Niagara College kicks off new academic year with more than 10,000 students, new facilities

Niagara College is ready to usher in a new academic year with more than 10,000 students projected to begin their studies after Labour Day – including close to 5,000 new students – along with a full slate of activities and new facilities to welcome them.

“We look forward to welcoming our new and returning students and providing them with an outstanding start to the new academic year,” said College president Dan Patterson, PhD. “We are also excited to unveil several new facilities that will enrich learning environments on our campuses and enhance student life for many years to come.”

New facilities

Students will kick off the fall term with newly renovated study spaces at both campuses. The Glynn Family Library and Learning Commons at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, as well as the Eva M. Lewis Library and Learning Commons at the Welland Campus have been renovated, featuring new and additional seating, as well as flexible space to accommodate individual and collaborative work.

September will mark the grand opening of the Marotta Family Innovation Complex at the Niagara-on-the Lake Campus. The new four-storey $18.25-million complex includes new research areas that expand the College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute Innovation Centre (CFWI IC) and classrooms, in addition to a fitness centre and gymnasium which opened in September 2018.

Renovations are also underway at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus that will provide new and updated spaces for NC’s Student Administrative Council, International offices, and Indigenous Education. The new NCSAC offices and International offices are expected to open the week of September 23, while new facilities for Indigenous Education will open in November.

Construction crews have been busy over the summer months to complete extensive road realignment and repave parking lots at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, to create additional parking spaces, make better use of available land, and aid in navigation.

Fall Orientation

The Niagara College Student Administrative Council (NCSAC), and Centre for Student Engagement and Leadership (CSEL) are gearing up to host Fall Orientation at the Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake campuses from September 3-6 with a new theme for 2019: ‘Orientation Week for All.’

NCSAC president Tom Price noted that by delivering opportunities for social engagement, Orientation plays a key role in stimulating positive well-being for students – particularly for new students who may experience a sense of loneliness during the transition.

“I believe #OWEEKFORALL is essential to the success of all Niagara College students. It provides the opportunity for students to connect with fellow classmates, make friends, and build lasting relationships, all while having fun,” said Price. “I hope that students will make a lifetime of memories and lifelong friends participating in NCSAC events.”

Orientation kicks off on Tuesday, September 3 with a day of activities for new students. For the first time, the College will host a Checklist Fair to help new students manage necessary tasks on their ‘to-do lists’ – from picking up student ID cards, to locker rentals, and ITS help. The day will also include help sessions, program and co-op information sessions, and social initiatives like a free lunch and a pub night at The Core (Welland).

The first day of class (for most full-time programs) on Wednesday, September 4 begins with a welcome back initiative for all students – free coffee, tea and baked goods from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. at both campuses.

One of the highlights of the week will include a lawn party on Friday, September 6 at the Welland Campus (3-7 p.m.). Students can enjoy the Ferris wheel, carnival rides, browse vendor displays, mark the occasion with a henna tattoo, and pose for a photo near the green wall and more ‘Instagram-worthy’ moments.  A shuttle will be available to transport students from the NOTL Campus for this event.

The lawn party will also shine the spotlight on safety, with a live dorm room burn demonstration from the Welland Fire Department scheduled to take place that evening (weather permitting).

Orientation week will also include a courtyard cookout on Wednesday, September 4 at the NOTL Campus (3-7 p.m.), a BBQ lunch on Thursday, September 5 at the Welland Campus (11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.) and more. All Orientation week activities are free for NC students to attend. College staff and volunteers will be ready to assist students at ‘Ask Me’ stations, which will be set up at both campuses throughout the first week of classes.

Be NC Ready

The College’s International Division has had a head start in preparing students who are new to Canada for college and life in a new country – from pre-departure to after arrival. The division is offering a full suite of ‘Be NC Ready’ initiatives with a Be NC Ready website, online modules and a new student life app. From August 27-29, ‘Be NC Ready’ orientation sessions were held at the Welland and NOTL campuses addressing topics including housing and lifestyle, education and immigration, and health care and services.

In addition to college-wide Orientation activities, international orientation will be held for English for Academic Preparation students (August 29, 30 and September 3), and postsecondary and graduate students (August 30-31), including a welcome breakfast, an information fair to highlight on-campus international services, games, and an outing to Niagara Falls for a Hornblower Cruise and a shopping trip.

NC is also one of 19 postsecondary institutions in the province to partner with Destination Ontario for a welcome kiosk at Toronto Pearson International Airport running until September 8. The kiosks are set up at terminals one and three to greet international students and provide a variety of services including shuttle and transit info, accommodation and hotels, banking services and currency exchange, special assistance baggage claim, orientation and campus info and more.

