Cavendish Mall/Quartier Cavendish

Cineplex Odeon theatres at Cavendish close for good

The COVID-19 has claimed another victim as the Cineplex Odeon Theatres at the Quartier Cavendish have closed for good

I was surprised to see the theatres last this long. They never did a booming business, but it is nonetheless a loss for our community. Seniors in particular appreciated having a multiplex so close by. It was also great for young families. In recent years our city has held our Volunteer Appreciation Evening there.

 

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The doors are closing.

 

When they first opened here about two decades ago it was a celebration. Prior to that the closest theatres were at Decarie Square (now a Dollar Cinema) and Plaza Côte des Neiges (now Cinéstarz).

The movie theatre business has taken a massive beating since COVID-19 hit last March. They did reopen for a few months, but crowds were weak.  Would Cinéstarz owner Bruce Gurberg consider stepping in and saving the Cavendish theatres or has the curtain closed for good?

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I will miss this place.

 

A sign at the Quartier Cavendish does inform everyone that the theatres are closed permanently and to head to the Forum downtown. Cineplex Odeon also operates a cinema in  LaSalle.

The last movie I saw was at Cavendish - Academy Award winner Parasite.


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.

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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).

 

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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.


Sfingy's kosher donut shop (and much more) opens at Quartier Cavendish; owners dream big

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and I were at the Quartier Cavendish today to formally welcome Sfingy’s to our community. The new kosher donut shop officially opened on July 7, with the husband and wife team of Marvin  Fuks and Maya Lallouz working endless hours and from what we saw a loyal following has already materialized.

This is good news for the Quartier, which already  has the MK certified Café de L’Avenue. The latter has been a success since its launch two years ago.

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Mayor Brownstein and I with Marvin Fuks and Maya Lallouz. (Darryl Levine photo)

 Sfingy’s  is located  in the old mmmuffins spot. It is open Monday to Thursday from 8 am to 8 pm, Fridays from 8 am to 2 pm and Sundays from 10 am to 8 pm. That is quite a challenge for this young couple, who have three year old  Ariel Mordechai  and a nine month old Coby Abner at home. Marvin gets in by 6 am to start making the donuts. They also have, muffins, croissants,  waffles and crepes,  popular  breakfast and lunch options.

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A cookie monster donut.

While I have been on an exercise  kick and watching carefully what I eat the past week, I had no will power to resist one of these donuts. Let me tell you the one I sampled was equal if not better than Krispy Kreme, which is now  opening new stores in Montreal

Sfingy’s  has quickly become  a hit on the special events circuit, with orders coming in for weddings, bar mitzvahs, birthday parties and baby showers. On Fridays, clients pour in to purchase donuts for Shabbat dessert. “We make the donuts with different themes as well,” said Marvin. “The kids love that. We have an edible printer.”

The name “Sfingy’s” derives from the Moroccan donut Sfinge, but with an Ashkenazi twist. Hence, Sfingy’s.  They are also making mini Sfinges in ball form, mini gourmet donuts with out of this world toppings, smoothies, cookies, muffins, coffee, and much more,” Fuks explained.  “I will always be trying to develop new recipes for new products to launch in the store. Our customers will be able to choose from many different toppings and sauces to put on top of the Sfingy’s. In the beginning, we will be offering fried donuts and Sfingy’s, but I am working on a baked version, as well as a gluten free and vegan option.”

As the city councillor for District 2, which encompasses the Quartier Cavendish, I extend a warm welcome  to a new business.

Sfingy’s is on Facebook and Instagram.

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Councillor Mitch Kujavsky enjoys a donut.

 

 


Significant improvements being made on The Avenue

We are aware of the inconvenience that neighbours  have had on The Avenue because of the construction project at the apartment building  in recent years.

New ownership recently took over and we have been able to address the concerns many residents have shared with us. As can be seen on site, the process of finishing the project is underway. The visitor parking at the rear of the building is being prepared for landscaping and paving, for which a minor exemption is needed. Over the coming weeks, there will be repairs to fencing, repairs to the city path and unistone along The Avenue, landscaping of the site as well as removing debris and grassing of the park space at the corner of Park Place and The Avenue.

