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Archive for the Category »Famous Friday «

Famous Friday: Kevin Bieksa

Number: 3
Shoots: Right
Born: 16 Jun 1981 (Age 29)
Birthplace: Grimsby, ON, Canada

Claim to Fame: Kevin Bieksa is a defenceman for the Vancouver Canucks.  The Vancouver Canucks are currently in the Stanley Cup finals battling the Boston Bruins.  Kevin was drafted by the Canucks in 2001 and has played for the team the past 6 seasons. We wish Kevin the best of luck!

Famous Friday – Mark Visentin
Name: Mark Visentin
Birth Date: August 7, 1992
Place of Birth: Hamilton, Ontario
Claim to Fame: Mark Visentin will be the goalie for Team Canada in the 2010-11 IIHF U20 Ice Hockey Tournament in Buffalo, NY.
Mark plays for the Niagara Ice Dogs, currently has a 2.33 GAA, .921 save percentage, and a 13-4 winning record. The Phoenix Cayotes drafted him27th overall in the 2010 NHL entry draft.
He looks like a winner. He was a member of gold medal winning Team Ontario at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in 2009 and Team Orr at the 2010 Canadian Hockey League Top Prospects Game. Mark started playing hockey as a child in a backyard rink in Waterdown, Ontario.  His childhood idol is Curtis Joseph.  The one negative thing about Mark is that he is a Montreal Canadiens fan.
Famous Friday – Zach Anner
Name: Zach Anner
Birth Date: November 17th, 1984
Place of Birth: Buffalo, NY
Claim to Fame: Zach was one of the top 5 finalists  in Oprah’s “Search for the Next TV Star contest”.
Zach Anner came into this world a whole two months early on November 17th, 1984 in Buffalo, NY. He has a condition known as cerebral palsy.  He is known for exploiting his condition by getting to the front of the line at the Maid of the Mist and other attractions. After graduating from Kenmore West Senior High School with honors and a GED, Zach attended college at the University of Texas at Austin. There he worked on the sketch comedy show That’s Awesome, the mocumentary show The Wingmen, and the documentary Forgotten Lives.
Here is his Oprah audition video:

Famous Friday – Patrick Kane

Name: Patrick Timothy Kane Jr
Birth Date: November 19, 1988
Place of Birth: Buffalo, New York
Claim to Fame: Scored the game winning overtime goal for the Chicago Blackhawks during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs. Kane was born in Buffalo and learned how to play hockey while attending St. Martin of Tours school. He played for local teams such as the Cazenovia Chiefs, West Seneca Wings, Buffalo Regals, and the Depew Saints. Way to go Pat. We are proud of you!

Each Fridays we will be be profiling a notable person from the Niagara Falls area. If you would like to sponsor our Famous Friday post or suggest a person to be featured, please email us at

Famous Friday – Nikola Tesla

Niagara Falls Ontario


Niagara Falls NY

Name: Nikola Tesla
Birth Date: 10 July 1856
Place of Birth: Smiljan, Croatia
Claim to Fame: His contribution to commercial electricity and the second industrial revolution was so great, that a monument was erected in his honour on both sides of the border.
He is is best known for his many revolutionary developments in the field of electromagnetism.  The standard of measurement in electromagnetism is known as a T (tesla).  For example, the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field at the equator is:   31 µT (3.1×10−5 T)
Each Fridays we will be be profiling a notable Niagara Falls native. If you would like to sponsor our Famous Friday post or suggest a person to be featured, please email us at
Niagara Falls Blog
Famous Friday – Stefano Magaddino

MagaddinoName: Stefano “The Undertaker” Magaddino
Birth Date: October 10, 1891
Place of Birth: Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily
Claim to Fame: Magaddino was America’s longest reigning Mob boss, holding power from 1922 until his death, by natural causes, in 1974.

He was the owner of the Magaddino Memorial Chapel, a funeral home in Niagara Falls, New York. Some believe Magaddino’s victims were discreetly dispatched in the lower halves of caskets, under the remains of paying customers.

Magaddino a very profitable bootlegging business during Prohibition. The success of his business was in large part due to the proximity of his base in the Niagara Falls/Buffalo area to Canada, where the alcohol was illegally imported from. more…

Famous Friday – The Great Farini

Name: William Leonard Hunt
Birth Date: June 10, 1838
Place of Birth: Lockport, New York
Claim to Fame: Also known as the Great Farini, William Hunt, made several tightrope performances at Niagara Falls. His feats included crossing a high wire with a man on his back, with a sack over his entire body, turning somersaults while on the rope, hanging from it by his feet, and even lowering a bucket into the Niagara River and using the water to wash his handkerchiefs.

farnini more…

Famous Friday – Sir Casimir S. Gzowski


Name: Sir Kazimierz Stanislaus Gzowski
Birth Date: March 5, 1813
Place of Birth: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Claim to Fame: First chairman of the Niagara Parks Commission (1885-93) Gzowski was born in Russia of Polish parents. Forced to emigrate, following participation in the Polish Rising of 1830, he came to Canada in 1841. An exceptionally able engineer, he first served as a government construction superintendent. He later organized a company which built the Grand Trunk Railway from Toronto to Sarnia, 1853-7, and the International Bridge across the Niagara River at Fort Erie in 1873. He was a founder of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers in 1887. A colonel in the Canadian militia, he was appointed Honorary Aide-de-Camp to the Queen in 1879 and knighted in 1890. Gzowski served as Administrator of Ontario 1896-97. more…

Famous Friday – Annie Taylor


Name: Annie Edson Taylor
Birth Date: October 24, 1838
Claim to Fame: On October 24th, 1901, at the age 63, Annie Taylor became the first daredevil to go over the falls in a barrel and survive. more…

Famous Friday – Sal Maglie

SAL MAGLIE IN PG DUGOUTName: Sal “The Barber” Maglie
Birth Date: April 26, 1917
Place of Birth: Niagara Falls, NY
Claim to Fame: Pitcher for the New York Giants, Cleveland Indians, Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Yankees, and St. Louis Cardinals from 1945 to 1958.

