I am proud to have been part of the team that put this fabulous publication out. The Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem Congregation on Baily Road in Côte Saint-Luc is thriving.
I am proud to have been part of the team that put this fabulous publication out. The Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem Congregation on Baily Road in Côte Saint-Luc is thriving.
When discussing Les Cours Marc Chagall, the 21 unit town house complex on Marc Chagall Avenue in Côte Saint-Luc, one must go back a number of years ago when the land was zoned commercial. The original bidder for the privately owned property attempted to have a zoning change adopted, something as the councillor for the district I fully supported. Initially this was not successful so plans moved ahead by the developer to build a strip shopping centre. Nearby residents were up in arms. Eventually, cooler heads prevailed and a majority of council agreed to rezone.
Owners began moving into Les Cours Marc Chagall two years ago. A second set of developers had stepped in. During the construction they asked the city for permission to use the neighbouring land we own to house their sales trailer and to leave materials. Long after construction concluded, that patch of land was in pretty poor shape from the debris left over and the vehicles which had driven over it. The height of the land also resulted in a drainage problem affecting the new town house development.
It took a lot of time and money, but we concluded work over the summer which has resulted in a beautiful piece of green space complete with a lovely floral arrangement and a small pathway leading to some comfortable benches. We levelled off the property, put in fresh soil and hydroseeded the entire area.
We do have future plans for this area, something we hope to be able to talk about in 2015. It is a project I am very excited about.
The formal rededication of Nathan Shuster Park in Côte Saint-Luc took place on Sunday, September 14 before an enthusiastic crowd made up of young families, seniors and of course presided over by Mayor Anthony Housefather and members of council.
This park is located in District 8, just a few blocks past the border of my own District 2, between Collins Ave. to the south and Wallenberg Ave. to the north. It is near the northern-most part of Cavendish Blvd. The park now includes a zip-line, tube slide, enhanced nature walk trail, and other items for kids. Given that the park sits together with a protected forested area, many of the items play on the forest theme with benches that look like logs sliced in half and a play equipment that looks like a treehouse.
Nathan Shuster Park was originally inaugurated on June 14, 1990. It is named in honour of the late Nathan Shuster who was a city councillor in Côte Saint-Luc from 1964 to 1989. He passed away in 1989 before the end of his term of office. Nathan Shuster's son Schoel, who resides in Toronto, was in attendance with his wife and daughter. His brother intended on joining us, but he came down with the flu. Nathan Shuster’s widow, Tova, resides in a seniors home in Ottawa and according to Schoel at the age of 101 she is still sharp as whistle.
I had the great pleasure of knowing Nathan Shuster during his years on council, particularly during the years I covered the affairs of Côte Saint-Luc for The Suburban Newspaper. He was a fine gentleman, adored by his constituents. He represented District 6, now proudly served by Councillor Glenn J. Nashen. Tova actually worked with me at The Suburban, where she was a top-notch sales rep.
The impressive $1.02 million makeover of Nathan Shuster Park includes some of the most innovative new equipment for kids on the Montreal island.
“The play equipment we have installed for both younger and older kids at Nathan Shuster Park will make it unique on the island,” Mayor Housefather said.
In order to plan the park, council and staff, and residents engaged in place-making exercises. Place-making is the process of making public places that will attract people and promote their health, happiness, and well-being. District 8 Councillor Ruth Kovac remembers the group conducting the physical tour of the park on a chilly day last February.
"I am very proud of the way the process that led to the rejuvenation of the park," Councillor Kovac said. "We engaged, discussed, debated and in the end have a great park. I think parents and grandparents will have a lot of great memories here."
Added Councillor Mitchell Brownstein, the council member responsible for parks and recreation issues: “We think Nathan Shuster Park will attract people from across Côte Saint-Luc who want to experience something different. We think it will become a favourite destination in Côte Saint-Luc, not just for people in the area but from all over our city.”
Thanks to our Director of Public Affairs, IT and Communications Darryl Levine for this terrific video of the opening.
The absence of a gas station at the corner of Cavendish Boulevard and Mackle Road has really been felt by many Côte Saint-Luc residents. Well there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
City council has adopted the first draft by-law regarding the rezoning of this land, which previously housed a self-serve Esso station and a small depanneur. In its place will be a Shell station with a car wash and a mini-IGA convenience store.
A public consultation meeting will be held soon. Once all of the necessary approvals are given, demolition of the property will commence. We are told to expect completion of the project for next spring or summer.
On the occasion of his remarkable 100th birthday, Côte Saint-Luc city council honoured long time District 2 resident Hyman Avrum Fishman at our September 9 meeting.
Hy is by no means your average centenarian. He still lives in his own apartment on Sir Walter Scott Avenue, in no need for someone to cook, clean or shop for him. Despite bad knees, he does his best to get around. His longevity may have something to do with him dragging his exercise bike into the hallway right outside his door and riding like the wind for half an hour at least several times a week, if not daily, says his friend and neighbour Bram Eisenthal.
A number of years ago Hy dedicated two city benches on Kildare Road in honour of his late wife Fay. He can be seen sitting there often during the spring, summer and fall months.
