars while the scents infuse the sugar. One jar or a trio makes an unusual present for whomever you think could use a little sweetness.

PIE CARRIER A freshly baked pie is always a welcome gift — even more so when it comes wrapped inside this unusual but sensible container. A bamboo steamer is the ideal size to transport a pie to your hostess’s door and can hold two pies at once. Bamboo steamers are also easy to find at pretty much any kitchen store. After placing a lid on the steamer, secure with a piece of twill tape tied in a bow.

A GOOD MORNING A healthy breakfast is often the last thing on your hostess’s mind when she’s planning a night of entertainment. Line a basket with vintage tea towels and fill it with everything they need to start the day off right — coffee, tea, milk, sugar, orange juice, scones, butter, and marmalade.

The above are just a sampling of some wonderful and unique ideas that any hostess would love to receive. In the end, though, the idea of getting together is to embrace our time celebrating, laughing, sharing, living and loving. It’s about spreading the holiday spirit and both giving and receiving.

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Could movies save your relationship... or even change your life? By Mariana Bockarova

A few years ago, as I taught one of my first classes at the University of Toronto, I was trying to get across some research on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to my students. I showed a clip from an excellent film titled, “Brothers”. Starring Tobey Maguire, as a war veteran suffering from PTSD, Jake Gyllenhaal, as Tobey’s brother, and Natalie Portman, as Tobey’s wife, ‘Brothers’ depicts the three main characters as they struggle with the devastation PTSD can cause. Somehow, I found that ‘Brothers’ brought to life my lecture on PTSD better than I could have ever expressed it in words. The symptoms – emotional arousal, for instance – can be spoken to at length, but to watch them depicted in film brings a reality and gravity to the situation that the intellectualization of the disorder never could. In other words, it helped my students connect with the material. In fact, movies tend to help most of us connect in ways that can sometimes feel hard to explain. Perhaps it is that mechanism that makes cinema therapy so wonderful. As researcher Dr. Sorina Daniela Dumtrache writes, “Cinema-therapy refers to the use of movies as a support for the individual’s personal and interpersonal development and it represents a promising method that enhances both the attractiveness of the therapeutic process and the depth of a significant personal and relational development.” In a therapeutic setting, a therapist recommends a film that is relevant to a client’s life. The idea would then be that the client seeking therapy would watch the film, identify with it in some way, perhaps learn some practical skills to deal with similar issues, and, in some cases, offer deep emotional experiences which lead to feelings of acceptance. For instance, if someone has found themselves in a situation where they feel unreasonably jealous of a friend who is about to be married, watching the comedy ‘Bridesmaids’ may offer some insight into why they may be feeling that way – the main character is lonely, upset, with feelings of selfdoubt, and, on top of everything, now feels that she is being replaced as her childhood friend’s best friend by another woman. By the end of the film however, she realizes that this other woman is just as lonely and craving of friendship as she is, and that there is so much to be gained around her. Throughout the film, she also learns to cope with stress in a healthier way. As noted by Dr. Jeremy Clyman, “watching the protagonist from “Bridesmaids” feel better about herself after some engaged baking, teaches

the behavioral-activation lesson that identification of and engagement in positive events improves well-being.” In other words, we can use the power of movies to heal and to grow. This has certainly been found to be true in diminishing anxiety for young people, as Dr. Dumtrache’s research shows. In her study, which sought to create a personal development program for students based on cinema therapy and identify the effects of it, Dr. Dumtrache asked 60 participants, to either participate in the cinema therapy program or continue as is. Participants in the cinema therapy group were asked to discuss the types of movies they wanted to watch as well as identifying their needs and problems. They were then asked to focus on their mood and experiences, and watched 10 movies over time, each covering a range of topics including self-discovery or self-exploration, social relationships, childhood and family, death, and even paranormal interests. After watching the films, the students who participated in the cinema therapy group had a significant drop in anxiety compared to students who continued without any therapeutic treatment. Another study, published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, found that couples who watched one movie per week with their significant other and discussed eleven open-ended questions about the movie and how it relates to their relationship as a couple for about 45 minutes following each movie, not only had results comparable to couples who went to counselling, but had a divorce rate of 11%; 13% lower than the couples who received no therapeutic intervention. Some of the films in the study included Gone with the Wind, Love Story, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and A Star Is Born. The key, however, is not simply to watch a movie, but to connect with it through asking yourself or your partner some questions which give way to reflection: What was the main relationship portrayed in the movie? Are any of the problems faced by a character or a couple similar to the problems you have faced or might face as a couple? Did the protagonist deal with problems in a productive way? What happened in this movie that might lead you to think differently about your life? By connecting, reflecting, and considering what happens in films, we can gain an awareness of ourselves, which helps us learn about ourselves and our habits, and, ultimately, heal. TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 69

You Can Never Have

Pairs of Shoes TOO MANY


Superstar and style icon Sarah Jessica Parker’s most famous alter-ego, Carrie Bradshaw says it best: “When I want a ridiculously extravagant pair of shoes, I find a way to buy them.” Shoes protect our feet. They make walking around outside easier and more comfortable. Let’s face it: we need shoes. However, the need these days, is very closely related to the want. Many women, and yes, men, have become avid shoe collectors. We collect by style, colour, heel height, and designer. It’s not unusual for women and men to pay upwards of $500 for a pair of statement shoes. For some, shoes have become a style signature, and for others, the quest for the perfect bespoke shoe can be elusive. Look no further… George’s Shoe Repair is the place to go. Don’t let the name fool you. George does excellent shoe repair. He has brought back to life many a pair of shoes that were at death’s door, but George’s talents really lie in custom-made shoes. George Munizaba was born in Croatia. After the war, he moved to Serbia, and eventually immigrated to Canada. He brought with him his family. One may think that the art of shoe-making is something that would be passed down from generation to generation, but George is a first-generation shoe-maker. “I went to a college for 4 years to learn how to make and repair shoes. There was a big shoe industry in Croatia and Serbia. I decided to open my own shop.” Looking for a better life and more opportunity, George and his family arrived in Canada in 1995 where he set up shop in the Toronto area. He has been at his present location for two years. Stepping into his little shop on Thorold Stone Road, the heavenly and luxurious smell of leather is in the air. You will be welcomed in by his wife, Aleksandra, and his daughter Ana, who also work in the shop. This is

truly a family business. Your eyes won’t know where to begin to look. The assortment of shoes is amazing, from traditional to extravagant both in styles and in colours. When asked just how a pair of shoes are custom-made, George becomes very passionate in his explanation. He goes on to say that, “All of my shoes are hand-made. The only part that is not done by hand is the stitching. I talk to my clients and find out their measurements. We sit down and make many decisions. We decide on style, type of leather, quality of leather, colour, stitching. There is so much that goes into making these shoes.” After George has gone over the details and minutiae with his clients, he goes on to the shoe-forming. This is where the leather is stretched by hand over several hours to ensure that it will be perfectly formed and molded to the precise measurements of each individual. One might think that the process is very long and drawn-out. Well, from the moment that George takes your measurement and goes to work, the turnaround for your very own pair of bespoke shoes is a mere 5 days. And of course, you get what you pay for. The quality of these hand-made shoes is exquisite and for this near perfection, the cost begins at $500 per pair, well-worth the price, not only for the originality but for the comfort. When asked if he has ever made a pair of shoes for a celebrity, George answered, laughingly, “Not for any celebrities in this country. But I would like the chance to here in Canada.” George will be quick to tell the story of the favourite pairs of shoes he has made throughout his career. That’s because these little shoes hold a special place in his heart. When his older daughter Ana began walking, George fashioned her with a beautiful little pair of boots. When his second daughter Sara began school, George custom-made her a pair of shiny, new shoes for that first and important day. George’s Shoe Repair is a treasure. There are styles to suit everyone’s taste. There are colours that go with everything in your closet, and there are price points to suit everyone’s budget. As Cinderella has said, “One shoe can change your life!”

