Happy Holidays

Read the Newsletter

Holiday Greetings from Dan Patterson

Dan Patterson

It’s my pleasure to extend warm holiday greetings as we look back on a year of achievement and success, and turn our view toward a new year of promise and possibility.

The year ahead takes on additional significance for us as we join our fellow Ontario colleges in marking the 50th anniversary of our province’s college system. We at Niagara College have a rich history to celebrate; we’ve grown from humble beginnings into a truly regional college with a reach that extends around the world. Watch niagaracollege.ca/50years for archives, stories from our past, events and other 50th anniversary celebrations.

This year has been marked by new and expanded learning environments at our campuses, and student successes on the local, national and international stage.

At our spring and fall convocation ceremonies, more than 5,000 students received certificates, degrees or diplomas as they advanced to the next stage of their life, career or learning pathway. These ceremonies are the highlight of our academic year, where we also honour several community leaders and distinguished alumni.

Our Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake campuses have been hives of activity through the spring, summer and fall as our $50-million redevelopment project moves forward. Through new and expanded facilities, we are significantly enhancing the experience we offer our students while modernizing our learning environments. This project is being funded in part by our Achieving Dreams campaign, which is also raising funds for instructional equipment, and scholarships and bursaries.

More growth is also on the horizon. Just last month, we were successful in obtaining federal and provincial funding for the construction of new research and innovation labs, specialized training facilities for student engagement and entrepreneurship, and incubation space for agri-food business.

As we welcomed new and returning students this fall, we also launched new programs, including a Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resources, and a joint program in Game Development with Brock University. Over the past year, we also announced new programs in Commercial Beekeeping (January 2017) and Artisan Distilling (Fall 2017).

One of the key highlights of the past year was the success of our very own Junior Culinary Team Canada, made up of graduates of our Canadian Food and Wine Institute. The team capped off three years of hard work and preparation this fall with a strong showing at the World Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany, earning gold and silver medals.

The works of students from our School of Media Studies were also in the spotlight. Four students were featured in the November issue of Applied Arts magazine, among the winners its 2016 student awards. This follows the success of two students from our Broadcasting: Radio, Television and Film program who received national student awards from the Broadcast Educators Association of Canada (BEAC) earlier this year.

Success has also been a mainstay on the menu of our Canadian Food and Wine Institute, with wine, beer and cider from our Teaching Winery and Brewery earning national and international recognition.

It was also a strong year for our student-athletes, both on and off the courts and fields of play. For the second straight year, our golfers captured medals at the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) Championship; and two golfers, Lorelle Weavers and Josiah Dixon, won gold at the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA) Championships. Weavers and Dixon also earned CCAA All Canadian honours.

Our students continue to make their mark through community-based applied learning projects, including the annual Many Hands project and our ongoing partnership with Habitat for Humanity. Our students have also been involved in two unique garden projects, including a community garden in partnership with the North Hamilton Community Health Centre, and a sustainable garden in partnership with White Oaks Resort and Spa.

Our student initiatives also had international reach. A group of students from our Practical Nursing, Dental Hygiene and Dental Assistant programs combined forces this fall and travelled to Honduras where they used their skills to assist underprivileged communities – one of several International Field Studies trips that took place during fall reading week as part of our signature Be World Ready program.

This fall, we also celebrated the tremendous service and accomplishments of our faculty and staff. Our Awards of Excellence – which truly recognize the ‘best of the best’ – were awarded to Tina Racher (support staff), Vince Malvaso (administration) and Colin Robinson (faculty).

We continue to build on our important role in applied research, and our efforts were recognized by our further climb among the top 10 research colleges. Through our Research and Innovation Division, we are making great strides in support of the key industry sectors in Niagara and beyond.

For me, there is no greater sign of the holiday season than the spirit of giving that has become such a strong part of our college community. From our success in raising funds for the local United Way campaign, to the BRTF students’ annual Rock around the Clock fundraiser, to our Student Administrative Council’s Christmas Toy Drive collecting gifts for families in need, and our culinary students’ participation in the annual Spirit of Christmas Dinner in St. Catharines, all of us are doing our part to enhance the lives of those around us at this time of year.

Finally, remember to stop by the Niagara College Greenhouse, where thousands of colourful student-grown poinsettias are available for sale.

Please accept my warmest wishes for a holiday season filled with the warmth of family and friends, and a new year that brings health and happiness.

Dan Patterson signature

Dan Patterson, President

College to celebrate 50th anniversary in 2017

The new year will mark major milestone for Niagara College.

Dan Patterson holds new Niagara College Boulevard sign

In 2017, NC will join colleges across Ontario in celebrating its 50-year anniversary. Like all other colleges of applied arts and technology in the province, NC opened in 1967. The anniversary will also coincide with Canada’s sesquicentennial/150th birthday.

The college got a jump-start on the celebration in September, when a new street sign was unveiled at the Welland Campus bearing a new name for the former Ring Road (accessed from First Avenue): Niagara College Boulevard. The Campus address has also officially been changed to 100 Niagara College Boulevard, from its former address at 300 Woodlawn Road.

