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January 2020

In Memoriam: Allen Rosen was one kindly neighbour

I was deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Allen Rosen, who lost his battle with Melanoma.

Allen and I first met decades ago when his son Bruce was my teammate in the Côte Saint-Luc Minor Hockey Association. He was a proud dad to sons Bruce and Howie, a devoted  husband to Shirley and a doting granddad. Years later, when I was covering municipal politics for The Suburban, Allen started to attend city council meetings. On one occasion he ran for the same seat I now hold, then represented by Harold Greenspon.

Allen Rosen

Twenty five years ago my wife and I moved into our present  town house condominium and who was my direct next door neighbor? You guessed it – Allen Rosen. Over the course of the last quarter century I got to know Allen and Shirley very well. They became friends. Allen and I would have endless long talks about everything from politics to sports. He was an avid golfer and always shared a good joke with me. Allen was also extremely helpful to me. He and Shirley supported my career as their city councillor in more ways than one. When they went away for the winters, I was asked to keep an eye on their home. So every few days I would go inside to make sure the plumbing was working. One day I misplaced their keys. After spending hours looking for them, I made the embarrassing call to them in Florida. Allen and Shirley took it in stride, arranging for a relative to drop off another pair. You see one of the perks in this service allowed me to use  their freezer during the winter. Months later, I opened my own secondary freezer and  pulled  out some chicken. Right on top of those thighs were the keys. Allen got a real kick out of that story.

About 15 years ago I awoke at 6 am to hear the phone ringing. It was Allen. My basement was flooding and the overflow was going into his home as well. My hot water heater had burst. Allen was so helpful in advising me of which steps to take. His home was collateral damage, but he could see I was upset and acted  in a very fatherly way.  Not long after  that we shared another adventure. A company was replacing the roofs at our condo. The genius workers decided to leave everything open with a threatening sky and you guessed it,  the rain started to come down and both our homes sustained significant damage. Misery loves company and we worked as a team to ensure the guilty party paid for its negligence.

Allen battled Melanoma for years. At times he would share with me the discomfort he felt, but overall he looked for no sympathy.

When the Rosens moved to a more manageable high rise condo last winter I had a hard time saying good-bye. They were original residents in our complex and Allen at one time was on the executive of the board. At our lively annual meetings he never held back his point of view, much to the appreciation of everyone in the room.

Donations in Allen’s memory may be made to Melanoma Cancer Research c/o the Canadian Cancer Society, (514) 255-5151. My sympathies go out to Shirley and the entire family.

A new chance for CSL adults to "engage" at Quartier Cavendish

There was a lot of enthusiasm at the Quartier Cavendish on January 15  for the grand opening of Concordia University’s engAGE Creative Living Lab. It is located right next to Scotiabank,

The engAGE Creative Living Lab is an interactive space open five days a week for older adults, university researchers and the broader community to be students and teachers for each other while experimenting and exploring materials, ideas, and digital technologies together. Officials I spoke to say they invite skill sharing, conversations and the building of a creative and inclusive community across generations and cultures. All activities are free and everyone is welcome to participate.

There is a new spot to "engage" at Quartier Cavendish.

Janis Timm-Bottos, who created the project,  says situating the lab in a familiar space like a mall is a way to create a comfortable atmosphere where older adults, especially those who may be experiencing isolation, feel supported and encouraged to interact with university researchers. “We want to know what older adults think and what they already do to promote health and wellness with their friends, families and communities,” she explains. “With this information, we can then work together to develop creative ways to share this with universities across Quebec and the public at large.”

People on hand at the opening got a chance to participate in the Media Spa,  Art Hive while engaging in new learning experiences as part of this month’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math)Research Residency(January 16 to 31).


People had lots of questions.

Here is some news about the January 2020 Research Residency: “Check Your Balance, Befriend Gravity, and Dance!”: Concordia’s engAGE researcher, Karen Li, PhD (Professor of Psychology specializing in studying the impact of hearing, vision, and cognition on motor coordination), and Berkley Peterson, MA are inviting people to discover how your sensory system, especially hearing, contributes to safe winter walking. Folks will also enjoy learning a few new dance moves with Brazilian dancer, Déborah Maia de Lima (PhD student in Études et pratiques des arts (UQAM) and in Performing Arts ( UFBA); Researcher in cultural dances, Improvisational performances; Creative Dance and Somatic Education as resources for Education, Artistic Creation, Illness prevention and improvement of quality of life).
Tuesday to Friday,  from 11 am to 2 pm, you can come and test your balance at the lab.

The official hours are   Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from 12-5 pm and Thursday from Noon to 8 pm.

The engAGE Creative Living Lab is a Concordia University initiative from engAGE Research Centre, made possible through funding by the Fonds de Recherche du Québec (FRQ)- Santé, Plateforme de financements de la recherche intersectorielle sur le vieillissement

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and I were on hand, as well as other city reps, to speak to those on hand who also told me there will be things for youngsters to take part in.

Welcome to Côte Saint-Luc and District 2.

Local resident publishes unique book: "I Love You In Every Language"

I was pleased to welcome to our city council meeting on Monday, January 13, resident Assaf Havilio and his wife Merav.

Assaf, a graphic designer who moved here from Israel 12 years ago, spent a decade turning his wonderful book “I Love You in Every Language” into reality. He was gracious enough to donate a copy to our CSL Public Library and I am sure it will be very much in demand. I accepted it along with Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Councillor David Tordjman, who holds the library portfolio.

The book is self-published and available for purchase on Amazon. It explains and teaches readers how to say “I love you”  in different languages. On each page, Assaf chose the symbol of each country. In addition there is an explanation of how to pronounce “I love you” and also how to write” I love you”  in each language. At the beginning of the book, there is a background story with the two main characters who travel around the world and explore different cultures.

2020-01-13 21-24-02 Council Meeting
Assaf Havilio and his wife Merav present a copy of the book to CouncillorDavid Tordjman, Mayor Brownstein and myself.

“The story comes with an important message: love is universal and it exists in each and every one of us, no matter where you come from,” said Assaf.  “Besides this, the book is talking about love and about different cultures, languages, and countries. My goal is  through this book, people from different countries will understand each other and will learn about different cultures in a way to understand each other better.  In Canada  a subject like this is very important because it's multicultural.”

Assaf says that feedback about the book from  children and adults has been wonderful. “I have met parents who told me that their children cannot put it down and they enjoy it so much,” he said.

You can purchase the book at Amazon at the following link.

Assaf hopes to have it available at some stores soon. He is available for public appearances. email me at and I will share your request.