If you are visiting Welland for the first time, you might note the rich cultural heritage of the city…particularly evident on Saturday mornings at the local farmers’ market at Market Square. A memorial just down from the market beside the canal pays tribute to the people who built the Welland Canal. It is fitting, therefore, that the world is coming to Welland for the 12th World Dragon Boat Racing Championships because the world lives in Welland. Here at the European Pantry we celebrate this rich heritage of cultures. We carry a wide variety of ethnic imports and are always looking to find those products that bring the taste of home into the kitchens of Welland. Apropos then that our store here at 30 Avenue Place is located in a building that also has a strong cultural history. Today we had an enjoyable visit from yet someone else who has a family connection to the building. It was a pleasure to meet Josephine Davies nee Ort. Several members of her family lived here about 65 years ago. She told us of her German immigrant family, the Orths who settled as farmers on Forks Road south of Welland. Two Ort(h) sisters, Anna and Louise, married two local Templain brothers, also of German heritage. When Louise’s husband died soon after the marriage, she moved into 30 Avenue place. Her sister Anna settled across the street at 23 Avenue Place. After both Anna’s husband and Louise died, Anna moved into 30 Avenue Place with her daughter Marjorie. Josephine said that Anna and Louise were real city girls despite their farm upbringing. They used their exceptional seamstress skills to keep themselves dressed to the nines. Louise worked at a fancy store just a block over in downtown Welland….so dressing well was important.
So the walls of our store which once watched the activities of both German and Hungarian families must smile now as the descendants of these immigrant groups come here to find the foods that connect them to their roots. And our city, built by immigrants of so many cultures, smiles as we welcome the dragon boat racers of the world!