Among the several initiatives underway, the College has a new 50 year anniversary website at niagaracollege.ca/50years/. The College community is encouraged to watch for updates as plans unfold for Niagara College’s anniversary activities, and be part of a NC story that is 50 years in the making. Alumni can also click their way back in time, by accessing NC’s digital yearbooks. Yearbooks from as early as 1968 are available at archive.org/details/niagaracollegecanada.

Colleges Ontario is marking the anniversary with ‘The Start of Something Amazing,’ inviting the public to exciting evolution of discovery and innovation happening at each of Ontario’s colleges. Visit amazing50.ca.

NC celebrates Class of 2016

College President Dan Patterson shakes hands with Paul Charette
College president Dan Patterson (pictured right) receives a $250,000 cheque from Paul Charette (left) at the June 24 convocation ceremony. The College will match funds from Charette’s donation to establish the Paul and Gerri Charette Scholarship – a $500,000 endowed fund for students in the College’s School of Technology.

Niagara College caps off 2016 with more than 5,370 new graduates, following its spring and fall convocation ceremonies.

Held June 21-24 at the Welland Campus, spring ceremonies were the College’s largest to date with more than 4,570 new graduates.

One of the highlights of spring convocation was guest speaker Paul Charette, who popped the surprise donation announcement of $250,000 to establish the Paul and Gerri Charette Scholarship fund. The donation was matched by the College to create a $500,000 endowed fund for students from the School of Technology. Charette, who is the former CEO and current Board of Directors chair for Bird Construction, received an honorary diploma in Technology Studies during the June 24 ceremony.

Spring convocation week also featured several distinguished alumni and honourees including:

Rebecca Patterson
Distinguished Alumni Award honoree Cpt. (Navy) Rebecca Patterson speaks at fall convocation October 28.
  • Jane Rufrano, CEO/CFO of Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre in St. Catharines, who received an honorary diploma in Health Studies (June 23);
  • Patrick Wedaseh Madahbee, Grand Council Chief of the Anishinabek Nation, who received an honorary diploma in Community Studies (June 23);
  • Clothing designer/ entrepreneur Shannon Passero who received an honorary bachelor of Applied Studies (June 22);
  • Ontario Provincial Police superintendent Mike McDonell who received an honorary diploma in Justice Studies (June 22); and
  • Chef David Penny, a graduate of two NC programs: Bachelor of Applied Business – Hospitality Operations Management program (2008) and Culinary Management (2004) – who received a Distinguished Alumni Award (June 21).

On October 28, the College marked the graduation of almost 800 new graduates at its Fall Convocation ceremony. Capt. (Navy) Rebecca Patterson, one of the highest ranking women in the Canadian Armed Forces who is deputy commander of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group, addressed the new graduates as the ceremony’s guest speaker. Patterson, who was class valedictorian when she graduated from NC in 1987 with her RN Nursing diploma, received the College’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

Major Campus Redevelopment underway

Through a $50 million Campus Redevelopment project, Niagara College is modernizing its learning environment and enhancing students’ experience through new and renovated spaces for academic support, student services, health and wellness and research and innovation.

The project kicked off in 2015 when the College broke ground on the new Walker Advanced Manufacturing Centre at the Welland Campus – which is now complete – and the CFWI expansion at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus – currently underway. Scheduled for completion by winter 2018, the project aims at positioning the College for the future by significantly improving the campus experience.

Other elements of the Campus Redevelopment project include:

Welland Campus

Completed in the spring of 2016, the 15,000-square-foot Walker Advanced Manufacturing Centre significantly enhances Niagara College’s capacity for applied research projects. The ground floor features specialized labs with 3D printers, scanners, and other equipment along with office space for student and staff scientists and researchers. The top floor houses Niagara College Research and Innovation offices and space for ncTakeOff – the college’s entrepreneurship hub. Research and Innovation’s digital media and web solutions group is also located on the second floor along with meeting and conference space.

The Centre is named in recognition of a $1.2 million contribution from Niagara’s Walker family and its company, Walker Industries Holdings Limited. The contribution is the largest corporate donation in Niagara College history.

Summer 2016 saw the start of construction on a new Academic Fitness Lab, with completion scheduled for fall 2017. The academic fitness lab will be part of a 13,000-square-foot academic training addition on the north side of the existing Athletic Centre.

Also this summer, health and wellness services for students were relocated to the Applied Health Institute.

In the fall, construction started on the first phase of the new Learning Commons and library, which will feature enhanced learning support services at the heart of the Welland Campus. Completion is scheduled for fall 2017.

Construction is also underway on the Student Commons, which will include a new cafeteria, kitchen, Justice Studies area, student spaces and additional classrooms. Completion is scheduled for the end of 2017.

Phase two of the Welland Campus project, which will include renovations to the administration, health and wellness, Centre for Student Engagement and Leadership, Co-op and student services will begin in the spring, with completion scheduled for the end of 2017.

Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus

Fall 2016 marked the first classes in the Canadian Food and Wine Institute’s new lab facilities for baking and chocolate – part of a one-storey, 13,500-square-foot expansion to the CFWI, which kicked off last October. The project also features central stores and food and beverage sensory tasting labs and is scheduled for completion in January 2017.

This November, an enhanced cafeteria and student commons officially opened, offering students a welcoming, social and collaborative environment, featuring new furniture, connectivity and a nine-metre integrated video wall. The six-month project doubled the size of the previous cafeteria, and also included a relocated info centre, combined health and wellness services, new test centre facilities, and a student-friendly registration and finance services area.

Government announces more than $10M for research facilities at NOTL Campus

Speakers for the Strategic Innovation Fund announcement
Gathered for a Strategic Innovation Fund announcement on November 3 at Brock University are (from top left): Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey, St. Catharines MPP Jim Bradley and St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle; and (bottom left): Niagara College President Dan Patterson, Deb Matthews, Ontario’s Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, Brock student Madi Fuller, Navdeep Bains, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Brock Interim President Tom Traves.

Research & Innovation at Niagara College will get a boost for a project that will support economic development in Niagara, thanks to a key investment from the federal and provincial governments this fall.

The college was awarded $8.7 million from the federal government’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) and $1.55 million from the Ontario government toward the Specialized Training, Applied Research and Entrepreneurial Acceleration project at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus.

The announcement was made in a joint event at Brock University on November 3 by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and Deb Matthews, Ontario’s Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development.

“Niagara College thanks the federal and provincial governments for this investment in the agri-food sector,” said Niagara College president Dan Patterson. “Colleges help train tomorrow’s workforce, and this unique project will help economic development in our region through specialized training at NC for student engagement, entrepreneurship and incubation space.”

For Niagara College, the investment of SIF means building on the College’s infrastructure including construction of new research and innovation laboratories, specialized training facilities for student engagement and entrepreneurship, and incubation space for business. In addition, the project will help NC meet environmental stewardship goals for sustainable building and campus systems, to align with Canada and Ontario’s climate change mitigation goals.

Patterson said the SIF grant also serves as an “investment in innovation to spur economic renewal in a regional economy in transition.”

Announced in the federal government budget 2016, short-term investments under SIF were designed to promote economic activity across Canada and help Canada’s universities and colleges develop highly skilled workers, act as engines of discovery and collaborate on innovations that help Canadian companies compete and grow internationally.

New HR degree and game development programs launched in 2016

September 2016 marked the first intake of NC’s new four-year Bachelor of Business Administration – Human Resources program, as well as new diploma and degree programs in Game Development, in partnership with Brock University.

In addition to building a strong foundation in business and human resources, the Bachelor of Business Administration – Human Resources degree program offers students opportunities such as course-based applied research, opportunities to study abroad, ongoing networking with industry professionals and connections to industry associations. Students in the program also benefit from small class sizes, with faculty who bring both expertise and industry experience to the classroom.

The program’s curriculum aligns with the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) requirements for both the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) and Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) designations. The program boasts strong ties to industry, and a Program Advisory Committee (PAC) made up of local HR professionals will have ongoing input into the program’s curriculum, ensuring it continues to meet and exceed industry standards.

The Fall 2016 term also saw the launch of a partnership between Niagara College and Brock University that allows students to earn a bachelor’s degree and an advanced diploma in four years.

Under the GAME program, students study at both institutions concurrently, and earn both an advanced diploma in Game Development from Niagara College, and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Game Design or a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Game Programming from Brock University.

Students in both the design and programming streams of the program will benefit from an educational partnership that combines the theoretical with the applied. The bachelor’s degree portion will provide a broad understanding of the creative and cultural context and history of games, and the programs, game platforms and design and production paradigms. The advanced diploma portion provides hands-on experience and applied skills in programming and design. As part of the shared curriculum, students from both streams will work together in their fourth year on a team-based game development project.

Both credentials will be earned over four years – a process that would normally take seven.

NC launches new programs for 2017

Niagara College has announced the launch of two unique graduate certificate programs that respond to the needs of new, emerging industries in Niagara and Ontario.

One-year programs in Artisan Distilling and Commercial Beekeeping will launch in 2017. Both will be located at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus and will be supported by hands-on learning environments.

Artisan Distilling

Architectural rendering of Distilling building

Scheduled to begin fall 2017, the one-year Artisan Distilling graduate certificate program will offer hands-on training and classroom work in practical distilling, distilling science, quantitative spirit analysis, and distillation management. The program will be supported by a new on-campus teaching distillery – also the first of its kind in Canada.

With a growing number of distilleries nationwide, the launch of Niagara College’s distilling program is positive news for the industry. The program has been in development for more than two years, supported by many leading distillers from around the world.

Artisan Distilling is designed to suit anyone with an interest in distillation who has already completed an Ontario diploma or degree – particularly those with a background in sciences, as well as culinary, business, food innovation, wine and beer programs. The program will also be a direct pathway for students from the College’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management, Wine and Viticulture Technician, and Culinary Innovation and Food Technology programs; and prepare Brewmaster students for certificate and diploma programs offered by the England’s Institute of Brewing and Distilling.

