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May 2009

Habs enforcer Georges Laraque and synthetic ice come to District 2

Laracquesynethic1A Georges Laraque of the Canadiens (top left) shares a moment with Councillor Ruth Kovac, Steven Stein, myself, Councillor Glenn J. Nashen and two young hockey players trying out the synthetic ice.

District 2 in Côte Saint-Luc had a very special visit this week when Montreal Canadiens enforcer Georges Laraque stopped by the Mackle Road Town House of Steven Stein and Arlene Ades. I was invited to come by, along with fellow councillors Ruth Kovac and Glenn J. Nashen, to witness an extraordinary demonstration of a product called synthetic ice. Steve set it up in his garage. This is basically a high-tech plastic that you can skate on. It permits a skate blade to glide as smoothly as on real ice. A number of youngsters from the neighbourhood laced up their skates, put on their gauntlets and knocked the puck around. Georges, all six-foot-three and 260 pounds of him, posed for photos and spoke about the benefits of synthetic rinks such as this. Imagine being able to set up an outdoor hockey rink in the middle of the summer and not having to worry about the ice melting.

Ruth and I have spoken to Steven about the possibility of installing a synthetic ice rink at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park on Canada Day, July 1, with Georges Laraque on skates. Georges, by the way, is an extraordinary fellow. He was signed to a three-year contract by the Habs last year. Montreal badly needed an enforcer, and more importantly someone who can keep the other team honest. Unfortunately for Georges, he had to endure a bad back throughout the season and missed a lot of action. "In the playoffs I was on so many pain killers just to get on the ice," he told me. "I have been resting since we were eliminated and I hope to get back on the ice to train next week."

If you have not witnessed Georges in action, just write his name in the search box of YouTube and you will have plenty to see. Also check out his own website at

Mikeand Georges

I am five-foot-ten, but I felt very small next to big Georges.

A wonderful Spring Fair in CSL

The second annual Côte Saint-Luc Spring Fair took place on Sunday, May 24 at and around Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park on Mackle Rd. This extraordinary event included the Côte Saint-Luc Garage Sale, Emergency Services Day, the Public Works Fair, and EcoAction Day. By combining four popular events, we have created a destination for people of all ages to spend an hour or two. As our mayor so correctly points out, "An event like the Spring Fair helps create a sense of community and provides the residents of Côte Saint-Luc with a memorable experience."

BIssonnetteMartel Police Station 9 Commander Sylvain Bissonnette, Councillor Cohen and CSL Public Security Chief Michel Martel.

There were 60 tables at the Garage Sale, all of which sold out soon after becoming available. This took place at the covered Confederation Annex building. District 2 resident Erwin Luden, for one, barely had anything left to sell at his station when I visited near closing time.

Emergency Services Day took place at the parking lot of Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park and featured emergency vehicles for kids to climb into. Kids and adults were also able to speak to police officers, fire fighters, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) lifesavers, Public Security constables, Volunteer Citizens on Patrol (VCOP) and other members of the safety services. At one point during the day EMS instructors demonstrated how to stop someone from choking by performing the Heimlich manoeuvre. One VCOP on hand was District 2 resident Jason Balinksky and his trusted German Shepherd Ginny.


VCOP and District 2 resident Jason Balinsky and his dog Ginny kept watch at the Public Works Fair.

The Public Works Fair took place next to the Public Works Building and featured barbecue food, inflatable games for kids, arts and crafts, and more. Donations were being accepted for the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Finally, EcoAction Day took place next to the Public Works Building. Visitors learned about recycling and curb-side compost collection, received free garden compost, and were able to drop off household hazardous waste. Kids learned about composting and how to make a zero-waste lunch.

Mother Nature was most cooperative once again this year. The weather could not have been nicer.

Intercommunity Relations Commitee Visits Mount Sinai Hospital


Councillor Cohen (holding sign) is surrounded by members of the Intercommunity Relations Committee and special guests at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Note: The following is a press release about the most recent Intercommunity Relations Committee meeting.

The Côte Saint-Luc Intercommunity Relations Committee, chaired by Councillor Mike Cohen, continues to give organizations and institutions operating within the municipality an opportunity to network and learn about each other’s initiatives. When Mayor Anthony Housefather gave Councillor Cohen the Intercommunity Relations portfolio at the beginning of the present council’s mandate nearly four years ago, organizations had never before had an opportunity to meet with each other on a regular basis. Work began on establishing a data base. After a first meeting at City Hall, it was decided that all subsequent meetings would be hosted by a different organization.

What followed were sessions at the Maimonides Geriatric Centre, Beth Zion Congregation, the CSSS Cavendish/CLSC René-Cassin, Congregation Or Hahayim and most recently, Mount Sinai Hospital. “We have had excellent attendance and the comment most often heard is from people who have worked in the city for many years, yet never before stepped into some of the buildings we visit,” said Councillor Cohen. “Our meetings are productive for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the organizations and institutions now have a more direct line to City Hall. Secondly, representatives are getting to know each other.” Representatives at this meeting came from Bialik High School, the JPPS-Bialik head office, Beth Zion, the CSSS Cavendish, St. Richard’s Parish, Congregation. Juive Francophone Chouva Israel, the MADA Community Centre, the Knights of Pythias, Hebrew Academy, National Council of Jewish Women, Maimonides Geriatric Centre, the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library, the Jewish Genealogical Society of Montreal, host Mount Sinai and Howard Liebman from the office of Mount Royal MP Irwin Cotler.

