YidLife Crisis to present "A Closer Luc" Wednesday night at library and online

Proud Bialik High School graduates Jamie Elman and Eli Batalion of YidLife Crisis are indeed coming home on Wednesday, August 17 (7pm) when they present a live variety show featuring comedy, video, music and thought-provoking shtick inspired by the history and roots of Côte Saint-Luc. Seats for the live show, cleverly entitled A Closer Luc, are sold out, but it will be broadcast live on our You Tube channel.

Here is the link.

In June 2021, our library presented a collaborative project with the Conseil des arts de Montreal which would award a $25,000 prize to a selected local artist group or collective who would then produce an artistic project that would be showcased in Côte Saint-Luc. In the fall, the call went out for submissions and three artist groups applied. YidLife Crisis was selected.

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Eli and Jamie on the scene.

 

If you have not seen Jamie and Eli in action, YidLife Crisis started off as a web series and has virtually turned into an empire. The boys have travelled across the globe, with their alter egos speaking Yiddish with English sub-titles. Go to www.yidlifecrisis.com to see for yourself.

The purpose of this project was for YidLife Crisis to research, write, produce, and present a
special 60-minute multi-media presentation by and for our community.

Using a similar lens to their award-winning documentary "CHEWDAISM: A Taste of Jewish Montreal" (CBC, PBS), where food and culture are used to explore the history of YidLife Crisis’ home town, this presentation will hone in on Côte Saint-Luc to explore the origins of how this unique enclave on the island of Montreal came to be, how its unique character as a specific kind of Canadian and Québecois experience shaped the world lens of the creators themselves, and demonstrate how it has evolved to take on its unique character in the modern day, putting current community cultural contributors in the spotlight. The project will meld the multidisciplinary creative powers of YidLife Crisis as award-winning filmmakers and global touring performers by combining elements such as short film, visuals (e.g. slides and archival footage), musical creation and classical theatrical
elements.”

I was honoured to be interviewed for this project and I can’t wait to see how they integrate my video footage into the final product.

You can also see this story from the Canadian Jewish News.


Our 41st annual CSL Golf Classic raises more than $9,000 for Bursary Fund

Following a three year absence due to COVID-19, the Côte Saint-Luc Golf Classic returned on August 9  to Meadowbrook Golf Course and it was a huge success.

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Myself with Pierre Brunet, Peter Lipari and Glenn J. Nashen.

I was pleased to  co-chair this 41st annual event with Councillor Dida Berku and  Mannie Young. Dida has been a champion on keeping Meadowbrook green for  decades. Mannie, the former chair of the Men’s Club and a retired pharmacist, added an entire new dimension to this program with his wealth of contacts and fundraising abilities - no to mention his sense of humour.

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Glenn and Sam made acceptance speeches.

A few years ago, we introduced the Parks and Recreation Bursary Fund to help disadvantaged families and for children who have special needs in Côte Saint-Luc who cannot afford to register their children in seasonal programs and activities operated by our city. It was created by myself and Harold Cammy, with the support of McDonald’s franchisee Pierre Brunet.

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The outdoor luncheon setup was excellent.

This year, thanks principally to Mannie and event coordinator Anisa Cameron, we exceeded expectations. New corporate sponsors were brought in  and we raised over $9,000 for our charity.

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A large collection of cupcakes for Glenn and Sam.

Former City Councillors Glenn J. Nashen and Sam Goldbloom were this year’s honorees.

Glenn served on city council for more than 25 years. He was a key player in the area of public safety, having launched the Volunteer Citizens on Patrol (VCOPs) and participating as an active member of the Emergency Medical Services. Sam was a councillor for 12 years and co-chaired the Golf Classic with me on many occasions. Glenn's parents, George, 99, and Phyllis, 95, were on hand. Irving Leiner also paid tribute to the late Joe Presser, who was our honouree in 2018. His wife Isabel and daughter Janet joined us.  I miss Joe terribly!

See this video produced by Mayor Brownstein.

First off, the golf day was a lot of fun. There was a slight drizzle as we hit the links yet very comfortable temperatures. I had the pleasure of being part of a foursome with Nashen, D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum and IGA Côte Saint-Luc Shopping Centre operator Peter Lipari, who has quite the swing.

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My foursome, Nashen, Birnbaum and Lipari.

Our committee, which also included Anthony Sulpizio and Moe Giobbi, began meeting by Zoom  last winter and we agreed at that point to hold our luncheon outdoors in Ashkelon Gardens behind City Hall. We did not know where we’d be with COVID-19 and I do not think any of us expected  a seventh wave.  Box lunches were prepared by Pizza Pita and this turned out to be an ideal venue, made even better with the husband and wife singing duo -Qué Sera- of Merv “Harvey Keitel-look-alike” Middling  and Joanne Cutler. They now  perform to benefit  the Harvey Levine Cancer Fund, associated with the Cedar Cancer Centre of the MUHC. There is no charge for their performances, however, any donations received will be given entirely towards cancer research in hopes that one day we will find a cure.  Harvey was the director of B’nai Brith Canada in Quebec, who left us more than a year ago. It was nice to see his widow, Doreen, on hand as the Que Sera roadie. She even showed off some of her dancing moves. Their performance was very well received.

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Joanne and Merv perform.

Thanks to Pierre Brunet and his McDonald’s team for welcoming all of the golfers with coffee, danish, muffins and yogurt tubes and to our other sponsors: Sol and Anna Zuckerman; RBC Wealth Management (Ted Kalil and John Kalaydjian); ReBox – Brian Young; Classique Furniture (Jordan Biberkraut); Elm Ridge, Islesmere/Club Link, Le Diamant; IGA (Peter Lipari); Pierre Brunet and McDonald’s (with honourable mention to Roberto Del Papa who set it up); TCBY (Lenny Rosenberg); Delmar (Harrison Cutler); Jean Coutu Côte Saint-Luc Shopping Centre (Alex Darian); Pharmaprix Quartier Cavendish (David Banon, with special mention to Ian Macdonald, who set the whole thing up), 5 Minute Coffee Break (Steve Stein) and  Dollarama. We also had plenty of door prizes and a silent auction, offering foursomes to the  four top private golf clubs mentioned.

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Joan Zafran, Mannie Young, Dida Berku, Mitch Kujavsky, Peter Lipari and myself.

As for the trophy presentations,   here were the winners.

Longest Drive:

Men’s – Peter Lipari

Women’s – Joan Zafran

Closest to the Pin:

Men’s – Councillor Mitch Kujavsky

Women’s – Joan Zafran

Most Honest (highest score)” – Arnie Leder

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Harrison Cutler, Mannie Young, Lior Azerad and Mitch Kujavsky.

Lowest Score – Harrison Cutler

Best Dressed (Male) – Fred Schacter

Best Dressed  (Female)– Janine West

Thanks to everyone who made this event so special.  Bravo Mannie for introducing the new awards. I can’t wait for next year!


At $500,000, Roslyn Margles’ gift to our library is the largest individual donation in CSL history

When I was first elected to city council nearly 17 years ago,  I established a committee to explore sponsorship, naming rights and donation guidelines for our community. Two years later, working principally with Director Public Affairs and Communications Darryl Levine, Lisa Milner from our Public Library and Harold Cammy in Parks and Recreation, Council approved our recommendations.

Overall, the city has done very well in terms of event and program sponsorship over the years. For the most part, naming rights were relegated to park benches and lectures. Soon after last November’s election, someone in the community connected me with philanthropist Roslyn Margles. Over the course of many months, working with Director of Library Services Janine West, Treasurer Angelo Marino and Legal Counsel Andrea Charon, we reached an agreement which has resulted into the largest individual donation in city history: $500,000 to name the Bibliotheque des jeunes Max Margles Children’s Library. City Council approved the contract at our Monday, August 8, 2022 meeting.

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An artistic rendering of what the signage will look like.

 

Max Margles loved to read. He was an in-depth reader, seeking out well-written and engrossing books, relevant and meaningful. He kept two Rolodex files – one arranged by author, the other arranged by title. On these small cards, in his meticulous printing (he was a structural engineer), he summarized the nature of the book, the plot, and provided his eloquent assessment of the work.  When Max died suddenly in 2004, his widow Roslyn looked for projects to endow in Max’s memory. Since the couple has no children, Roslyn carries on this mandate with vigour and pride. She established a Max Margles Endowment Fund at the Jewish Public Library in Montreal, sponsoring an annual lecture by outstanding literary authors.  And the Quebec Writers Federation now has the Max Margles  Writing Residency.
 
