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May 2017

April 2017

McHappy Day May 3 will mark launch of new Fund in CSL

A few months ago Pierre Brunet, the absolutely wonderful man who operates 19 McDonald's restaurants in Montreal, approached me and Harold Cammy of our Parks and Recreation Department. McHappy Day will take place one again in May and for the two Côte Saint-Luc locations - Quartier Cavendish and the CSL Shopping Centre - Pierre suggested we come up with an idea where the proceeds could be directed.
 
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Pierre Brunet (center) confirms the new Bursary Program recently with Mayor and Council.
McHappy Day is a national fundraiser when McDonald's restaurants across Canada and their communities, employees, customers and special guests raise money together to help children in need. At the heart of McDonald’s community commitment is RMHC Canada, which is dedicated to giving sick children the one thing they need most: their families by supporting Ronald McDonald Houses and Ronald McDonald Family Rooms across the country. RMHC provides families of sick children with a home-away-from-home or a place of peace and calm within a hospital. 
 
Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, members of city council and  our staff will volunteer at the two McDonald’s franchises in Côte Saint-Luc on Wednesday, May 3, 2017, which  will also mark the launch of the Pierre Brunet McDonald’s Parks and Recreation Bursary Fund. This is something Harold and I have been talking about for a few years now - helping families who cannot afford to register their child in a program and taking into account requests from children with special needs.
While details of the fund, including application forms, will be announced towards the end of the summer,  I am already pleased to say that we will connect this to our annual Golf Classic on July 6 and the CSL Men`s Club will be pitching in with their own donation as well.
 
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So please mark May 3 on your calendar and  join us at McDonald`s. Pierre Brunet has been a supporter of community activities in Côte Saint-Luc for many years. We’re very excited that through his efforts, more kids in our community will have a chance to participate in recreation programs.
 
Continuons la tradition dans les restaurants McDonald’s

Le Grand McDonMD, notre plus ancienne activité de collecte de fonds d'envergure nationale avec plus de 1 400 restaurants McDonald's du Canada, rassemble pas seulement les employés mais aussi les clients, les fournisseurs et les amis dont le seul but est d’appuyer des organismes locaux de bienfaisance et amasser des fonds pour les enfants dans le besoin.

Cette année nous continuons la tradition dans les restaurants McDonald’s de Pierre Brunet.

Le mercredi 3 mai, vous êtes invités à épauler son équipe lors de cet événement extrêmement important et offrir votre soutien lors du Grand McDonMD  au restaurant situé au 7003, Chemin de la Côte-St-Luc.

Lors de cette journée spéciale vous soutenez la fondation « Pierre Brunet McDonald’s Park and Recreation Bursary Fund ». Cette fondation nouvellement créée aura pour objectif d’aider les familles qui n’ont pas les moyens d’enregistrer leurs enfants à des activités en prenant en considération ceux qui nécessitent des besoins particuliers.

 
 

CSL Cats Committee receives donation from Quebec government

A huge thanks goes out to D'Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum and specifically his invaluable bureau chief Elisabeth Prass for once again assisting my true "pet" project - the Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee.

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David Birnbaum presents the cheque to me from the Quebec government.

Following up on a commitment originally started by his predecessor, Lawrence Bergman, Birnbaum has been providing our committee with a greatly appreciated $500 annual donation. He presents it to us at our annual fundraising concert each summer- the next edition set for August 22, 2017. Recently, Prass communicated with the office of Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Laurent Lessard about the work of our committee. This Ministry is responsible for Animal Welfare and as such Prass was able to secure us an additional $500.

CSL Cats Committee Chairman Diane Liebling welcomed the donation. Normally our work only begins in the spring. But that has not been the case this year. There has been an alarming number of homeless cats, many giving birth to kittens, in one specific part of town in the winter. As a result, our already small budget has been impacted so every donation like this is invaluable.

The committee has produced a new information flyer and volunteers have started to deliver it door to door. As the city councillor responsible for Animal Protection, I cannot say enough about Diane Liebling`s leadership and I thank Shelley Schecter of Educhat who remains involved as invaluable advisor and the lady who helped me to start this all off.  The Côte St. Luc Hospital for Animals and its staff are true partners in our mission.


More than five years after its birth our Aquatic and Community Centre is relaunched

We have a great deal to be proud of in the City of Côte Saint-Luc. Our Aquatic and Community Centre on Parkhaven Avenue, opened in September 2011, is on that list. The $18 million complex was built with the support of the provincial and federal governments, which covered two-thirds of the cost. Since then, it has became a major hub of activity for people of all ages.

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Our revamped ACC includes a mini-library corner.

On April 2 we  held an open house to show  off our new spaces for kids, enlarged fitness room, and improved teens room. At the event, marvellously coordinated by Parks and Recreation Director Cornelia Ziga and her staff,   special activities included face painting, tattoos, superheroes in costumes, cupcakes, tours of the building, and an opportunity to meeting staff from Mini R.E.C. by Le R.E.C. Room. In addition there was free  access to the Wibit obstacle course in the indoor pool.

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Council, dignitaries and staff in the new Mini Rec Room.

“We’ve moved around some of the spaces to make better use of the building,” Mayor Mitchell Brownstein said. “We’ve also launched new programs for kids with our partners at Le R.E.C. Room and we wanted parents to see the new play area first hand.”