Hy has become something of a defacto grandfather to his two young neighbours, Alexia and David, children of Gina and Nicu.
“Several of us in his building are very protective of him and we try to keep an eye on him and make sure he is safe and well,” says Eisenthal. “Hy's mind is sharp as a tack and his collecting of pins from around the world may have something to do with his continuing zest for life, something exceeded only by his passion for his beloved Habs.”
I was proud to steer the ship once again for the Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee's (CSLCC) third summer fundraising concert , held on Tuesday, August 26 at the former Wagar High School.The Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra were outstanding. Ditto for soprano Brigitte O' Halleran and singer Alexandra Cohen, who doubled as emcee. Thanks to Councillor Sam Goldbloom for serving as co-chair with me, to event coordinator Alvin Fishman for his tireless work, Communications and Public Affairs Manager Regine Banon for taking care of publicity needs and a cast of many more.
We had a crowd of more than 350 people on hand. Funds raised went towards our CSLCC Trap, Neuter, Release and Adopt Program and our partner organization Educhat, run by the extraordinary Shelley Schecter.
The Music We Love: Best of the Classics – the Cat’s Meow was the theme. We began with a tribute to the late Mayor Bernard Lang, who was a member of our committee and a true cat lover. His wife Miriam, son David and grandson Dylan accepted our special certificate of merit. Miriam confided to me that her family continues to feed homeless cats. Mayor Anthony Housefather, whom along with members of council has been very supportive of our group, gave words of welcome.
Our newly elected Liberal MNA for D'Arcy McGee David Birnbaum was unable to attend,but he did send a nice message which Councillor Goldbloom read. "As member of the National Assembly, I am proud to support this event," he stated. "I’ve been pleased to discuss Côte Saint-Luc’s visionary approach to animal welfare with my colleague Pierre Paradis, Ministre de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation, with a view to having other municipalities follow your fine example. I expect that cats across Côte Saint-Luc will be proudly purring along to the beautiful music you are about to hear!"
Mr. Birnbaum has informed us that a $500 donation from his office will be directed towards the CSLCC, a tradition started by his predecessor Lawrence Bergman. Via District 2 resident Howard Liebman, we also received encouraging words from Mount Royal Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, who tabled animal protection motions in the House of Commons recently.
Lily Percs and a nice delegation from her Women's Group (Chomedy Branch) of Stamp out Violence attended, with transportation provided by Preferance Motor Coach.
Our most worthy honouree this year was Diane Liebling, one of the key players in the CSLCC. She has virtually given up the use of her own family garage - her family members park outdoors even on frigid winter days– so that space can be made available for homeless cats. Diane fosters these cats; in many cases she has fallen so deeply in love that she has adopted. Shelley Shecter often says : “If only we could clone Diane.” Diane Liebling has saved the lives of countless cats in CSL. She is a model for all of us. We presented her with a certificate and a nice gift donated by Norm Zimmerman of Steve's Music Store.
There are many feral cats in the community. The CSLCC’s team of volunteers sets out to trap as many as possible, have them sterilized and then adopted or returned to the spot where they were originally found. The committee has also rescued a number of kittens and found homes for them. The city’s first ever cat licensing bylaw was adopted last year and we have already seen some success from it.
The Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra (MWSO) was founded in 2006 by conductor Milo and his wife Lucy Ravinsky. This one of a kind orchestra was formed when it was discovered that a great pool of professional musicians, recently immigrated to Montreal, had no opportunity to make use of their valuable talent in their new home. The MWSO was created, not only to provide these new Canadians with the opportunity to engage in their main passion; making beautiful music in an orchestral setting, but to give them back the professional dignity they had enjoyed in their homelands and most especially, to share their wonderful talents with the music lovers of Montreal. They are a treasure and we remain lucky to have them.
Below is a video of the entire evening, done by CSL Director of Public Affairs, Communications and IT Darryl Levine:
Thanks to all of our committee members, some of whom baked goods for an intermission fundraising sale and to the staff at the Marymount Adult Education Centre. Principal Jacques Monfette, educational advisor Hipolito Corral and caretakers Michel Leblanc and Brenda Pion. Michel really performed above and beyond the call of duty, serving as our de facto sound advisor.
From this evening we did get some new committee members. We also hope some folks heard our message and will consider adopting a cat. Diane has a few beauties looking for good homes right now.
When I spotted Côte Saint-Luc Public Security agents Erwin Luden and Tony Labattaglia in their patrol cars on Merrimac Road in District 2 Sunday morning looking like they were on a stakeout I asked what all of the commotion was about.
"Which jusy helped capture a rooster on the loose," said Luden.
"We had to isolate the rooster until the SPCA arrived," added Labattaglia.
It turns out that the rooster was about to become a de facto mascot for Bialik High School when classes resumed this week. Communications and Marketing offical Brittany Witt had even named him Reuben the Rooster. But the SPCA was able to capture him safely and according to our Public Security team bring him somewhere safe to live.
