We are all in mourning today with the news that former Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Bernard Lang has passed away at the age of 88.
Lang was the mayor of Côte Saint-Luc for 22 years. Prior to that he was a city councillor for 13 year. He attempted a comeback in the 2005 election and ran against Anthony Housefather. I had a long history with “Mayor” Lang. No, he was not the present-day mayor. But just as they refer to President Clinton, President Bush and President Carter in the United States, it was difficult to address someone as “Mr.” Lang when he held the mayoral post for so long.
I go back many years with Lang, notably to my years as the Côte Saint-Luc beat reporter for The Suburban, The Monitor and briefly The Weekly Herald. We never lost contact.
The arrival of Lang's first and only grandchild Dylan some 13 years ago rejuvenated him. He was the youngest and most fit looking 87 year old I know. Soon after his crushing defeat in 2005, Lang began calling me at least once a week as that election coincided with my debut as a city councillor. He was not bitter. It was clear that he chose to run again because of his undying love for the city. He questioned me on various decisions of the city, but out of general interest and concern that the right thing be done. As time went on I sensed a genuine support for the current council. He and Mayor Housefather began to speak. At a VE Day ceremony in the year following that election, Mayor Housefather acknowledged Lang in a very positive way. Afterwards, Lang thanked him warmly.
When we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Côte Saint-Luc Eleanor London Public Library, Lang was profiled prominently in the special edition of our Courier newspaper. He was also brought on stage and saluted by Mayor Housefather at our ceremony. It was on that night it became clear to me that we needed to find a place for him at the committee level. He agreed to sit on our library committee. He and his devoted wife Miriam were cat lovers. And so they joined my Cats Committee.
Bernard Lang was a full-time mayor, spending virtually every weekday at City Hall. He had a successful business which he had his sons run. Lang was an articulate spokesman who brought credibility to the city. He stood up against any wrongs coming to the city and was noted for taking on the City of Montreal and winning after then Mayor Jean Doré reneged on a pledge to extended Kildare Road into CSL. Lang went all the way to Quebec City and came back with a multi-million dollar ruling in favor of our city and the awarding of the North of Hampstead area and Decarie Square to our tax coffers.
Lang bitterly opposed any talk to extend Cavendish Boulevard. "We don't need it, we don't want it, we can't afford it," he would always say.
His feud with then Hampstead Mayor Irving Adessky was legendary.
Under his watch the present-day City Hall and Library Complex was built. When he retired, it was named the Bernard Lang Civic Centre - a fitting honour.
Funeral services will be held on Sunday, June 15 (2 p.m.) at Paperman and Sons. Ironically that same afternoon, a demerger celebration concert featuring Bowser and Blue will take place at Trudeau Park - another facility like the arena which came into being under his leadership. Lang was very much part of the demerger issue. And so, there will no doubt be a nice tribute to him.
May you rest in peace Mayor Lang.