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By Dr. Christina Plaskos

My patients often come to me with a specific issue in mind they want to correct. They may start the conversation about a line or wrinkle on their face, or increased redness due to acne and rosacea. However, when we sit down to fully understand what they’re looking for and create a treatment plan, what I find is that it’s not about the line or wrinkle, it’s about looking and feeling more youthful, less tired, and ultimately gaining a greater sense of self-confidence so they can feel better in relationships, work, or family life. As a physician of 29 years specializing in helping people look and feel their better, I have adopted a multi-layered approach that I refer to as ‘the seen (tangible) and the unseen (intangible) elements’. The seen are the services and at home skin care products we provide to enhance skin health and luminosity. However, in order to receive the full benefit of the services and products, we must also embrace the unseen, which is the internal work we do on our mindset to be more positive, energetic, and loving of who we are. This approach is used for all ages - whether the goal is beautification or rejuvenation. Botox and Filler are excellent treatments to enhance our overall appearance, however the treatments I am discussing here are about enhancing skin to look its best at a foundational level, meaning that it is clear, smooth, tight and luminous. These treatments are also noninvasive, can be done in the office and require minimal to no downtime. Radiofrequencing microneedling known as Fractora is an excellent multitasking option for a non-invasive approach to resurfacing the skin, resulting in significant skin tightening, improved complexion, and a reduction in acne and acne scarring. This treatment causes our body to manufacture its own collagen to create a more youthful appearance. Intense Pulse Light (IPL) is a laser treatment that also has multiple benefits such as improving the colour, texture, and tone of the skin by fading brown spots, reducing redness and blood vessels, and tightening the skin and reducing pore size. Dermalinfusion facials exfoliate old skin cells while simultaneously infusing an antioxidant serum to feed the skin vital nutrients and restore hydration. Repeated dermalinfusion facials produce excellent results in

people with acne, acne scarring, skin discolouration, and fine lines and wrinkles. Finally, a new class in skin rejuvenation is referred to as Skin Boosters which are intra-dermal injections of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and hyaluronic acid that refresh and illuminate the skin for 6 to 9 months. In addition to these treatments, changing our attitude, thoughts, and beliefs has a significant impact on skin health. Through my experience over the last 29 years, I have seen a clear association between having a positive attitude and looking more youthful. Why would this be? Maintaining a positive attitude is associated with reduced levels of cortisol (stress). Cortisol has been shown to damage collagen and elastin resulting in fine lines and wrinkles. In addition, cortisol can weaken our protective skin barrier resulting in eczema, acne, and rosacea. Ultimately, our thoughts have the power to alter the chemistry within our body to shift genetic expression to either an aged or youthful state which is reflected in how we look and feel.

AEGIS Pro-Aging: A simple shift in mindset which focuses on improving oneself each day. By moving from ‘Anti-Aging’ to ‘Pro-Aging’ we actively welcome each day with positivity rather than from fear and resistance. When taking our skin’s health and appearance from good to great we must embrace the power that science has provided in the latest treatments available, but we must also embrace the power that lies within each of us in choosing our mindset to create the absolute best version of ourselves… and why would we settle for anything less? TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 73

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Snowy Scenes and A Soothing Spa By Andrew Hind

100 Fountain Spa at Pillar and Post

Winter brings its own unique joys. If you find the right setting — that beautiful, natural spot where snow mounds up like fluffy pillows or quaint historic communities where snow drapes from heritage buildings like Christmas garland — there is no season more beautiful. Places like these are where you’ll be inspired to get out and play in the fresh air and to experience all the adventure that winter affords. No place fits that description better than the Pillar and Post in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Let’s face it. Winter’s cold can be numbing, wind can be biting, and daily stress builds as snow grinds traffic to a halt. Winter can be hard on your body and your nerves. Solution? Head to a spa! There is none better than 100 Fountain Spa at Pillar and Post to retreat from the cold and shake off the winter doldrums. When flurries fall and the thermometer dips, this is where you’ll want to go for a memorable escape and revitalizing care. Long, cold winters can make you feel lethargic, stressed and chilled to the bone. According to Vanessa Tierney, Director of Spa Operations for Vintage Hotels — which includes 100 Fountain Spa and its sister, Secret Gardens Spa at Prince of Wales Hotel — one of the most effective ways to remove the deep chill of winter is to warm your muscles and relax your mind with a therapeutic massage. “Our Vintage Stones Massage treatment is so popular in the winter months,” she explains. “The basalt stones are heated and the massage therapist massages with the stones. The heat harnessed in the stones automatically relaxes muscles and melts away tension.” Winter is also rough on our skin. Got cracked, dry skin? 100 Fountain Spa has you covered with a range of facials and body wraps. “These super hydrating treatments offer a double exfoliation. Our facials include an enzyme peel and a granular exfoliation to gently work away dead skin cells,” Tierney explains. “In our body treatments,” she continues, “we offer a sea salt scrub followed by a sugar scrub to slough away any dry skin, allowing the warm oils, mud pack, creams and butters to absorb deep into the skin. The firm and hydrate body wrap is my personal favorite. The results last for weeks.” For a more social spa experience, bring your girlfriends and enjoy the comfort of the open twelve-person nail salon. Caring for your hands in winter is important, as the cold can lead to dry, cracked skin and cuticles. Consider adding a paraffin wax treatment to your next manicure or pedicure. Paraffin not only hydrates skin but also increases circulation.

Secret Gardens Spa at Prince of Wales Hotel

Just because you’ve reluctantly said goodbye to the Pillar and Post doesn’t mean the pampering has to end. Bring the 100 Fountain Spa home after your respite has come to an end with winter essentials purchased on-site and with invaluable advice for continued winter well-being. If Tierney could offer one tip to take home with you, it’s to exfoliate frequently. “We should be exfoliating both the face and body once a week. Winter can do a number on the skin with cold outdoor temperatures and indoor heating systems, both of which are very drying for the skin. As a result, we recommend exfoliating 2-3 times per week in colder months.” Mandarin oranges are a true sign of the holidays, but they also serve as a reminder for us not to forget about the benefits of Vitamin C for the skin. Make sure your diet is rich in Vitamin C, or purchase Vitamin C supplements. And don’t overlook the benefits of indulging in a luxuriant bath with Epsom salts and essential oils. It’s the ideal way to relieve tired muscles. Lips can also get cracked and very dry during the winter when they are exposed to cold air, so be sure to use a lip moisturizer when outdoors. Additionally, Tierney urges us to stay hydrated with plenty of water or our favourite herbal tea, and to protect our fragile skin. “Many people switch to more rich creams in the winter to give the skin extra comfort and protection,” she explains, “And remember to still wear your SPF because the sun is strong even when it’s not warm.” It’s also a good idea to avoid staying too close to the heater since the hot air can dehydrate your skin. The staff at 100 Fountain Spa can help you select all the winter essentials so you can bring the spa home with you after your respite has come to an end. Winter is a beautiful time of the year but it can also be harsh. We need to pay extra attention to our bodies to protect ourselves from the ravages of the cold and wind, and to rejuvenate from the stress of winter driving and the holidays. We all need pampering at a spa! Choose 100 Fountain Spa in Christmas Card-perfect Niagara-on-the-Lake. You will have no regrets! TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 75

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When the snow starts to fall, check out these nearby hotspots, retailers and specialty shops for cool ideas, fun things to do and always a warm reception!