I reached Maureen Baron, the head of school for Bialik and JPPS. "Reuben was there for about three weeks," she explained. "Our Buildings and Grounds man found two kids about 10 years old poking around the bushes of the Bialik soccer field. When asked what they were doing they replied that they were looking for their chicken. Our employee thought they were kidding and told them to go look for their chicken elsewhere. And then a few days later Reuben was spotted."
Reuben reportedly dining daily on apples that fell from a tree on the Bialik property.
Aubrey Zelman, out walking his dog Teddy, told me that it was his niece who spotted Reuben running around near the homes on Merrimac. She called Public Security. Roosters love to crow of course. But as the city councillor for District 2, I did not receive any complaints of "cock-a-doodle-doo." Zelman heard the news via his son Michael, who direct messaged him from London, England.
I hope Reuben will enjoy a leisurely life.
This is not Reuben, but possibly his relative.
Many of people have asked me what the city of Côte Saint-Luc's official position is on Bill 3, the Quebec government's Municipal Pension Plan legislation. The recent mob scene of protests at Montreal City Hall show that the anger of some of the unions has gotten out of control. Thus far, in our community, staff have not reacted in such a manner.
We are part of the Association of Suburban Municipalities. Here is their official position on Projet de loi 3 and the need to deal with one of the key issues that has contributed to the current pension crisis, this being the fact that municipal employee salaries are 18 percent greater than those paid to provincial public sector employees and 38 percent more when we talk about total remuneration (salaries + fringe benefits).
Please see the press release below.
I was always a huge fan of the Peter Anthony Holder Show on CJAD. In fact, over the years I had the privilege of being a guest on a number of occasions. Well you can still hear Peter on his superb online program called The Stuph File. I was recently a guest to talk about my experience at a live taping of the X-Factor TV show in London, England. We squeezed in some talk about London in general and the Warner Brothers Studio Harry Potter Tour. Click on the arrow below to hear my segment.
Côte Saint-Luc had a distinct honour the past three years as charismatic Joel Lion, the Israeli Consul General for Quebec and the Maritimes, chose our community to reside. He and his wife Rivka rented a home in CSL, which became the official residence.
Here is my blog on The Suburban Newspaper website about Mr. Lion and his thoughts on his term here.
The number of new members at the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library increased greatly during the month of July to 130. Circulation also was higher in most categories except AV material. Registration for the TD Summer Reading Club has also reached an all-time high. This year’s club has doubled registration from regular years, and has still surpassed the highest ever registration year (2010). Circulation of children’s books has gone from 7,525 in July 2013 to 8,205 in July 2014, a significant increase that may be due to the increased attention the Summer Reading Club program is bringing to the department and the library more generally.
Our Library Express at the Aquatic and Community Centre (ACC) circulation increased by 17.2 percent from July 2013. For the first time in many years, the Library organized two outdoor concerts in July for Summer in the City (one of which with Ranee Lee had to be held indoors on account of rain).
I am proud to be the city councillor responsible for Library and Culture.
There is something new at District 2's Rembrandt Park.
This week pétanque courts have made their debut. I saw a lot of these during my recent visits to Paris and Nice.
Pétanque is an extremely simple game, just like horseshoes. There's a target, and you have to get as close to it as possible. What makes it so appealing, is that you can be way ahead for a while, yet lose a second later, or vice versa. Because nothing is decided until the last player plays the very last boule. If he or she moves the target ball or knocks an opponent ball out of the way, the layout of the boules - and thus your score - may change dramatically.
This game is for people of any age, as strength or speed are not important. Pétanque evolved early this century from an old French bowl game (la boule Provencale), when one of the old champions, meanwhile suffering from arthritis and mourning his heydays, suggested there be no more running and jumping: everyone should throw the boules standing still, feet together, in a small starting circle. The old champion was back in the game! These days, on many market places in France, petanque is played day in, day out. While retirees are in the majority during weekdays, teenagers and everyone else who wants to unwind for a while will join them after school or work and on weekends.
So we invite players of all ages to gather for games of pick-up pétanque. You must bring your own balls and jack. If you are interested in participating in a league, contact François Marechal at firstname.lastname@example.org or 514-996-8709.
See this video:
Well before I became a city councillor in Côte Saint-Luc more than nine years ago I was involved with the annual golf tournament. I believe my association as the emcee of their awards luncheon goes back at least 25 years. Originally, it was a Seniors Golf Outing and the event always attracted good numbers. When I was elected, I began co-chairing the program with Councillor Sam Goldbloom.
Over the years we saw attendance begin to drop. Last year, we had only 42 golfers register. We knew it was time to either cancel the event or recharge the batteries. Sam and I opted for the latter and thanks to the spectacular assistance of Harold Cammy and Alvin Fishman at our Parks and Recreation Department the revival began. We renamed the event the Côte Saint-Luc Golf Classic and made it available to people of all ages. Work on the 2014 event began during a cold winter day when we sat down with Harold and Alvin and drew up a plan to attract foursomes. Together we obtained a title sponsors in Gravel Auto Group, which has a successful dealership on Decarie. Harold and Alvin signed up a few other sponsors, including Casey Cameron from Techsport Inc. "Why not have a celebrity honourary chairman?" I asked, thinking out loud that legendary jazz pianist and CSL resident Oliver Jones would be a good choice. Thanks to our Chief Librarian Janine West and her husband Jim, Jones agreed. He was part of a foursome with the West's and one of their close friends.