The College will accept 20 students into the first term of the program and seats will open for admissions in February 2017.

The new 2,000-square-foot teaching distillery will become part of the existing Wine Visitor + Education Centre at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus.

Commercial Beekeeping

A student assists a keeper in a bee suit at on campus hives

With a significant and growing demand for highly-trained beekeepers across Canada and around the world, Niagara College has introduced a one-year hands-on Commercial Beekeeping graduate certificate program – the first of its kind in Eastern Canada.

The three-semester program will see its first intake of approximately 30 students begin studies at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus in January 2017. With the winter start, the program will run parallel to the normal annual lifecycle of the honey bee, from the winter slumber to honey extraction, to returning the bees to their hives for overwintering.

The program is truly hands-on, with an on-campus apiary – with 30 actively managed hives – serving as the centrepiece of the program.

Niagara College’s program has been in development for four years, in collaboration with the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association which represents 80 percent of beekeepers in Ontario.

The Commercial Beekeeping Graduate Certificate program is a post-grad program open to students with a diploma or degree from an accredited college or university in agribusiness, agricultural sciences, environmental science/resource studies, horticulture or natural sciences, or an acceptable combination of education and experience.

Junior Culinary Team Canada wins two medals at Culinary Olympics

A group shot of the Junior Culinary Team holding their medal

A three-year journey culminated in international success for NC’s own Junior Culinary Team Canada.

The team of recent culinary graduates from our College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute travelled to Germany in October to represent Canada, where they competed against top teams from around the world at the Culinary Olympics. The team came out shining, achieving a gold medal for its score in the event’s inaugural edible buffet competition on October 22, and a silver medal for its score in the hot program/ three course luncheon on October 24. The team ranked sixth place overall in the world.

Known formally as the Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung (IKA) Culinary Olympics, the international culinary art exhibition is the largest international professional competition for chefs, cooks and pastry chefs, held once every four years in Erfurt, Germany.

It was the first time a team from Niagara College had ever participated in this prestigious international event. Not only did they wear the maple leaf emblazoned on their crisp white uniforms and wave their Canadian flags with pride, the team brought the NC logo with them as they took their place on the world stage; while the College community, the Niagara region and the nation cheered them on from across the Atlantic.

In October 2013, the team won the right to represent the nation as Junior Culinary Team Canada at the Canadian Culinary Federation of Chefs and Cooks (CFCC) Junior Culinary Team Selection Competition – a distinction came with the right to represent Canada at international culinary competitions for three years, including the IKA Culinary Olympics. Since then, the team has savoured success, winning a gold and silver medal and ranked fifth overall at the Expogast Villeroy and Boch Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg in November 2014; and a gold and silver medal and the overall championship title at the American Culinary Classic in Orlando, Florida in August 2015.

Junior Culinary Team Canada members include captain Ben Lillico, Carly Bergshoeff, Daniella Germond, David Ross, Jeremy Gilligan, Megan Proper, Robbie Aggarwal, Scott McInerney, and Trevor Littlejohn.

The team’s manager is CFWI dean Craig Youdale and coaches include CFWI chef professors Avi Hollo and Olaf Mertens; with chefs Scott Baechler, Dan LeBlanc, Catherine O’Donnell and Osvaldo Avila providing mentorship for the team.

Team Canada featured in Great Canadian Masters cookbook

Cover of the Great Canadian Masters Cookbook

Junior Culinary Team Canada is featured among 50 Canadian culinary masters in a new cookbook launched by The Canadian Museums Association in celebration of 150 years of Canada’s creative excellence – Great Canadian Masters. NC’s team from the Canadian Food and Wine Institute is showcased in a special chapter of the book dedicated to the chefs of tomorrow, including recipes from team members as well as CFWI dean Craig Youdale and chef professors/ Olympic team coaches.

CFWI chef professor Michael Olson and part-time professor Ted Reader are also featured in the Ontario chapter of the cookbook.

The full-colour 132-page limited edition publication is available for $30 at the museum retail stores, on the Museums of Canada website as well as at the NC bookstore and the Wine Visitor + Education Centre.

NC students win Applied Arts awards

David Bowie by Erin Cunningham
Erin Cunningham’s illustration of David Bowie, entitled Farewell Starman, won the Editorial Design – single and Complete Illustration categories at the Applied Arts 2016 Student Awards.
Weekend Gardener by Caleb Vanervalk
Digital Photography student Caleb Vandervalk won an award for his pictured work, Weekend Gardener.

The works of four Niagara College students are showcased in the November issue of Applied Arts Magazine – Canada’s leading publication for creative professionals in the visual communications industry.

The students are among winners of the magazine’s 2016 Student Awards, which were announced earlier this year. Winners from NC include:

  • Zack Krasovec who won in Complete Packaging Design for Backcountry Brewing Co.; as well as in the Design-Single category for his work Farenheit 451 Modern Book Cover;
  • Erin Cunninghan in the Complete Illustration Category for her work Farewell Starman; as well as the Editorial Design –single category;
  • Megan Hendricks who won Design-single category for The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe; and
  • Caleb Vandervalk who won in Digital Photography for his work, Weekend Gardener.

