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November 2009
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December 2009

CSL resident to head B'nai Brith

B'nai Brith Canada has its Quebec head office at the Cote Saint-Luc Shopping Centre. Immediate past national president Gerry Weinstein lives in CSL as do many others involved with this prestigious human rights organization. On January 4 a new regional director will be in place. Her name is Heidi Oppen and yes, she resides in CSL. Here is a story I filed on her for The Jewish Tribune. See page 3.

 You can also see my review of the Olympic Torch Relay on  page 8, as I witnessed its visit to CSL.

Mourning the passing of Holocaust survivor Mayer Schondorf

I was shocked and very saddened to learn of the sudden passing of one my most distinguished constituents in District 2,  Mayer Schondorf at the age of 81. Born in Slovakia,  Mayer was a Holocaust survivor of Auschwitz and Buchenwald and he dedicated most of his life after escaping death at he hands of the Nazis to educating youngsters about his experience and those of others.  He was a frequent visitor to schools and worked closely with the Montreal Holocaust Memorial  Centre.

Municipally, Mayer was in touch with me on a regular basis – by telephone, email and in person. He and his wife Rena took long walks in the neighbourhood, keeping up a pace those half their age would envy. District2j08talkingA  After many of these walks Mayer would contact me to report a problem he spotted, He and Rena regularly attended my District meetings, which focus on very local issues. Mayer is pictured at te very left with other residents in discussion with me at one of the meetings.  

The Schondorf condo on Rembrandt Avenue faces Rembrandt Park. We have made many improvements there the last few years, but a major  project is planned beginning next summer which will see us add new tennis courts and remove the basketball courts. Mayer was very eager to be consulted on this. When we last spoke just a few weeks ago I promised him that there would be a meeting in the spring.

Mayer’s death is a tremendous loss to the Jewish community and society in general. He affected so many lives, notably the thousands upon thousands of non-Jewish students he spoke to over the years. For this is the best vehicle for combating anti-Semitism. Get to the kids who have never seen or met a Jew. Provide them with first-hand history. It leaves a tremendous impression upon them. I had the privilege of watching Mayer work his magic. He was just so good at it because what he said came from the heart.

Rest in peace Mayer. And to your family, my most sincere condolences.

Côte Saint-Luc Senior Social Club Celebrates

I had the privilege December 16 of representing the mayor and city council at the annual holiday luncheon of the Côte Saint-Luc Senior Social Club. Past president Eva Silverman, who is full of energy, served as the master of ceremonies and Peggy Pardo on guitar sang some Chanukah favorites.SrsMikeEvaSilvermanAckerman We all enjoyed a delicious kosher lunch of filet of sole, potatoes and latkes. I was asked to light the Chanukah menorah as Al Grosser, a longstanding member of the Senior Men's Club, recited the Chanukah blessing.Later I had a chance to speak to the audience of about 75 people. I congratulated them for the wonderful activities they organize. In fact, I will be the guest speaker at their meeting of March 17, 2010. Before I left I joined club president Barbara Akerman in presenting the tirelless Eva Silverman with a bouquet of flowers. One final note: at my table was the absolutely incredible Mollie Udashkin. Mollie, the grandmother of our city clerk and director of legal affairs Jonathan Shecter, is 99 years young. She still lives on her own and leads various seniors groups in exercise classes

Saluting a future mayor, a hero and our Public Works Department

Mayor For a Day 09winner Rina Dayan 011 There was a lot to celebrate at the Dec. 14, 2009 Côte Saint-Luc Council meeting.

The winner of the 2009 Mayor For a Day essay-writing contest, Rina Dayan, read her winning entry at the meeting. Rina received a book, a copy of which will be placed in the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library. In addition, her school, Yeshiva Yavné received a $100 gift card to buy books for its school library.

During this evening, for the second consecutive year, the association representing public works professionals in Canada awarded Côte Saint-Luc the top prize in its annual National Public Works Week Awards.The Canadian Public Works Association (CPWA) awarded the top prize to Côte Saint-Luc among cities with a population of 75,000 or fewer. The results will be announced formally at the CPWA Luncheon at the American Public Works Association Congress in Columbus, Ohio on September 14. 

Public Works Week award09

Public Works Week in Côte Saint-Luc raised $4,000 for the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation over the course of several days, from May 19 to 24. Staff helped raise money  in different ways, such   as a pie-throwing event. Grade 3 classes from Hebrew Academy toured the Public Works Department facilities and our waste education staff visited École Maimonides to promote waste-free lunches and recycling. The Public Works Carnival closed on Sunday, May 24 with a barbecue, inflatable games for children, wagon rides, household hazardous waste collection and more.

Meanwhile, we also recognized a true hero.   On the afternoon of Oct. 18, an elderly driver of a vehicle suffered a medical problem and lost control of his car. The car barreled through two fences and plunged into a half-filled private swimming pool. The man was pulled from the car at the bottom of the pool and successfully resuscitated. At the time he left for the hospital by ambulance, he had regained a pulse and was  conscious. This miraculous story of survival would not have been possible if not for the rapid intervention of Martin Benko, a 17 year old Côte Saint-Luc resident who was walking his dog when he witnessed the accident.

