Canalside Restaurant Donates To Light of Day

Niagara Falls’ Evan Rotella and veteran Rick Rose entertain at tribute show to Southern California music at Port Colborne eatery

Niagara This Week - Niagara Falls
Sunday, March 12, 2023

A chili cooking contest, a tribute show to Southern California tunes and a music trivia night might not seem to have a whole lot in common, but folks who headed to the Canalside Restaurant in Port Colborne for any of those events held in February had something in common: supporting people living with Parkinson’s disease.

As part of the City of Port Colborne Sportsfest initiative that month, featuring various events raising funds for charity, Canalside owners Greg and Rosemari Poisson opted to have the eatery’s three events all raise funds for The Light of Day Foundation.

That foundation, founded in Niagara in 2007, has raised about $500,000 for Parkinson’s research and care through annual live entertainment shows, which have featured names ranging from Ron Sexsmith and the Sam Roberts Band to Blue Rodeo, Steve Earle and the Trews.

The tribute show held at Canalside on Feb. 11—dubbed Southern Canal-ifornia Sounds—featured up-and-coming Niagara Falls entertainer Evan Rotella and iconic Niagara musician Rick Rose, with special guest Joe Lavoie.

Evan’s dad Dave Rotella Jr. who runs a Niagara Falls-based creative company, said the Poissons have been long supporters of Evan, who has played at the restaurant since he was 14. The restauranteurs and the Rotellas share a mutual love of Bruce Springsteen music.

Between ticket admissions from the three events some $1,500 was raised for Light of Day, and the Poissons matched that to bring the total to $3,000, which was donated on March 11.

Rotella, who is president of Light of Day, said every dollar raised helps people living with the dreaded neurodegenerative disease for which there is yet no cure.

“Music is a great way to raise awareness and money,” he said.

Over the years, Light of Day has distributed its funds to Parkinson Canada, the London Health Sciences Movement Disorder Centre, Queen's University neuroscience studies in Kingston, the Steve Ludzik Parkinson’s Rehab Clinic at the Hotel Dieu Shaver Hospital and the Walker Family Cancer Clinic in support of the Niagara Health Foundation.

Canalside has been raising money for different charities for 15 years as part of Sportsfest. Greg Poisson said that’s all part of paying it back to the community that supports the restaurant.

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All photos on our site were kindly donated by Jeff Ross, John Cavanaugh, Bill Proietti, Lisa MacIntosh, Stephen Wilde, Isabella D'Addio, Jill Lunn and Dave Rotella