When my city council colleague Sidney Benizri and I were asked to co-chair the 2016 Maisons Fleuries Contest, we agreed to do something different. I suggested Sidney, Parks and Recreation Associate Director Cornelia Ziga, event coordinator Laura Trihas, devoted committee member Louise Ferland and the dean of city employees Harold Cammy that we introduce a Lifetime Achievement Award. We brought the idea to Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and city council and it was approved.
Maisons Fleuries recognizes the superb floral arrangements at homes, condominiums, apartments and business complexes. Judging is done during the summer and every November we hold a ceremony at our Aquatic and Community Centre.
So who would win our first Maisons Fleuries Lifetime Achievement Award? Dirk Van Egmond was the logical choice. Dirk, who just turned 92, has devoted his life to flowers and plants. He accepted the honour and it was heartwarming to see him at our event, surrounded by his children, their spouses and hi grandchildren. His wife Teuna (Toos) passed away in 2010.
The Van Egmond family own Edgewood Florist, which they operated on Hudson Avenue in Côte Saint-Luc for 56 years. Although the business relocated to Montreal West in 2012 when the land was sold for development, Dirk continues to be a resident of Côte Saint-Luc. Edgewood and the Van Egmond family have been part of the Côte Saint-Luc landscape for more years than most residents of this city. They have played an important role in the lives of thousands over the decades, making milestone events all the more special with their beautiful floral arrangements.
First,a word of thanks to our judges: Sam and Louise Pinsky; Joan and Bernie King; Cookie and Bernie Band; Mark and Tina Bessner; Joe Segal’ Paula and Avie Shuster; Marty Labow; Ellie Pomerants; Mona Aronovitch; Roz Kasner ; and Sandra Segal.
Single family and semi-detached residences were judged by political districts. Duplex, Townhouse, Institutions, Senior Residences, Commercial Buildings and Highrises were judged overall within the city. We also thank CMS Entrepreneurs Inc. for their sponsorship , George Deligeorge for the wonderful painting he created for this event and Susan Levy and her Painting Acrylics Art Class for their wonderful display.
A tip of the hat to our always reliable and talented photographer Rami Negev and to Public Affairs chief Darryl Levine, who put together an excellent video montage of our winners. I was pleased to see a number of winners from District 2. Park Place, still a relatively new street, had some winners. This included Ralph and Carole Rimokh. We presented are top finishers with certificates and plaques. Liberal Member of Parliament for Mount Royal Anthony Housefather and Liberal Member of the National Assembly for D’Arcy McGee David Birnbaum joined us. Anthony presented Dirk with a special certificate and a Canadian flag; David read and presented a letter written by Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard. Mayor Brownstein and Councillor Allan J. Levine delivered remarks. Allan has been Dirk’s city councillor for 30 years.
Dirk was visibly moved as he came to the front of the room to accept our gifts and plaudits. Speaking on his behalf was daughter Corinne.
“Our father has worked with plants and flowers his entire life, beginning in Holland, where he cultivated tulip bulbs with his father and his brothers,” she said. “He immigrated to Canada in 1950, where he began working at Gratton Greenhouses in Saint Laurent. He and his wife, Toos, set down roots in Côte Saint Luc with the purchase of Edgewood Nurseries in January of 1956. We are proud to have the opportunity of providing floral arrangements and plants to so many in the community for over 60 years. We have all heard the expression ‘take time to stop and smell the roses.’ How fortunate our family has been to be able to ‘take time to stop and smell the roses’ on a daily basis.”
The surprises were not over yet as Harold Cammy and Maurizio Giobbi wheeled in a beautiful cake, decorated like a giant flower.The ceremony happened to be held on the eve of Dirk's 92nd birthday so everyone in the room sang together.
Bravo to everyone!
Here is a list of the winners
W – 1 - 6130 Bernard Mergler
W – 2 - 5889 Tommy Douglas
W – 3 - 5960 Tommy Douglas
W – 1 - 5778 Park Place (Sadr Ghayeni)
W – 2- 5716 Park Place (Ralph and Carol Rimokh)
W – 3 - 5720 Park Place
W – 1 – 5588 Randall
W – 2 - 6799 Baily
W – 3 - 6706 Charest
W – 1 - 5528 Hudson
W – 2 - 624 Smart
W – 3 - 5527 Hudson and 628 Smart Tied for 3rd
W – 1 - 5777 Rand
W – 2 - 5766 Westluke
W – 3 - 5759 Hudson
District 5 Part II
W – 1 - 5710 Wentworth
W – 2 - 5735 Westluke
W – 3 - 5713 Westluke
W – 1 - 5830 Einstein
W – 2 - 5604 McMurray
W – 3 - 7480 Spring
W – 1 - 6848 Emerson
W – 2 - 6845 Weizmann
W – 3 - 5608 Edgemore
W – 1 - 6531 Wallenberg
W – 2 - 6529 Aldrin
W – 3 - 6529 Wallenberg
W – 1 - 7386-7388 Kildare
W – 2 - 5860-5862 Shalom
W – 3 - 6613-6615 Baily
District 8 W - 1 - 6043 Cavendish
District 8 W - 2 - 6047 Cavendish
District 2 W - 3 - 6602 Mackle (Robert and Sandra Lubarsky) and 6604 Mackle (Jason and Carol Balinksy) Tied for 3rd
W -1 - 6800 Mackle, Beth Israel
W - 2 - 5740 Hudson, Beth Zion
W - 3 - 7070 Guelph, St Richards
W -1 - 5740 Cavendish - Castel Royal
W - 2 - 8000 Côte Saint-Luc Rd - B’nai Brith House
W - 3 - 6767 Côte Saint-Luc Rd - St. Patrick Square
W - 1 - 7001 CSL Rd - CSL Shopping Center
W - 2 - 5800 Cavendish - Cartier Cavendish
W - 3 - 5850 Cavendish - New Shell gas Station
District 2 W – 1 - 5840 Marc Chagall, Bellagio
District 8 W – 2 - 6030 Cavendish, Le Bristel
District 8 W – 3 - 6625/35 Mackle, Mackle Manor