Founder of Applied Arts Georges Haroutiun noted that the Applied Arts Student Awards is a prestigious and highly competitive competition as it selects the best work from emerging artists around the world. Winners are chosen by a panel of highly regarded industry professionals and experts from North America in a rigorous process developed over two decades of awards experience.

“To win an Applied Arts Award establishes these emerging artists as important creative voices in the industry,” said Haroutiun. “The student annual is an invaluable resource for hiring professionals, and it establishes a bar of aspiration for new artists who are entering the creative services. For their accomplishments, these student winners should be applauded."

“I feel honoured to have my work chosen for awards, to be among the top design pieces among students in Canada and the U.S.,” said Krasovec, a third-year Graphic Design student who completed both of his award-winning works as class projects. “To me, winning these awards is a stepping stone in my career as a graphic designer. This work elevates my resume and exposure, to new heights and creates a new standard to push my future designs even further.”

“Being a new grad and winning in two categories just confirmed for me that this is what I was meant to do,” said Cunningham, who graduated from Graphic Design this spring. “Everything I achieved in my third year of college has really boosted my confidence to a new level and has made me realize my true potential in the graphic design field.”

“Considering the number of submissions from both across Canada and internationally including colleges and universities offering diploma and degree programs in photography, we are extremely pleased the work submitted by one of our students was selected as a winner,” said NC’s Digital Photography program coordinator Stephen Dominick. “Our program emphasizes a practical, hands-on approach to graduating commercially viable, professional image-creators with a diversified range of visual and technological skills that help them become industry leaders and achieve outstanding careers in photography.”

Winners of the Applied Arts Student Awards also had their work displayed at the Creative Futures Expo’s Winner’s Exhibit which took place on November 7 and 8 in Toronto, where more than 2,500 high school stdents and teachers viewed the showcase. In addition, winning entries are featured in the Student Award Winners’ Galleries which attract more than 300,000 visits a year.

Broadcasting students win national awards

Rachel Hodges and Brandon Primmer at the BeAC awards ceremony
Students Rachel Hodges (second from left) and Brandon Primmer (right) are pictured with BRTF professors Peter VandenBerg (left) and Bruce Gilbert (second from right) at the BEAC awards ceremony in Halifax, where Hodges and Primmer were honoured with national awards for their work.

Two Niagara College Broadcasting students made their own headlines as national award winners just weeks before graduation in June.

Third-year Broadcasting – Radio, Television and Film students Brandon Primmer and Rachel Hodges were each honoured with a National Student Award from the Broadcast Educators Association of Canada. The BEAC awards recognize the unique combination of creativity and technical excellence demonstrated by students in radio, television, video and new media.

BEAC president Ashif Jivraj noted that the National Student Awards recognize excellence in media production from students across Canada. “Recipients are chosen by industry professionals and faculty that look for creativity, and technical quality. Productions selected reflect the highest standards exemplified by BEAC member institutions in Canada,” said Jivraj. “Congratulations to Rachel and Brandon for their awards. Seeing their outstanding work gives me a renewed confidence for the future of our industry.”

Primmer and Hodges both won the awards for work they completed as part of their studies: Primmer in the video category for his music video, “Let Yourself Go,” and Hodges in the audio category for her newscast that aired live in December on NC’s student radio station, CRNC The Heat. Primmer, who is originally from Owen Sound, created the music video for his film production class.

“It was an incredible experience for me personally, to take a pen and paper idea and transform it into a full-fledged professional video where a dedicated crew worked on it for the course of a month,” said Primmer, who went on to work as videographer in Hamilton for AMV Productions after graduation and hopes to run his own production company in the future. “This BEAC award winning video has shown me my true potential in reaching that goal.”

Hodges, originally from Orillia, said she was grateful for the award and the experience she gained in all three streams of the College’s Broadcasting program – radio, television and film.

“It has always been my goal to work in the news industry so being able to add a national news award to my resume will certainly be beneficial in the future,” said Hodges, who is currently putting her education to work at News Talk 610 CKTB. “It will help me stand out among a number of other talented and qualified applicants which is important in such a small and competitive industry.”

Success is on the menu at the CFWI

The College's Canadian Food and Wine Institute is proving it has the recipe for success.

Winemaker Gavin Robertson is pictured at the Niagara College Teaching Winery
Winemaker Gavin Robertson is pictured at the Niagara College Teaching Winery with three wines that recently won medals at the All Canadian Wine Championships: 2015 Balance Semi-Dry Riesling (gold), 2015 Balance Viognier (bronze), and 2014 Marmitons Gastronomy Pinot Noir.

All Canadian Wine Championships

The NC Teaching Winery uncorked victory in July at the 36th annual All Canadian Wine Championships – the oldest and one of the largest competitions for Canadian wineries.

Its 2015 Balance Semi-Dry Riesling captured gold in the Riesling Off Dry category. It also won two bronze medals – for its 2015 Balance Viognier (in the Viognier category), and for its 2014 Les Marmitons Gastronomy Pinot Noir (Pinot Noir Under $25 category).