Move-in Day

For hundreds of students planning to call campus ‘home’ for the next academic year, the excitement will begin on Labour Day weekend when they move into campus residences. On August 31, 250 students will move into residence at the Welland Campus, and 230 students will move into residence at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus. A team of NC volunteers will assist with the move, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, distilling, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit




* While we strive for accuracy, please note that the Orientation schedule is subject to change.


Media inquiries, please contact:

Julie Greco
Communications Consultant
Office: 905 641-2252 ext. 7368
Cell: 905 328-2532

Michael Wales
Communications Manager
Office: 905 641-2252 ext. 7773
Cell: 905 328-4101

Students and alumni to benefit from career-inspiring coffee chats

What if every student and alumni from Niagara College had five to fifteen new connections that provided opportunities to share, learn, and grow professionally?

The Centre for Student Engagement and Leadership and the department of Development and Alumni Relations are excited to launch NC Alumni Connect. The aim of this initiative is to help expand professional connections for the Niagara College community.

NC Alumni Connect is an exclusive networking and mentoring program that matches alumni with students and recent grads for a career-inspiring coffee, either online or in-person. The program is powered by Ten Thousand Coffees, a social learning solution that works with leading organizations and schools to build networks between students and alumni.

“We are excited to be part of the Ten Thousand Coffees initiative that connects students and alumni based on mutual career interests,” said Lianne Gagnon, director of Student Services at Niagara College. “The connections made through this innovative project create an online career community for our students, widening their networks, increasing their professional interactions, and providing guidance and advice on starting their careers.”

Funding for NC Alumni Connect has been provided by RBC through its Future Launch program, which helps prepare students for the future of work by helping grow their networks and make the necessary connections to ensure a successful transition from school to work.

In 2018, RBC Future Launch partnered with Ten Thousand Coffees with a common interest in increasing access to, and delivering support for alumni networking and mentoring for students at post-secondary institutions across Canada.

“Research indicates that as many as 85 per cent of jobs are filled via networking,” said Jennifer Santamaria, RBC regional director, Community Marketing and Citizenship, Southwestern Ontario. “Through our partnership with Ten Thousand Coffees, RBC Future Launch is helping young Canadians, including students at Niagara College, make meaningful connections to bridge the gap between education and employment.”

Having a diverse network can help students gain a better understanding of what careers are available, develop communications skills through real-world practice, share ideas and explore innovative new skills and opportunities.

“We know that human-to-human interaction is what sticks when it comes to learning and growing, professionally,” said Dave Wilkin, CEO, Ten Thousand Coffees. “Each month, RBC Future Launch and Ten Thousand Coffees facilitates thousands of coffee chats to help young Canadians prepare for the future of work. Through providing structured access to the tools they need for the future of work, RBC Future Launch helps not only prepare students for the future of work, but also enables them to become more engaged, innovative and productive in a work setting. Together, RBC’s Future Launch and Ten Thousand Coffees are building relationships and connecting with students in a meaningful way.”

Matching through NC Alumni Connect is done through a private online community and connections are made based on specific career interests, skills and goals. Whether it’s career advice, job shadowing, or a mentoring chat, participants can get matched based on what interests them most.

To help make the coffee connections as easy as possible, students and alumni are provided with simple, step-by-step instructions on how to network effectively including conversation themes and icebreakers for each chat.

“NC Alumni Connect is a wonderful opportunity for both our students and alumni to expand their knowledge networks,” said Wendy Dueck, director, Development and Alumni Relations. “It’s a chance for our alumni to give back to their alma mater through the gift of their time and talents, and to inspire students and fellow alumni as they navigate their future careers. We are grateful to RBC for generously funding this new initiative.”

In addition to networking benefits, students can include their participation in the NC Alumni Connect program in their co-curricular record, enhancing their resume and career or academic portfolios, and helping showcase their involvement to future employers, graduate schools, and as eligibility for certain grants and bursaries. Based on their level of commitment to the program, both student and alumni participants receive an official LinkedIn certificate to recognize commitment to continuous learning and career advancement.

Staff and faculty are encouraged to promote this new networking opportunity to students and alumni to help facilitate lasting human connections for the whole NC community.

Staff and faculty alumni are also encouraged to sign up as mentors through the program. Internal alumni who sign up by September 30, 2019, will receive a voucher for a complimentary coffee that can be redeemed at either The Shack (Welland Campus) or The Undergrounds (NOTL Campus).

Alumni Relations staff will be available at Niagara Day on August 28, 2019 to answer questions and provide more information.

