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NIAGARA VOICES: Welland is a welcoming city

Are You My Mother?

Catchy title, isn’t it? It’s one of my grandchildren’s favourite story books about a baby bird that falls out of its nest, lands on the ground and starts the journey to find his mother because he doesn’t know what she looks like.

Much like the little baby bird in the story book, I decided I would start a journey and write an article on “Who are you and why did you come to Welland?”

I was so curious as to why some have set up camp in Welland. I know you are thinking, it’s because of housing prices. I thought about that, too, but then I thought there must be more. So begins my journey.

I decided I would pop into At Home B&B at the Rose Manor at 41 Frazer St. Needless to say I was greeted warmly and offered a seat in a very grand room of the bed-and-breakfast.

So here’s a little history about the B&B: The home originally belonged to Col. Hugh Alexander Rose, who at the time was a lawyer in Welland. The house was built for him on his 18th birthday, which also happened to be his wedding day.

Welland is called the Rose City because of Rose. All the roses in the parks at that time were donated by Col. Rose.

And so the story continues.

Ellie Cholette-Hodder and her husband, Gary, from the Greater Toronto Area wanted to retire early and settle in a quaint area, which they chose as Welland. Ellie was born in Welland, was baptized, married and attended family funerals at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, which is almost next door. Her parents also retired in Welland.

One day when they were attending a funeral, Gary was outside, took a look at the Rose Manor and said to Ellie: “This is where you should build your B&B.”

Well, it didn’t take much convincing after they saw it.

Ellie is a sought-after interior designer and for 10 years she had an interior design show on W Network. She fell in love immediately. Three weeks later, they happily purchased the Rose Manor.

Since 1905, there have only been three owners of the manor, and Ellie and Gary are one of them. The B&B has received the prestigious Trip Advisor 5-Star Certificate of Excellence. The first month the B&B was opened it had booked 47 rooms. Ellie admits pricing has been a huge factor in their success.

She treated me to short tour. I especially loved the dining room. It is so beautiful, and you really get the feeling that you are somewhere else.

The renovations are outstanding. The attention to detail and customization is one of a kind. Thank you, to Ellie and Gary, for sharing a special story and being able to experience a special place in Welland.

After the B&B, if I wanted to go for lunch or dinner I could just walk across the street to Taris Restaurant. The location is stunning. If you haven’t had a chance to experience it I would highly recommend it. It also feels like you are somewhere else.

Tom and Leda Laborie were neighbours of Ellie and Gary’s in the GTA, and Ellie was the one who brought the former Bridge Pub to light for Tom and Leda (she is also the designer).

Taris took about 1½ years to renovate, then finally on March 6, 2015 it opened its doors. At one time it was a children’s clothing store.

I asked, why the name Taris?

When you sit in the restaurant and look across the canal you see the Canal Terrace, so they wanted a play on words. They thought of Paris, and so Taris was born.

At the table, I was reminded of sitting at a bistro in Europe along the water. It is exactly how it felt. The view and the inside of the restaurant is stunning, and it’s easy to forget where you are.

The big attraction to buy that property in Welland was the location. How much better can you get, right on the recreational canal and in Welland.

Tom and Leda worked with a well-known restaurant consulting firm to create their menu so that seasonally they would be able to marry local sustainable foods with great wines. Both Tom and Leda are members of the BIA. They are so happy and pleased that they have set up camp in Welland.

They have a vision of possibly bringing a micro-brewery next door to the restaurant — so the word is out. They feel it would be such a good fit for them and Welland.

Jeanne Glavac is vice-president of administration for her husband’s financial firm in Welland. She teaches children’s cooking classes on a part-time basis through Welland Community Wellness Complex and enjoys spending time with her four grandchildren.

Call 1-905-788-1356