The 2016 ACWC awards were the first awards ever received for the three wines which are all new releases at the Teaching Winery. Winning an award at the ACWC is a significant achievement, said competition director Bev Carnahan.

“Like skimming cream off the top, we only award medals to the very best,” said Carnahan.

Cider from the NC Teaching Winery
This cider from NC’s Teaching Winery won medals at two different cider competitions in November.

Cider 101

The apples aren’t falling far from the vines when it comes to success at the NC Teaching Winery.

The award-winning Teaching Winery’s venture into the hard cider market with the introduction of Cider 101 last year has proved fruitful, with back-to-back medals at two recent cider competitions: a gold at the U.S. Open Cider Championship on November 14, and a bronze from the Ontario Cider Awards on November 11.

“These awards are a testament of the high quality of education that we provide at both the Teaching Winery and Teaching Brewery,” said Steve Gill, general manager of NC’s Learning Enterprises Corporation, which includes the College’s Teaching Winery, Teaching Brewery, as well as its Teaching Distillery scheduled to open in 2017. “We are so very proud of our students and staff that contribute, and hope that these awards help cultivate a passion for excellence.”

Cider 101 is available for purchase at the Wine Visitor + Education Centre retail store, located at the College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus (135 Taylor Rd., Niagara-on-the-Lake).

Butlers Bitter beer label
NC Teaching Brewery’s popular Butler’s Bitter is one of 150 beer labels featured in this recently released book that celebrates Canada’s long-time love affair with beer.

Butler's Bitter

Multiple-award winning Butler’s Bitter is making history, once again.

The historically inspired craft beer from the NC Teaching Brewery, developed as a celebration beer for the bicentennial of the War of 1812, is featured in a book released in October in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday, called 150 Years of Canadian Beer Labels. Published by TouchWood Editions, the book was authored by Laurence Sherk, who dedicated his life to Canadian breweriana, and showcases a selection of beer labels that celebrates Canada’s long-time love affair with beer.

Butler’s Bitter was among 150 other beer labels, from the 1860s to the present day, curated to represent this history. The book is organized by decades, beginning in the 1870s, and Butler’s Bitter is one of 10 labels selected to represent the current decade.

150 Years of Canadian Beer Labels is available online and in stores. It is also for sale at the NC Teaching Brewery retail store.

Knights shine in fall athletics season

Lorelle Weavers and Josiah Dixon
Lorelle Weavers and Josiah Dixon were named 2016-17 CCAA All-Canadians.

The fall of 2016 was a major success for the College’s Department of Athletics and Recreation, led by the Niagara Knights golf team.

For the second consecutive season, the Knights captured four medals at the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) Championship on October 3-5. Lorelle Weavers, Josiah Dixon, and the men’s team all captured gold in their respective divisions. Evan Littlefield added a bronze medal in the men’s individual competition.

The Knights also brought home a pair of golds from the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) National Golf Championship in P.E.I. Josiah Dixon and Knights men’s team both won gold medals, marking the eighth and ninth national championship wins in Niagara College history. For the season’s accomplishments, Lorelle Weavers and Josiah Dixon were named 2016-17 CCAA All-Canadians. It is the third consecutive All-Canadian honour for Weavers, who previously earned the distinction during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.

On the pitch, the Knights men’s soccer program had their most successful season to date. Niagara advanced to the OCAA Bronze Medal match for the first time in program history, ultimately finishing fourth in the province.

The Knights also celebrated success in the classroom. On November 5, the department formally recognized the accomplishments of 34 SIRC-CCAA National Scholar athletes from the 2015-16 varsity season. The National Scholar Award is designed to recognize the outstanding academic accomplishments of CCAA student-athletes. To be recognized, a student-athlete must achieve honours standing at their institution in the current academic year.

Throughout the fall semester, the department teamed up with the Niagara College Student Administrative Council to launch a series of special events. This includes the College’s first ever eSports (video game) tournament, Bubble Soccer, a Ping Pong tournament and the NC Colour Dash. These special events engaged more than 500 students, complementing the thriving intramural, extramural, and fitness programming offered by the department.

Many Hands to add improvements to Hotel Dieu Shaver

Attendees of the Many Hands breakfast reveal

Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre has been selected as the recipient of the 20th annual Niagara College Many Hands project.

“Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre’s patients will benefit from this project as it will give them the skills they need for independent living after a life-impacting health change,” says Jane Rufrano, CEO of Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre.

Beginning in January, Hotel Dieu centre’s facilities will undergo a series of renovations by students in NC’s construction programs, and coordinated and supported by students in NC’s Event Management Graduate Certificate program.

“The Many Hands project will be creating a physical and cognitive rehabilitation space by incorporating real-world obstacles such as shopping, banking and a dining experience,” said Rufrano. “This environment will help patients relearn daily living skills and regain their independence to enable people to reach their optimal level of health and well-being.”

During the past five years, NC students have raised $150,000 for local non-profit agencies and have given 42,000 hours of volunteer placement work to the community through the program.

