A few months ago I initiated a call with our Director of Parks and Recreation Cornelia Ziga about our traditional Volunteer Recognition and Maisons Fleuries Awards Night. Given the fact we are in the middle of a pandemic, where Zoom has enabled us to stay in touch why not use that platform for this purpose and do so on a cold winter night.
Cornelia is a true leader who always thinks outside of the box. We had a follow up call with Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Councillor Mitch Kujavsky, who has the Parks and Recreation portfolio. They liked the idea. Cornelia added the Valentine’s Day Dance, also to take place virtually.
On Saturday night February 27, the newly dubbed CSL Gala took place. Laura Trihas, our devoted special events coordinator, stepped into the control room. She turned to Anisa Cameron from the Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society to produce what turned out to be a show. Anisa recruited member Brandon Schwartz to put it all together technically and folks it was a masterpiece. Ryan Nemeroff from P &R, our communications guru Darryl Levine and other staff of course were there to make it all happen.
I will post the link to the video when it is ready in the coming weeks.
Almost 300 connections were recorded, translating into about 500 people. I believe we need to look at this format post-pandemic.
Ryan Kligman and Jeanne Motulsky were spot on as emcees. The awards were spread out over a two hour program, which featured well-received performances by Dramatic Society members. They were accompanied on piano by the brilliant Nick Burgess. The chat section of Zoom was open all night and the comments were very complimentary.
Our emcees Jeanne and Ryan.
Here are the award winners.
Aquatics Volunteer of the year Award
2020 Joel Wener – CSLA Swim Team
Joel was instrumental in the success of the CSLA swim team during the 2019-20 season. Joel successfully helped manage and organize multiple home swim meets while also representing the City in multiple Regional meetings. Joel also had his hand in guiding families, new and returning, in furthering their official’s certifications by running various trainings, coaching other parent volunteers into becoming serviceable officials during our home events. A big thank you goes out to Joel for his continued support, loyalty, and commitment to CSLA swim team family.
Community Special Events Award
Presented to a volunteer for exceptional contribution to the community special events.
2020 Pam Kujavsky – CSL Grocery Project
2020 Melissa Margles – CSL Grocery Project
Both Pam and Melissa were instrumental in operating the CSL grocery project over the Spring and Summer of the pandemic. They both contributed literally hundreds of hours of volunteer time Melissa in organizing the volunteers for our morning and evening shopping excursions to IGA in the Cote Saint-Luc ACC, and Pam in organizing over 100 caller volunteers who were calling Cote Saint-Luc seniors to help them with their essential needs. Our endeavor would not have been able to continue throughout the summer without their efforts and for that I had no hesitation in nominating them for volunteer Awards.
Excellence in operations
2020 Steve Merling
Steve is EMS’ Captain of Operations and the organization’s highest-ranking volunteer. His implication is critical to EMS’ operations as he works hand-in-hand with each division to ensure optimal efficiency at every level. He has proven to be an exceptional leader, an effective delegator, and brings an important “out-of-the-box” business perspective to our management team. Bright, dedicated and passionate, Steve is an outstanding individual and EMS is lucky to have him.
Excellence in training
2020 Kassandra Pinsonneault
Kassandra has taken over the management of our education department, ensuring that our newest members are well-trained and that our entire membership is up-to-date, overseeing the continuing education of our entire membership. Combining state-of-the-art teaching methods with state-of-the-heart care, her skillset as a registered emergency room nurse brings an entirely new perspective to our organization, and allows our members a more comprehensive understanding of the care they provide.
Rookie of the year
2020 Jessica Gallant
In her short time with EMS, Jessica has brought kindness and compassion to our organization, to our residents, and to our members. As one of a handful of Canadian Red Cross certified psychological first aid instructors in Quebec, Jessica has brought forward her skillset to help form our peer psychological support committee, offering our members the opportunity to debrief after difficult or traumatic calls. We feel lucky to have her on our team!
Gerry Weinstein Ambassador of the Year
In recognition as the citizen best portraying charitable qualities and serving the community at large.
2020 David Lisbona – Nellie’s Philanthropy
During the pandemic David stepped up as the managing director and driving force behind the Nellie Philanthropy Foundation, the first responders of philanthropy and the ones behind the CSL Groceries project. He has supported the Jewish, Filipino, Black communities in Montreal. as well as food banks in Montreal and the Laurentians.
David was a founding member of the Canadian Friends of the Israeli Ice Hockey Foundation. Their collection bins have been in the Samuel Moskovitch Arena for almost 30 years now. A key organizer of the gold medal winning Maccabi Canada 1997 Maccabiah Games ice hockey team, he was also a member of the organizing committee and responsible for equipment at Hockey sans Frontiers/Hockey without Borders-sent equipment to India, Serbia, Greece and Canada’s indigenous communities.