He was nicknamed ‘The Barber’ because when he pitched inside to batters he gave them a close shave. He had a very successful baseball career finishing second for the Cy Young Award, and was also second in MVP balloting.

Each Fridays we will be be profiling  a notable Niagara Falls native.  If you would like to suggest a person to be features in our Famous Friday post, please email us at
Famous Friday – Frank Pietrangelo

pietrangeloName: Frank Pietrangelo
January 24th 1963
Place of Birth: Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Claim to Fame:
NHL goalie for Pittsburgh Penguins  Stanley Cup Champions in 1991

Each Fridays we will be be profiling  a notable Niagara Falls native.  If you would like to suggest a person to be features in our Famous Friday post, please email us at

Famous Friday – James Cameron

james-cameron-oscarName: James Cameron
August 16, 1954
Place of Birth: Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada
Claim to Fame: Academy Award winning director, producer, screenwriter, editor, and inventor.  His films Titanic and Avatar are the highest grossing films of all time ($5 billion).

James Cameron grew up in Chippawa Ontario, a municipality of Niagara Falls, and attended Stamford Collegiate Secondary School in Niagara Falls Canada.

His writing and directing work includes The Terminator (1984), Aliens (1986), The Abyss (1989), Terminator 2 (1991), True Lies (1994), Titanic (1997), and Avatar (2009). He is also a co-developer of the digital 3-D Fusion Camera System, a precursor to his invention of the now popular Blu-ray Disc format. His most recent film Avatar is up for 9 Academy Award this Sunday March 7th 2010. more…

Famous Friday – Steve Mesler

meslerName: Steve Mesler
Birth Date:
August 27, 1978
Place of Birth: Buffalo New York, USA
Claim to Fame: Member of the USA 2010 Olympics Four-Men Bobsled Team.

After graduating from the University of Florida in 2000, where the scholarship decathlete earned a degree in exercise and sport science, Mesler wasn’t ready to let go of his athletic career just yet. The Buffalo, N.Y. native reached out to the U.S. Bobsled & Skeleton Federation (USBSF) and attended bobsled tryouts in San Diego in June 2001.”My guts hurt, but I had a huge smile on my face,” Mesler says of his first trip down the track.

Mesler made his national team debut during the 2001-02 season and was named as an alternate for the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. But his proper Olympic debut came in Torino, where he finished seventh in Todd Hays’ four-man sled. Upon the conclusion of the 2006 Games and four seasons with Hays, Mesler moved on to Steve Holcomb’s four-man squad. more…

Famous Friday – Matt DePeters

mattName: Matt DePeters
Birth Date: August 20, 1987
Place of Birth: Buffalo New York, USA
Claim to Fame: Freestyle Skier in the 2010 Olympics

Vancouver represents DePeters’ first time competing at a major international championship at the senior level. His qualification for the 2010 Olympic team was buoyed by a personal best 15th-place finish on Jan. 15, 2010, in just his third appearance at a World Cup. He finished third at the 2009 National Championships.

DePeters’ father, Mark, a former aerialist and now a coach, started the freestyle program at the Buffalo (NY) Ski Club when Matt was 9. The oldest of three brothers, DePeters has been on skis since age 2.

Buffalo Roots

DePeters’ hometown of Hamburg is located approximately 13 miles south of Buffalo, less than 10 miles from the Canadian border. Also hailing from Buffalo is Olympic bobsled push athlete Steve Mesler, who should contend for gold in the men’s four-man competition as part of Steve Holcomb’s Team Night Train.


Famous Friday – Jay Triano

Name: Jay Triano
September 21, 1958
Place of Birth: Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Claim to Fame:
head coach of the NBA’s Toronto Raptors

Jay Triano

Born in Niagara Falls Ontario, Jay Triano became the first Canadian born and Canadian trained coach in the NBA when he served as an assistant coach to Lenny Wilkens during the 2002-03 season.

A native of Niagara Falls, Triano was the head coach of the Canadian men’s national team from 1998-2004 posting a 52-42 (.553) record. He led Canada to a semifinal berth in the 2003 FIBA Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Puerto Rico and to a 5-2 record, second best to the United States, in the 2000 Olympics.

In addition to his duties with Canada Basketball, Triano worked six years as a radio analyst and director of community relations for the Vancouver Grizzlies. He moved to Toronto from Vancouver in 2001 to work as a basketball analyst for TSN.


Famous Friday – Rashad Evans

Name: Rashad Anton Evans
Date: September 25, 1979
Place of Birth: Niagara Falls, New York, USA
Claim to Fame: Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion

Rashad-Evans Rashad (Sugar) Evans , is one of Niagara Fall`s most notable athletes.  He has an impressive UFC record of 14 wins, 1 draw, and 1 loss, including victories over Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin.

Each Fridays we will be be profiling  a notable Niagara Falls native.  If you would like to suggest a person to be features in our Famous Friday post, please email us at