“For 20 years, the Many Hands project has been an incredible demonstration of community engagement, that when combined with education, has provided students with the tools required for a successful career,” said Christine Blane, NC professor and Event Management program coordinator. “We are excited to partner with Hotel Dieu as they provide support to the entire Niagara region.”

The renovations to Hotel Dieu will include the creation of ‘The Marketplace.’ Construction Renovation Technician students will design the space to include walls, flooring and doors, as well as space for grocery items, a freezer, a restaurant booth and an ATM. The announcement of this year’s project was made at a breakfast on November 3 hosted by Niagara College.

Garden projects reap harvest of NC expertise

Participants in the garden project pose at a rustic plank table
Michael Wakil, CEO of White Oaks; Meghan Beattie, recent Horticultural Technician graduate (2016), and research associate at Niagara Research & Innovation; Christian Martell (standing), chef, WO: Kyle Paton (sitting), creative consultant for Grow Restaurant, WO; Tanya Blankenburg, faculty project lead, professor, NC’s School of Environment and Horticulture; Mackenzie Haines, Horticultural Technician student (co-op) student; and college president Dan Patterson.

A garden project is flourishing at White Oaks, thanks to Niagara College’s Research & Innovation division.

On August 12, Niagara College’s Research & Innovation division unveiled its progress on a sustainable garden project assisting one of the closest neighbours to its Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus – White Oaks. The event involved students and faculty from Niagara College, as well as representatives from White Oaks.

NC faculty and students spent the summer converting a former parking lot and grass strip on the White Oaks property—1,152-square-feet of property—into a garden used to grow food for Grow Restaurant. The new dining experience that recently opened at White Oak aims to bring culinary art, education, wellness and nutrition together, and features a sustainable, primarily plant-based, menu.

School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies professor Tanya Blankenburg, who led the project, said it was a valuable opportunity to create a garden with her students. Recent Horticultural Technician (Co-op) graduate Meghan Beattie and second-year Horticultural Technician (Co-op) student Mackenzie Haines worked on it daily, researching and implementing the best methods of soil conditioning and plant care methods to develop a sustainable food garden.

“Everyone on the team from both sides has gone above and beyond to make this project a success. My students were able to design and build this garden from the ground up and see the final result,” said Blackenburg. “This was a fantastic educational experience which I can't be more thankful for. The relationship between Niagara College and White Oaks just keeps growing as we look forward to the future.”

Sowing seeds of hands-on learning in Hamilton

Healthy living initiatives are also taking root in the North Hamilton community, thanks to a partnership with Niagara College.

The College’s Greenhouse Technician program played a key role in North Hamilton Community Health Centre’s new Community Greenhouse, which opened its doors this fall.

While the new Community Greenhouse extends the growing season for NHCHC gardeners, improves access to fresh organic produce, and creates opportunities for horticultural and education about organic growing; students, in turn, gained opportunities to learn about greenhouse setup and management firsthand while making a valuable contribution to the community.

The 600-square-foot greenhouse, which had been donated to the NHCHC, was a blank slate before about 20 second-year students began working on the project last fall as part of their Greenhouse Crops course.

“Our students were able to get out of the classroom and design a real life greenhouse system to benefit a progressive community centre,” said Bill MacDonald, professor from the College’s School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies and coordinator of the Greenhouse Technician program.

The program’s partnership with the NHCHC continues to blossom, as two new classes – about 40 second-year students— continuing the work this year.

Brent Esau, Pathways to Education director for the NHCHC, said the Centre is very grateful for its partnership with NC’s Greenhouse Technician program.

“In addition to growing produce, we are seeing the greenhouse as an opportunity to engage community members in organic food production as well as therapeutic programs through horticulture,” said Esau. “The partnership with NC has been instrumental in setting up the greenhouse in ways that will serve long-term purposes for our community members.”

School of Allied Health students go the distance to make a difference in Honduras

A group of 17 students from NC’s Practical Nursing, Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting programs joined forces for an International Field Study in October, where they applied skills they gained in the classroom to help the underprivileged in Honduras.

Students who participated in the Honduras project wearing matching tshirts
Students gather at the Welland Campus before leaving for Honduras (from left): Brooke Hepburn (practical nursing), Cynthia Harb (practical nursing graduate), Angie Nahli (dental hygiene), Vibhuti Jethva (dental hygiene), Aliya Bukhari (dental hygiene).

The students departed for Honduras on October 22, to work alongside the Hope Centre, a refuge for underprivileged and abandoned children in Honduras’ capital city of Tegucigalpa.

During the trip, the students completed outreach activities to give students a chance to immerse themselves in the community and culture. They visited four communities where they conducted home visits and taught health care practices including first aid, food handling, healthy eating and oral hygiene to children and families. For many of them, this was most treatment they have had in years, as many of them could not otherwise afford visits to the doctor or dentist.

“In addition to helping communities, our goal is to help NC students expand their horizons and give them a chance to see a little bit of the world while learning about how medical care is delivered in other countries,” said School of Nursing and Personal Support Worker professor Mark Grabner. “It’s a great learning experience for the students and communities alike.”