A former president of the Generations Foundation, feeding 8,000 kids per day in both English and French School Boards, he is also the former chairman of Le Mercaz Food Roundup and Le Mercaz (now MADA)- at a time ran one of the largest door-to-door food drives in Canada. As well he is a former vice-chair and now life member of Camp B’nai Brith of Ottawa and a former board member of the Y Country Camp, strong advocate of the camp experience for kids everywhere. Last June he was a winner of both the Caring Canadian and D’Arcy McGee citizenship medals.
Hazel Lipes Award
Recognizes a volunteer for their exceptional contribution to the Community Services Programs.2020 Joanne Cutler – B’nai Brith Canada and Singing to Seniors
An avid philanthropist, Joanne has worked with charitable organizations and has helped fundraise
for theatre troupes in the Montreal area. Today, she works with B’nai Brith of Canada as the chairman for Community Volunteer Services in Quebec. Just to name a few, Joanne organizes programs for seniors, donations for women in difficult life situations and supplies for people on the autism spectrum. Over the summer 2020, during the COVID pandemic, Joanne and her husband Merv Middling performed at over 20 senior’s residences entertaining people who had been stuck indoors for months. They performed outdoors while the residents watched from their balconies or safely on patios.
With a background as a music educator and pre-school music specialist for thirteen years, Joanne
Has written dozens of songs, mostly for children. She has also written articles for various newspapers and magazines. Branching into literature, Joanne has authored her first children’s book, One Cabbage Lane and is currently writing her second children’s book entitled Two Cabbage Lane.
Professionally, Joanne and her two partners, Merv Middling and Nick Burgess perform as Que Sera; a musical group for private parties, large events and charitable functions. www.queseraduo.com What began as a hobby became an important part of Joanne’s life when she started painting in her fifties. Once all of her walls were covered with her own artwork, she began painting for her favourite people. Painting almost exclusively in acrylic, her work covers a huge spectrum from abstract to contemporary. Joanne’s paintings are available for purchase and she hopes to have a gallery showing in the near future.
2020 Ronalee Zilman – President Women’s Club
Ronalee was elected President on Aug 14, 2019. She organized two successful events with over 100 participants in attendance. Ronalee worked tirelessly to improve communication and help grow their membership by nearly 50 percent in a very short period of time. She's a devoted volunteer with a true passion for improving the lives of seniors.
2020 Harvey Levine – Director of B’nai Brith Quebec
B'nai Brith Canada has been active in Canada since 1875 as the Jewish community's foremost independent human rights agency. "People Helping People" is their motto with community projects, affordable senior housing, and other charitable endeavors. Harvey Levine has been the Quebec Regional Director since 2014. Prior to that he was involved with the organization for decades. Under his leadership, Mr. Levine has maintained the B’nai Brith office in Côte Saint-Luc. He played an important role in the construction and realization of Chateau B’nai Brith, a subsidized residence for seniors. Over the years Mr. Levine has been an ardent defender of the community, speaking out against acts of antisemitism and intolerance. He has built bridges with other intercultural communities.
Mr. Levine, whose brother Allan was a Côte Saint-Luc city councillor for over 30 years, oversees the Quebec Region, Montreal office and staff. He Responds to antisemitic incidents, media requests and outreach to various groups, participates actively in annual audit of antisemitic incidents, oversees Quebec community and governmental affairs and special projects as well community volunteer service projects, fundraising and the coordination of volunteers.
Previously, Mr. Levine was an award-winning volunteer and member of B’nai Brith for over 45 years. He is a past president of the Maple Leaf Lodge of B’nai Brith Canada and currently an advisor and trustee. In addition he continues to chairman the annual Chanukah candle lighting project at the Jewish General Hospital.
As a professional, Mr. Levine was a senior executive in the pharmaceutical, medical publishing and communications industries, a past president and honorary life member for the Pharmaceutical Marketing Club of Quebec, a past president of The Canadian Association of Medical Publishers and a past vice-chair of the Marketing Section of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Canada. Born and educated in Montreal, he is married and the father of two daughters.
Royal Canadian Legion Brigadier Frederick Kisch, Branch #97 Award
Awarded to the Youth Volunteer of the Year, in recognition of outstanding achievement in the improvement of leisure opportunities within the community.
2020 Roni Juran – Library
Roni has volunteered with the library since she was 12 years old, approaching Bronwen at the used book sale, and asking if she could help. Now 17, we have watched Roni grow into an intelligent, funny, confident, and kind young woman. She has participated in every volunteer program available to her, from Early Volunteering where she tidied the shelves, to Reading Buddies, Homework Help, and finally, Youth Advisory Group. When the pandemic hit, Roni was just getting ready to graduate from high school and move on to CEGEP, and despite the bustle and confusion during this time, she remained a steadfast volunteer, helping to found Virtual Reading and Homework Buddies, and joining the Virtual Youth Advisory Group program. Roni is an exceptionally gifted young person, who has a gentle and humorous approach to tutoring children which has been noticed by the library's teacher-volunteers. She is also very creative, contributing many ideas to help bolster and share positivity in her community during COVID. She has set a great example for everyone who works with her, remaining motivated and involved among an exceptional group of virtual volunteers, never shying away from a challenge, and showing great resilience and perseverance. We are proud of Roni and look forward to continuing to watch her blossom.
