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June 2014

May 2014

Bob Benedetti shares his extraordinary life story at CSL talk

The Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library is about a lot more than books. I have been reminded about that constantly since assuming the portfolio of library and culture at the start of my third mandate as a city councillor.

One of the things I wanted to become more involved in programming. We offer some excellent lectures and I was very excited to recommend Bob Benedetti as a potential guest speaker. Bob has lived a most interesting life: airforce pilot, TV broadcaster, mayor of Beaconsfield and now a blogger specializing on matters related to technology.

With two legends : Dick Irvin and Bob Benedetti.


Well Bob acccepted our invitation and on May 29 he delivered a fabulous "story of my life," complete with a 52 slide powerpoint presentation featuring some great video clips. A surprise member of the audience was legendary sportscaster Dick Irvin, recently presented with the Order of Canada. He is a former colleague of Bob's at CTV Montreal.

Bob started off by sharing with us his special Côte Saint-Luc connection. Pointing to his lovely wife Susan, seated in the second row, he took us back to 1978 when he lived in the area known as the Village - just off Côte Saint-Luc Road near Kingsley. He was doing his grocery shopping at Steinberg's at the CSL Shopping Centre when his cart literally bumped into Susan's. She recognized him from TV and the two got to talking.

"At the cash, I asked if we could see each other," Bob said. "She told me that she was in the phone book. We actually became friends for about five years. After sharing dating experiences, we saw that what we wanted was right under our nose. We have now been together 29 years this coming August."

Bob began his powerpoint and literally began his story with photos of his third birthday, his days as a high school football player (concussions and broken bones galore).  His first job was with Bell Telephone, but what he really wanted to do was become a pilot. So he took all the necessary courses and in 1956, for only $300 (with a $100 rebate from the government), he got his pilot's license. That propelled him to pursue a career in the Canadian Airforce.

Bob's claim to fame, of course, were the years he spent as a reporter for the old Pulse News on CFCF (now simply known as CTV Monteal). He shared some great stories of his days in the field, illustrated  by a highlight reel compiled  by Brian Britt when he retired almost a decade ago. It was not long before he was persuaded to run for mayor of Beaconsfield in 2005. He won and served one term. These days he keeps himself very busy with his excellent blog on new technology.

“Technology has always been a hobby of mine,” Bob was saying. “I remember when I was a little kid going to visit my uncle who worked for Bell I’d head straight for his telephone equipment to play with. I was a pioneer writing about technology long before it became commonplace. For example I was the first reporter ever to write about the original BlackBerry. It looked like a pager back in the late nineties. I used the segment title Tech Talk. Do I ever wish I had registered the name, now everyone uses it. I computerized the newsroom and brought in the first satellite truck called Pulstar. We had a visionary owner who gave us the money to do it.”

Bob is thrilled with the following his Home Technology Montreal  blog has achieved, reporting on both personal and car technology. “A lot of my site has reviews,” Bob says. “I get stuff and try it out and I write it in a fun way. People have to deal with technology today, whether it is making a purchase for themselves or as a gift. And there is a lot of technology in cars today. So I take a close look at that as well. I put a particular emphasis on stuff that is available in Montreal.”

Bob has also taken to Twitter. He also designed his own website, spending time getting to know and understand the Wordpress format.

Bob and Susan were happy to make the trip to CSL and escape their home."We are in week four of kitchen renovations," he said.

Here is a video chat I had with Bob last year:















Mega Garage Sale another big success

The annual Côte Saint-Luc Mega Garage Sale was another huge success on Sunday, May 25,  at the Confederation Annex of Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park. 

Big crowd

“As residents are always encouraged to reduce, reuse and recycle this event couldn't be more appropriate,” Mayor Anthony Housefather said. “We’d rather items find a new use with someone who needs them than be tossed in the garbage.”

There were 60 tables set up under the roof of the Confederation Annex. Prepared food was available on site.

With members of the Library team.


New this year, the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library had a table and sold gently used books. The funds collected by the sale of used books will go towards the purchase of a piano for the library.

The Cats Committee table.

I was also pleased to see the Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee on site. Bram Eisenthal, our new partner in the Animal Protection area, was there as well to promote his excellent Precious Pets newspaper.

Also, Côte Saint-Luc was accepting old bikes on behalf of SOS Vélo, a non-profit organization that helps disadvantaged adults learn job skills. SOS Vélo takes used bikes and builds new ones, using about 70 per cent recycled parts.

Councillor Allan J. Levine displays his purchases.


The event co-chairpersons were Councillor Dida Berku and Councillor Steven Erdelyi. The annual Mega Garage Sale was launched in 2007.