When all was said and done, a total of 83 golfers registered. It rained the day before, but as I awoke on Tuesday, July 8 the weather was gorgeous and precipitation was only called for later in the day. This was also a day, once again, to showcase Meadowbrook Golf Course and how beautiful this large greenspace is. For the first time a foursome from Les Amis de Meadowbrook took part and that was wonderful. They lobby and hold meetings throughout the year, but what better thing to do than spend time on the very land they wish to preserve. We all golfed on the back nine. I was part of a foursome with Goldbloom, Police Station 9 Commander Marc Cournoyer and Officer Martin Bourgeois. Louis-Philippe Gravel, director of sales at Gravel Auto Decarie, was on hand as well.
This represents my only golf game of the year, so only when I near the final hole do I find my swing comes around. But this is a great day out and for only $27 a person where else can you find a better bargain.
The golf game is only half the fun. Afterwards everyone convened at our Aquatic and Community Centre for a very enjoyable luncheon coordinated by the team of Cammy and Fishman and their devoted committee: Toby Goldner-Shulman, Faygie Block, Dina Ancel, Naomi Jacobson, Fran Rosen-Miller, Kathy Nasr, Elaine Libman and Maurice Giobbi, Everyone was greeted with some wine and cheese, a few hor d'oeuvres and then a nice buffet of party sandwiches and salads.
Mayor Anthony Housefather provided opening remarks and then helped hand out the trophies.
Closest to the pin on the 16th hole went to Patti Heller for the women and Ivan Kolti for the men. Longest drive at the 17th hole also went to Heller for the women while Steven Wise captured the men's side.
There was a wide array of doorprizes handed out. This included a set of golf irons and a golf bag (valued at $400) from Play It Again Sports on Decarie and a one week scholarship at the TSPA Tennis Academy (valued at $270). Gravel Auto donated a slew of prizes, as did Bench, Bugatti, Pharmaprix Cavendish, CSL Bagel, J & R Kosher, CSL Kosher, Massa Greek Grill, Rockaberry Monkland, The Snowdon Deli, the Range Golf Academy and many more. This was a testament to the tireless efforts of Fishman. Thanks to five year old Jeremy Nashen, who came on stage with his dad - City Councillor Glenn J. Nashen - to help choose the winners. We know Jeremy is honest because his grandfather George lamented later that he did not win anything.
Harold Cammy the Caterer then had one more suprise up his sleeve. On the eve of Oliver Jones' 80th birthday, out came a huge cake designed like a piano. Oliver, who earlier addressed the crowd, was clearly touched. Everyone got a chance to taste this delicious dessert, as well as yogurt cups donated by Yeh! Yogurt at Quartier Cavendish.
We also wish to thank Michael Johnson, club manager at Meadowbrook and his staff. It was a great day to be sure.
Thanks to all. It was a great day. I can't wait until our 36th (Double Chai) event next summer!
The 35th annual Côte Saint-Luc Golf Classic, set for Tuesday, July 8 at Meadowbrook, promises to be a good one. I am co-chairing the event once again with Councillor Sam Goldbloom. After less than 50 golfers participated last year, Sam and I set out to pump up the volume. Thanks to phenomenal staff support from Harold Cammy and Alvin Fishman, we will now have the highest number of players and prizes collected and registered over the past five years.
We also have a superb sponsor in Gravel Auto, which will make a brand new car available, and legendary jazz pianist Oliver Jones as our honourary chair. He will also be part of a foursome.
This is also an excellent opportunity to remind people what precious greenspace we have at Meadowbrook. Some members of Les Amis de Meadowbrook will even golf with us this year.
Foursome tee off early and we will all gather at the Aquatic and Community Centre for an awards banquet at 1 p.m.
For David Birnbaum, the newly elected Liberal Member of the National Assembly for D'Arcy McGee, July 1 marked his first Canada Day in Côte Saint-Luc. "What a great show you people put on," he told me, looking out in almost disbelief from the grand stage as a sea of thousands of people gathered for closing ceremonies and fireworks.
A huge hats off to Councillors Mitchell Brownstein and Sam Goldbloom, their committee and our amazing Parks and Recreation team headed by David Taveroff. Special marks to Laura Trihas, Cornelia Ziga, Alvin Fishman, Harold Cammy and cast of others who are part of such a well oiled team that our Canada Day is the envy of other municipalities.
There were activities at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park all day. We formally began proceedings with our traditional Citizenship Ceremony, presided over by Judge Barbara Seal. CJAD's Dan Laxer and Dr. Laurie Betito were terrific emcees. There were 40 new Canadian citizens sworn in from 17 different countries.
Plenty of games for the kids were in place and the pedal boats had a lineup a mile long. Scotiabank Westminster sponsored our always popular Canada Day cupcakes. Their representative, investment and personal banking specialist Yannick Haim Amar, is a relatively new resident of District 2. People lined up at the different concessions and took test drives with some vehicles from Gravel Auto, which donated $10 per test to three local charities.
