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The Weather Network
Nov. 29, 2021 | Monday
Editorials and Opinions
Ross's Ramblings: We can’t have our Pinot Grigio and drink it, too
A birthday party for the Haneed family in Queen's Royal Park. A pleasant day in natural surroundings is a highlight for this GTA group, several times each year. (Ross Robinson)

Not to seem like a lifestyle coach, but perhaps we should all sit in our favourite chair for a few minutes. Relax, think tolerance, think globally, think inclusivity.

Sometimes, we want this, but not with that. Here in our precious Niagara-on-the-Lake, we sometimes seem to be a bit narrow-minded and xenophobic. Yes, we know things naturally progress and change, but sheesh, not so fast, please.

It seems that a majority of us support the clip-clopping horses pulling their carriages and happy tourists around town, taking in the sights and learning a bit of our history. But couldn’t the horses refrain from defecating on our streets? (It must shock members of the Royal family during ceremonial events when one of their handsome and perfectly groomed horses succumbs to the urge …)

In Niagara, we love our Santa Claus Parade and our Grape and Wine Parade, but some people would rather not see manure.

The annual Calgary Stampede parade features over 700 horses, from ranches, service clubs, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and equestrian clubs. Yes, every half hour or so, noisy and big City of Calgary street cleaners follow up, removing the horse manure and urine from the streets. Everyone yells “Yee Haw,” and the parade continues.

The large machines are adorned with cowboy hat and kerchiefs, to add to the western ambience. An authentic-multi sensory experience. Sights, sounds and smells.

The RCAF Snowbirds appear in our region every few years and our Canadian hearts pump up as the highly trained and skilled pilots perform their intricate and high-speed routines just over our heads. Last time they were here, I was distressed to hear two spectators agreeing that the show was magnificent, but “Too bad about the ear-piercing sound and air pollution.”

To dine or enjoy an Oast House Barnraiser or a glass of chilled Pinot Grigio next to vineyards is an authentic experience, but those darn fruit flies keep hovering around, bugging us. And those tractors can be so noisy as they fertilize and spray the grapes.

Niagarans just love skiing in Collingwood or Ellicottville, but sometimes the drive home takes forever because of the snow. Darn, too much snow can ruin a ski weekend.

The Niagara Parkway needs no introduction, and Fort Erie to Port Dalhousie is well-known as one of the prettiest drives and rides in Ontario. But so many cars, and so, so many noise-belching motorcycles. Some locals say, “Shush up or go elsewhere.”

Many NOTLers enjoy sharing our pretty and historic village with visitors from around the world. They walk our streets, smiling and safe, and some of them enjoy picnics in our lovely parks. If we are lucky enough to visit their countries, we seek out their parks and delight in meeting some “locals.”

Why then would the Town of NOTL pass a bylaw that doesn’t allow them to cook their traditional picnic foods? Can people be serious when they summon the town bylaw commandos to levy hefty fines on our visitors? For cooking delicious foods, or putting up a tent to protect their children from the sun?

Folks living in Cooperstown or Whistler or Quebec City who choose to live close to the action realize they can’t have their Merlot or Chardonnay, and drink it, too.

Let us stop being curmudgeonly and extend warm welcomes to the lucky people who visit our wonderful town. We can learn so much from them and help them to have a wonderful vacation.

To sum up, I have been feeling very sad of late, as so few people are enjoying the always different and so often beautiful sunsets at Ryerson Park.

Be kinder tomorrow. Welcome someone to your neighbourhood.

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