Ski Holiday Valley’s 60 slopes with parks, glades, steeps and cruisers. Fantastic children’s ski programs. On slope lodging and dining, shopping and night life in the Village of Ellicottville and fun family activities like a mountain coaster and tubing make a trip to Holiday Valley a real vacation, close to home.

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THE BOUTIQUE The Boutique invites you into our winter wonderland of fashion this holiday season. With glamorous, charming, flirty fun and elegant styles, you will be sure to find something that fits any occasion! Come check out our intimate location in the heart of Niagara Falls.

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LICIA’S BOUTIQUE Licia’s Boutique is a unique little shop and a neighbourhood gem for fashion forward, one-of-a-kind accessories and clothing. Costume jewellery, purses, scarves, hats, outerwear from Italy and more! Gift wrapping and cards available. Large selection of bridal jewellery. Please check us on Facebook

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Let it Snow


J E HARPER & CO. The excitement of a new experience is what we prepare you for at J E Harper & Co. We supply the best clothing and accessories to ensure you wander the world comfortably and confidently. The expertise, trust and guarantees of our manufacturers from Tilley Hats, Royal Robbins, Christina Swimwear, Buff, FIG, and our commitment to ensure your wear and gear work for you.

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DOG & CAT CLINIC OF NIAGARA Out of care and love…Now open on Sunday with no extra fees! Looking for a veterinarian in the Niagara region? Contact us today! We provide exceptional veterinary care for cats & dogs. Accepting walk-ins and new patients. Providing emergency care to our patients and house calls during regular hours. Weekdays 9am to 8pm; weekends 10am to 6pm. Dr. K. Aziz, DVM

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GWEN’S TEAS SPECIALTY TEA SHOP Find the perfect gift for the tea lover in your life! We have tea for every taste with no artificial flavours or colours. Pair your selection with a variety of teaware, from traditional to whimsical, and create a custom gift basket. Escape the mall and enjoy a cup in our charming location

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STONE MILL BALLROOM The Stone Mill Ballroom offers the perfect elements for a Winter Wedding. An intimate ceremony on our Grand Staircase followed by a romantic reception under our glistening chandeliers. The Grand Ballroom is cozy, inviting, and elegant. Hearty Italian dishes will warm your guests before they dance the night away and retire to their onsite guestrooms. Everything you need in a wedding venue!


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THE WATERING CAN FLOWER MARKET The Watering Can is a truly unique and authentic European flower market with a boutique shop in the heart of downtown St. Catharines and an interactive flower market established in Vineland, the heart of wine country. Explore our Christmas decor, design in our Create Shed and warm up in our Café.

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THE LIGHTHOUSE RESTAURANT Overlooking the Niagara River, we offer a diverse menu in a comfortable and relaxing dining atmosphere perfect for making memories with family and friends. We also provide private dining with personalized menus for couples or groups for that special occasion. On Sundays, we offer romantic dim-lighting and live background music.

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At PenFi, it’s not just about the money.


Thank You! I am deeply grateful to the citizens of our city for re-electing me as your Mayor. I will continue doing my best to justify your support and trust in me. Together we will make Niagara Falls a better place to live, work and play. I would also like to express my sincere thanks to my family and dedicated, hard-working volunteers. Thank you all!

Jim Diodati, Mayor of Niagara Falls


Top Ten Financial Resolutions I’ve gathered the top 10 financial resolutions you can make to help you achieve your financial goals this year. Consider this my gift to you: a few pointers to guide you when the dreaded resolution conversations come up! 1. The Crystal Ball Figure out what you want this year and set a clear financial goal. Do you want to create a realistic budget? Pay down debt? Reduce overall spending? Revaluate your retirement planning? Build an emergency fund? Pick the goal that fits your life and make it crystal clear. 2. Budget Balancing Act Budgeting isn’t exactly fun, but it is effective! To start, assess your current financial situation. It’s a great idea to track your spending for a while to help you do an accurate assessment. When you have a clear picture of your income and expenses, find a budgeting system that works for you. Whether it’s an app, website, or an old-fashioned book, you need a system that you’ll stick with to track your spending and keep you honest.

6. The Latte Factor Every day thousands of people file into their local coffee shops to fuel their morning. Instead of spending $2 to $6 on coffee, throw the change in a jar and make the coffee at home. At the end of the year, you can invest the money and use your former coffee shop habit to earn more money! I know this may seem like too much for many of you though. I get it — when you stumble out of bed you are cranky and enjoy your morning habit of grabbing a coffee. What about a frugal week every month? Go one week without spending extra money. Can you handle making your own coffee for one week? There are plenty of alternatives to suit every life! Bank the savings and celebrate. 7. Don’t Touch the Tax (Return) Often we view our tax returns as income. Instead of spending it on a luxury purchase, try something different this year: invest it. Try putting your tax return into a TFSA contract. If you have a large sum in your TFSA contract already, invest that money in an RRSP and use your tax return to rebuild your TFSA. You could also put the tax return in an RRSP.

3. The Jar Jam Using labeled jars of cash is a great visual and physical reminder of your spending habits. It is easy to mindlessly overspend on a debit card. Try setting up jars of cash labeled with your different expenses (e.g. groceries, gas/bus, etc.). Fill them up according to your monthly budget. Then only spend what you have in the jar.

8. Find a Common Goal If you have a partner it can be tricky to stay on the same page – with finances, parenting, and the proper ratio of bed covers to pillows. This year, have an honest discussion with your partner about your financial goals. Talk to your financial advisor together. Set up joint accounts or regular PAC programs to meet your goals. Finances don’t have to tear relationships apart. This resolution can make them stronger.

4. Save the Change Have you ever counted the change in your change jar? It can seriously add up! Whether you save the change you would have spent at a coffee shop by making coffee at home, or simply save the change you receive from that coffee purchase, you can make this habit your own. Many financial institutions offer ‘round up’ accounts where you set it up once and it will automatically round up at every purchase and set that money aside for you in a savings account.

9. Back to Basics Meet with your financial advisor and go over your accounts, portfolio, and plans. Assess areas of improvement to help you meet your goals. There is no time like the present to ask questions and learn more about your finances and how you can use different products and strategies to improve your situation and reach your dreams. It is always a great time to share this information with the kids in your life too. Help them learn responsibility and reduce the stigma around money that can get us into trouble.