Airport 77 and Lorraine Klaasen provided superb musical entertainment. The late Nelson Mandela was inducted into our Human Rights Walkway. Mount Royal Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, who was one of Mandela's counsels when he was incarcerated in South African prison for 27 years, spoke about how Mandela emerged as a metamorphasis and a message behind the struggle for human rights of our time. Mandela, of course, presided over the dismantling of apartheid and at the age of 75 became his country's president. Cotler attended his funeral last December. Dierdre Viljoen, Minister (Plenipotentiary) of the South African High Commission in Canada, drove into Montreal especially to attend our ceremony.
We honoured former D'Arcy McGee Liberal MNA Lawrence Bergman for his stellar 18 years of representation for our community in Quebec City by naming our main chalet at Trudeau Park in his honour. Lawrence was showered with well deserved cheers for his nearly two decades of devoted service to the constituents of D'Arcy McGee. As Mayor Anthony Housefather rightfully said, it was Lawrence who stepped in and saved our Emergency Medical Services from being torn apart by the provincial government. And when we needed the province to take part in funding our $18 million Aquatic and Community Centre (ACC), he stepped up to the plate again.
The evening culminated with Alexandra Cohen singing O Canada and a spectacular fireworks display.
Thanks as well to our invaluable Volunteer Citizens on Patrol (VCOPs) and our team of EMS volunteers.
We were all very worried about the forecast for throughout most of the day it looked very much like rain might fall. That did not happen. It was an absolutely perfect night at a time when MNA Birnbaum could deliver the message from our new premier, who can declare quite openly: "Happy Canada Day!"
See Councillor Glenn J. Nashen's very comprehensive blog, including audio and video.
We are all in mourning today with the news that former Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Bernard Lang has passed away at the age of 88.
Lang was the mayor of Côte Saint-Luc for 22 years. Prior to that he was a city councillor for 13 year. He attempted a comeback in the 2005 election and ran against Anthony Housefather. I had a long history with “Mayor” Lang. No, he was not the present-day mayor. But just as they refer to President Clinton, President Bush and President Carter in the United States, it was difficult to address someone as “Mr.” Lang when he held the mayoral post for so long.
I go back many years with Lang, notably to my years as the Côte Saint-Luc beat reporter for The Suburban, The Monitor and briefly The Weekly Herald. We never lost contact.
The arrival of Lang's first and only grandchild Dylan some 13 years ago rejuvenated him. He was the youngest and most fit looking 87 year old I know. Soon after his crushing defeat in 2005, Lang began calling me at least once a week as that election coincided with my debut as a city councillor. He was not bitter. It was clear that he chose to run again because of his undying love for the city. He questioned me on various decisions of the city, but out of general interest and concern that the right thing be done. As time went on I sensed a genuine support for the current council. He and Mayor Housefather began to speak. At a VE Day ceremony in the year following that election, Mayor Housefather acknowledged Lang in a very positive way. Afterwards, Lang thanked him warmly.
When we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Côte Saint-Luc Eleanor London Public Library, Lang was profiled prominently in the special edition of our Courier newspaper. He was also brought on stage and saluted by Mayor Housefather at our ceremony. It was on that night it became clear to me that we needed to find a place for him at the committee level. He agreed to sit on our library committee. He and his devoted wife Miriam were cat lovers. And so they joined my Cats Committee.
Bernard Lang was a full-time mayor, spending virtually every weekday at City Hall. He had a successful business which he had his sons run. Lang was an articulate spokesman who brought credibility to the city. He stood up against any wrongs coming to the city and was noted for taking on the City of Montreal and winning after then Mayor Jean Doré reneged on a pledge to extended Kildare Road into CSL. Lang went all the way to Quebec City and came back with a multi-million dollar ruling in favor of our city and the awarding of the North of Hampstead area and Decarie Square to our tax coffers.
Lang bitterly opposed any talk to extend Cavendish Boulevard. "We don't need it, we don't want it, we can't afford it," he would always say.
His feud with then Hampstead Mayor Irving Adessky was legendary.
Under his watch the present-day City Hall and Library Complex was built. When he retired, it was named the Bernard Lang Civic Centre - a fitting honour.
Funeral services will be held on Sunday, June 15 (2 p.m.) at Paperman and Sons. Ironically that same afternoon, a demerger celebration concert featuring Bowser and Blue will take place at Trudeau Park - another facility like the arena which came into being under his leadership. Lang was very much part of the demerger issue. And so, there will no doubt be a nice tribute to him.
May you rest in peace Mayor Lang.
On Sunday, June 8 we inaugurated the CSL Library Demonstration Garden and at the same time held our Second Annual Great Tomato Plant Giveaway. The newly constructed demonstration garden is located behind the library. Mayor Anthony Housefather and members of council were on hand for the official ribbon cutting ceremony. A representative from the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation was on hand to present a $2,250 grant for the project to our amazing librarian and new grandmother Janine West.
