Recreational Canals & Coffee Cultures

Welland is my hometown, and over the years it has gotten a bad rap, even from locals from just outside its borders. But Welland is a diamond in the not-so-rough. First, it runs along the Welland Recreational Canal, where rowers and dragon-boaters practise, music festivals have been held, and a “float fest” happens in the summers where you can actually float all day, lazy-river style, in the canal. Second, it’s a place where jobs are growing, and has perched itself lately as an attractive spot for commercial industrial property developments. It was chosen by GE in 2016 for their new “Brilliant Factory”, bringing digital technology & lean manufacturing together and into the region (https://tgam.ca/2FKtUnf; https://bit.ly/385qSpA). It’s also a solid place to live, with areas like the old John Deere site set for a large housing development (https://bit.ly/3a6JGXo). And third (fourth?), there is a very unique underculture with a youthful current particularly around East Main Street. To me, East Main is like the beginnings of a Leslieville. It can appear to some as a little rough around the edges, but it’s rich with places like The Black Sheep Lounge serving coffee and a true mission to improve lives (not just with coffee, but with initiatives by an impressively young owner who also sits on city council), and restaurants like The VHC (seriously good vegan) and Taris on the Water (taking advantage of the actually beautiful canal-side view).

As a place to live, Welland is one of the most affordable areas with a wide array of housing. From old wartime homes in the south end to brand new condo and custom home developments in the north, it is also a quickly growing spot to lock down. As home to a large Niagara College campus, Welland also attracts many students but they are dispersed across the city so while investors would easily find renters, they aren’t causing mayhem for neighbours in one condensed local area. In fact, Niagara College itself fits nicely into the culture of hard-working, respectable residents who inhabit Welland. Welland really deserves a good rap. Or a song.

To read more about Niagara areas and why Niagara is THE place to live right now, click here.

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