10. Progress Makes Perfect 5. The 52 Week Challenge Saving money can be a challenge, but the 52 week challenge aims to Check in regularly to celebrate yourself on your progress. Reassess areas of your financial plan that you’re struggling to implement. Revise help you succeed. The premise is simple: save money each week of the your budget if your life changes. A financial plan only works when you year. Save what you can, or follow the plan of saving $1 in week one, $2 stick to it, so find simple things that work and make them habits that in week two, all the way up to saving $52 in the last week of the year. If become part of your everyday life. It’s best to keep it simple. The easier you can follow that plan you’ll save $1,378 over the year! You can set up the resolution, the easier it will be to keep. Make it a habit and you’ll see a PAC for this plan or simply fill a jar with the money every Monday. positive results. Adam Rempel is a Financial Advisor with PenFinancial Credit Union, Fonthill Branch. A proud Brock University and Leadership Niagara graduate, Adam is happy to be working at a truly local credit union that helps grow the lives of over 20,000 Niagara residents and allows him to give back and support Niagara communities by delivering financial literacy programming. You can often catch Adam riding through Short Hills Park or taking in a live show in downtown St. Catharines. Check out Adam’s financial blog at www.trulylocaladvice.ca. TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 81

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The Need for Canadians to Control Their Spending Every January, the thought of most Canadians is, “where can we book that last minute vacation,” or “I wish I bought a snow blower to deal with the winter weather”. The next big moment that comes towards the end of January is when we go to our mailbox and that dreaded credit card bill is waiting. December is a great month of celebrations and family get togethers, but all of that commercialism comes with a price tag and the lavish spending rears its ugly face in January. Canadians today are taking on more debt than ever before. A CBC news report states that the average Canadian now owes $22,081 of consumer debt and that figure doesn’t include mortgage debt. All told, consumer debt among Canadians has now totaled a whopping $1.7 trillion. Credit cards balances as of the end of June were $2,280 and other debts excluding mortgages totaled just shy of $20,000. It’s a challenging time for most Canadians! Prices of goods have been rising faster than wages. Mortgage rates on renewal are higher now than they were 5 years ago and most Canadians are finding that there is less money left over after expenses each week. The challenging news is that prices aren’t going down and mortgage rates may be on the rise, so we have to start being disciplined in order to lessen additional debt. So what do we do? Well, here are a few thoughts that can hopefully ease your sleepless nights when it comes to the debt most of you are creating: 1. Design and live within your budget. This may seem hard and it’s not going to be fun, but it’s the only way to fix the source of the illness: your over-spending. 2. Think twice before you trade in your car for a newer, fancier model and then roll your monthly payments into a longer term. Cars are the worst investment, period. 3. Skip using credit cards at Christmas and try to pay in cash. 4. Avoid keeping up with the Jones’. No one really cares about what you have and in the end, it’s you who is stuck with the debt for playing a big shot. 5. Always pay off your monthly credit card balance. Banks get rich on selling debt, not savings. 6. Stop allowing the banks to get you to take on more debt via a new credit limit increase. When these options come in the mail, shred them as fast as you can In the end, as humans, we tend to gravitate to what’s fun and easy. Shortterm gain gives over to long-term pain. However, I do know that our wealthiest clients don’t engage in high amounts of consumer debt. The greatest way to create wealth at any income is to get out of debt as fast as possible and maintain discipline on personal credit.

David Somerville CFP Certified Financial Planner, Captial Wealth Management

FSCO #10315

Dave Destefano has been helping clients finance their homes for the last decade and is one of the most recognizable names in the Mortgage Industry. He owes his success to his in depth industry knowledge and outstanding services you won’t find anywhere else. Working with Dave will ensure you receive the best Mortgage advice.

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Niagara Music Awards 2018 by Lauren Charley

The lights, the cameras, the magnificent outfits modelled on the red carpet… on the evening of Sunday, September 30th inside the Champagne Banquet Hall in St. Catharines, artists, music industry professionals, and supporters of the arts community gathered to celebrate the 11th annual Niagara Music Awards. Just like the music award shows we see on television and in magazines, Niagara Music Awards, together with Music City Events, delivered an extravagant evening complete with full banquet-style catering, professional photography, and live performances. Inside the building, the décor included chandeliers, ambient lighting, and of course, a red carpet, to captivate an LA-inspired atmosphere. Throughout the evening, there were 14 live performances by talented local artists and bands, opening with Jessica Wilson, the winner of the 2017 People’s Choice Award. Jessica was awarded this title for the second year in a row later in the evening. “Talk about an incredible show, with an amazing vibe. I’m still riding the rush of pure emotions from such an electrifying evening,” says Cooper Brown of Niagara Music Awards.

Over 2500 submissions

843 artists put forth

109 artists adjudicated and placed into the 2018 Class of Nominees

25 awards handed out

Over 50,000 people on the official Facebook page in September 2018 Every year, Niagara’s musicians and music lovers eagerly anticipate the Niagara Music Award’s Red Carpet Event which showcases the region’s seasoned and emerging talent. This year, the sold-out event catered to a crowd of over 550 attendees who came to watch the live announcement of the winners of 25 award categories. “Best Bar Band is really one of the best awards a band can receive. Bars and pubs are where the rubber hits the road. We need to deliver consistent high-level performances that fill the venues and entertain guests all night long!”- Rob Cave, Vinyl Flux, three-time winner of NMA Best Bard Band.

// H E R E . S E E . D O

Niagara Music Awards 2018 started with the Kick Off Glow Party, which opened the call for submissions for artists. It took place on Wednesday May 23rd at Johnny Rocco’s Bar and Grille in St. Catharines. Following the initial launch, in the months leading up to the final award ceremony, the community was welcome to nominate local musicians for the award categories, giving undiscovered talent an opportunity to be noticed, and local celebrities a chance to increase their publicity. During the week leading up to the final Red Carpet ceremony, NMA hosted events at locations in Niagara including Feast Street in Welland, Country Night at Bull Market, and showcases at Monty’s. For artists, opportunity has grown in Niagara significantly over the years, largely because the increase in opportunities for both PR and exposure through a musical community which has been brought together by events including Niagara Music Awards. “Niagara, as we know it, is an incredible place, and the legacy of ‘The Niagara Music Awards’, has provided, and continues to provide, so much opportunity, and a platform, for musicians, and artists in Niagara, to take their next steps into the local and global entertainment industry,” says Danny Lamb, winner of the 2018 Award for Original Song of the Year (‘Champion’ Ft. Chris Tse & Meaghan Gowrie). Over the past 11 years, the NMA has been held at a variety of venues throughout Niagara, including last year at the Greg Frewin Theatre, and year 7 at Taps On Queen, where Niagara Falls’ own world-famous Electronic DJ, Deadmau5 attended and gave out the awards. “The event has grown organically over the years. So many Niagara musicians are having success, from working full time with a career in music to full-blown celebrity status. So many artists, venues, business owners, festival organisers, sponsors, media and volunteers have committed time, money, and resources to help make the Niagara Music Awards a successful annual event,” says Todd Brown, organizer of Niagara Music Awards. Niagara Music Awards strives to continue as a resource to help Niagararegion musical talent to be discovered and recognized within their community, and to make connections which could lead to international exposure. It is an event not only valued by our community, but by the national and international music industry looking to discover some of the world’s best musical talent.

