Niagara Gazette

Columns

October 18, 2013

HAMILTON: Rethinking tourism strategies in the Falls

Niagara Gazette — On a rainy day in late June of 2011, some 40 or more same-sex couples came to Niagara Falls to take advantage of the state’s legalization of same-sex unions.

Proponents, who arranged for the free parking and the additional police security on Goat Island to facilitate the exchange of those wedding rings, also claimed that it would increase tourism in what was once the Honeymoon City. The 40-or so partners, most of whom struck a remarkable resemblance to each other, have not seemed to have made a noticeable impact upon the city’s coffers.

But there was a couple that I noticed some 28 months later when I was in city hall on Wednesday and they seemed to have been a great deal like the tourists that always either came to Niagara Falls for their weddings, or they return for their honeymoons.

This couple, Barty Jean Pinkham and Herbert W. Courtney, Sr., though heterosexual, seemed to resemble each other too. The bespectacled Herbert, with his peach-colored shirt, his dark vest adorned with a peach-colored rose boutonniere pinned onto it, sat with his arm draped over the shoulders of his soon-to-be bride. And Barty Jean sat effervescently alongside of him, as giddy as a school girl, just as bespectacled, and holding a bouquet of six or more peach-colored roses grinned at everyone that passed them as they sat on the bench in the building’s atrium awaiting for Nadine Wasson from the clerk’s office to announce them husband and wife.

There was a strong resemblance in their similarly aged and wrinkled skin, wrinkling that was absolutely necessary; for without it, the light of joy that was contained within their souls would have flooded out of their every pore and have blinded anyone entering the room.

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