“This garden is an important component of the city-wide urban agriculture initiative launched last year and it is a perfect fit with the library’s mission of discovery and exploration”, says Mayor Housefather. “This vegetable garden is a space where people can learn a variety of gardening techniques through hands on experience.”
As the councillor responsible for the library, I am very proud of this initiative.
Plants were distributed to the first 400 residents to visit the Demonstration Garden (one plant per household and proof of CSL residency required). Residents were able to sign up for gardening classes offered at the library, a space at the community gardens, learn about the seed library and take a tour of the demonstration garden. Kid-friendly activities were also planned.
“After the difficult winter we have just endured, urban agriculture is a wonderful excuse to spend more time outdoors”, said Councillor Allan J. Levine, who is the councillor responsible for urban agriculture. “We are hoping that all residents participate in this activity, in whatever manner suits them. And if someone isn’t sure that urban agriculture is for them, they can start by volunteering to help maintain the demonstration garden. They they can start by volunteering to help maintain the demonstration garden. They will learn all the essentials while helping out their community.”
"The timing is perfect to do so because this past week was Canadian Environment Week, a time for grassroots action to help preserve, protect and restore our environment," said Carmela Lo Dico, the branch manager at the Quartier Cavendish TD Bank. "It is important to remember that every effort counts, big or small. And getting involved is the first step towards preserving our environment. The Côte Saint-Luc demonstration garden proposes ideas and activities that we can do that will make a difference.``
A couple of years ago my colleague, Councillor Mitchell Brownstein, had a dream: to bring musical theatre to Côte Saint-Luc. Obtaining the services of a first class director in Anisa Cameron was the first step to guaranteed success. Rotating between comedy and musicals, we have been treated to two top-notch shows annually. Last year's presentation of Fiddler on the Roof was sensational.
On June 5 I attended a special VIP showing of their latest efforf, Catch Me If You Can The Musical. I saw the movie of the same name at least half a dozen times, but never did catch the Broadway musical. Well the Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society now goes into the books as presenting the Canadian premiere. The storyline revolves around Frank W. Abagnale, Jr., a teenager who runs away from home in search of the glamorous life. With nothing more than his boyish charm, a big imagination and millions of dollars in forged checks, Frank successfully poses as a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer - living the high life and winning the girl of his dreams. But when Frank's lies catch the attention of FBI agent Carl Hanratty, Carl chases Frank to the end...and finds something he never expected.
By the time the run ends on June 22, there will have been 14 shows.
Cameron assembled an excellent cast, with Brandon Schwartz turning in an outstanding performance in the lead role. "We’ve assembled a wonderfully talented cast including Brandon , a very gifted 17-year-old singer and performer,” Cameron said. “Brandon has a remarkable voice and if he chooses to stay in Montreal, he’s going to be a fixture in the professional theatre scene for years to come.”
Schwartz has been performing since age six and is now studying music with a specialization in jazz voice at Marianopolis College
Hats off as well to Mike Melino, Matthew Mckeown, Marieve Guerin, Megan Magisano, Elvi Dalgaard, Craig Dalley, Alexandre Iannuzzi, Shaun Nishmas, Jason Szwimer, Arielle Buch-Frohlich, Bailey Cohen-Krichevsky, Stefanie Demberg, Raquel Herscovici, Samantha Leibgott, Natasha Lilliman, Einav Ne'Eman, Ilana Nyveen, Noam Shalev, Shy Shalev, Ariel Sterlin, Elyssa Stock , Michael Goldwax, David Taveroff and of course Mitchell Brownstein.
Goldwax, a Hampstead town councillor and director general of Le Waldorf Senior Residence, played a railroad agent, a doctor and show business host. The man has some versatile acting chops.
Musical Direction was handled masterfully by David Terriault, choreography by Alexia Gourd, technical direction and lights by Scott Drysdale and costumes by Elyse Malo. Ariel Sterlin was the assistant choreographer; Alexa Burak the stage manager and Reesa Rosenfeld heading production.
This no small thing to produce. How lucky we are to have a theatrical group of this calibre within our own midst. And now of this would be possible, I might add, without our tremendous staff - notably the likes of Cornelia Ziga, Ryan Nemeroff and Harold "Kid" Cammy.
Tickets are on sale online at CSLDramaticSociety.com or at the Côte Saint-Luc library (5851 Cavendish Blvd.), the Côte Saint-Luc Aquatic and Community Centre (5794 Parkhaven Ave.), or by telephone at 514-485-6800 ext. 2024. Tickets for evening performances are $27 for adults, and $24 for seniors/students. Matinees and preview shows are $18. Taxes are included in the price.
I like to tell the story of my first election campaign more than eight years ago, when I was the candidate for Côte Saint-Luc City Council in District 2. There were a number of objectives on my agenda, but chief among them was the introduction of District meetings, whereby very local issues would be discussed.
These meetings, held once a year (or more often if need be), have been very well received. On June 2, 2014, the most recent such gathering dealt with a number of issues. Mayor Anthony Housefather joined me at the podium along with our point man on traffic, Eric Ibey, and Police Station 9 Sergeant Bryan Cunningham.