Category Winners Avenue Inn – Album of the year Jessica Wilson – People’s Choice Award Laurel Minnes – Songwriter of the year Katey Gatt – Female vocalist of the year Brad Battle – Male vocalist of the year Avenue Inn - Rock group of the year Danny Lamb – Original song of the year Otherwives – New group of the year Andrew George – New artist of the year Nolan Jodes – Adult contemporary artist of the year Ryan Lunn – Folk artist of the year Mel Monaco – Original group of the year Ryan Lunn – Producer of the year Bob Liddycoat – Promoter of the year Deciphering the Pale – Heavy metal artist of the year Ryan Langdon – Country artist of the year Ryan Smith – EDM artist of the year Glass Apple Bonzai – Engineer of the year Mel Monaco – Music video of the year Riley Michaels – Blues artist of the year BooCocky – Hip-Hop artist of the year Ashlee Standish – Instrumental artist of the year Niagara Brewing Co. – Venue of the year Welland Wasted – Punk artist of the year Vinyl Flux – Best Bar Band


LiveWinter Like theEdition Locals By Victoria Gilbert Canadians are polite, kind and sweet. This lovely stereotype pleases most of us Canadians because well, we are nice aren’t we, eh? Another handle we Canadians should have on the world stage is our HEARTINESS. Our winters are cold. There are days in January and February where going outside is a mental battle with the elements for even the toughest among us. We pull down our tuques and layer our clothing and make the most out of the five cold months of winter. Our fun and friendly natures don’t freeze on the coldest nights. In fact, the colder it gets, the greater the excuse to snuggle up closer at a cozy local pub or pump your legs faster on an outdoor rink under the stars. The locals have mastered the art of enjoying winter and so can you.

“Baby, it’s cold outside,” but Niagara’s got you covered. So pull down that hat, pull up those long johns and explore all this region has to offer.

The Olde Angel Inn 224 Regent Street, Niagara-On-The-Lake | angel-inn.com This traditional English pub right in the centre of old town is a perennial favourite among locals and tourists alike. The Angel Inn’s website boasts “great food, historic accommodations and good friends await you here at Ontario’s oldest operating inn.” A Union Jack waves in the breeze above the entrance to the Angel and beckons visitors with a style of Niagara’s past. The pub was established in 1789 and rebuilt in 1815 after the War of 1812. Sit up at the bar, like the locals do and ask people about the place with no hesitation — Niagara-on-theLake has recently been ranked “Canada’s friendliest town” by Expedia.ca’s annual list of the Friendliest Communities and Towns in Canada. So, while you drink your beer (try a local one: Oast House or Silversmith) and munch down on a huge portion of Bangers and Mash, while you chat about the ghost who lives there (his name is Captain Colin Swayze) or about the War of 1812, which some people still argue about to this day: was it a war or a battle? Most locals are very proud and very knowledgeable about their town and will be happy to talk battles and ghosts with visitors who are interested. The Angel boasts an all-local wine list and a number of local beers, including their own IPA brew, “Angel Inn Lager” which you can sip over live music on Fridays & Saturdays, 9:30pm – 12:30am year round.

The Butterfly Conservatory 2565 Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls | Open Mon-Fri: 10am-5pm niagaraparks.com/butterfly-conservatory When it’s -20 outside, there’s no better place to escape the cold than where the butterflies live, as I was told by a local, many years ago. This remains true to this day. Trick the winter and check your coat and that extra sweater at the entrance to the home of the butterflies because it’s always warm and tropical inside. Iridescent blue, yellow and orange wings mingle with 45 species in this tropical, bright space of meditative waterfalls and dreamy fluttering beings. An ideal spot for a romantic date, or for families with kids, who are all thrilled when a winged creature lands delicately on their shoulder or hand. Managed by Niagara Parks Commission, The Butterfly Conservatory participates in the Adventure Pass program which includes many other Niagara attractions and can be purchased for $65 on their website: www.niagaraparks.com. An annual pass for the conservatory is also available and is ideal for residents for unlimited visits over the course of a year. Or to simply enter, the price is reasonable for the experience which lasts about two hours: $15/adults, $9.75/kids 6 and over. Kids under 6 are free. Photos courtesy of Niagara Parks.

Skating Rink at Fort George National Historic Site 51 Queen’s Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake visitniagaracanada.com/do/skating-rink-at-fort-george-national-historic-site/ The 120-foot-by-60-foot rink next to Historic Fort George harkens back to a time of simplicity and innocence. Parks Canada partnered with local hotel giant, Vintage Hotels, to bring this magical outdoor skating rink to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Strung lights, music, hay bales to sit on to tie up skate laces, and hot chocolate under the stars is what this gem of a skating rink offers visitors. The rink is rarely busy and the parking lot next door is convenient and free. Could skating this rink next to Fort George be one of the most “Canadian” experiences a visitor could have? Yes, it most certainly could be. Make sure to check the website to see when the rink is open and be sure to catch some night skating for a wonderful way to enjoy cold winter nights in the region. Cost to skate: free. Skates: rentals available at the “Agora” or the beautifully-designed modern building adjacent to the rink. Copyright, Parks Canada Agency.

The Bench Brewing Company 3991 King Street, Beamsville | Open daily 11am-9pm | benchbrewing.com This large, new brewery opened in 2018 and has already attracted locals and visitors who are increasingly curious about craft beers and what this region can offer. Built within an old school house dating from 1944, the founder Matt Giffen, managed a fantastic retrofit which gives this brewery a modern and sexy vibe and maintains the history of the building. If you are a fan of interesting and new styles of beer, you will delight in the tasting menu The Bench provides and if you are a newbie to IPAs, Farmhouse Ales, Dry Hopped Sours, don’t fret. The flights of beer divided by styles are a phenomenal way to try something new. Even if the famous fruit trees of the Niagara region are dormant in the winter, taste them anyway in The Bench beers fermented from local fruits such as the “Cherry, Plum and Peach Grove Mixed Fermentation Ales on Fruit.” The Kitchen at the Brewery has sublime tasting portions that are well presented and delicious. Creamy smoked baked beans, steamed pork and ginger dumplings, or baked Moroccan style chicken wings pair with the types of beers which appeal to you most: Community Range, Grover Series or Funk Beer. Photos courtesy of Bench Brewing Company.


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By Jill Tham

Sentineal Carriages has been providing romantic carriage rides around the old town of Niagara-on-the-Lake for almost 30 years. And as the Frank Sinatra song goes, “Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage,” Sentineal Carriages is accredited and has been a part of thousands of romantic moments. “We cater to 80 weddings a year and we assist with a lot of wedding proposals and anniversaires,” says Laura Sentineal, co-owner of Sentineal Carriages. “The proposals are always exciting,” says Sentineal. “The men want their proposal to be perfect. I tell them all they have to do is get the ring and pop the question.” Catering to requests is something that Sentineal and her team of handlers excel at. “I always joke we will do anything as long as it is safe and not illegal,” says Sentineal. “We had a groom who wanted to give his bride a fairytale proposal. He rode up the stairs at Oakes Garden Theatre wearing a suit of armour on one of our white horses, flipped up his visor and proposed,” says Sentineal. “That is one I won’t forget.” Laura Sentineal grew up in a condominium with little space to run and play. “Being on the farm was so novel and I loved the horses,” she said, adding that providing horse-drawn carriage rides is something the family just fell into. “My husband, Fred, was born and raised on a horse farm in Niagara-on-the-Lake and he has always had a natural ability for working with horses. When he was in high school, the family purchased a carriage and he started providing transportation to weddings for friends and family,” explains Sentineal. “This went on for several years and then we started getting calls from the Pillar and Post Inn, who was trying to get brides interested in weddings in Niagara-on-the-Lake,” says Sentineal. Enjoying the carriages made it an easy decision for the couple to leave their day jobs and focus on raising their three children and taking on a business with 20 horses. “We receive so much positive feedback,” says Sentineal. “Regardless of the occasion we are with them at their best,” says Sentineal. “As a business model, it is a great place to start. They are already celebrating and happy,” says Sentineal. Sentineal and her team work around the clock to ensure top care of their horses. “You don’t lock the door at night. The horses’ care comes before everything,” says Sentineal. “We have been on vacation and had to come back: they are the number one priority.” Horses are acquired by many sources including some that otherwise would have been sold for meat.“It is nice to find a horse and give him his life back and provide a home and a