To sign up, visit

To learn more about the program, visit:
Centre for Student Engagement and Leadership
NC Alumni Relations
Ten Thousand Coffees
RBC Future Launch

Questions? Contact Elisabeth Vint, Student Engagement and Leadership Program coordinator, Centre for Student Engagement and Leadership, at or ext. 7298.

Niagara College partners with Society for Ecological Restoration to certify Ecosystem Restoration graduates

A batch of 27 recent graduates of Niagara College’s Ecosystem Restoration (Graduate Certificate) program are getting a jumpstart on their career, becoming Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioners-in-Training (CERPITs), thanks to a new partnership between the college and the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER).

The SER is an international organization dedicated to advancing the science, practice and policy of ecological restoration to sustain biodiversity, improve resilience in a changing climate, and re-establish an ecologically healthy relationship between nature and culture. This summer, Niagara College became Canada’s first post-secondary institution to become a partner with the SER’s Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner program.

The initiative supports graduates as they pursue their CERPIT designation and provides a clear pathway for them to advance to  full Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioners (CERPs).

SER’s CERP Program Coordinator Jen Lyndall said, “Certification recognizes practitioners who have met a high standard of knowledge and experience.  Early career CERPITs, like those from Niagara College, can really differentiate themselves from other candidates during job searches, but more importantly they gain access to technical information and a network of hundreds of other CERPs and CERPITs from all over the world.”

The partnership also provides the program graduates with an Emerging Professional membership to SER, which connects them with a vast network of restorationists and provides access to technical resources through SER newsletters and publications, a complimentary subscription to the Restoration Ecology journal, expert webinars, and the Restoration Resource Center.

Megan Lalli, landowner stewardship coordinator with Trout Unlimited Canada and a graduate of Niagara College’s Ecosystem Restoration program, is one of 27 recent graduates to receive her Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner-in-Training designation, thanks to a new partnership between the college and the Society for Ecological Restoration

Graduates in the first newly minted group of CERPITs are already seeing the value the designation has added to their Niagara College education. “Ecosystem restoration felt like a path that provided actual solutions to a lot of the issues our environment faces. While I enjoyed working in wildlife rehabilitation and conservation education, I wanted to go one step further,” said Ecosystem Restoration graduate Megan Lalli.

Lalli, 25, is now working as a landowner stewardship coordinator with the Niagara chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada, and manages a project working with landowners to restore portions of Twelve Mile Creek running through their properties in Niagara.

“As development and climate change continue to have an impact on our lives and the environment as a whole, we need to find ways to adapt, mitigate, and restore the areas that have been affected. The more people that become part of SER and get educated through institutions like Niagara College, the more push there will be to focus on not only protecting the environment but restoring the areas to productive and flourishing habitats for biodiversity,” said Lalli.

The certification is also a boost to the resumes of graduates looking to make an impact in their field. “My time at Niagara College provided me with field experience performing tasks that I could be performing later in my career,” says Kandyce Affleck, 24, another graduate currently working as land management assistant with the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority. “I feel that this certification will provide me with useful resources and connections in order to further my career and keep me up to date.”

Kandyce Affleck, 2019 graduate from Niagara College’s Ecosystem Restoration Graduate Certificate program, currently works as a land management assistant with the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority, and recently received her Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner-in-Training designation

In addition to certifying recent grads from the College’s program, the partnership has allowed Niagara College and the SER to work together to ensure the program’s curriculum gives students the knowledge and experience their need to attain their certification when they graduate.

“Niagara College’s Ecosystem Restoration program has been preparing students to make a meaningful difference in the preservation and restoration of natural habitats here at home in Niagara, and indeed around the world, for over 20 years” said Al Unwin, NC’s associate dean of Environment and Horticulture. “Partnering with the Society of Ecological Restoration not only improves the employability of our graduates, it also allows our two organizations to work together to ensure that future professionals in this field are well-equipped to tackle the ecological and environmental challenges that face our society, now and in the future.”

Niagara College’s Ecosystem Restoration program is preparing students to be leaders in the preservation and reconstruction of the planet’s diverse environments. Graduates go on to contribute to major restorative projects around the world, and will be crucial in the implementation of the United Nation’s recent declaration of 2021-2030 as a Decade of Ecosystem Restoration.

SER is an international non-profit organization with nearly 3,000 members in more than 70 countries. We actively promote participatory, knowledge-based approaches to restoration. Learn more about us at

Niagara College’s School of Environment and Horticulture prepares students for success in a wide variety of fields, including Horticultural Technician, Environmental Technician and Greenhouse Technician. The school is also home to several unique and pioneering Graduate Certificate programs, including Commercial Cannabis Production and Commercial Beekeeping.

Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, distilling, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit


For media inquiries, including interviews with any of the individuals mentioned above, please contact:


Andrew Korchok

Communications Consultant

Niagara College

Office: 905 641-2252 ext. 7430

Cell: 905 329-1642


Jen Lyndall

Certification Program Coordinator

Society for Ecological Restoration

Phone: 440-666-5334


Niagara College sparkles at National Wine Awards: Seven medal sweep for Teaching Winery

It is proving to be a vintage year for applied learning at the Niagara College Teaching Winery, with seven new medals from a national wine competition – two for sparkling alone.

The Niagara College Teaching Winery recently won a gold, three silvers and three bronze medals at the 2019 WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada. The competition, known as the Nationals, is the largest wine awards in Canada.

The College’s awards include:

  • gold for Balance 2014 Blanc de Blanc Brut (Sparkling category);
  • silver for 2017 Marmitons Gastronomy Pinot Noir (Pinot Noir category);
  • silver for 2017 Dean’s List Prodigy Icewine (Icewine category);
  • silver for 2017 Marmitons Gastronomy Chardonnay Ziraldo (Chardonnay category);
  • bronze for 2017 Balance Gewurztraminer (Other Single White including Gewürztraminer and Viognier category);
  • bronze for 2018 Balance Rosé (Rosé category); and
  • bronze for N/V Balance Brut (Sparkling category).

“Winning seven medals at the Nationals is a real achievement, more so when they are spread among different styles. That speaks to winemaking consistency,” said David Lawrason, co-head judge of the competition.

Lawrason particularly noted the College’s two medals for sparkling wines, including a coveted gold for the Balance Blanc de Blancs 2014 Brut.

“Niagara is positioning itself as a star for traditional method Chardonnay-based bubblies, and the College is now on the leader board,” said Lawrason.

“Winning seven medals at one national competition is an outstanding testament to the high quality of applied learning at Niagara College,” said Steve Gill, general manager of the College’s Learning Enterprises. “Our wine students gain the skills they need to lead and succeed in the industry right here at our on-campus Teaching Winery and on-campus vineyards.”

College winemaker and instructor Gavin Robertson, who is also a graduate of the College’s Winery and Viticulture Technician program (2011) noted that the Nationals marked a first win for both sparkling wines, the rosé, and the Marmitons Pinot Noir. He pointed out that he chose only current vintages to submit to this year’s Nationals, as a way to calibrate the College’s winemaking operations relative to the Canadian industry at large.

He was particularly pleased with the 2014 Blanc de Blanc’s gold medal, because it was the Teaching Winery’s first sparkling wine made from 100 percent estate fruit – in this case, Chardonnay, from the NC Teaching Vineyard.

“The fact that the fruit was grown on campus allowed us to have complete control over all aspects of the wine, from bud break through to disgorging, and to involve several cohorts of Winery and Viticulture Technician program students in the nearly five-year production process at various stages.”

Robertson noted that first-year students picked the fruit in early September of 2014, and were in the winery while the base wine fermented, and was stabilized and filtered. During the spring of 2015, they helped bottle the wine for the secondary bottle fermentation, along with some second-year students.

Students from the classes of 2017 and 2018 disgorged the wine early – a process which removes the yeast sediment from the bottles and tops the bottles up. Students also determined the dosage rate – the amount of wine and sugar added at disgorging.

“It’s great to see that all of the work and time involved was recognized by the judges of the National Wine Awards,” said Robertson.

This year’s Nationals drew 1,815 entries from 259 different wineries from six different provinces. Held in a different Canadian wine region each year, the 2019 competition took place in Prince Edward County (Ontario) between June 10 and 14.

WineAlign awards manager Sarah Goddard noted the high calibre of judging at the Nationals. Judging takes place over five days with two days dedicated to re-tasting the top scoring wines.

“The Nationals bring together the best of Canadian wines and Canadian wine critics under one roof,” she said.

For details about the 2019 WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada visit

The Teaching Winery’s award-winning wines are available at Niagara College’s Wine Visitor + Education Centre, located at its Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus (135 Taylor Rd., Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON). Proceeds from sales support student learning. Visit

Niagara College’s Teaching Winery is the first and only commercial teaching winery in Canada. It is located at the College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, along with the NC Teaching Brewery and – the latest addition in September 2018 – the NC Teaching Distillery which were also the first of their kind in Canada.

Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, distilling, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit



Media inquiries, please contact:

Michael Wales
Manager, Communications
Office: 905 735-2211 ext. 7773
Cell: 905 328-4101

Bier ist wunderbar! Project Brew is back with Augtoberfest, August 9

Brewmaster students from Niagara College are brewing up a variety of unique and delicious beers for Project Brew: Augtoberfest to take place on August 9 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Market Square in St. Catharines will be the venue for the College’s celebrated student-run craft beer festival. The event, held each semester, will feature 20 innovative and thirst-quenching beers crafted by NC students, and is a chance for the public to sample the small-batch creations of students in their final term of the Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program. Local food, music and games are also on tap.

“Project Brew is the capstone of our Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program,
said April Tyrrell, faculty advisor for the event. “Students get hands-on experience crafting original recipe beers from scratch while also planning and executing a large-scale public event.”

NC Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program student Garrett Saulis samples the beer he crafted for Project Brew. ‘Mildly Mahgwan’ is a dark-coloured beer with a toasty profile, fairly smooth body, and hints of maple sourced from his family’s sugar bush.

For Brewmaster student Garrett Saulis and his fellow classmates, the Augtoberfest theme was inspired by the ethos of Oktoberfest. “We loved the idea of a Biergarten, and allowing people to mingle and socialize while sampling beers and discussing their thoughts on what they’re trying,” said Saulis.

“It’s definitely interesting when you’re toying with the concept of developing a beer that represents who you are as a brewer,” said Saulis. “Project Brew takes all of the knowledge we’ve gained from the program to be able to create the recipe, develop and oversee the steps for production, troubleshoot any problems that arise, and finish with what you hope is a quality beer that people will enjoy.”

Students have brewed a variety of summer-friendly brews to appeal to beer lovers of all kinds, including a raspberry saison, a mango smoothie IPA, a wine-like grisette, a kettle sour, and some grassy IPAs. Other brews include a light Mexican lager, an experimental low calorie beer, and Saulis’s own dark beer made with maple syrup from his aunt and uncle’s sugar bush.

Saulis sees Project Brew as preparation for his career as a brewer. “It’s a great way to get our foot in the door of the brewing scene, and add to our resumés that we have experience developing recipes and organizing a beer festival,” he said.

Proceeds from Project Brew support the Matt Soos Memorial Fund, which awards a scholarship each year to the student who brews the best beer at Project Brew. Established by Muskoka Brewery and Railway City Brewing, the scholarship is in memory of Matt Soos who died at the age of 26 in August 2015, just a year after he graduated from the Brewmaster program.

Student beers will be judged on-site by the Soos family who will award a $4,500 scholarship to the graduating student who creates the winning beer.

“Project Brew has a very special meaning to us. We lost Matt four years ago and his dream is alive. What he wanted to do we are doing for him,” said brother Dan Soos, owner and head brewer of Natterjack Brewing in West Lorne, Ontario. The Soos family opened their brewery doors in 2018, dedicated to Matt who dreamed of owning a brewery of his own.

For the first time, two NC Brewmaster students, Aiden Roos and Adam Weverink, had the chance to work with Natterjack Brewing on a special beer for Project Brew – a dark ale brewed with 50lbs of blueberries donated by local farmers in Elgin County.

“Cheers to another successful year of Project Brew, and cheers to Matt. He would have wanted to be right in there up to his elbows in spent grain coming out of the mash tun, joking and chatting with everyone,” said Soos.

Fourth-semester Brewmaster students standing in the craft side of NC’s Teaching Brewery. Students are pictured by the mash tun using paddles to mix the grain for an NC beer. From left to right: Mike Lounds, Clayton Berglis, Doug Rolfe, Collin Wareham, Aidan Roos, Garrett Saulis, George Eagleson, Max Saumure, Tim Miller, Doug Salloum and Woo Chul Sim.

Meet the brewers, get a sneak peek at the brews, order tickets and find more details at Tickets will not be available for purchase at the door.

*Must be 19 years of age or older. Valid photo ID required. Proceeds will be donated to the Matt Soos Memorial Scholarship.

NC’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program was launched in 2010 as the first of its kind in Canada. The award-winning, two-year program offers extensive hands-on training at an on-site, state-of-the-art Teaching Brewery to prepare students for employment in the expanding brewery, microbrewery and brewpub industries. Located at the College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, students learn from award-winning faculty and have access to on-site hop yard and local farm products to brew a full range of beer styles.

Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, spirits, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit


Media inquiries, please contact:

Michael Wales
Manager, Corporate Communications
Office: 905-735-2211 ext. 7773
Cell: 905-328-4101