Award of Merit - Mathew Stein
For the second year in a row, I handed out a special Award of Merit. It went to 16 year old Mathew Stein, who is completing Grade 10 at Bialik High School. Mathew was recognized for stepping up on his own and cleaning up the neighbourhood – specifically the streets and sidewalks of District 2.
“Every year, as part of our commitment to personal growth, I must do a certain amount of community service hours,” Mathew explained. “In my case I have been very upset at the lack of respect and responsibility that t residents have shown to their community. I walk my dog and have noticed that people think that our city is a personal garbage dump and have acted accordingly. So after having consulted with my dad, I took it upon myself to clean up my city, one piece of garbage at a time. It was difficult during the winter months, but now that the weather is nicer I am getting out with my garbage bags and picking it up. I have been told that even my small effort has made a difference in how our streets look and hopefully people will take notice and stop dumping their trash on the ground. Maybe we can even set up a continuous effort to keep my initiative going, and get more people involved. And if we make it fun, more people will do it.”
Mathew attended the meeting with his parents Steve and Arlene, brother Jessie (a member of the Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society) and his grandfather Victor Ades.
I also took the opportunity to announce that Steve Stein has agreed to serve as the acting chair for a special Dog Owners Advisory Committee. As the city councillor responsible for Animal Protection, I am getting a lot of proposals thrown my way. Steve’s group will try and put various objectives in order.
Mayor Housefather spoke glowingly about the growing population in Côte Saint-Luc. He spoke about how blessed we all were with the results of the April provincial election, which saw the divisive PQ minority government go down to defeat. Côte Saint-Luc, he reminded everyone, played a leading role lobbying against proposed laws on language (Bill 14) and secularism (Bill 60).
Developments at the Quartier Cavendish and soon on Parkhaven are welcoming new young families to Côte Saint-Luc. The former project is pretty much sold out. We will be adding integrated green space to the project and building up The Avenue – the appropriately dubbed main road going into Quartier Cavendish – with hopefully some shops and cafes to join Yeh! Yogurt as a reason to stick around our town.
On the extension of Cavendish Boulevard, the mayor maintained his optimism that this will become a reality – an extension that goes from Cavendish in Côte Saint-Luc to Royalmount in TMR and then to St. Laurent. One of the goals of our city, since Bernard Lang left office as mayor in 1998, has been to see Cavendish extended. There is now a committee in place, a mayor of Montreal (Denis Coderre) who favors the move and a Liberal government which we believe will finally make this happen.
On a final note, the mayor reiterated his wish to keep Meadowbrook Golf Course green.
Bryan Cunningham (do not let the name fool you as he is a francophone from Ahuntsic) told us how pleased Police Station 9 is to have their Bike Patrol back in operation. Two police officers are now regularly patrolling our parks on two wheels. I am very pleased to hear this, especially where Rembrandt Park is concerned. We repeatedly get calls of people congregating there during late night hours and creating disturbances. The Bike Patrol should put a dent in this.
We opened the floor to questions. Sergeant Cunningham listened to concerns about streets where speeding occurs and traffic and parking infractions are a problem. Josef Brody of Sir Walter Scott Avenue made a point of saying how a better eye needs to be kept on the Côte Saint-Luc Shopping Centre where cars frequently ignore the no stopping and no parking rules.
Alex Halpern of Merrimac Road asked for the police to better monitor the crosswalks on the Heywood circle. On Saturdays specifically, with people going to and from synagogue, it is very difficult to cross the street as cars zoom by. He asked for adjustments to be made to the crosswalks and sidewalks and for there to be a better police presence. Sergeant Cunningham agreed to assign some officers to observe.
Shirley Rosen said it is time again for the police to crack down on Bialik High School parents who block driveways and go in no parking zones. Sergeant Cunningham said that Police Station 9 does give attention to problematic matters related to Bialik, but they have a fair number of schools to cover in their territory. Tickets are issued and problems exist at all schools. The police are doing their best. I have personally met with successive Bialik administrations and I wish to assure everyone that the situation is vastly improved to what it was years ago.
Steve Acre asked if cars are being ticketed if they rest on the zebra like "no stopping" line in front of the police station parking lot on Kildare Road. He recommended closer attention be paid to the area.
Cavendish and Kildare
We all agree that the corner of Cavendish and Kildare is problematic. Pedestrians complain that there is not enough time to cross the street; motorists insist that the light turns colours too quickly. We have undertaken a number of measures over the years: introducing double left turns on Kildare heading to Cavendish and on Cavendish to Fleet; synchronizing the traffic lights along Cavendish; maintaining a crossing guard there year-round. Can we undertake any additional action? There are some possible solutions, which we have discussed. Not only would they be very costly, but given the changing dynamics of that corner it would only serve as a stop-gap measure and frankly not a good investment at all.
Both Mayor Housefather and Eric Ibey explained that no significant changes are being considered at the present time given the new reality of a Cavendish extension, as well as the developments at Quartier Cavendish and Parkhaven. The mayor added that there is actually less traffic at that corner today than during the glory days of the Cavendish Mall.
