Photo By: Haytham Nawaz

As a part of the nation-wide Culture Days, there’s a variety of events happening around the City of St. Catharines that you can visit in order to gain an appreciation for cultures and artistic expression. 

St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals 

At the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canal there are a handful of exhibits showing off the history of St. Catharines and the famous Welland Canal which connects Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

The Museum has a screening room showing the development and significance of the Canal as well as the Niagara Regions’ participation in The Underground Railroad. 

Also featured is the Lacrosse Hall of Fame, showing off landmark games, figures, and interviews as well as the history of lacrosse in Canada. The Hall of Fame also teaches about the sport’s Indigenous founding, its legacy thereafter with European colonization and the game’s “modernization” with the legacy of French and British expansion. 

A section of the exhibit titled “Marking Time” has a rich variety of artifacts and historical highlights of St. Catharines, particularly from the 19th and 20th centuries. The exhibit features interesting facts, like that a handful of St. Catharines’ locations were used in the classic film, A Christmas Story.

There are also interesting relics of progressive movements such as African-Canadians celebrating Emancipation Day in the 20th century and union organizations and strikes in the Thorold Paper industries during the 1930s. 

One can also see larger historical connections, such as St. Catharines involvement in WWII. And, believe it or not, there’s a section dedicated to styles of hats that would have been worn during certain periods in history and reflect on specific cultural identities. 

Niagara Artists Centre

Two exhibits are being displayed at the Niagara Artists Centre (NAC) as a part of Culture Days.

Canadian artist Tony Calzetta has a total of nine paintings featured as a part of an exhibit titled Painting and Other Fantasies. This selection presents motley paintings that fit the title well, as they have a fantastical, child-like element to them. Various textures are to be found and patterns seem to emerge, but remain inconsistent which is the magic of this exhibit; it’s begging for further interpretation. 

Still being displayed since its release in the summer, Gabrielle de Montmollin’s exhibit titled Weird Baby World can be found in the Plate Glass Gallery. Montmollin’s work is surreal and imaginative; featuring an array of dolls and dark imagery, it straddles the line of playful and unsettling. 

The exhibit in the front gallery of the NAC is called Piece of Mind. It is a group project featuring the following Niagara-based artists: Emily Andrews, Sarah Carter, Marvin Dale, Celina DiFelice, Michael Goodman, Devon Hopcraft, Rea Kelly and Leah Lattimer. The exhibit’s theme is mental illness and the works on display seek to express that on canvas. Naturally, the exhibit has an eclectic mix of paintings, no one is like the other, from playing with the impressions of face and portrait, to abstract universes of colour, there’s something for anyone to grasp and find valuable in these works. 

For further information on the exhibits featured for Culture Days and other events, visit the NAC’s official website. Find more information regarding the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre on their official website. You can read more about the Piece of Mind exhibit here.