job,” says Sentineal. “Heavy horses are bred for work and studies show that if they are not working it affects them physically and mentally,” says Sentineal who carefully pairs the horses with a handler. “Our horses and their drivers become a team and rely on each other,” says Sentineal. “People would understand that it is a mutually beneficial relationship.” Sentineal thoroughly enjoys creating special moments for clients. There are more than just weddings and tours on the carriages. “We have had little girls who want to be Cinderella and centurions that still remember a time when they went to church in a horse and buggy,” says Sentineal who provides complimentary rides to local senior’s homes. Over the years, the business has expanded beyond weddings to include a wide variety of services including: weddings, historical tours, sightseeing, parties, anniversaries, first dates, Shaw Theatre packages, parades, corporate events, bus tours, special events, and funerals. At times, Sentineal Carriages receives calls for movies. Most recently the retired horses have appeared in television shows and movies such as Pompeii, Murdoch Mysteries, and American Gods. The Sentineal family recently had their own romantic and memorable moment. “In the fall, our oldest daughter was married. The carriages took us to the ceremony. The bridesmaids were in front of us and it was a special time for my husband and I to share with her,” explains Sentineal. “On the way back from the ceremony the ten members of the bridal party rode in the wagonette through the town. People were waving and cheering. it was really fun because it was my first time on the other side of the equation.” Sentineal Carriages has been a crowd favourite among all ages in the historical town of Niagara-on-the-Lake since 1989. The smiles and memories the horses bring to visitors and local residents are invaluable. As Ol’ Blue Eyes sang, “you can’t have one without the other.” TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 89

Humble, Bold,Hands-On De Simone Winery

By Victoria Gilbert

865 Niagara Stone Rd, Niagara-on-the-Lake | 905-684-1547 | desimonevineyards.com

Winemaker and Owner: Vincenzo Robert De Simone

“It all started with a dream and a shovel”. Blue flames and illuminated barrels flanking golden initials, DV, are the first things you see upon entering the stylish retail store at De Simone Vineyards in Niagara-on-The-Lake. Vincenzo Robert De Simone, the Owner, Winemaker, Vineyard Manager and decorator of Niagara’s newest winery, will greet you warmly and offer to pour one of his excellent reserve and estate wines. “My father and I planted it all by hand, with a shovel,” Vincenzo says of the eight acres of vineyard. Working with his hands comes naturally to Vincenzo, who grew up on his family’s fruit farm, now the site of the De Simone Vineyards Winery. His intimate knowledge of the land and his training at Niagara College, as well as work experience at wineries in the region for over a decade, prepared him for his destiny: opening a winery where all the grapes were grown by Vincenzo himself. “I have complete control from the vineyard to that bottle of wine. Everything is hand picked, and hand-sorted. We are very keen on quality. All of our wines are VQA, which guarantees our customers we are producing quality wine.” Having such control over every detail is part of what is special about this intimate boutique winery. “The grapes we use are from our vineyard only. It classifies all of our wines as reserve and estate wine, which are higher end wines,” says Vincenzo proudly. At 27 years of age, Vincenzo is part of a generation that is more vocal and knowledgeable than ever about chemicals in what we eat and drink. Instead of spraying herbicides to kill the weeds, he covers them with dirt in a process he calls “Hilling up and hilling down,” where a tractor, suited with a special tool, constantly works the soil and suffocates the weeds. “It’s really a natural method and I honestly wish more farmers would do that here,” says Vincenzo. “The reason we only use our own grapes is because we do NOT use herbicides in our vineyard. We know herbicides are cancerous and actually end up in the wine. The older you get, the wiser you get and me being a younger person, I feel that is where the younger generation

is learning. We don’t want chemicals in our foods and wines. I want people to feel safe drinking my wine and you can honestly taste a difference in the product.” The attention to detail he gives his vineyard shows in his wines. The white wines are fruit forward, well-balanced and fresh on the palate. The reds are bold and rich yet humble and easy to drink, as if the personality of the winemaker himself is transferred into your glass. The Cabernet Franc vines were the first vines planted in 2010 and seem to be achieving the greatest success to date. Within only months of the winery being opened, the 2015 Cabernet Franc won 3rd place in Ontario at the Royal Winter Fair. Shortly after, both the 2015 and the 2016 Cabernet Franc won bronze at the 2018 National Wine Awards of Canada. A great start for De Simone Vineyards! The awards don’t stop there. Their 2016 Cabernet Franc also came home with a silver medal at the 2018 InterVin Competition. Awards aside, if you ask Vincenzo what his favorite wine is that he makes, it would be his limited edition 2016 Merlot. “It is unlike any Merlot in the Niagara Region.’’ For now, the available wines are: Whites: Chardonnay, Vidal (table-wine and ice wine) and Riesling. For reds: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc and Rosé. (Where to buy: at the De Simone retail store 865 Niagara Stone Road, Niagara-On-The-Lake). De Simone Vineyards only produces 1000 cases of wine per year and Vincenzo has plans to triple that number in the coming years. The elegant De Simone label features a golden horse, which Vincenzo selected for what the animal represents. “I’m very determined and passionate about what I’m doing her. When I came across the meaning of a horse I had to put it on the label. The horse represents strength, freedom, determination and passion; it’s a symbol of strong motivation that carries one through life.” After Vincenzo opened the winery he discovered he was born during the year of the horse and specifically the year of the golden horse. “It was just meant to be.” Watch for the colourful vineyard paintings that decorate the tasting room; in a moment of inspiration Vincenzo put his hand to a canvass for the first time and painted a landscape just before opening his winery. “I didn’t even know I could paint. I pay a lot of attention to detail in everything I do and that is also why I believe the wines are good.” In addition to wine, honey from the De Simone farm, jellies infused with wine from the property as well as tomato sauce made by Vincenzo’s mother, are sold at their retail store. With six awards for Vincenzo’s first season and more to come, De Simone may be the new kid on the block but he is starting off with all the makings of a fine winemaker. We will certainly hear more and more about De Simone Vineyards in the future. Look for the big DV letters when driving through Niagara-on-the-Lake, and be sure to stop in and try the wines.



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Two Minutes in the box Sit down with ex-NHL players to discuss life after hockey, living in Niagara and what they think of the game today.






Two Minutes in the box


DOUG FAVELL By: Gabrielle Tieman-Lee

Which teams did you play for in the NHL?

I played six years with the Philadelphia Flyers, three years with the Toronto Maple Leafs and three years with the Colorado Rockies. Back then there were only six teams in the NHL. They sponsored junior teams all over Canada and because I was born and raised in St. Catharines, I automatically belonged to the Chicago Blackhawks. During that time, I ended up playing Junior B in St. Catharines, and when it came time to try out for the juniors, I was in competition with four other goaltenders… there was another team in Niagara Falls at the time, the Niagara Falls Flyers, which was Boston’s team. I spent three years in Niagara Falls with the Flyers and in 1965, we won the Memorial Cup. Then I turned pro and belonged to Boston and ended up in Oklahoma City with Boston’s farm team. Played two years with Boston’s farm team and then in 1967, they had the first expansion draft - where they went from six to twelve teams. And I was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers - along with Bernie Parent. Then I was traded in 1973 to the Leafs.

What was it like playing in the NHL and with the Toronto Maple Leafs?