Thanks to all of the staff and volunteers. Members of our Volunteer Citizens on Patrol (VCOP) were there setting up as of 5:30 a.m.


Rembrandt Park tennis courts update

I have received a number of inquiries re the status of  the Rembrandt Park tennis courts, for which I worked long and hard over the years to obtain a much needed facelift to the tune of $167,000. Preliminary work began last fall, but we needed to wait for nice weather to arrive this spring (and it was late) to  finish the job.
As Eric Ibey, the city's coordinator of Urban Development and our point man on the project explains,  there are reasons for the delays.  Notably,  the late spring caused all contractors to be backed up this year which means everyone is running behind. 
Here is Eric's update:
Surfacing:  This requires one more coat  and two days to cure after the final coat.
Fencing:  This is  lined up for next Wednesday.  The company hired will be repairing the holes as well as fixing the bottom of the fence along the perimeter of both courts.  That should represent two days of work.
New Lighting: The final wiring has been installed.
If all goes well people should be playing tennis by May 30 or 31. Let's just hope the weather is cooperative and the stars align.


District 2 Meeting set for Monday, June 2 at City Hall

A Côte Saint-Luc District 2 information meeting will take place on Monday, June 2 (7:30 p.m.) at City Hall (5801 Cavendish Boulevard). I created this initiative when I was first elected in the fall of 2005 as a way to maintain closer relations with constituents and talk mainly about issues related to the surrounding neighbourhood. Since then a number of other councillors have followed suit.

Special guests for this meeting will be Mayor Anthony Housefather, Police Station 9 Lieutenant Bryan Cunningham and Coordinator of Urban Development Eric Ibey. Mathew Stein (pictured), a District 2 resident and student at Bialik High School, will be presented with an Award of Merit for his efforts in cleaning up his neighbourhood.


As the city’s point man for  traffic issues, Ibey will be soliciting any ideas citizens may have to improve the situation at Cavendish and Kildare. There will also be information on a planned Hydro-Québec project on Merrimac Road and Rembrandt Avenue, an update on the soon to be unveiled renovated Rembrandt Park tennis court, animal protection and other issues. This is also an opportunity for residents to bring up any other issue they wish.  For more information, call (514) 485-6945 or email

District 2 encompasses Merrimac, Rembrandt., Kildare  (between Marc Chagall and Honoré Balzac), Sir Walter Scott,  Ilan Ramon, Marc Chagall, Mackle  (between Cavendish and Brandeis),  Quartier Cavendish Mall, Cavendish (Manoir Montefiore, Manoir Camelia, L’Excelsior, new Town Houses),  Jubilee, Park Place, Honoré-de-Balzac.

All residents of Côte Saint-Luc are invited to attend.


Mike Cohen - June 2, 2014 meeting_EN

JGH Centre for Child Development fundraiser features terrific film at Quartier Cavendish

The Jewish General Hospital Centre for Child Development and Mental Health will hold its annual fundraiser on  Wednesday, May 28 (7 p.m.)  at the Quartier Cavendish Cineplex Theatre, featuring the Spanish film Tocur Y Luchar (To Play and To Fight). It will be shown with English subtitles.  

This film introduces one of the most important and beautiful social phenomena in recent history - an incredible network of youth orchestras, designed to expose poor and rural children (Viva! Sistema) to the wonders of music. It is a movement that has spread worldwide,  from its beginning in Venezuela.  The wonderful St. Gabriel Elementary School String Ensemble will also perform.

For tickets, which cost $30 minimum each,  call Anita at 514-340-8222, ext. 5638. Cheques may be made payable to JGH - Child Psychiatry Fund.   Here is the flyer.  And here is the official trailer.


Oliver Jones honourary chair of Gravel Décarie Chevrolet Buick Cadillac CSL Golf Classic

 Here is your first look at a press release we will be issuing for our much anticipated golf classic.

Councillors Mike Cohen and Sam Goldloom have announced that Gravel Décarie Chevrolet Buick Cadillac will serve as the title sponsor for the 35th Annual Côte Saint-Luc Golf Classic, which will take place on Tuesday, July 8 at Meadowbrook Golf Club (8370 Côte Saint-Luc Road). Jazz legend Oliver Jones (pictured), a resident of Côte Saint-Luc, will serve as honourary chairman and lead his own foursome on the links. OliverJones

Adding to the excitement, Jean-Claude and Louis Philippe Gravel are making available a Cadillac ATS 2014 to be won by the first or only golfer to make a hole in one.