“Everyone comes from a different background and you really have no idea what someone’s reality is like until you have lived it yourself,” noted Dental Hygiene student Angie Nahli.

This was one of several International Field Studies experiences that took place during fall reading week. Groups of NC students also travelled to the Dominican Republic, Philadelphia and Florida as part of the College’s signature Be World Ready program.

Be World Ready offers students and staff members at Niagara College the opportunity to experience a culturally diverse learning environment, and understand international perspectives through education and exchange. Since its inception in 2010, more than 1,000 students have participated in international learning activities abroad, and 2,500 students have engaged in international learning experiences in the classroom and on-campus as part of the program. Students that participate in International Field Study, Study Abroad, or Work Abroad experiences through NC’s Be World Ready program are eligible to apply for a $500 travel grant.

Meet three employees who put the ‘NC’ in excellence

Winners of the Awards of Excellence stand with President Dan Patterson
College president Dan Patterson (second from left) stands with NC's 2016 Award of Excellence recipients (from left) Tina Racher, Vince Malvaso and Colin Robinson following the College’s Niagara Day event on August 31, 2016.

Honouring excellence is a tradition at Niagara College and, to kick off the fall semester, three new members of the Niagara College community were celebrated as recipients of the College’s prestigious Awards of Excellence.

Presented annually to members of the College’s support staff, faculty and administrative staff, the awards acknowledge employees who support college goals and enrich college life. Those granted Awards of Excellence are individuals who exemplify outstanding characteristics in the areas of personal qualities, leadership, customer service, and demonstrate an extraordinary effort and work performance.

Congratulations to our 2016 Awards of Excellence recipients: Colin Robinson (faculty), Tina Racher (support staff), and Vince Malvaso (administrative).

Research and Innovation

Research participants pose with 2 drones

For the second year in a row, Niagara College has earned the honour of being in the top 10 colleges in the country for research funding, according to a new national study. In its report “Canada’s Top 50 Research Colleges,” Research Infosource Inc. has announced the rank of seven for Niagara College, based on total research funding numbers for 2015.

This represents three moves up from last year’s report, and yet another climb in the rankings since the reports were first published. During those four years, Niagara College has moved up from the rank of 13, to 12, to 10, and now to seven. Also, for the third year in a row, Niagara College improved its placing by being ranked third among Ontario’s leading colleges.

Niagara College has made research and innovation a key priority and this consistent climb in these rankings reflects that. By leading in this important area – and through research funding from various regional, provincial and federal agencies – the college is able to support the revitalization of the Niagara economy by helping local companies innovate while at the same time enhancing the students’ education by providing valuable real-world research opportunities.

The top 10 listing honour capped off an exciting year in Niagara College’s Research & Innovation Division. Most notably was the opening of the new home for the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre at the Welland Campus.

Construction of the 15,000-square-foot facility began in March 2015 and includes specialized labs with 3D technologies, manufacturing processes, office and lab space for staff, researchers and student scientists, and the digital media, web solutions and commercialization solutions team. The Centre partners with industry to bring ideas to life, from concept through to developing working prototypes, utilizing leading-edge technology, including equipment and software.

In Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Canadian Food & Wine Institute Innovation Centre was awarded $1.75 million in funding to create a Technology Access Centre (TAC), which will enable the Centre to increase its equipment and technical services, hire a centre manager, a full-time researcher and a dedicated technologist. This will better serve the region’s food and beverage industry. This is the second TAC for Niagara College; the first being awarded in 2014 to the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre to allow for its expansion of services and equipment.

And at the Agriculture and Environment Innovation Centre, researchers are looking to the future of farming with its automation and wireless sensor technology, which will help mitigate the effects of oncoming weather threats by using analytics for precision agriculture. This new technology was showcased at the Farm of the Future Demonstration Event on Oct. 5, which featured the use of remove-controlled technology and micrometeorological/weather measurement stations. This latest development in research is led by Mike Duncan, PhD, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Industrial Research Chair in Precision Agriculture and Environment Technologies at Niagara College.

For more information about Research & Innovation at Niagara College, visit ncinnovation.ca.

Pointsettia sales at the Greenhouse

Students pose with brightly coloured poinsettia plants
Pictured above: Second- year Horticultural Technician students Sarah Borden (left) and Darcy Chisolm are surrounded by rows of brilliant colours of poinsettias at the Niagara College Greenhouse where more than 15 varieties and colours are on sale.

The holiday season is in full bloom at the Niagara College Greenhouse, where thousands of poinsettia plants are available.

Grown by students in the Horticultural Technician, Greenhouse Technician and Landscape Technician programs, more than 16 varieties – including red, pink, white, multi-colour and more – are available in 6” ($7) and 10” ($20) sizes.

Sales of the student-grown plants support academic programs at NC. The Niagara College Greenhouse also partners with community agencies to provide poinsettias for fundraising – partners include the United Way, Meals on Wheels, local churches and senior’s residences.

Located at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, the Niagara College Greenhouse is open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.