Presented to the outstanding Volunteer for exceptional contribution to the social cultural programs.
2020 Janet Garmaise – Dramatic Society
Janet has been performing with the Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society since 2016, when she joined the cast of The Producers and Florida. She has become a joyful performer in most CSLDS productions ever since. This year she was instrumental in helping to bring the innovative and reimagined senior Summerworks on line.
Special Recognition Award or Presentation
2020 Ariel Davidson – Assisting new immigrants
Ariel Davidson, a mother of three, has lived in Côte Saint-Luc for the past 16 years. A few years back on the 161 bus route she noticed a young lady with a two-year-old tied to her back in a bedsheet. She was wearing flip flops and the child had socks in February. She started a conversation and learned that this woman was a refugee claimant who had arrived just a few weeks earlier from Nigeria. She lived in Côte Saint-Luc and did not have a stroller or boots or anything warm. Ariel subsequently started a stroller project, posting on Facebook a call for used strollers. She managed to find and give over 100 strollers to refugees in need
“During that time period people would ask ‘do you want clothes?’ So I said sure and from strollers came clothes, and diapers, and everything else associated with children. Last winter, I worked with the city to collect winter coats for needy children in the area. With the help of our community I managed to give over 65 winter coats to children in need. When COVID-19 hit, I managed to find donors and help to feed six Côte Saint-Luc families who lost their income during that time period. People also started to ask me for fans as they used to go to the splash pads or the mall or the library when it was very hot outside and now there was no refuge. With the help of Councillors Mike Cohen and David Tordjman and community activist Ben Graur we managed to supply many new and used AC units to refugee and new immigrant families.”
In early September the city also donated many packages of brand-new markers, and Ariel managed to collect a bunch of backpacks. Most of these supplies went to families who attend École Mosaique and other local schools. Now winter is arriving, and she have started the winter coats again. “The reason I chose to help newly arrived families is that they do not have a support base,” Ariel said. “The families that I chose to work with live right here in Côte Saint-Luc. It hurts me to stand by and see them struggle. Although I do not know personally, I know from my own Jewish upbringing that we were once strangers in a strange land and people helped us.”
Recognizes a volunteer for exceptional contribution to the community sports program
2020 Matthew Cutler – Minor Hockey
Matthew Cutler was front and center in the city's communication flow with Minor Hockey this fall. He was in regular contact with me and with staff in his always respectful lobby to try and salvage as much as possible of the youth hockey season. He was a true collaborator and was always looking out for the best interests of the kids.
Stewart Mankofsky Memorial Trophy
Presented to the athlete / volunteer who best exemplifies the qualities of dedication, sportsmanship, and love of competition.
2020 Cailin McMurray – Aquatics
Cailin is a national level athlete who has represented CSL at the Quebec Games and Canada Games in the past and has been a valued member of our swim team since it's inception.
She is a multiple provincial champion and has medalled at the national level as well.
Moreover, she provides a great example or perseverance, dedication, and effort. All done with a permanent smile
2020 Elaine Meunier
In the words of one of our other vCOP supervisors, Elaine is a 24/7 vCOP. She approaches her responsibilities like a full-time job! In a difficult year where the City has had to deal with a global pandemic, Elaine has been a constant presence in the service, even after the vCOP operation was suspended due to COVID-19 back in March. She has been the go-to person for both Management and Volunteers alike!
Elaine has been a member of vCOPs since December 2009, and during those 11+ years, has proven to be part of a select few that have donated their time and effort way beyond what was asked of them. Part of the Organizing committee of all special events, out on regular patrols, scheduling, reporting, helping mentor other members, and being an active supervisor, she has also been instrumental in making sure that the operations run smoothly. She is as much a pleasure to deal with as a person as she is as a supervisor. Although not proven, I strongly believe Edward J. Kirwan Award
Awarded annually to outstanding volunteers in the Côte Saint-Luc programs for exceptional contribution.
2020 Adam Daniel Koren – Dramatic Society
Sidney and I present the awards.
As for Maisons Fleuries, my co-chair Councillor Sidney Benizri and I were proud to transition our event online. Categories judged were: single family and semi-detached dwellings; duplexes; townhouses; apartment; condominiums; seniors residence; and institutions (church, hospital, synagogue and businesses).
In my District 2 , the top winner for condominiums was Le Rothchild II on Mackle Road, followed by Le Rothchild I on Marc Chagall and the Briar Cliffe on Rembrandt. For Single Family Homes, Frank Palucci and Sandra Cambone from Ilan Ramon Crescent were repeat winners followed by Frederika Shulman and Robert Kovari who live on the same street. For Town Houses, bravo to rookie winner Daniella Aschinazi Goldfarb, Aileen London Shapiro on Merrimac Road who came in first and second followed by Jerry Wiseberg and Shandyl Libling-Wiseberg.