Martin Benko 09

Martin quickly tied up his dog and jumped into the pool. He broke the rear window of the car which, along with the trunk, was the only part of the car not submerged, and pulled the man out. He dragged the man to the stairs of the pool where, as a trained lifeguard, he assessed that the man had no pulse. Mr. Benko suffered lacerations to his arms during the rescue.  We publicly saluted him at the meeting as well , with a special plaque.

The Olympic flame visits Côte Saint-Luc

Downloads 006 The Olympic flame ended its four-day swing through the Montreal area on Dec. 10 and Côte Saint-Luc did indeed have an opportunity to play a role in history. This most extraordinary symbol of athletic excellence is passing through more than 1,000 communities on a 106-day journey before arriving in time for the Vancouver Winter Games on Feb. 12.

Flame is welcomed

In Côte Saint-Luc, we have been gearing up for what turned out to be a "brief but magical" moment of glory for more than a year when we first learned of the route. We set up a station at the Côte Saint-Luc Shopping Centre, complete with grandstands and plenty of  hot chocolate. Well more than 1,000 people turned out, including a few school buses of children. I was there along with Mayor Anthony Housefather and Councillors Glenn J. Nashen, Ruth Kovac, Mitchell Brownstein and Allan J. Levine. D'Arcy McGee Liberal MNA Lawrence Bergman and Mount Royal Liberal MP Irwin Cotler were also in town. Hats off to our Public Security officers and our Volunteer Citizens on Patrol (VCOPS) for their tremendous efforts in crowd control.

The flame was originally supposed to pass by at 2:07 p.m. On this cold day  people starting arriving more than an hour in advance. It was a festive atmosphere as everyone waved Canadian flags and other material supplied by sponsors Coca Cola and RBC Royal Bank. Marty Croitoru, a resident of District 2 in CSL, was a member of the Coca Cola security team. He has been following the flame and will provide us with some details in the weeks to come.

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We waited and waited. There was a delay. Finally, a slew of police cars went by, followed by Coca Cola and RBC vechicles. Then came another seemingless endless array of police cars. Hampstead's Robbie  Laxer, who carried the flame elsewhere that day, was in the crowd. He shared his torch with all of us to hold and take photos. Finally we saw the flame from a distance. It was being carried by Montreal West businessman Gordon Farrell. The security contingent steered Farrell over to us where our Public Safety chief Jordy Reichson snapped a quick photo. It all went by so fast. Farrell was being cheered like a celebrity. What a rush that must of been.


Was it worth standing out there for more than an hour in a deep freeze? You bet! CSL's Director of Public Affairs and Communications Darryl Levine was taping the event for our new CSL TV. Watch for highlights soon at





The Jewish People's and Peretz Schools (JPPS) $7 a day daycare has opened a beautiful, brand new facility on Westminster Avenue. Businessman Jack Vincelli took care of the construction and is the happy landlord. Director Randi Zuker (pictured with us above) and her team held a grand opening Dec. 7. Members of city council and Mayor Anthony Housefather were in attendance. Congratulations to all on a fabulous looking venue.

Meeting Claude Lemieux

More than 25 years ago I covered the Verdun Junior Canadiens of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Besides superstar Pat LaFontaine, one of my favorite players was rugged winger Claude Lemieux who went on to enjoy a stellar NHL career with the Canadiens and several other teams. Last year he came out of retirement briefly to play for the San Jose Sharks. ClaudeLemieuxMike

Now Lemieux is the president and CEO (North America) of Moov Frozen Fruits. You can find Moov products on the shelves of the two IGA stores in Côte Sant-Luc.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Claude at the downtown offices of Torchia Communications (see photo). One of his partners in this initiative is Petr Svoboda, another former Hab.

Here is the complete  press release which describes the business:

Two former teammates of the 1986 Stanley Cup Champions, the Montreal Canadiens, have joined forces with two local entrepreneurs to form a new corporate team and on a different frozen medium with MOOV Frozen Foods Inc., an exciting business venture in high-end frozen fruits and vegetables.  They have come a long way from their humble beginnings as teenagers just drafted into the super competitive NHL.

Claude Lemieux, Petr Svoboda, Montreal businessmen Platon Gavrielatos and Steve Zervoudakis are now partners in the new Canadian company that packages, markets and distributes frozen fruit under the MOOV™ label.  The product line is already available in IGA supermarkets in Quebec and negotiations are currently under way with other major chains across Canada. Lemieux is CEO of North America, Svoboda is CEO of Europe with Gavrielatos Chairman and CEO of MOOV Frozen Foods Inc. and Steve Zervoudakis as Executive Partner, Operations. Moov Frozen Foods Inc. is a 100% Canadian company that will serve both domestic and international markets.
Lemieux, a Buckingham, Québec native, 44, is only one of four NHL players who have won four Stanley Cups with three different teams.  He accomplished this over a 20-year NHL career.  Last year, Lemieux gained many admirers when, after a five season hiatus, he tried out for and was signed by the San Jose Sharks at age 43. 