Councillor Kovac introduced Michel Amar, the interim executive director. Mr. Amar provided an interesting recap of the hospital’s history. Since its inception in 1909 in Ste. Agathe, by members of the Jewish community, Mount Sinai has always stood for excellence. Today, the hospital is a state-of-the-art institution, which specializes in Respiratory Care, Palliative Care and Long-Term Care, with the Canadian Council on Health Services accreditation. This is a 107-bed, McGill University affiliated teaching hospital where innovative research and ambulatory services play an increasingly key role.

MtSinaiSmaller Councillor Levine and Kovac, Michel Amar, Councillors Mike Cohen and Mitchell Brownstein.


Mount Sinai Hospital Montreal is an established hospital that treats anyone in Quebec and beyond.   Mount Sinai’s history dates back to the hospital’s inception when members of the Jewish community recognized the need for a tuberculosis sanatorium. Before the discovery of an antibiotic, it was accepted that fresh mountain air, and pure water, could facilitate the treatment and ultimately cure tuberculosis. And so, Mount Sinai’s heritage began in Prefontaine near Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec, with a humble 12-bed facility. In 1939, the sanatorium was officially inaugurated and welcomed patients from all over. Tuberculosis intensified as a fatal disease placing pressure on the capacity of the establishment. Mount Sinai soon had 57 beds and welcomed not only tuberculosis patients but also those suffering from other respiratory diseases.  Mount Sinai remained a tuberculosis sanatorium until the threat of the disease diminished in the 1950s. The focus then shifted to becoming an intermediate care facility specializing in respiratory diseases such as emphysema, bronchitis, asthma and other chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. Eventually in 1990, Mount Sinai moved to its present facility in order to better serve the greater Montreal area. Since then, services have been constantly adapting to meet the changing needs of the community, with upgraded facilities and equipment to guarantee the highest level of patient care. 

 The hospital will be hosting an « Inspiration » exhibit at the Montreal Science Centre May 28 to September 7 , a Centennial Gala June 4 at the Cabaret de Casino (hosted by the Auxiliary and with Councillor Kovac as an honouree), an open house and annual general meeting September 16, a public session of the centennial medical symposium on sleep disorders November 12 and another on sleep disorders in clinical practice the following day at Le Windsor. Carol Steadman, who is responsible for community relations and volunteer services, noted that in addition to those involved with the Auxiliary there are 216 volunteers at the hospital. She has recently been working with students from Bialik and Herzliah to become active in this area. To volunteer one has to be 16 years of age.

One of the most interesting aspects of these meetings is the round-table discussion whereby each organization provides an update on its activities. This time information included renovations at Beth Zion and St. Richard’s, the library’s community outreach program,. JPPS-Bialik relocating its head office to the Bialik facility on Kildare Road from Decarie Square, plans for the Maimonides Centennial in 2010 and MADA’s desire to find a storefront to serve kosher meals to the needy in Côte Saint-Luc. Members of the committee also got a tour of the Mount Sinai building.

A Successful Blood Donor Clinic in CSL

BloodDonor Laura Trihas from the Parks and Recreation Department gives the gift of life as Councillor Cohen looks on with volunteers Morty Randolph and Cheryl Nashen.

Congratulations to Councillor Ruth Kovac, the staff at the Parks and Recreation Department and our numerous volunteers for another successful Côte Saint-Luc Blood Donor Clinic. It was held on May 5 at the City Gymnasium and we collected 132 pints of blood, surpassing our objective of 125. Thanks as well to members of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Volunteer Citizens on Patrol (VCOPs) for their contributions throughout the day. Legendary broadcaster Dick Irvin even dropped by as a special guest during the day. His special lady friend is Terri Druick, whom for years was our assistant director of Parks and Recreation. When I visited I was happy to chat with Morty Randolph. I go back 30 plus years with Morty, when he was an active volunteer in the local minor baseball and hockey programs. He moved away from Côte Saint-Luc when his kids grew up, but recently returned. In addition, he also had heart bypass surgery – a life changing moment which has him thinking much more about his health. When he heard about the Blood Donor Clinic he knew he had to give a hand.

New water game area to open soon at Rembrandt Park

Those with small children to entertain- grandparents, moms and dads - will be pleased to learn that the new water games area at Rembrandt Park will be fully operational during the month of May.

The area  is  similar to what is already in place at Richard Schwartz and Pierre Elliott Trudeau parks. For instance, there is a large sprinkler in the shape of a flower that spins as it emits water. This is all part of the numerous improvements to Rembrandt Park I have been proud to oversee over the last four years as councillor for District 2.


A fitting VE Day Ceremony

VetsDay2009 Councillor Cohen with (left to right) former Mayor Bernard Lang, Edward Wolkove and Michael Kutz.

The Brigadier Frederick Kisch Branch No. 97 hosted its annual Victory in Europe Service (V.E. Day) commemoration  May 3 at Veteran's Park, located right next to City Hall in District 2

 A nice crowd was on hand on an absolutely beautiful day as we paid tribute to those who fought for our country so many years ago. We remain so very fortunate to still have with us so many veterans. Robert R. Feldstein once again served as the chief parade marshall and master of ceremonies. The Royal West Academy Band played the Israeli, Belgium, American and Canadian national anthems and at the conclusion, God Save The Queen.

 Laying wreaths were District 2 resident Howard Liebman (on behalf of Liberal MP for Mount Royal Irwin Cotler, for whom he serves as chief of staff),  D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman, Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather, the Consul General for Belgium, Israeli Consul General Yoram Elron, American Consul General Lee McClenny, and a number of other special guests. Mayor Housefather delivered a speech praising our veterans, as did Mr. Bergman. Rabbi Michael Wolff, chaplain for the Legion, spoke about how his son is now serving in the Israeli army. I wish to salute the Legion, as well as event co-chairs for council Sam Goldbloom and Allan J. Levine and our city staff for once again presenting a first class event.