A resident of Côte Saint-Luc, Roslyn Margles has agreed to bestow this gift upon us in two parts: a $200,000 donation, and a $300,000 endowment fund to be created by the Jewish Community Foundation of Montreal.

We are absolutely thrilled to receive this donation. I have spoken to  Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Councillor Lior Azerad, who has the sponsorship portfolio and indeed we hope that other members of the community will step forward as we have many other naming rights opportunities at the library and in other departments.

Donations such as this are intended to be used for items not in our regular budget.

So in this case, guidelines will include programming that encourages literacy, including but not limited to: Own Voices Literary Festival, Children’s Book Week activities and events, Public Libraries Week activities and event. As well, activity that promotes an annual writing or storytelling contest branded the Roslyn and Max Literacy Contest, with the co-operation of schools situated on the Côte Saint-Luc territory, and perhaps, involvement of local authors, a jury, prizes, etc. We have also discussed programming that encourages performing arts programs.

Pending Ms. Margles’ signature on our contract, we intend to unveil indoor and outdoor signage at a ceremony on Sunday morning, September 18.

We are very excited.


Rembrandt Park is a magnificent facility we can all be very proud of

As the city councillor for District 2 these past 17 years, I am very proud of the work that has been done to enhance Rembrandt Park.

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The new basketball courts.

When I was first elected, the park had a sunken field that was used by delinquents to hide out late at night and even dump benches. We were able to level that field, much to the benefit of users. A skateboard bowl, deemed dangerous by many parents and confirmed by senior staff, was removed. The splashpad project was installed well over a decade ago and is a popular attraction. Park equipment has been consistently upgraded and  last year we finally installed a brand new basketball court, as well as a half court for youngsters. In addition, we purchased large nets so youngsters could play soccer. I have received nothing but warm thanks for the youngsters who use these  facilities.

As for the tennis courts, they have been refurbished over the years and benefited from new lighting. A permanent ping pong table, installed in 2021, has been a big hit from the start. In the winter, for two years in a row now, we have but in an ice skating rink at one of the tennis courts. There is also a popular toboggan hill.

This is an extremely well utilized park, a hub of activity and a wonderful mix of young families and seniors who live in the immediate area. I am not pleased to see people having picnics and not cleaning up after themselves. It lends the impression that the park is dirty.  That is not the case. We have ample trash cans. On weekends in particular we have a small crew of staff circulating throughout the city so they cannot possibly visit each park for cleanup.

I walk through this park regularly from the spring to the fall, constantly interacting with users and the park attendants who oversee activities. When people have concerns, they direct them my way.  That is the best process to follow.  Last summer, for instance, a woman called to advise me that she was pushing her husband in his wheelchair to the park, but the pathway was not smooth enough to  get there. In a matter of days I had a crew from Public Works present to pour more cement and create an easier entry.

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The water splashpad area.

Understandably, residents who use a particular park a lot tend to have large wish lists. We do everything we can to comply, however it is very important to emphasize that the city has dozens of parks to take care of. There is only so much funding available. That being said, Rembrandt Park is indeed on a list prepared by our Public Works Department for changes to the playground areas.  This will not occur overnight, as it is a costly endeavor. As well,  because the playgrounds are divided into sections for young and older children, a complete redesign will be required.

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Park attendant Ruby Goodman showcases the new water fountains.

 

In the meantime, we continue to roll out new initiatives:

  •  The chalet roof has been redone in aluminum, a sustainable material that can last up to 50 years and added      handicapped/stroller accessible washrooms.
  •  Three new lamp posts were added at the Merrimac side of the park.
  •  Eleven new benches were installed in  concrete bases along the pathway near the playground and chalet.
  •  We replaced and added four extra large garbage bins.
  •  Two new drinking fountains have now been installed ( water bottle accessible).
  •  We removed dead and sick trees and planted new ones.   
  •  We replaced the single doors at the tennis courts with double doors.
  •  The chalet art room is being renovated, including a custom made (by our employees) stainless steel double sink.
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This ping pong table is very popular.

 

Some residents have called,  concerned that picnic tables have disappeared.  That is not the case. Tables tend to be moved manually by users to different parts of the park for their own little gatherings.  While we have ordered metal picnic tables, they are on back order so unfortunately we have no other choice but to wait.

I can always be reached at mcohen@cotesaintluc.org.


An update on the Marc Chagall Avenue lot

I wish to provide an update about the large greenspace on Marc Chagall Avenue, across from both the Marquise and the snow dump.

History will note that this land was leased to the owners of the Equinoxe as a parking lot for three years in order to avoid having their   workers parking on the street. The developers had signed a written contract to return the land the way they found it. Regrettably that did not occur and litigation ensued. Attempts to properly beautify the area were unsuccessful, so in June council adopted a resolution allocating fund  to finally get this job done right.

Work was supposed to begin in June, but like everyone else across the globe we are victims of supply and demand. The delivery of the sod is on back order and will not arrive until August 8.

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Work begins on the rehabilitation of the Marc Chagall lot.

Nonetheless, work has indeed started. Public Works  commenced some digging to install bollards along the west side of the paved walkway for new lighting.  A number of large diseased trees unfortunately had to be removed. We have also installed the beginning of  a pathway.

Our contractor  will remove all growing grass, seeds, and pebbles for the entire vacant lot. New benches and tables will be installed.  Fingers are crossed for the sod.  In September new trees will be planted. I am as frustrated as anyone with these delays, but we will have a beautiful greenspace when all is said and done at which time I will begin a consultation process to find a name for this parkette.


Proposed seven floor building on Marc Chagall only in the proposal stage

In recent days I have received several calls from people asking about a small notice that was placed at the corner of Marc Chagall Avenue and Kildare Road. It is from our Urban Planning Department and explains that the city has received an application from a developer to build a seven floor, 28 unit apartment complex on the site at that spot near Beth Chabad CSL and Bialik High School.

This land is presently zoned for a two storey commercial building.  A zoning amendment approved by Council and then taken to local residents for consultation would be required.

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The zoning for a two storey commercial building is for behind the fence.

 

Our Planning Advisory Committee has reviewed the proposal and will make a recommendation to city council, likely by August. I will keep everyone up to date. We are merely following process by sharing the developer's wishes.

I had invited the developer to have an information meeting with residents first, but he favored going  directly to Urban Planning.

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Ces derniers jours, j'ai reçu plusieurs appels de personnes s'interrogeant sur un petit avis placé à l'angle de l'avenue Marc Chagall et de Kildare Road. Il provient de notre service d'urbanisme et explique que la ville a reçu une demande d'un promoteur pour construire un complexe d'appartements de sept étages et de 28 unités sur le site à cet endroit, près du Beth Chabad CSL et  Bialik.


Ce terrain est actuellement zoné pour un bâtiment commercial de deux étages.  Une modification du zonage approuvée par le Conseil et soumise ensuite à la consultation des résidents locaux serait nécessaire.


Notre comité consultatif d'urbanisme a examiné la proposition et fera une recommandation au conseil municipal, probablement d'ici le mois d'août. Je tiendrai tout le monde au courant. Nous ne faisons que suivre le processus en partageant les souhaits du promoteur.

 


Speed humps and bumps installed; report speeding to police

Frank Palucci is one of my most remarkable constituents. As part of the District 2 Advisory Council I established a few years ago,  Frank is my representative for Ilan Ramon Crescent and Sir Walter Scott Avenue. To say he serves as “my eyes and ears” is an understatement.

 

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Frank Palucci showcases the new speed hump.

As part of my very regular District 2 walkabouts, I usually make a stop at Frank’s house to chat. For some time now we have watched together as motorists race down Sir Walter Scott,  which  is home to half a dozen apartment buildings and of course two entrances to  Ilan Ramon.

Via Frank’s persistent reminders, I was able to get the attention of our Traffic Committee and a speed hump at the mid-way point of Sir Walter Scott has been installed and it is already making a huge difference. We also brought back another one at the rear entrance/exit of City Hall which also serves as deterrent to speeders. So thank you Frank, as well as Traffic Engineer Spyro Yotis.

Meantime, there continues to be complaints about speeding on Marc Chagall Avenue. We do have a speed hump near the snow dump, so cars seem to pressing the accelerator when they turn the corner and drive towards Mackle.

We reached out to Police Station 9 Commander Martin Montour. “We believe it is the same youngsters who are speeding along Cavendish,” he said, confirming that the complaints will be followed up.

Citizens who witness speeding infractions are asked to send an e-mail directly to pdq9@spvm.qc.ca  and it will be acted upon. You can call 911 in the case of an emergency,

Installation de ralentisseurs et de dos d'âne ; signalement des excès de vitesse à la police

Frank Palucci est l'un de mes électeurs les plus remarquables. Membre du conseil consultatif du district 2 que j'ai créé il y a quelques années, Frank est mon représentant pour Ilan Ramon Crescent et Sir Walter Scott Avenue. Dire qu'il est "mes yeux et mes oreilles" est un euphémisme.

Dans le cadre de mes promenades très régulières dans le district 2, je m'arrête généralement chez Frank pour discuter. Depuis quelque temps, nous observons ensemble les automobilistes qui descendent à toute allure la rue Sir Walter Scott, où se trouvent une demi-douzaine d'immeubles d'habitation et, bien sûr, deux entrées d'Ilan Ramon.

Grâce aux rappels insistants de Frank, j'ai pu attirer l'attention de notre comité de circulation et un ralentisseur à mi-chemin de Sir Walter Scott a été installé et il fait déjà une énorme différence. Nous en avons également ramené un autre à l'entrée/sortie arrière de l'hôtel de ville, qui sert également à dissuader les automobilistes. Merci Frank !

Entre-temps, des plaintes continuent d'être déposées au sujet des excès de vitesse sur l'avenue Marc Chagall. Nous avons un ralentisseur près de la décharge à neige, donc les voitures semblent appuyer sur l'accélérateur quand elles tournent le coin et roulent vers Mackle.

Nous avons contacté le commandant du poste de police 9, Martin Montour. "Nous pensons que ce sont les mêmes jeunes qui font des excès de vitesse le long de Cavendish", a-t-il déclaré, confirmant que les plaintes seront suivies.

Les citoyens qui sont témoins d'un excès de vitesse sont priés d'envoyer un courriel directement à pdq9@spvm.qc.ca et il y sera donné suite. En cas d'urgence, vous pouvez appeler le 911,


Saul Ettinger: The man who brought us Briskets and Il Etait Un Fois has left us

I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Saul Ettinger, a constituent of mine in District 2 for the past 17 years and an iconic figure on the Montreal restaurant scene.

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Saul and Farla in this 2012 photo.

Saul and his wife Farla have always been tireless supporters of mine

Saul was a well-known respected restaurateur and real estate magnate, having brought us the Briskets smoked meat chain and the Il Etait Une Fois burger spot. More than 40 years ago, Saul opened his first Briskets deli on Bishop Street. Twelve franchises in Montreal and Ottawa soon followed.  

As Saul told me just a few years ago, people who remember dining at Briskets described the smoked meat sandwiches as "addictive."  He went on to say: “Briskets smoked meat was not only homemade, but it was never pumped.  Most smoked meat in Montreal and elsewhere were and still are prepared with briskets that are pumped with phosphates and a preponderance of nitrates and sodium. This pumping technique is used in order to increase profit margins by making the briskets heavier. Strange, isn't it---the government bans the use of phosphates in your dishwasher and laundry detergent, but allows it in food? Briskets' smoked meat was made with unpumped briskets using a tightly-held secret recipe. They were dry-cured the truly old-fashioned way over a period of two to three weeks, producing superior smoked meat---smoked meat that was mouth-watering, and truly addictive.”

Briskets smoked meat sandwiches were just about everywhere, be it the Olympic Stadium concession stands or catered at private parties.   As for Il Etait Un Fois, the classic hamburger spot was located in a standalone building in heart of Old Montreal at a time when it was a relative ghost town, Saul recalled pioneering a new phenomenon. While McDonald's was selling burgers for as little as 60 cents, he decided it was time to introduce Montreal to a gourmet half-pound burger at $5. In those days, the thought of a burger for $5 was ludicrous. Yet, within a short few weeks, Il Etait Un Fois attracted huge line-ups and rave reviews. Saul's burgers were made through a rarely used secret process that turned out the juiciest and most scrumptious burgers in Montreal. And along with mouth-watering burgers and incredible fries, the menu included specialities such as homemade beer-battered onion rings and fish n' chips as well as fried mushrooms and foot-long dogs.

Another of Saul's visions was launched on the Trans Canada, Linguini, an Italian restaurant situated in a rustic log cabin built by Saul on the south side of the 40 just west of Morgan.  

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Here was Saul cutting the brisket he made for me in his condo.

Long retired from the restaurant business, Saul still hosted dinners and parties where he served his amazing smoked meat.  When I saw him at an event about three years ago  I jokingly asked if he planned to make any briskets. Two days later I got a call to come to his condo. My brisket was ready. When I arrived Farla presented me with a special fork which Saul used to demonstrate how to carve the huge piece of meat. It was absolutely delicious.  

In 2012 Saul made a comeback and opened a new restaurant in LaSalle called Ettingers Deli. It was to be a mix between Briskets and Il Etait Un Fois. I was at the opening and did this video interview.

 

I ate there a number of time and enjoyed it, but the location off the beat and path of Newman Blvd. did not resonate with customers and it closed.  He had partnered with his stepson Warren Kleiner, and Warren's best friend, Charles Benedek.

Saul was a good man. My deepest sympathies to his wife, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.


A refurbished Dog Run and words of advice from our Public Safety Department

As the city councillor responsible for Animal Protection in Côte Saint-Luc,  having committee meetings via Zoom have been challenging. Sometime it is nice to be on site to discuss certain issues. That is indeed the case for our Dog Runs.

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This gentleman introduced me to his new rescue dog.

 

Earlier this week, CSL Dog Owners Committee Co-Chairs Jonathan Goldman and Anna Marie Katz met me at the Mackle Road Dog Run. We were very fortunate to have CSL Public Safety Manager of Operations Jean-Marc Dubois with us. A dog owner himself,  Jean Marc takes this dossier to heart.

First let me thank the team at Public Works who have undertaken some attractive modifications to the Dog Run. Six new benches were installed in the park on concrete pads to prevent dogs from digging along with 30 tons of additional river stone  while the vines growing along the CP fence were removed.  We  are now waiting for the delivery of some large concrete pipes for dogs to run through and jump on.

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Manager Dubois meets with members. You can see the new benches and stones.

 

I must say it is always an “upper” to visit the facility and watch the dogs run and play. We do have  a sign at the entrance which dog owners are asked to adhere to. It is a little difficult to see so I will ask that it be reinstalled facing sideways.

Manager Dubois was joined by a public security officer at our meeting.  We will now make sure that an officer visits the site at least once per shift. From time to time we do have issues with aggressive dogs. There is no place for them at this location.   Our officers do have the authority to label a dog as potentially dangerous. The owner will be asked to leave with his or her canine and if they return a fine can be issued.

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Meet this beautiful dog named Moose.

 

Manager Dubois shared with us a disturbing incident that occurred recently in our city. A man was walking on the street and attacked by two dogs and they perforated his skin. The owner had them off leash. Police were called and since neither dog had a license there was an automatic fine of $500 each.

After incidents like this, a dog behaviorist is called in. The owner must show up for an appointment or face a $1,000 fine.

We were also told that the number of dog licenses issued this year is significantly down.  If you are among the dog owners who have not updated or obtained a license, then prepare for a possible spot check.

Here is how to purchase a license. You can even do it online

Dog and cat micro-chipping is mandatory in CSL. If your animal gets loose, this is  the safest thing to getting them back.

All dog owners should follow these guidelines. notably cleaning up after your animal. Please always carry a plastic bag to pick up their waste.

 


Shirley Shoub and Sharon Asher unveil their new children's book "What Makes A Perfect Princess"

A new children’s book called What Makes a Perfect Princess is in fact something that can appeal and apply to people of all ages.

So says author Sharon Asher and illustrator Shirley Shoub, noting that the book  has very positive messages about self-acceptance.

WhatMakesAPerfectPrincess - back-front

The story revolves around a princess who lives in a beautiful castle and is sad because she thinks she is not perfect and has no confidence in herself.  The princess believes that she must follow the suggestions of others in order to be perfect. Her three friends tell her everything they think she should do. Even after following all their advice, she still feels badly about herself. Only then does she decide to read the book she’s always had, and there, she discovers her answer – a universal truth - and is finally happy.

The two ladies met about a decade ago. Asher had pretty much written her book and upon discovering that Shoub was an artist, she asked her to handle the illustration.  “Sharon actually read  the book to me and  I immediately felt that I was supposed to do this,” Shoub says. “I was taking art classes in Côte Saint-Luc at the time and I approached my teacher George and asked him to help me illustrate. It took me two years, but I am very pleased with the end results.”

Here is my video chat with the two ladies.

 

More years passed until Asher and Shoub actually self-published. It can be purchased  here on Amazon. In addition, it will be available for loan at local libraries. The CSL Public Library already has a copy and Asher would like to donate to others.

 “Children age three and older, as well as the adults reading the story to the children, can look at the illustrations and enjoy them along with the words,” says Shoub. “There are many subtle messages within my illustrations which add further in depth meaning and expansion to complement Sharon’s words. For the artist, whatever we have experienced in life comes through in our art. Likewise, the same applies for the reader’s understanding of the art.

“Years ago, I worked as a social counsellor representing foster children with special needs. Why were they foster children? Sometimes, life hands parents more than they can handle or more than they believe they can handle. Many of these foster children had been left in their infancy in the hospitals for others to handle. It would have required a life commitment for the parents. This is not a judgment call. It requires tremendous love, strength and commitment to nurture these children.To honour these children, I have integrated them into my illustrations.”

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Shoub recalls in days when she was a child living near the Main, children played jacks on the sidewalk or rolled marbles into cement holes that they could find.  “Hence,” she says, “in the Princess story, I drew two boys playing checkers on the sidewalk in the inner city. Of course, there is a message there. Sharon’s story is about self confidence. It is hoped that those who read it, if they do not already have it, will gain an appreciation of who they are.”

Asher is a lifelong educator. Having received her training at Sir George Williams University (now Concordia), McGill University, MacDonald College and the University of Sherbrooke, she began her teaching career at the elementary and high school levels. Soon thereafter, she joined the English Department at John Abbott College in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, where she taught for 30 years. Her courses focused on the areas of children’s literature, drama as literature, paranormal psychology and literature, and writing.

Bravo for a job well done!


New Quartier Cavendish movie theatres could open as early as July 8

The long wait for the return of movie theatres at Quartier Cavendish is almost over.

 

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Bruce Gurberg can't wait to open his new theatres.

 

History will note that Cineplex  closed the cinema more than a  year ago. At the time I speculated that Bruce Gurberg, who owns the CinéStarz chain, might fill the void. Sure enough Gurberg did step forward. He signed  a multi-year lease. Since Cineplex removed virtually everything from the interior, Gurberg  used the opportunity to do a total relaunch.

Here is a video of my chat with Gurberg:

This complex will be  called CineStarz Deluxe and could open as early as July 8. Construction work presently continues around the clock. Every theatre will be spanking new, from the most comfortable (and expensive) electronic reclining seats  I have ever experienced; new screens, speakers; new washrooms; new  carpeting and flooring and even LED strips in each room that will change colours. Not only will there be concessions stands, with the CineStarz to die for popcorn, but yes a full bar with 15 stools. “We have a liquor license and people can come for a drink before or after their movie,” Bruce told me  during a private tour of the place.

“This is the biggest investment I have ever made in my life,” Gurberg says. “I am very excited to be opening a theatre where I live.”

Gurberg hopes to see many community organizations to take advantage of this prime location and use the theatres for events and gatherings.

CinéStarz presently has locations in Côte des Neiges,  St. Leonard, Grenville in Quebec and  Orleans, Ottawa and  Burlington in Ontario.

You can go to www.cinestarz.ca

Here I am trying out the new comfy seats.


The mountain at the snow dump has been cut down

Thanks to our Public Works Department for their annual destruction of the large and ugly hill of muddy snow at the snow dump.

Dump20221

This is no easy feat. Our team We usually starts to break up the snow dump towards the end of June / beginning of July. The mountain is generally too hard and frozen to start operations, as the equipment (mechanical shovel) will likely break. This had happened in the past when the contractor started too early in the season. With several years of experience now, we work together with the contractor preparing the proper schedule for breaking down the hill.

Dump2022C

It takes approximately 100 hours of work  to complete the project.  This year it was all finished earlier than scheduled.


Leaf blowers will be prohibited in CSL during summer months as of 2023

I have terrific news for so many people who have expressed their dismay over the years about the noise pollution emanated by leaf blowers. A new bylaw will take effect  on April 28, 2023 prohibiting leaf blowers between June 1 and August 30. During the other months they will only be permitted between 8 am and 5 pm.

Thanks to our Public Works Department, which researched the situation and came to Council with this new proposal. We passed a notice of motion on June 13 for a draft bylaw.

I think this a good start for us. Many people work from home and keep their windows open during the summer. The noise from the leaf blowers is hardly welcoming.

Leafs

The effects of noise on hearing vary among people. But any sound that is loud enough and lasts long enough can damage hearing and lead to hearing loss. A sound's loudness is measured in decibels (dB). Normal conversation is about 60 dB, a lawnmower is about 90 dB, and a loud rock concert is about 120 dB.

This new bylaw can also be a means for our community to bring down our carbon footprint, improve air quality by reducing harmful exposure to toxic emissions and reduce noise pollution.

You can see the discussion at the  1:24;45 mark  of our meeting video which you can access here.

 

 


D'Arcy McGee medals to be bestowed upon Margles, Zalcman-Howard, Rosenberg and Alexander n

An iconic former broadcaster and Côte Saint-Luc pillar, a Jewish community and human rights activist, a pioneering health-care innovator, and a universally loved and admired Black community icon (deceased) are the four worthy winners of the D’Arcy-McGee—National Assembly Citizenship medals for 2022.

Sid
Sidney Margles

 

Sidney Margles, Dorothy Zalcman-Howard, Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg and Noel Alexander (posthumously) will each be honoured for their exemplary community contributions at a live ceremony to be held in the Ashkelon Gardens behind Côte Saint-Luc City Hall on Monday, June 13 at 7 p.m (In the event of rain, Côte Saint-Luc Aquatic and Community Centre). This is the eighth annual edition of the awards program. Members of the public are, of course, invited to attend.

Margles was a noted broadcaster for CJAD and Standard Radio before moving to the company's  corporate office. He has been one of my esteemed constituents the last 16 years in District 2.  Zalcman-Howard has served as the president of the Canadian Jewish Congress in Quebec and The Montreal Holocaust Museum. Rosenberg is the director general of the CIUSSS West-Central Montreal. Alexander was a noted civil rights activist and president of the Jamaican Association of Montreal who passed away last September.

The awards, the highest prize that elected Assembly leaders can bestow on residents, are designed to recognize individuals or organizations that have enriched the lives of local residents and others. It can be awarded to non-residents of the riding as well. The recognition can be for volunteer and/or professional activities. Former winners have included the late Dr. Mark Wainberg, Suzan Wener, Glenn Nashen, the late Jean Lapierre, Dan Philip and Lilia Esguerra.

“There is a rich and entrenched tradition of volunteer and community leadership in our riding of D’Arcy-McGee,” noted MNA David Birnbaum, who will be hosting the ceremony for the last time before he retires in October. “Our four winners for 2022 have made their dramatic mark, within our community and beyond. I am proud to have instituted this National Assembly medals program back in 2015. It allows us to recognize those in the D’Arcy-McGee riding who have given so much back in service of their fellow residents. I’m doubly pleased to have my Leader Dominique Anglade join us this year.”

These awards were indeed a clever idea by Birnbaum which I hope his successor will maintain. Who will that person be? Only Anglade knows for sure.

CJAD morning man Andrew Carter will serve as master of ceremonies for the event, and a musical interlude will be offered by l’Agence Musicale Étudiante.


“Proper” beautification of Marc Chagall lot to occur in June

 

I am pleased to report that City Council has approved special funds to properly beautify the empty lot on Marc Chagall Avenue across from the snow dump.

History will note that this land was leased to the developers of the Equinoxe apartment buildings for three summers as a parking lot for their workers. The goal here was to ensure that residents and their guests had  sufficient spots available on the street.

The developers were supposed to return the land back to the condition that they found it in. That did not occur.  Finally, last October the city took over the project and hired a sub-contractor. We promised to evaluate the work in May. We did so and clearly a redo was  necessary.

 

LandonChagall2022
What the land looks like now.

 

Our Public Works Department will now work with the sub-contractor. In June work will begin on installing new lighting next to the pathway leading to Isadore Goldberg Park.

.We will create a new curved pea-stone pathway (going  midway from the existing paved pathway back towards the street where there is presently a temporary little sitting area. The latter will be removed while the picnic tables and benches repurposed in the space.  Twelve Benches, tables and cement pads will be installed all along the pathways. Finally, 20 to 30 trees will be planted along the pathways, along the side of the townhouses and throughout the lot.

The most important news is that we will lay down sod – also commonly referred to as turf grass. These are sections of grass that have already grown, which is bound together by a root system or a thin layer of other bio-degradable material. I had asked for this to be the original approach. 

 

Picnictable
These picnic tables will be repurposed in the park.

Young families living in the town houses and grandparents in the condos like bringing the kids to play here. And everyone loves the benches. The greenspace does not have an official name, so perhaps we can consider one?

L'embellissement  du terrain Marc Chagall aura lieu en juin

J'ai le plaisir d'annoncer que le conseil municipal a approuvé des fonds spéciaux pour embellir comme il se doit le terrain vide de l'avenue Marc Chagall, en face de la décharge à neige.

L'histoire retiendra que ce terrain a été loué aux promoteurs des immeubles d'habitation Equinoxe pendant trois étés comme aire de stationnement pour leurs ouvriers. L'objectif ici était de s'assurer que les résidents et leurs invités disposaient de suffisamment de places dans la rue.

Les promoteurs étaient censés remettre le terrain dans l'état dans lequel ils l'avaient trouvé. Cela ne s'est pas produit.  Finalement, en octobre dernier, la ville a repris le projet et a engagé un sous-traitant. Nous avons promis d'évaluer le travail en mai. Nous l'avons fait et il est clair qu'une reprise était nécessaire.

Notre département des travaux publics va maintenant travailler avec le sous-traitant. En juin, nous commencerons à installer un nouvel éclairage près du sentier menant au parc Isadore Goldberg.

 Nous allons créer un nouveau sentier incurvé en pierre de taille (allant à mi-chemin du sentier pavé existant vers la rue où se trouve actuellement un petit coin salon temporaire. Ce dernier sera enlevé tandis que les tables de pique-nique et les bancs seront réutilisés dans l'espace.  Douze bancs, tables et socles en ciment seront installés tout au long des sentiers. Enfin, 20 à 30 arbres seront plantés le long des allées, sur le côté des maisons de ville et sur l'ensemble du terrain.

La nouvelle la plus importante est que nous allons poser du gazon en plaques - aussi appelé communément gazon artificiel. Il s'agit de sections d'herbe qui ont déjà poussé et qui sont liées entre elles par un système de racines ou une fine couche d'un autre matériau biodégradable. J'avais demandé que ce soit l'approche initiale. 

Les jeunes familles qui vivent dans les maisons de ville et les grands-parents qui vivent dans les condos aiment amener leurs enfants jouer ici. Et tout le monde aime les bancs. L'espace vert n'a pas de nom officiel, alors peut-être pourrions-nous en envisager un ?


The CSL Golf Classic is back August 9 at Meadowbrook

It’s been a while, but the Côte Saint-Luc Golf Classic is back! What better way to spend a summer day than enjoying the company of friends old and new as we tee off at Meadowbrook Golf Club in Cote Saint-Luc for our 41st Annual Golf Classic on Tuesday, August 9 2022?

After a two-year hiatus, this year’s Classic is bound to attract many new and returning players eager to participate in our fun and friendly competition. The Golf Classic will be a Scramble (Best Ball Forward). We expect this event to sell-out once again, so register early!

Group
With Glenn J. Nashen, Sam Goldbloom, Dida Berku and Mannie Young.

Côte Saint-Luc City Council and the Côte Saint-Luc Men’s Club will collaborate on the event, with myself  and Dida Berku joined by Mannie Young as co-chairs.  Former City Councillors Glenn J. Nashen and Sam Goldbloom will be this year’s honorees.

Glenn served on city council for more than 25 years. He was a key player in the area of public safety, having launched the Volunteer Citizens on Patrol (VCOPs) and participating as an active member of the Emergency Medical Services. Sam was a councillor for 12 years and co-chaired the Golf Classic with me on many occasions.

The Golf Classic will continue with a tradition I started a few years ago and  accept donations to the Parks and Recreation Bursary Fund. The donations raised help disadvantaged families and families with children who have special needs in Côte Saint-Luc who cannot afford to register their children in seasonal programs and activities operated by the City of Côte Saint-Luc’s Parks and Recreation Department.

If you own a business or have business contacts who may be interested in supporting  the Fund, please have them contact Anisa Cameron at Côte Saint-Luc Parks and Recreation at acameron@cotesaintluc.org no later than July 9.

Registration Fees

The cost to participate in this year’s Golf Classic is $35/player (senior rates are not applicable).

The Men’s club will receive an exclusive registration window from  June 10 to  16 at the Aquatic and Community Center (ACC) Front Desk, 5794 Parkhaven Avenue, Monday through Sunday from 8 am  to 9 pm. Registration will open to the general public on June 17.

When registering a foursome, please have the names of all players in your foursome including their address, postal code and telephone number. Please register as soon as possible as there is limited space.

Payment for a foursome or a single player must be paid in full at the time of registration.

The registration fees cover the cost of nine holes of golf, a catered box luncheon, award-winning trophies for contest holes such as Longest Drive and Closest to the Pin and the opportunity to win a door prize. The Guest fee for non-players who wish to attend the luncheon is $20/person.

Tee Times

Tee times will run from 7 am  to 10:30am (please try to respect your assigned tee-off time). A pull cart is included in your registration. If you require an electric cart, there are limited numbers and the rental must be paid directly to the Golf Club in advance (minimum of two days) before the event takes place. Please note that the cost of the golf cart rentals are discussed with the Meadowbrook Golf Club Club House Attendant. The cost for electric cart rentals are not included in your overall registration fee to play in this event.

Box Luncheon in the Ashkelon Gardens

The luncheon will be held in the Ashkelon Gardens behind the Eleanor London Public Library from 1 pm to 3 pm.  Everyone will be entertained by the musical stylings of Qué Sera and be served a boxed luncheon from Pizza Pita.

Kindly note, in the event of inclement weather, The Golf Classic rain date is scheduled for Tuesday, August 16.


Spotlight on Local Merchants for May: Dr Jordan Nemes and Nemes Ortho in District 2

Dr. Jordan Nemes, a board-certified orthodontist, and his team have opened a new state-of-the- art orthodontic clinic in the heart of Côte Saint Luc, right next to the Quartier Cavendish on the ground floor of the apartment building on The Avenue.

I was pleased to present Dr. Nemes with the Spotlight on Local Merchant honours for May when I visited his new locale.  On hand were his parents  Sid and Susie (of J&R Kosher Meats), building ownership representative Emile Badea and Samonda Johnpillai and Marc Talbot from project managers Derrig Talbot.

Please click here  on this link to see our feature, photos and video on the CSL Website

The expansive and bright ground floor unit  for Nemes Ortho also has its own 16 car parking lot to make your visit as convenient and comfortable as possible.

2022-05-17 - Nemes Ortho ribbon cutting and tour 01
Officiating at the ribbon cutting.

 

While Dr. Nemes completed the bulk of his graduate studies outside Quebec (Dentistry at NYU and his orthodontic residency at the University of Manitoba), he always knew he would open a clinic in Cote St. Luc one day, the city he grew up in and loved.

The result is a beautiful new destination for individuals of all ages who are looking to improve their smile aesthetics and functionality.

As Dr. Nemes explains, “We have patients ranging from 7 to 70 years old. It is recommended to see an orthodontist around the age of 7-8 to provide for timely detection of potential problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Early detection and treatment can prevent serious problems from happening later in life. As for my older patients, sometimes orthodontic treatment was desired, but life got in the way, and they are only now able to prioritize treatment for themselves.”

2022-05-17 Nemes Ortho ribbon cutting and tour 010
Dr. Nemes, myself and the team.

 

Dr. Nemes offers conventional metal and clear braces as well as the virtually invisible Invisalign aligners. As one of the top Invisalign providers according to Invisalign, Dr. Nemes can treat a variety of cases and complex treatments using that technology, including extraction, surgical and early preventative cases.

Also significant to Dr. Nemes was investing in the best air filtration equipment:

“The pandemic taught us the importance of top-notch hygiene standards. It was imperative to install the highest quality central air purification system to protect my patients. We even constructed each treatment room as a separate room to offer patients maximum privacy and protection.”

New patients are welcome, and no doctor referral is necessary. To book your consult with Dr. Nemes, you can call the clinic at 514.739.1280 or email at info@nemesortho.com

Dr. Nemes and the entire Nemes Ortho team look forward to creating healthy beautiful smiles in the community for years to come.


Reserve the date of Wednesday June 8: Virtual Meeting on CSL Master Plan

There will be a very important city-wide virtual meeting planned for Wed June 8 at 7 pm, to discuss the city's Master Plan. Please note that Councillor Andee Shuster and I had originally planned a Virtual Town Hall this week for Districts 2 and 8, but postponed it in order to focus on this important event so please forgive the original hyperlink on this e-mail.
Cave
Quartier Cavendish
 
The one topic all residents will be particularly interested in is the planned redevelopment of our three large malls : Quartier Cavendish, Decarie Square and the CSL Shopping Centre.
 

Between June and December 2022, the City of Côte Saint-Luc will be gathering feedback from the public on our revision to the municipal Master Plan and Zoning By-law revision documents. 

Decariesquare
An image of what a new Decarie Square could look like.

 

The City of Côte Saint-Luc wants to capture your values and the essence of what makes Côte Saint-Luc home to you. We want to know how you imagine the future of your city.  

Cslshopp
The CSL Shopping Centre.

 

From June to December 2022, we have organized different activities to help inform those who live and work in Côte Saint-Luc and to give them a chance to share their ideas. We are hosting public information sessions, an open house, and a public hearing. There will be a web page to share resources and keep you updated on the process, as well as an online survey to collect your feedback. 

Please register to participate via this link: https://cotesaintluc.org/engage/2022/05/20/master-plan-and-zoning-by-law-revision/

Take a look at the FAQ section will explain a lot.

Révision du plan directeur d’urbanisme et du règlement de zonage

Côte Saint-Luc annonce le lancement des consultations sur la révision du nouveau plan directeur d’urbanisme et du règlement de zonage   

Entre juin et décembre 2022, la ville de Côte Saint-Luc recueillera les commentaires du public sur sa révision du plan directeur municipal et du règlement de zonage.   

La Ville de Côte Saint-Luc veut connaître vos valeurs et l’essence de pourquoi Côte Saint-Luc est votre chez-vous. Nous voulons savoir comment vous imaginez l’avenir de votre ville.   

De juin à décembre 2022, des activités différentes sont prévues afin d’informer les personnes qui vivent et travaillent à Côte Saint-Luc et leur donner la possibilité de partager leurs idées. Nous organiserons des séances d’information publiques, une journée portes ouvertes et une audience publique. Il y aura une page Web pour partager les ressources et vous tenir au courant du processus, ainsi qu’un sondage en ligne pour recueillir vos commentaires.  

Le processus de consultation débutera par une séance d’information publique en ligne le 8 juin, à 19 heures.  Le processus de consultation vous sera expliqué et vous apprendrez comment y participer.

Inscrivez-vous ici

Nous enregistrerons la séance et la mettrons en ligne pour que vous puissiez la regarder à votre convenance. Nous comptons sur votre participation. Votre point de vue est important pour nous, et nous avons hâte d’entendre ce que vous avez à dire.  

 

 
 

 
 

 

Remarkable art exhibit by Shushana Caplan at CSL Public Library from a child Holocaust survivor

On the occasion of Jewish Heritage Month, our Côte Saint-Luc Public Library is presenting a most interesting exhibit by artist Shushana Caplan, who re-creates her childhood memories of being a refugee in Siberia. She uses reproductions of photos that her parents brought with them during the war from Brest, Belarus to Siberia to create her unique artworks.

Shushana’s father had been in the Polish army in 1939, but with the German occupation of Poland, he I knew that his family’s only chance of survival was to leave his hometown of Mezrycz. He and most of his siblings and his wife’s siblings took refuge at his brother’s home in Brest-Litovsk, a Polish city that fell under Russian rule as a result of the German-Soviet Non-aggression Pact of 1939. I met with Shushana last week for a personal tour of her paintings. The story is fascinating and given the scenes we see on television every day related to the war in Ukraine, very timely.

 

Shushana
Shushana Caplan at her exhibit.

 

“I am a survivor,” Shushana says. “For some reason that fact seems of utmost importance to me at this time of my life. Perhaps it’s because I never expected to survive in the first place and certainly my parents never held out much hope for my continued existence. When my mother was pregnant with me, they chose to leave their home, their parents and everything they loved and treasured to escape the Nazi onslaught that was consuming their country, Poland. We spent a month on cattle cars. Many did not survive.


“It was fear that drove them to leave their home, their parents and their comfortable life. Their greatest fear was that the Nazis would destroy everything in their way and as Jews, they feared for their lives. They had heard the stories of how Jews were being treated in Germany, their rights removed, indignities heaped on them and removal to concentration camps. Finally, the news of the violence and destruction of Kristallnacht struck terror in their hearts and convinced them that they had to leave, now.”

Here is my video chat with Shushana.


Shushana says her parents tried everything to convince their own family members into joining them in fleeing to Russia. All their siblings agreed to pack up their families and go. “My mother’s youngest brother, Velvel, his wife and three children, Pearl, Esther and Arelle came with them,” she explains. “My father’s two brothers also agreed to leave. Uncle David and Aunt Pearl had two young boys, Tevia and Gershon that they brought along as well.


“My grandparents refused to let my father’s youngest brother, Nute, join them. As a teenager he was still under the protection of his parents. ‘He’s too young to leave home, ‘they claimed, and that was that. Miraculously he did survive the war, but they didn’t.”

The story of her survival is a miracle.


“I was only one month old when we were deported to the Gulag, the slave labour camps of Siberia,” says Shushana. “Extreme conditions awaited us; freezing temperatures, backbreaking labour and the constant threat of starvation. With a tiny infant to care for, my parents struggled to feed themselves while keeping me alive. There was no medicine and very few doctors. Before the age of three, I had contracted diphtheria, whooping cough, pneumonia twice and even malaria. It’s no wonder they constantly feared that I would die. Many other children had.”


Shushana says that this pervasive sense of doom followed her for many years, even as an adult in the safety of her home in Canada. But survive she did. “As the survivor, I am here to tell the story of our enslavement and the terrible years we spent in Siberia during the war,” she declared. “We survived and made our way to safety. It is my legacy to describe the journey of my younger self, Raizelle, to the next generation, my children, and their children.”


From Siberia, the family ended up in the Ukraine, then Germany. Her father found a way to get into Canada while falsely claiming he was a tailor, a trade that was in need. Ironically, he did find work in that area here at a factory.


Shushana was nearly eight when they arrived in Montreal, settling in the Plateau area of town. And an artist she would become. She received her education in art at the Saidyie Bronfman Centre and Concordia University, where she earned degrees in Fine Arts as well as in Fine Arts Education. Mixed-Media painting is her preferred approach at present, using a base of abstract acrylics with collage. Her work is autobiographical in the sense that it is an ongoing narration of her inner thoughts. Personal memories and fantasies are explored aesthetically, but the actual process of painting is discovery. For her painting is more than simply creating pictures, it is an act of finding meaning.


Shushana resides in CSL and teaches abstract acrylic with collage at our Aquatic and Community Centre

The exhibition represents different stages of Shushana’s life. Her parents carried with them through their travels across war-torn Poland and Russia a package of family photos, some over a 100 years old. Shushana creates “dreamscapes” using many reproductions of these photos; the paintings evoke stories, which she hopes will become a legacy for her family. It is a specialization in art I have not really been exposed to. You must go to the CSL Public Library and see it for yourself. I received a VIP guided tour and a detailed explanation of each picture.

Une artiste et professeur d'art


Shushana Caplan est une artiste et professeur d'art qui a grandi à Montréal, au Canada. Elle est née à Brest, en Biélorussie, en 1940, juste au début de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. La famille a été envoyée en Sibérie pendant la majeure partie de la guerre. Shushana a émigré au Canada en 1948 avec ses parents et son frère Harry.


Elle a reçu sa formation en art au Centre Saydie Bronfman et à l'Université Concordia, où elle a obtenu des diplômes en beaux-arts ainsi qu'en éducation aux beaux-arts. La peinture en techniques mixtes est présentement son style préféré, utilisant une base d'acryliques abstraits avec collage.
Le travail de Shushana est autobiographique. Il s'agit d'une narration continue de ses pensées intérieures. Les souvenirs personnels et les fantasmes sont explorés esthétiquement, mais le processus réel de la peinture est la découverte. Pour elle, la peinture est plus qu'une simple création d'images, c'est un acte de recherche de sens.


Actuellement, Shushana explore ses premières expériences en tant qu'enfant réfugiée en Sibérie et l'héritage de ses parents et grands-parents en Pologne. Ses parents ont emporté avec eux tout au long de leurs voyages à travers la Pologne et la Russie déchirées par la guerre un paquet de photos de famille, certaines datant de plus de cent ans. Shushana crée des « paysages de rêve » en utilisant de nombreuses reproductions de ces photos ; les peintures évoquent des histoires dont elle espère deviendront un héritage pour sa famille


Bill 96 rally won't cost the CAQ votes, but their international representation is at risk

Did the May 14 Bill 96 rally and march accomplish anything?

For one thing, given the fact so many activities have been held virtually these past two years, it was indeed a morale booster. A few thousand people gathered outside Dawson College. The 10 am start was delayed and difficult to hear speeches went on for close to an hour. Then those who remained marched in unison to Premier Francois Legault’s office.

Bill 96 rally
Protesters Rally against Bill 96. (Glenn J. Nashen Photo)

 

Bill 96, the obscene new language legislation drafted by Legault’s CAQ, is expected to be adopted this week. There is no question that during the four years of the CAQ’s mandate they have spoken loud and clear that anglos and minorities are now second-class citizens in this province.

The CAQ has only one goal in mind and that is to get re-elected in October with a massive majority. Without an effective opposition and a clued-out electorate in the regions, they will coast to such a victory. The CAQ makes the Parti Québecois of old look like an English choir group. They have handed down laws that would even make the late René Lévesque spin in his grave. I am certain that former PQ Premier Lucien Bouchard would not endorse their inflammatory legislation ever.

The rally, in my opinion, was a necessary activity. It will not cost Legault any votes. In fact, he will likely secure some more PQ and Liberal ridings as a result of it. However, but what former businessman Legault has not realized is how media coverage of a rally likes this affects Quebec’s image nationally or internationally. Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon’s mandate is to attract to attract corporate business to the province. What non-francophone would want to move their family to Quebec where a religious symbol precludes you from becoming a schoolteacher and any connection to “English” translates into a dirty word? Lévesque and Bouchard were always particularly mindful of this.

People I spoke to felt good they were there. However, had I been the organizer, I would have scheduled it for a weekday at noon. Saturday prevented busloads of Shabbat observing Jews from attending; Sunday would have impacted church services. I would have started on time, presented far few speeches and like lawyer Michael Polak told me, “not play festive music at the start. We were not here to celebrate!”

As the manager of marketing and communications at the English Montreal School Board, a city councillor in Côte Saint-Luc and a columnist/blogger/podcaster for Quebec’s largest English weekly newspaper (The Suburban), Bill 96 will have an enormous impact on my life and my livelihood. Sadly, there is nobody out there to help us – not our Prime Minister or the other federal parties nor the once effective Provincial Liberal Party. (Mount Royal Liberal MP has spoken out loudly; too bad he is not in cabinet). The future for all of us looks very bleak.


Elie Wiesel's son joins us for bench dedication in the memory of his late aunt

Did you know that the sister of  Elie Wiesel lived in Côte Saint-Luc before she passed away in 1974?
 
I was unaware of this fact until the Foundation for Genocide Education welcomed Elisha Wiesel, the son of Elie Wiesel, to come speak at a fundraising event at Beth Israel Congregation.
 
Elie Wiesel was a Romanian-born American writer, professor, political activist, Nobel laureate, and Holocaust survivor. He authored 57 books, written mostly in French and English, including Night, a work based on his experiences as a Jewish prisoner in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps.
 
Wiesel1
 
On the afternoon of the lecture we invited Elisha to the park we named in honour of his late father at the corner of Cavendish and Kildare and in my District 2. Rabbi Reuben J. Poupko, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and some others joined us as we unveiled  bench plaque at Elie Wiesel Park  honouring Beatrice Wiesel Jackson - Elie's sister.
 
Wieselplaque

As part of Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation, and Prevention Month, the Foundation for Genocide Education recently announced the official publication of the pedagogical guide Studying Genocides. Available in French (in English in fall 2022) to all high school teachers in Quebec at education-genocide.ca, this guide will enable over 343,000 students in 800 schools to study the history of nine significant genocides of the 20th century.

Wiesel2

 

 


Young Côte Saint-Luc resident excels on the cello thanks to generosity of others

The Montreal Cello Ensemble, based in NDG,  gives talented local children a full scholarship opportunity to learn from and perform with cellists Genevieve Guimond and Gary Russell of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, educator Josh Fink, and pianist Sandra Hunt. The  goal is to ensure that the highest level of music education is made available at no financial cost to children who show talent, dedication, and a love for music.  This is  a registered charity that has received support from private donors, the Dr. Julien Foundation, the Unitarian Church of Montreal, Luthiers, Wilder & Davis, Carrefour jeunesse emploi - NDG, and  the law firm BLG.

Amaka6
District 2 resident Amaka and her cello.

 

Fink tells me they are planning on adding many students for this summer and families should apply by May 15 if they are interested via https://www.cellomontreal.ca/demande-application . They just released their debut album, Petits mondes endormis, which contains 10 original songs. Each one is written and performed by one of their young cellists:

Students  come from across the island, meeting in person Saturday mornings at either The Unitarian Church of Montreal or the  Carrefour jeunesse emploi - NDG. “During the pandemic we did a lot  online, as well as outdoor classes when the weather permitted. We developed an extensive online curriculum of around 3,000 at-home practice videos," says Fink. 

One such success story is nearly seven year old Amaka, who started with the cello at age four years. An incredible talent, she just composed and recorded a  track on their album: https://cellomontreal.bandcamp.com/track/i-love-my-barbie-doll

The Côte Saint-Luc District 2 resident attends  École Des Amies-du-Monde.

Amaka  was born in May 2015 and hails from Issele Azagba in the  Delta State of Nigeria. A series of events caused the family to leave Nigeria and they arrived here in January 2018. As with most new endeavours, settling into a new environment definitely came with its challenges and one of the most difficult was finding an affordable daycare for her as she was so young and her parents couldn’t afford the private daycares at that time. She had to stay home while the family searched for ways to keep her engaged. As luck would have it,  a neighbour turned friend named Rachel, who is also a musician,  happened to introduce her to Fink. “He told me about this amazing free cello music program for kids that was in the works and suggested I have one of my kids try out for the auditions to get in,” said mom Joan. “We had never ever heard of  or seen a cello so this was a totally new experience for us.” 

Amaka was the very first to audition and she fared very well  and this began her journey into the wonderful world of the cello.  Added her mom: "Amaka has always loved listening to music and also singing as we would occasionally find her tapping away on the keyboard at home as she was fascinated by the sounds it made but her keen ear and appreciation for music was brought to my attention by her amazing instructors at Cello Montreal."

“She is also very excited about her very first song which she composed under the guidance and expertise of her instructors titled I love my Barbie doll and is looking forward to making more music,”  Joan continued. “Playing the cello has become one of her very favourite things to do and she never misses a chance to play at any occasion whenever it is requested. It’s amazing to see how far she has come and how talented she is and we appreciate her instructors who are helping  to nurture her talent and open her up to possibilities which we would never have imagined.” 


Tribute: Beryl Peletz was a stalwart with the CSL Men's Club and a true mensch

While I knew Beryl Peletz was in his 90s, he was one of those individuals whom I thought would simply live forever.

I had the pleasure of being his city councillor in Côte Saint-Luc District 2 these past 16 years. He and his wife Miriam were model constituents, always providing  timely advice. When there was an issue they would call me together, with one of them doing the talking and the other sharing comments from the background.

When it came to election time and campaigns, Beryl would give me the ultimate compliment when I knocked on his door by saying, “you don’t need to ask our vote…it is guaranteed.”

DavidHBeryl
David Haltrecht and I with Beryl (right) at the 2018 Men's Club Dinner.



Beryl was a true leader  with the Côte Saint-Luc Men’s Club.

“There are no simple words that I can use to pay tribute to Beryl,” said Sidney Margles. “There can only be superlatives. Beryl only had friends. He was always there. A pillar of the Cote Saint-Luc Men’s Club, he will be sorely missed.”

Irving Leiner called Beryl “a treasure whose absence will be deeply felt by many. I had the privilege of meeting and knowing Beryl when I first joined the Men's Club. His friendship and support for me was always evident and his willingness to help and take charge of anything that was required for our live evening events contributed to making these events enormously successful.”  

Syd Kronish noted that Beryl was  his key man during his eight years years as a member of the executive, including four as president. “He assumed with pleasure the job of heading the breakfast meetings which fed 200 to 275 members every month.” He said.  “He also was the leader of our monthly trips to Morrisburg to see some wonderful live shows what a man, always ready to help wherever he could. “

Phil Matlin resided in the same condo as Beryl on Rembrandt Avenue . “He was one of a kind,” he said. “When I moved into the Briar Cliffe I was elected to the board the same year as Miriam was. Beryl introduced himself to me as Miriam's husband. It didn't take very long to become friends. Beryl was always there for me and many others. We lost a man who was the definition of mensch. There will never be a man quite like Beryl.”

Mannie Young, another former Men’s Club president, wrote , “As I sit here writing this obituary , I am shivering not yet realizing that my mentor has left me.”

Debbie Adelstein-Posner called Beryl “ aremarkable man with an outstanding personality. He made everyone who met him feel important and loved and valued. Beryl was a pillar of his community, admired and respected by the many people he had come to know over his years particularly those in the Men’s Club.”

 Adelstein-Posner said that when  her  father stopped working and could not longer golf (his joy in life), Beryl reached out and invited him to community outings, to lectures and bridge games. “He let my father know that he was there for him at any time for any social need,” she said. “Beryl is leaving his legacy in the heart of my friend, who would, and does, go to the end of the earth for me, her friends, acquaintances and yes, without question, strangers.”  

Donations in his memory may be made to the “Abe Beryl Peletz Memorial fund” for Pancreatic cancer c/o the Jewish General Hospital Foundation (514) 340-8251 or the Sam Klinger chapter of Montreal Hadassah WIZO Organization of Canada (514) 933-8461.

Our sympathies go out to his family.

 

 


 Tordjman becomes the first candidate to confirm interest in D’Arcy McGee Liberal nomination

In my previous blog, I had a recommendation for how the Quebec Liberal Party can turn their fortunes around in the October provincial election. That would be to oppose  Bill 21 (prohibits Quebec citizens who work in public service from wearing religious symbols while fulfilling their duties), Bill 40 (abolition of English public school boards) and Bill 96 (the draconian new language law) and transform this opportunity into an attractive array of candidates.

The Liberals have an opening in the D’Arcy McGee  riding, with David Birnbaum stepping down. Imagine party leader Dominique Anglade campaigning in a core CAQ region with her new D’Arcy McGee hopeful wearing his kippa. She can explain to those voters what a kippa is and how  this individual can run for public office, yet is not eligible to become a teacher, vice-principal or principal unless they remove their religious symbol.  The same route could be followed for  her candidates with a hijab, turban or a cross around their neck. Wow, would the CAQ be on the defensive!

Tordjmanfamily
David Tordjman says he has the support of his wife and five children to pursue the Liberal nomination in D'Arcy McGee.

 

Since I live in D’Arcy McGee, I decided to reach out to some potential candidates who do wear kippas to see if they would be interested in the nomination for the Liberals – and whether Bill 21 serves as motivating factor.  David Tordjman,  who sat with me on Côte Saint-Luc City Council for four years, responded immediately: “As you’ve pointed out, the Legault government has a track record of violating fundamental rights: banning Quebecers who wear religious symbols from working as teachers, lawyers, and police officers with Bill 21; stripping the rights of parents to democratically elect and manage school boards with Bill 40; and restricting access to the judicial process in English while freezing enrolment in English-language CEGEPs with Bill 96, which was flawed from its inception and does nothing to nurture the English-speaking community. Rather it creates limitations and divisiveness.”

I asked David if he would pursue the Liberal nomination. The answer was “yes.”

“Bill 21 in particular hits home,” said David, a fully bilingual Sephardic Jew who attended English public school. “As a practicing Jew who wears a kippah, I recognize that this legislation impacts me along with countless Quebecers. Most importantly, it affects those presently working in the civil service, and dissuades our youth who aspire to serve the public. As a father of five children, this is not the society of diversity, inclusiveness, and acceptance I wanted to raise them in.

“Many of your readers know me as an active political figure in Côte Saint-Luc. They should also know that I’m not afraid to spark a discussion on why I and others wearing religious symbols can contribute positively to Quebec society at all levels.”

Just imagine David in Shawinigan with Anglade, speaking flawless French and explaining to the audience what Bill 21 really means. The CAQ hierarchy believes that all Quebecers support this law. But they don’t; there are merely too many of our citizens who need to be educated on what the real implications are.

“This election, Dominique Anglade and the Quebec Liberals are best positioned to take on the CAQ. While some may wish to divide our community’s voice at the ballot box, I believe we must stay united in fighting against a government that enacts legislation harming women, religious minorities, racialized people, and immigrant communities.”

As for the two anglo rights parties now forming, unless they find a way to merge neither will have any impact at all on the Liberals. By feuding in the media, leaders Balarama Holness and Colin Standish are losing credibility by the minute.

The Conservative Party of Quebec will get some  votes and I would not be surprised to see their kippa-wearing candidate from 2018, Yaniv Loran, back in the race.


The Quebec Liberal Party's best chance at a comeback is this recipe to "educate" the regions about Bills 21, 40 & 96

Can the Quebec Liberal Party make a comeback in the next provincial election?

Heading into the October vote, polls indicate the Quebec Liberals may get shellacked. Thus far leader Dominique Anglade and the party seem unable to connect with voters. However, I see  a real  opportunity for Anglade..

Bill21
The Liberals need a winning formula.

The party  must come up with many new candidates due to retirements. Since Anglade has made it clear in recent interviews that her party is against Bill 21 (prohibits Quebec citizens who work in public service from wearing religious symbols while fulfilling their duties), Bill 40 (abolition of English public school boards) and Bill 96 (the draconian new language law), why not look at this as an ideal opportunity for a rebranding?

“Unlike the governing CAQ, we are a party that accepts all Quebecers as equals,” Anglade can say by introducing a diversified group of candidates. Imagine how something like that would resonate!

In D’Arcy McGee, name a candidate who wears a  kippa; for Laval find someone with a hijab or turban; in L’Acadie,   identify a high profile English public school official; in Marguerite Bourgeoys (LaSalle) engage someone from an English CEGEP;  for  Vimont Laval convince a representative from the Catholic Church; for Mount Royal (if Pierre Arcand retires), bring in a representative from the Indigenous community. Could you just imagine all of these people sworn in as MNAs and sitting in  Quebec as Bill 21 continues to roll its way through the courts? An orthodox Jew wearing the same kippa that  would  ban him from doing so as a school teacher – ditto for a woman with a hijab. That would be ironic!

Suddenly, the Liberals would have an identity. These MNAs could then travel the province with Anglade  and “educate”   CAQ loyalists in the regions what a religious symbol means. Most of these electors are not exposed to these things. It is support by ignorance.

With all of the opposition parties, including the newly popular Conservatives, the best case scenario for the Liberals would be a minority CAQ government. In order to not get wiped off the map, Anglade needs to think outside of the box and this idea could put them back in the game.

As for the two new anglophone rights parties headed by Balarama Holness and Colin Standish, unless they merge the Liberals have absolutely nothing to fear as they will merely split the vote.