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With Alvin Fishman in the new expanded  fitness room.

The expanded fitness room is now across from the locker rooms and includes two additional treadmills, more natural light, and a bank of televisions. A trainer was on hand during the open house to show people how to properly use the equipment.

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Another view of the fitness room.

Our ACC  houses two indoor pools, a fitness room, three locker rooms, an art room, a dance studio, three banquet halls, space for the Men’s Club and Women’s Club, the Teen Lounge, a mini-library corner and a large atrium. The Côte Saint-Luc Gymnasium is also attached to the ACC. The Parkhaven Outdoor Pool and Imagination Park are behind the building. 

We were pleased to have present-day Liberal MNA for D’Arcy McGee David Birnbaum and Liberal MP for Mount Royal Anthony Housefather on hand with their predecessors, Lawrence Bergman and Irwin Cotler. The latter two gentleman played an important role in getting us that crucial funding. As for Housefather, he was our mayor at the time and the ACC was his dream. He remains today one of our most regular users, swimming laps every chance he gets as he prepares for the next Maccabiah Games in Israel next  July.  He won seven medals in the 2013 competition.

For a complete set  of photos log on to this google link.

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Kids enjoy the new Mini Rec Room.

 

 


Minister of Finance: Mourning former CSL City Councillor Harold Greenspon

As we mourn the passing of Harold Greenspon, who served as a Côte Saint-Luc city councillor and my District 2 predecessor for 26 years, many memories of this extraordinary man come back to me.


In the summer of 2004 I got a telephone call from Harold. This was during the period when the forced municipal mergers were in place and Côte Saint-Luc, grouped with Hampstead and Montreal West, a borough of Montreal.

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Harold (left) is shown here at the first Sports Breakfast with hockey players Mike Ribeiro and James Desmarais.

Harold had served as city councillor from 1975 to 2001. I had gotten to know him very well during that time, initially as a young kid integrally involved with community activities and then as a reporter for the local papers covering City Hall.
The purpose of Harold`s call was to ask if I would help him create a Sports Celebrity Breakfast under the auspices of the Cummings Centre for Jewish Seniors, of which he had become vice-president. Côte Saint-Lucers had voted to demerge by this time and an election to reconstitute the city was set for November 2005. I told Harold that I wanted to run in the District 2 seat he had held for 26 years, but would not do so if he intended to seek office again

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“I will make you a deal,” Harold said. “You help me get this Breakfast off the ground and I will endorse you as my successor.”

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In 2005 Harold shook my hand and endorsed me to run as his successor on city council.

It was an offer I could not refuse. The Breakfast, initially meant to just break even, recently celebrated its 13th anniversary and has raised over $2 million for seniors in crisis. As for my election, well Harold provided guidance and even knocked on a few doors with me for my first campaign and I defeated my opponent with 92 percent of the vote.


Harold and his wife Malvina had moved to a condo on Marc Chagall Avenue, so they were now constituents of mine. Like the late Mayor Bernard Lang, Harold would call me from time to time to share his thoughts on certain issues.


I always used to call Harold Côte Saint-Luc’s “Minister of Finance.” As a distinguished chartered accountant, he played a critical role in every financial decision the city made. While council had no formal portfolios back then as we do now, Mayor Lang entrusted Greenspon every step of the way to work on complicated budget matters.


In recent years Harold suffered from Parkinson’s Disease, a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that mainly affects the motor system. The symptoms generally come on slowly over time. Early in the disease, the most obvious are shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement, and difficulty with walking.


I remember Harold chairing our Maison Fleuries ceremony for the first few years after our reconstituted council came into office. He’d come to the microphone and shake quite a bit, repeatedly apologizing to the audience. Soon we’d see him walking with the help of a cane and then he needed a wheelchair and round the clock help at his home from caregivers. His wife Malvina and his children Neil and Donna were by his side every step of the way. Sadly, he had to the last 11 months  of his life as a permanent patient at Maimonides Hospital.


Neil Greenspon gave an eloquent eulogy at the funeral. Paperman and Son was filled to capacity,a fitting tribute to Harold. Neil told us how his dad was born in 1937 in Ottawa. The family moved to Montreal when he was two. When he was 12, his dad passed away unexpectedly. Older brother Mort, 16, quit school to run the family business. Harold would eventually get a part-time job at Steinberg`s Grocery Store to contribute. He eventually ended up at McGill University, getting a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in 1958 and becoming a Chartered Accountant two years later with the second highest mark in all of Quebec. Soon after he accepted an opportunity to lecture at McGill, a relationship that would last for 45 years.


“Just two years ago my wife and I were on an elevator in Tel Aviv,” Neil explained. “A gentleman from Texas came on. He asked where I was from and what my name was. He told me that he went to McGill and asked if I happened to know Harold Greespon. He said ‘Your dad was the best teacher I ever had. He was so passionate about what he was doing.’”
The last year marked a roller coaster ride for Harold, going back and forth to emergency for a variety of problems, ranging from pneumonia to heart failure. He had to be placed on oxygen on occasion,

Harold Greenspon left quite a legacy in this city. In Côte Saint-Luc, our auditorium and a park are named after him. Of course, the Sports Celebrity Breakfast was his baby. Had he not taken the initiative, vulnerable seniors would have had one less helping hand.

Rest in Peace Harold!