When work does begin on an extension, the mayor said, the Cavendish-Kildare intersection will be an important component of the changes made to traffic patterns. At that point something elaborate will occur.
Some people did have suggestions as to how to make some improvements now. He has agreed to do walkabouts with those individuals so they can show him personally what they have in mind.
At a District 2 meeting two years ago, we discussed in great detail the future of Rembrandt Park. Would we redo the tennis courts? Should the basketball courts stay? Follow up consultation was done and it was determined that the true wish was for the courts to be resurfaced, new lighting to be installed and for the status quo to prevail otherwise. Well it was timely for me to announce that the refurbished Rembrandt courts are in operation. Ditto for the new lighting. We even did some repairs to the fencing. Because of the unfriendly spring weather we had, delivery was a bit delayed. But everyone should now be very pleased.
The final word went to Dr. Paul Weinstein, who complained about the state of our sidewalks during the winter. Better effort needs to be made, he said, to break up the ice.
while it is looking very promising for the land once occupied by the Griffith McConnell.
The mayor reminded everyone about the efforts I have made to have a special allocation of $10,000 made these last few years to have the snow dump reduced to rubble, as opposed to the days when a mountain like structure essentially remained intact through the summer months. At the present time we are still working on the procedure, which is not as easy as it looks. Strong machinery is required to chop up what used to be a mixture of snow and dirt and has now evolved into thick mud.
While on our respective vacations last Christmas, both the mayor and I were alerted to excessive noise coming from the snow dump. We spoke each day, communicated with staff and arrived at solutions such as having a barrier of snow to be formed almost like a wall to shield some of the noise and for as much work to occur deep the dump as possible. We closely monitored the trucks making unnecessary noise, even posting our own staff there. It seemed to improve matters. We worked closely with residents of the still relatively new Les Cours Marc Chagall Town Houses.
The Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library is about a lot more than books. I have been reminded about that constantly since assuming the portfolio of library and culture at the start of my third mandate as a city councillor.
One of the things I wanted to become more involved in programming. We offer some excellent lectures and I was very excited to recommend Bob Benedetti as a potential guest speaker. Bob has lived a most interesting life: airforce pilot, TV broadcaster, mayor of Beaconsfield and now a blogger specializing on matters related to technology.
Well Bob acccepted our invitation and on May 29 he delivered a fabulous "story of my life," complete with a 52 slide powerpoint presentation featuring some great video clips. A surprise member of the audience was legendary sportscaster Dick Irvin, recently presented with the Order of Canada. He is a former colleague of Bob's at CTV Montreal.
Bob started off by sharing with us his special Côte Saint-Luc connection. Pointing to his lovely wife Susan, seated in the second row, he took us back to 1978 when he lived in the area known as the Village - just off Côte Saint-Luc Road near Kingsley. He was doing his grocery shopping at Steinberg's at the CSL Shopping Centre when his cart literally bumped into Susan's. She recognized him from TV and the two got to talking.
"At the cash, I asked if we could see each other," Bob said. "She told me that she was in the phone book. We actually became friends for about five years. After sharing dating experiences, we saw that what we wanted was right under our nose. We have now been together 29 years this coming August."
Bob began his powerpoint and literally began his story with photos of his third birthday, his days as a high school football player (concussions and broken bones galore). His first job was with Bell Telephone, but what he really wanted to do was become a pilot. So he took all the necessary courses and in 1956, for only $300 (with a $100 rebate from the government), he got his pilot's license. That propelled him to pursue a career in the Canadian Airforce.
Bob's claim to fame, of course, were the years he spent as a reporter for the old Pulse News on CFCF (now simply known as CTV Monteal). He shared some great stories of his days in the field, illustrated by a highlight reel compiled by Brian Britt when he retired almost a decade ago. It was not long before he was persuaded to run for mayor of Beaconsfield in 2005. He won and served one term. These days he keeps himself very busy with his excellent blog on new technology.
“Technology has always been a hobby of mine,” Bob was saying. “I remember when I was a little kid going to visit my uncle who worked for Bell I’d head straight for his telephone equipment to play with. I was a pioneer writing about technology long before it became commonplace. For example I was the first reporter ever to write about the original BlackBerry. It looked like a pager back in the late nineties. I used the segment title Tech Talk. Do I ever wish I had registered the name, now everyone uses it. I computerized the newsroom and brought in the first satellite truck called Pulstar. We had a visionary owner who gave us the money to do it.”
Bob is thrilled with the following his Home Technology Montreal blog has achieved, reporting on both personal and car technology. “A lot of my site has reviews,” Bob says. “I get stuff and try it out and I write it in a fun way. People have to deal with technology today, whether it is making a purchase for themselves or as a gift. And there is a lot of technology in cars today. So I take a close look at that as well. I put a particular emphasis on stuff that is available in Montreal.”
Bob has also taken to Twitter. He also designed his own website, spending time getting to know and understand the Wordpress format.
Bob and Susan were happy to make the trip to CSL and escape their home."We are in week four of kitchen renovations," he said.
Here is a video chat I had with Bob last year: