The View from The Niagara Guide

General observations and musings on how we can make Niagara a better place.

3rd Annual Business Tail Gate & BBQ This Afternoon

Mark Kawabe - Thursday, August 18, 2011

Been through a bit of a rough patch with elderly family members and the inevitable stresses summer vacation brings. However, there's still some fun to be had.

This afternoon from 4:00 I'll be at the 3rd Annual Business Tail Gate & BBQ being put on by "KNOW it ALL" Niagara at the Staples in Niagara Falls.

Hope to see you there!

A few changes...

Mark Kawabe - Saturday, July 09, 2011

Just wanted to let you know about a few changes in The Niagara Guide's services.

We've recently added self-management to company information. Anyone who wants to add their business for free (name, address, phone number) can now do so and can also update their information themselves. Just register for our client portal to do this.

Because of the above change, we'll be phasing out some, but not all of our static free listing pages. Why? Well, when you consider how many companies are in Niagara, it's a lot of work to keep the database updated. For the most part, we'll only be providing information that was submitted to us. There will be some popular categories that will have listings inputted by our staff. We're not going to spam everyone in the region to get them to add their listings - but we certainly encourage you to tell your friends and colleagues to add their businesses to our directory.

Press releases can now be submitted directly in .txt, .doc or .pdf format to us. Again, visit the client portal to register and submit your press releases.

There are more changes coming to our forums in the next few weeks. Never a dull moment here. Enjoy your weekend!

Welcome Carousel Players!

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It is with pleasure that I announce the addition of the Carousel Players to the Niagara Arts Guide.

How did they get there? Easy - they applied for a free listing through the Non-Profit Niagara website.

Your organization can do this as well and get free online exposure.

Check it out today!

Welcome aboard Carousel Players!

Niagara Region Children's Safety Village

Mark Kawabe - Thursday, January 13, 2011

What did over 6000 students in Niagara do last year? Visit the Niagara Region Children's Safety Village!

This safe, controlled environment teaches children how to recognize and deal with dangerous situations. Police, Fire and Ambulance crews all participate in the various classroom and street scenarios making this a one-of-a-kind educational experience for kids.

We are pleased to announce the addition of the Niagara Region Children's Safety Village to the Niagara Non-Profit Guide website. This is a free service offered to all Niagara non-profit organizations and we encourage them to take us up on our offer.

If you haven't heard of the Niagara Region Children's Safety Village, have a look at their listing.

Just look both ways before you click this link : )

TMK Limousine Now Online!

Mark Kawabe - Friday, January 07, 2011

We are happy to welcome TMK Limousine to The Niagara Bridal Guide!

When you need classy transportation to special events, weddings, proms or just to the airport, call Tim at TMK Limousine.

Visit them online in The Niagara Bridal Guide!

Attn: Out-Of-Province Winery Tourists - YOU'RE CRIMINALS!!!

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Unbelievable in this day and age...

A 1928 law makes it illegal for consumers to transport even a single bottle of wine across a provincial border. The same applies for beer. This archaic law was originally designed to prevent the flow of liquor to provinces that still had prohibition in place.

Kelowna MP Ron Cannan is putting forth a proposed amendment to allow a "personal use" exemption so out-of-province tourists taking home wine from their trip to the Okanagan are not breaking the law.

Isn't this stupid? Thought you'd think so. How can you help?

Visit where you can email your MP to support Ron Cannan's efforts.

If it's illegal in BC, it's illegal here, so let's help get this law amended and add some common sense to the legislation.

Water Temperature for Green Tea (or Why I Hate Tim Hortons Green Tea)

Mark Kawabe - Sunday, November 14, 2010

I picked up a green tea from Tim Hortons today, primarily because I couldn't get to my favourite tea shop (LM Teas in Niagara Falls). At the first sip, I began regretting my choice. Not because it was undrinkable, but because I've had so much better tea.

First off, Tim Hortons staff don't seem to know diddly-squat about tea. Some would say they don't know anything about coffee either...but we'll stick to tea. Two bags of green tea in a cup is enough to turn the tea so dark it might be mistaken for black tea. In addition, it makes it so strong and bitter that while it does an admirable job of keeping one awake (perhaps its only redeeming feature), it's rather unpleasant to drink.

I wonder if Tim Hortons staff ever drink green tea. I strongly suspect they don't. One of the reasons their tea gets so bitter, I believe, is because they're using boiling water to make it and then they're allowing it to steep for longer than it should. High water temperatures bring out the bitterness in green tea and letting it steep too long is another evil they could avoid.

According to the folks at LM Teas, the idea water temperature to make green tea varies on the variety. Some teas can be brewed starting at 50°while others do fine at 80° to 90°. Again, it depends on the tea. Perhaps Tim Hortons tea is specially picked to be made with scalding hot water. I'll have to ask.

Anyway, if you're in Niagara Falls and need a good cup of tea, I recommend my friends at LM Teas. With over 200 varieties of loose-leaf teas, you'll find something you'll like.

What Does the Word "Winery" Mean to You?

Mark Kawabe - Sunday, October 31, 2010

Today I received an email chastising The Niagara Guide for not including Vincor Canada in The Niagara Winery Guide. The page for Niagara Falls wineries had previously stated there were no wineries in Niagara Falls. Technically, the writer was right, but it made me wonder what people expect when they hear the word "winery" or the phrase "Niagara winery".

Various government and industry associations have spent the last few decades promoting Ontario wines and lauding the "winery experience". Here are two quotes from the Inniskillin website. (Note: Inniskillin is one of Vincor's brands.)

"Many of those who appreciate and collect wine have discovered that a journey to the heart of wine country adds an indescribable dimension to the appreciation of the distinctiveness of each fine wine."

"Come to experience, firsthand, the full range of Inniskillin's Premium Estate Wines, while enjoying the spectacular sights, the regional culinary specialties and the outstanding hospitality . . ."

I think these statements capture the essence of the image the various Niagara tourism and wine industry members have worked so hard to create about Niagara's wine region. That's why I found the message about Vincor so interesting.

Vincor is a company that produces wine. Does that make their retail and tasting center in the middle of suburban Niagara Falls a winery? What do you think?

It Comes But Once a Year . . .

Mark Kawabe - Sunday, October 10, 2010

Today is Thanksgiving Day. Another line of days when we celebrate various things. Love. Faith. Being Irish. Turkeys.

I enjoy these days. Especially when they are actual holidays. Today, millions of people will get together with family and friends and enjoy a feast of some sort. Waistlines will expand around the world and we'll experience a global endorphin rush before slipping off into a collective food-induced coma.

A small reminder that these days, whatever we're celebrating, should be seen as the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Today is but one day out of 365. Today we give thanks. Tomorrow we do what? Hopefully give thanks again. Sleep, wake, repeat.

Every day I live I am thankful. I love. I try to focus on the positive more than the negative. I look for the light when things seem dark.

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving.

P.S. Today is also a "perfect day" - 10/10/10. I hope you enjoy!

Recess From Responsibility

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, October 06, 2010

This caught my attention on Facebook.

Really - a "recess from responsibility"?

Isn't there enough of that going around already?

Nobody's responsible for anything.

Kids can hand in their homework late or not at all. They don't have to know how to read to graduate.

"No child left behind" means even the worst-performers can stay with their peer groups and fail all the way through the system.

Everybody gets a trophy even though they're on the losing team. Kids get ribbons just for showing up. A reward for just being there and breathing. How nice. Don't you feel better kid?

What's going to happen when something "real" happens to these kids, like they're rejected from university or college because their grades are too low? That they can't get or keep a job because they never developed a strong work ethic? Can you say "Do you want fries with that"?

I say there's already a dearth of responsibility in our society. Somebody or a group of somebodies is responsible for everything that goes right or wrong. Acknowledge that responsibility.

Take ownership of your work.

Feel some pride about who you are or what you do when you do things right. 

Acknowledge when you screw up and make sure you fix the problem as best you can and learn from your mistakes - and we all make mistakes.

Everything that's good or bad in your life has one consistent characteristic: you

Take responsibility for your life.


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