For many years this event was called the Senior Men’s Golf Outing. However, it is no longer tied to age and as a result a number of foursomes have already been sold to groups and associations involved or operating within the city. Starting times range from 7 am to 10 am, with the nine hole Classic followed by a lunch buffet at 1 pm complete with trophies, guest speakers and door prizes, all taking place at the Aquatic and Community Centre, 5794 Parkhaven Avenue. There will be plenty of snacks on the course and souvenir packages upon starting your round on the course.

“The Golf Classic will provide an opportunity to have some fun, socialize with others and enjoy a delightful day,” stated Councillor Cohen. “We are thrilled to welcome Gravel Auto on board. Based on their geographic location at the corner of Decarie and Van Horne, they are the community car dealership for our residents.

Added Councillor Goldloom: “We expect all our spots to be sold out very quickly this year so I urge interested parties, be it as individuals or as part of a foursome, to register without delay.”


Harold Cammy, Alvin Fishman, Mike Cohen, Sam Goldbloom, Jean-Claude and Louis Philippe Gravel.


Councillors Cohen and Goldloom extended their thanks to Harold Cammy and Alvin Fishman of the Parks and Recreation Department for their hard work behind the scenes. Registration is only $27 per player. Payment by cheque must be made out to the City of Côte Saint-Luc. People may also pay with cash, Visa, MasterCard or Interac.

 Registration will open on Monday June 2 at the Parks and Recreation Department Administration office, 7500 Mackle Road, from Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm or at the Aquatic and Community Centre daily, from 8 am to 9 pm. There are a limited number of spaces, so interested parties are being urged to register early. In the event of strong rain forcing cancellation, the luncheon will still take place as scheduled and the Tournament will be rescheduled for Tuesday July  15, with the same starting times.

 For any further information contact Alvin Fishman at 514-485-6806 ext. 2012 ( or Harold Cammy at 514-485-6806 ext. 2011.(


Cindy Hershon heads Manoire Montefiore

There is a new executive director of  Manoire Montefiore, the beautiful seniors residence at the corner of Cavendish Boulevard and Mackle Road in Côte Saint-Luc's District 2. Cindy Herson (pictured) was recently appointed to the position by Reseau Selection, which also operates Le Waldorf on Côte Saint-Luc Road and where Michael Goldwax has been in the man in charge for a number of years now.

Cindy Hershon (1)

Cindy holds two Master degrees (Social Work and  Jewish Studies).  She has worked for a number different community organizations, including the Jewish General Hospital Foundation, B’nai Brith Canada and Beth Israel Beth Aaron Congregation. When I stopped by to see her recently, she was busy having a speed bump installed in the building's sloped entrance way. Bravo Cindy! For years I have been getting complaints from Cindy's predecessors that cars were using this entrance as a shortcut to turn around. Since this is private property, I can only "advise." When Cindy called me soon after her appointment she raised the matter with me and in no time at all the speed bump was order and installed.

Manoire Montefiore is in good hands,

Founded in 1988, Réseau Sélection provides an unparalleled expertise in the area of retirement housing.  Theybuild and manage residential rental complexes based on an understanding of the  growing needs of people aged 55 and over. With 22 residential buildings throughout Quebec, they  offer more than 5,000 housing units

District 2's Elliot Lifson to head Centraide campaign

Elliot Lifson, Vice-Chairman of Peerless Clothing, and Monique F. Leroux, Chair of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Desjardins Group, will co-chair the 2014 Centraide campaign. They will head up a campaign cabinet composed of some thirty influential executives from all sectors of the business community.

Centraide ElliotMoniqueFLeroux

Elliot is a resident of District 2 (so is his son) and well known community activist.

Campaign 2014 will be launched on October 2 in downtown Montreal with Centraide’s March of 1,000 Umbrellas. This annual fundraising campaign will make it possible to improve living conditions for families in difficulty (food, housing, budget planning), promote the development of young children, prevent delinquency and encourage academic perseverance among youth, facilitate the integration of newcomers, and break the isolation of seniors and people with disabilities or mental health problems.
Donations to Centraide provide essential funding to over 360 community agencies on the Island of Montreal, in Laval and on the South Shore that offer services and support to alleviate the effects of poverty and exclusion, and to improve living conditions for the most vulnerable.  

Participating in McHappy Day

When McDonald's opened up a new location at the Côte Saint-Luc Shopping Centre,  I knew owner  Pierre Brunet would continue his good work in the community. Pierre owns 15 franchises, including the food court kiosk at Cavendish Mall.

May 7 was McHappy day at 1,400 McDonald`s locations in Canada.  A dollar from every Big Mac, Happy Meal and hot drink sold is donated to Ronald McDonald Houses and other local children’s charities. Over $42 million has been raised  to help thousands of Canadian families and their sick kids since 1977.

In 1982, Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada was founded to be the everlasting organization that would support Ronald McDonald Houses and their programs in Canada. Ronald McDonald Houses provide a home away from home for out of town families with sick children being treated at a nearby hospital.  We have supported the location next to Ste. Justine`s Hospital for many years.

McHappy Day
Councillor Dida Berku, Tracyan Williams, Ruth Kovac, Jeffrey Ferreira, Don Martin and myself.


I joined Councillors Ruth Kovac and Dida Berku at the Côte Saint-Luc Shopping Centre location. Upon my arrival they were busy selling special merchandise such as caps and aprons to add to the fundraising opportunities. Managers Don Martin and Jeffrey Ferreira were happily greeting customers,  who were being very generous.

Bravo McDonald`s!


Animal Protection meeting results in first step towards Dog Owners Group

As the city councillor responsible for Animal Protection, I was pleased to hold my first forum on the subject at the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library. It was really the first time that a joint meeting had been held between cat and dog owners.

I was very pleased to welcome our newly elected Liberal Member of the National Assembly for D’Arcy McGee David Birnbaum, who succeeded Lawrence Bergman. David has been named a Parliamentary Secretary to Premier Philippe Couillard. We are thrilled to once again have a local MNA who is part of the government in power.


Councillor Mike Cohen, David Birnbaum, Shelley Schecter and Bram Eisenthal.

Lawrence Bergman was  a strong supporter of the Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee (CSLCC). David told us that he has always been an animal lover, having grown up with pets in his household. He was very pleased to learn about our activities. We asked if he could speak with the new Minister of Agriculture, Pierre Paradis, who has responsibility for Animal Welfare. While we will sit down with David in the near future to brief him on our goals and objectives, we would very much appreciate meeting Mr. Paradis as well.

I have known David for a long time. We are lucky to have him as our new provincial representative.

A number of members of our CSLCC were on hand for the meeting, our two leaders Shelley Schecter and Diane Mendel Liebling. It has been almost four years since I called a meeting at City Hall to talk about what we could do to address the homeless cats situation in our community. Well more than 100 people turned out that evening and the rest is history. We have a small, but devoted, group of volunteers who handle Trap, Neuter, Release and Adoption, community relations, education, fundraising and other matters that come up.  Overall we have already saved the lives of hundreds of beautiful cats. The first ever cat licensing bylaw has been passed and we have many more projects at hand.

I was pleased with the turnout for our Forum, particularly among dog owners. There was a clear interest among those on hand to try and launch a Côte Saint-Luc Dog Owners Association. I would indeed support such an initiative, with these individuals serving as the perfect advisory group for my portfolio.

Since being appointed as the councillor responsible for Animal Protection last January, I have already met and spoken with countless dog owners. I will soon be announcing an exciting new partnership with a local pet food store.

Right now we have one dog run in Côte Saint-Luc, on Mackle Road near Caldwell. The city has already received a petition to see a new dog run built at Richard Schwartz Park, located on Westluke and Côte Saint-Luc Road near Meadowbrook Golf Course.  We are studying this request seriously to determine whether we can find a suitable section of land at that park or anywhere in the vicinity to suit that purpose. Dog owners near Decarie Square have a similar request.

It was clear from everyone on hand that we need to promote responsible dog ownership. That means keeping your canine on a leash and most importantly picking up after he or she. Never leave the house without a plastic bag to dispose of the dog’s dirty business. We are working towards a project which would have more bag dispensers available, with a trash can at the same location.

One lady told the story of someone in her building who refused to pick up after her dog. “I warned her that if she did not do so, I would put it in a bag and leave it on her doorstep,” she said. “Well right in front of me she let her dog do his business, with no cleanup at all. The next day she did find it on her doorstep.”

Steve Stein said he has been disgusted by some of the actions of irresponsible dog owners. “I have never seen such neglect,” he said. “My 16 year old son finally saw enough and he has taken to cleaning up the mess himself as part of his community service at school.”

Shelley Schecter said that the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough in Monteal now has a bylaw which requires dog owners to carry  a bag with them or else they risk a fine.

Bram Eisenthal, the publisher of Precious Pets newspaper, announced a new partnership with the CSLCC. We will be co-sponsoring some of his Grief Counselling meetings for people whose beloved pets have died. He has done a few sessions already on the West Island. They have been very therapeutic for those in attendance. I have personally lost three cats in my lifetime. Only a pet owner can understand what this is like. Absolutely devastating! Bram is giving people a chance to share their feelings with others who have gone through the same thing. A future meeting will take place in CSL.

I look forward to reporting upon developments on the formation of a Dog Owners Association. Louise Chenevert, who has started such a group in Montreal West, was on hand at our meeting and provide some good background on the subject.