It was great – I lived in great cities and met great people. It was disappointing to leave Philadelphia because we were right on the verge of winning the cup. But if I had to go anywhere, it was great to come back close to home and play for the Leafs. I grew up watching the Leafs so it was great to play with them for three years. They traded me to Colorado and I spent three years there with the Rockies.

After retirement, did you leave hockey?

Not at first. I ended up staying in Colorado for nine years after the Rockies; I ended up coaching at Denver University for two years. In 1986, we decided to move back home [to Niagara]. I started coaching and managing the Thorold Junior B team. At the same time I was coaching the Brock University team ... I coached two years. In 1987 when I came back, I was offered the goaltending coaching position in Buffalo with the Sabres. So I ended up four years with the Sabres. Then in 1991, I left hockey.

Why retire in Niagara?

I am an only child, so to my parents, my two children were their only grandchildren. So we decided to move back. My wife’s family

was also here. I was happy to be back - we were all back where we belonged. It was time to play old-timers hockey and have fun.

The NHL has changed so much over the years; are you still interested in hockey? I watch a little bit ... I am interested, but I’m not a diehard. The game has changed a lot. But I enjoy it with my grandkids and my son.

What do you think of goaltending today?

It’s an entirely different game. It’s faster... It’s the speed of the game. I’m not a fan of it. The equipment is all too big and you’re just filling the net. These goaltenders, they are a lot more skilled than we were, because they are playing a different style. Their flexibility – the working out – that has all changed. And not only the big equipment, but the size of the guys. Back in the sixties and seventies, when we finished playing, we had to come home and work, because we didn’t make enough money playing. You didn’t spend your time working out, you actually had to work. I was a bigger than average guy and I’m 5’ 11” and was 170 lbs. These guys, now they’re 6’ 5”.

What was your biggest accomplishment during your time in the NHL?

Team-wise, probably winning the first series for the Flyers in 1972-1973. We beat Minnesota in the first round of the first series; the Flyers beat everyone in the playoffs. But there were a lot of personal highlights as well: my first game with the Leafs, winning games with the expansion teams. I didn’t quite get to the end, but I made a lot of friends and met a lot of great people along the way. I also ended up playing professional lacrosse as well as playing in the NHL — I was a forward. One of my highlights is I am the only man to ever win the Memorial Cup and the Minto Cup [Canadian Junior Lacrosse] in the same year in 1965. I am very proud of that fact. I also hold the record for the fastest three goals in the Minto Cup – three goals in 11 seconds. It’s never been broken.

What is one of your favourite memories of your time in the NHL?

I was the first goalie to paint my mask. Other goalies had painted details, like stitches, on theirs before, but I was the first to fully paint it. Today everybody does it.

i was the first goalie to paint my mask.



Two Minutes in the box


STEVE LUDZIK By: Martine Mackenzie

Which teams did you play for in the NHL?

I played in Chicago for 8 years and then Buffalo for a bit, but I consider myself a Blackhawk.

What was it like playing in the NHL?

There were a lot better players than me, but I don’t think anyone enjoyed playing the game as much as I did or felt as privileged as I did. [...] Some nights, I got caught with two left skates on my feet, but I gave it everything I had.

What was your most memorable moment?

My first game and my first goal which happened in my first game. We were playing against the Quebec Nordiques and we were losing 8-0. It was the 3rd period and I was put in and I scored on a slap shot from the blue line against Danny Bouchard. (Laughing) I must have caught him sleeping.

The NHL has changed so much over the years. What do you think of the game today?

It’s better! But when I played, we played against the best. Those were the best guys then. Today’s players are bigger and stronger. They train better. Skates are better, sticks are better, conditioning is better. Goalies are better because they can’t get hurt. The equipment makes them immune to pain.

Do you still watch hockey today?

Rarely. When I retired from coaching, because of the Parkinson’s, I did a TV show called “The Score,” and I got my fill there. I watch it once in a while but I don’t really follow as closely as I should. I do have great admiration for the players.

After your retirement from the NHL, you turned to coaching, eventually spending two years as Head Coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning. What was it like to be on the other side of the bench?

I always wanted to coach. I was 39 years old and I was put in the position to rebuild. It was a young team and a young organization. But to answer your question, it wasn’t good, and I don’t know if I handled it well. It’s not that I like to win – it’s that I hate to lose. There’s a big difference between the two. I hated the taste of losing and I just couldn’t stomach it.

You’re also a published author with your book, “Been There Done That”. What inspired you to write it? I love when people tell me they loved my book. […] My life in hockey inspired me to write it. It was a tribute to the game I loved so much.

Now, you went public with your Parkinson’s diagnosis in 2012, but as you said, you kept it quiet for such a long time. What made you come out with it?

You probably won’t believe this, but I had a dream about my Dad. My Dad died very young. He was only 50. I had just made the NHL. I was raised by my Dad to not back down. Push back. When push comes to shove, shove back harder. You’ve got no option. You can’t be bullied. In my dream, my Dad came to me and told me to stop hiding and to go after this thing, this Parkinson’s. And that’s what I did. I went after it like the bully it is. It’s about bashing the bully.

You established the Steve Ludzik Parkinson’s Rehab Centre at the Hotel Dieu/Shaver in St. Catharines. Can you tell me about it? It’s the #1 rated clinic in Canada. No one is even close to us. Because nobody else does this. It’s funded completely by donations. We have events that raise money – the Ball Drop done at Eagle Valley Golf Course and we have our annual NHL celebrity golf tournament. This year we are roasting Derek Sanderson in our celebrity roast. It’s sold out! I’m really excited about that.

You’re a hero, Steve, yet you’re so humble.

I used to say I was going to be the best hockey player. I was a good player but I wasn’t the best. I had my shot. Then when I was a coach, I said I was going to be the greatest coach that ever lived. Then I got Parkinson’s. When I went into broadcasting, I wanted to be the most colourful guy, behind Don Cherry of course. (laughs) I’ve helped a lot of people with Parkinson’s. I didn’t shy away from the cause. I stood up and was counted and have made a lot of money for Parkinson’s research and that’s good enough for me.

How do you remain so positive in the face of adversity?

I have no option. I refuse to back down and from this I’ve become a pretty solid role-model. I’m a go-getter and when push comes to shove, I shove back harder.


stop hiding and go after this thing, this Parkinson’s.



Two Minutes in the box


FRANK PIETRANGELO By: Martine Mackenzie

Which teams did you play for in the NHL?

I was drafted in 1983 by the Pittsburgh Penguins and played for them for most of my career and then I finished up with the Hartford Whalers.

What was it like playing in the NHL?

Playing in the NHL was the ultimate! I was playing with the best players in the world, being treated first-class all the way. It was a great experience.

The NHL has changed so much over the years. What do you think of the game today?

I like the game today. They’ve taken away the obstruction. It’s a speedy and skillful game. It used to be tough for the little guy but now, as long as you can skate, you can play.

What do you think of goaltending today?

Goaltending has really evolved. Everyone is bigger! The average size of a goaltender these days is well over six feet. The equipment has really changed too. Back when I played, we were using the old leather stuff.

Do you still watch hockey?

I watch hockey every night. I’m a big Pittsburgh Penguins fan.

You own the Niagara Falls Canucks Junior B Team. Tell me what that’s like.