 “My comeback to the NHL would not have been possible without a strong regimen of physical exercise, hard work and proper nutrition – that is why as a professional athlete and father of four I am invested in the high quality MOOV™   has to offer,” he said at press conference today.

Lemieux has shown his consistent love of competition and skating as seen by his involvement in the CBC TV program, Battle of the Blades, where he and partner Shae-Lynn Bourne, World Champion of Ice Dancing in 2003 and Olympic competitor, were one of two pairs to reach the finals in this nationally telecast series. 

“Battle of the Blades was a great experience and it showed millions of Canadians how important it is to be your best. I believe that Moov quality fruits are is part of a healthy lifestyle and presents itself as a winning opportunity, one that is a solid investment in my post-hockey career,“ said Lemieux.

Svoboda, 43, is currently a Montreal-based agent for NHL players with Sportrust International Inc. He was the first Czech to play more than 1,000 NHL games with Montreal, Buffalo, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay.
Petr is also a father of two and someone committed to healthy living.  Like Claude, he sees Moov as a brand that can make eating right easier for Canadians.  He is also eager to introduce the brand to his native Czech Republic.
“I can see Europe opening up to us with a product line like this, to become yet another successful Canadian export across the Atlantic. I’m excited by the possibilities,” said Svoboda.

Montreal-based businessman Platon Gavrielatos, owner of Alasko Frozen Foods Inc., has been distributing frozen fruit and vegetables from around the world for more than 20 years. Platon is a forerunner in this field bringing experience and expertise to the mix, as well as his long standing relationships with some of the best growers in the world. The highest quality fruit is picked at the peak of ripeness and flash frozen to ensure taste, quality and nutritional value.  There is no need for additives, preservatives or sugar.  Like Claude Lemieux and Petr Svoboda, Platon also is a strong proponent of the health benefits of MOOV’s product line.

“The Food and Drug Administration of the United States noted 11 years ago that frozen fruits and vegetables are equivalent to fresh produce in their nutrient profile as they are processed at their highest point of nutritional content. Health Canada recommends eating 5–10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.  With a growing market and an increasing focus on health we knew it was time to introduce MOOV™” said Gavrielatos.

The “frozen fruit” category in Canada is a $143.5 million industry according to recent statistics from August ’09 A.C. Nielsen and is more developed than the U.S. where penetration is only 27%.  A.C. Nielsen also shows growth in every region in Canada over the last 52 weeks.  MOOV Frozen Fruit is committed in helping to promote healthy mind, body and spirit for Canadians as well as helping its retailers increase category sales.

Today’s consumer is time pressured.  Achieving a healthy balance as well having the time for nutritious meals makes products like MOOV Frozen Fruit a staple.  Recipes are quick to prepare and provide essential daily nutrients.  Based on recent data from RTS as well as MOOV’s independent research, teens, young adults and families alike are known to be heavy consumers of Frozen Fruit, particularly for breakfast and as a healthy snack.

 “The world is moving at hyper speed, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need to eat health well; in fact, it is even more important for us to care for our physical health and diet under these circumstances,” said Steve Zervoudakis. “Proper nutrition is the fuel for the kind of hard work our bodies need to maintain top physical health and well-being. Quality products like MOOV™ make these goals easier to achieve.”

As active parents with kids involved in sports, all four partners have the same motivation for this endeavour. Through their long-time friendship, and their kids, they see Moov as one of the best ways to keep bodies and brains healthy. Eating well combined with regular activity is the key to help families live a fuller, richer life.   That is one of the reasons that on its packages Moov asks consumers to: “Eat well.  Keep moving.  Be Active.  Be Smart!”

CSL-TV launched as a new way to communicate with residents

The City of Côte Saint-Luc has launched an Internet video channel where we will post videos from municipal events.

The new CSL-TV website showcases videos produced by the city. Since 2007, Côte Saint-Luc has posted videos on its website, such as V-E Day ceremonies, Winter Carnival and more. CSL-TV is a way to organize these videos in one central place. Residents can see the video channel by clicking the CSL-TV button at

Video is becoming a standard communications tool in business and government as the cost of producing quality videos decreases. There is an opportunity for municipal governments to show what we do in a visual way.

Large government institutions such as the White House and the British Prime Minister use video extensively to communicate directly with the public. Small municipalities can also benefit.

Communicating through video is something that would have been prohibitively expensive or even impossible for municipalities 10 years ago. But new tools have leveled the playing field and we can do more for less. Our Director of Public Affairs and Communications, Darryl Levine, has a background in recording and editing videos, so we’re able to do everything in-house.