I’m at the rink every day. Hockey is my passion. I’ve never done anything but hockey-related stuff. Playing is the ultimate thrill but now I have the opportunity to give back to Niagara Falls. I’m born and raised here. I played for the Niagara Falls Canucks myself. I get to stay involved with the game and by coaching, you can get the same feel as when you play, like the camaraderie in the dressing room or the butterflies before the game. It’s the closest thing to playing.

It’s obvious that you have very close ties to Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls is home! Always has been, always will be. My wife Kim and I always said there was no question that we would settle down here. Our families are here.

Your most famous moment came in Game 6, opening round against the New Jersey Devils…”The Save”…You made a glove save against Peter Stastny, who was coming at you at point blank range. Can you describe that moment?

(Laughingly) I can’t really say anything about that split moment because it was just reactionary. I made the first save. It was a deflection and I just reached back and tried to stop the next puck. That’s what goaltenders do. Looking back on it now, it’s pretty incredible! In Pittsburgh in particular, “The Save” has taken on a life of its own. It was part of the first Stanley Cup win. The chips were down. We were down 3 games to 2 going into New Jersey having lost Game 5 at home. Most people had written us off. Tom Barrasso was our #1 goalie and he didn’t play, which gave me the opportunity. For the most part, everyone thought Jersey was going to win the round with that game. With “The Save” came the win, and everything took off from there.

“The Save” helped the Penguins win the game and the series, which led to the Stanley Cup win. What was it like being part of a Stanley Cup championship? Winning is everything in sports. You’re measured by winning. As kids, we walk around pretending to lift the Stanley Cup in our backyards. For it to become my reality was just fantastic. With Pittsburgh being close to Niagara Falls, my family and friends came to every one of the games during the playoffs. It was great to be able to share in the experience. To actually hold that Stanley Cup above my head; well that was a dream come true.

Would you say that was the greatest moment of your career? No doubt about it!

What was the best part of playing in the NHL?

It has to be the friendships I made. A lot of people have said that the team was really good and that’s why we were close. I think it’s the other way around. We were all close and that’s why we were good. It’s the chemistry that we had together. Even after all these years, when we see each other again, it’s like seeing family. The memories that we made last a lifetime. The friendships you make along the way to winning a championship are hard to describe.

to actually hold that stanley cup above my head;



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As featured in Homes Magazine 2015. Photo courtesy of David Haskell.





By Gabrielle Tieman-Lee



That telltale frosty air and crisp smell of snow have returned as fast as summer departed. Winter is not just coming; it has arrived. And though the cold winter months beg for us to cozy up with a book and stay indoors, winter is, undo to popular belief, a beautiful time of year to be outside. The Niagara Region is overflowing with tobogganing hills, skating rinks and beautiful outdoor trails that are calling to be filled with sled tracks, boot prints, snowmen and forts. Skating and tobogganing are fun for both kids and nostalgia-seeking adults. They are also both a great way to sneak in some cardio during hibernation season. So, unpack those thermal pants, wrap your faces in scarves and bundle up your kids in layers [for warmth and extra padding] and venture out to rediscover your love for winter within your own backyard.

Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery & Distillery | Niagara-on-the-Lake A tribute to the winery and distillery’s namesake, the Niagara-on-theLake hot spot has opened a seasonal skating rink amongst the winery’s acres of grapes. The Great One’s rink spans five thousand square feet and doubles as a reflecting pond during the summer months. After a skate, you can warm up on the heated Whiskey Bar Patio with a whiskey-inspired hot beverage, a cocktail, or a glass of wine. Skating admission is $5 dollars per person. Guests can bring their own skates or rent a pair for $10 dollars, plus taxes.

Fort George National Historic Site | Niagara-on-the-Lake In partnership with Vintage Hotels, Parks Canada’s newest outdoor skating rink, located in the grounds of the Fort George National Historic Site, is the only one of its kind in all of Parks Canada. This free skating rink was constructed to encourage Canadians to get outside and experience the great outdoors in the winter, whether it is on the ice or enjoying hot chocolate around the supplied fire pits. Skates are available for rent and snacks and beverages for purchase. Civic Square Skating Rink | Welland This free skating rink is open to the public from December to March [weather pending]. Located on Main Street in Welland, this rink is family friendly and all ages are encouraged to come and enjoy the ice. Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery | St. Davids The family owned and operated winery and restaurant converts its beautiful back yard into a public skating rink each year for kids and adults of all ages. This free rink is the perfect weekend activity for those who wish to leisurely skate or take part in a game of pick up hockey, which is known to take over the rink on weekends and welcomes all levels of player. Indoor Public Skating | Various Locations Public skating nights are a great active option for those blistery winter days where you just can’t brave the cold air to make it to the outdoor rink. Arenas throughout the region offer public skating nights on a variety of evenings for all ages to enjoy the ice. Pay as you skate options are available upon entry. Skating pass booklets, clip cards and group passes can also be purchased at a number of arenas and at city halls throughout the region for a lump sum, an inexpensive onetime fee for those who wish to take advantage of the public skating hours more than once throughout the season. Chippawa Park | 128 Fitch Street, Welland This all-seasons park is a favourite amongst the locals for tobogganing and outdoor skating. The carefully manicured space with plenty of openair features gentle hills perfect for all ages, as well as a steep hill for the daredevils. In the winter months, the Chippawa Park Pond and water feature adjacent to the public parking lot is also converted into a free ice rink.

FH Leslie Park | 5250 Valley Way, Niagara Falls This petite hill is ideal for smaller children and adults who want to introduce their kids to the winter activity. Located inside a residential neighbourhood of Niagara Falls, this community park’s hill offers a very low incline and slow speeds for smaller children. The park also features free parking, restrooms and a seasonal playground. Burgoyne Woods Park | 30 Edgedale Road, St. Catharines Burgoyne Woods Park is one of the most popular areas for winter tobogganing in the St. Catharines area. With a variety of hills which range in height and slope, this park can cater to every daredevil. Located in the neighbourhood of Old Glenridge in south St. Catharines, the 122-acre municipal park also features parking in select areas and both paved and maintained seasonal trails, available for snow-shoeing in the right weather conditions. Welland Canal Lock 7 Hill | Thorold This lesser known hill located adjacent to the Welland Canal’s Lock 7, found near the intersection of Glendale Avenue and the Welland Canal Parkway, is the best kept secret amongst tobogganers in the region. This very steep hill creates the perfect conditions for high speed racing to the bottom. The walk back up to the top is no small task, but the slide to the bottom definitely makes it worthwhile. Jaycee Gardens Park | 543 Ontario Street, St. Catharines This beautiful water adjacent park offers a number of sloping hills which cater to all levels. Parking is available, but at a short walking distance away. HH Knoll Lakeview Park | Port Colborne Located downtown Port Colborne on Sugarloaf Street at Elm Street, H.H. Knoll Lakeview Park is one of Port Colborne’s most beautiful waterfront parks. The park offers two modest sledding hills which cater to younger tobogganers. Marlene Stewart Streit Park | 55 Park Lane, Fonthill Located by the corner of Pelham Street and Highway 20 in Fonthill, this park is a favourite amongst sledders. Though the park advises to sled at your own risk, the numerous hills cater to all ages. The park also features a number of trails that cater to snow-shoers with the right amount of snowfall.

Stamford Collegiate High School | 5775 Drummond Road, Niagara Falls Located adjacent to the High School, this steep hill is ideal for high-speed tobogganer. The hill allows sliders to race directly down into the football field, away from any traffic or vehicles. Parking is also available on the school property. TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 105

WINTER 2018/2019






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