Residents with  any questions or commens can contact me at mcohen@cotesaintluc.org or Urban Planning Division staff at urbanplanning@cotesaintluc.org. 

 

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A refreshed look.

 

Sprucing Up the Street
 
The Avenue also  has a new look .
 
A total investment of less than $10,000, includes 10 new concrete pots creatively measured with  membranes, styrofoam, crushed rock and soil. The city planted over a half dozen varieties of annuals. Our Department of Public Works also replaced all dead shrubs and ornamental grasses that were missing and fluffed up the soil at the flower beds with trees. Mulch was replaced only at the block after the Quartier Cavendish on the Avenue.
 
Take a stroll down the Avenue and take in the beauty. 
 
I would like to thank our Urban Planning team headed by Jeff Davey and our Director of Public Works Beatrice Newman and her group.
 

Unique new kosher donut shop to open at Quartier Cavendish

There is good news to announce from Quartier Cavendish. A new kosher donut store called Sfingy’s will be open in early May in the old mmmuffins spot and owners Marvin Fuks and his wife Maya Lallouz are hoping for the same customer reaction that Krispy Kreme created when it set up shop a number of years ago at Marche Central.

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The Fuks family,

“People will see the donuts being made right in front of them and like Krispy Kreme if there is a lineup we will hand out samples,” Fuks told me.

I met with Michael Wolfe, the president of Mandevco Properties which owns and manages the Quartier and on-site manager Jeff Goodman. They were very excited to tell me that Sfingy’s has signed a five year lease.

Fuks most recently worked as the manager of Ernie and Ellie’s at Decarie Square, now closed. His wife  is a physio therapist by profession at the Jewish General Hospital. “This project of the donut shop started as her idea,” he said.  “Maya has a big sweet tooth, she would see on social media her friends posting all kinds of interesting non-kosher desserts and donuts, and she would always complain that we do not have anything like that in the kosher world in Montreal. Being that I am a chef, I decided to start experimenting with different recipes to find a delicious one. After five months of experimenting at home and countless trials of donuts, I developed a recipe that is delicious, kosher, pareve, and moist!! My wife and I are very excited to have the community try our donuts.”

The name “Sfingy’s” derives from the Moroccan donut Sfinge, but with an Ashkenazi twist. Hence, Sfingy’s. “We will be making mini Sfinge in a ball form, mini gourmet donuts with out of this world toppings, smoothies, cookies, muffins, coffee, and much more,” Fuks explained.  “I will always be trying to develop new recipes for new products to launch in the store. Our customers will be able to choose from many different toppings and sauces to put on top of the Sfingy’s. In the beginning, we will be offering fried donuts and Sfingy’s, but I am working on a baked version, as well as a gluten free and vegan option.”

Fuks said that the donut shop will have tables and chairs available for  customers to sit and enjoy their delicious treats with a hot or cold beverage.

“We will be offering different services to our customers, such as, customized donuts and other products for private events like weddings, bar mitzvahs, birthday parties and more,”  he said.  “We are very excited to be part of the MK family and looking forward to serving our community with delicious treats.

Sfingy’s is already on Facebook and Instagram.


Police Commander calls for calm in the wake of Cavendish stabbing incident

Since last week's stabbing incident at the Quartier Cavendish Cineplex Odeon Theatre, I have received many calls from frightened constituents.  A couple were reportedly  watching a movie when the wife asked a man behind her to stop smoking cannabis. He allegedly lunged towards her with a knife. The husband stepped in front and was stabbed in the leg.

Five men were stopped by police in the parking lot, but released.

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Commander Oliveira

"Our Sergeant on the scene interviewed them and they were not at all connected to the incident," Commander Luis Oliveira told me. "There was no evidence to bring any of them in."

The Commander said none of the men smelled from cannabis either. "We have all of the information on each one of them in the event we need to communicate with them," he said.

According to the Commander this was an isolated incident and people do not need to panic. In the meantime officers from Police Station 9 have been doing foot patrols in the Quartier all  week and they will continue to do so. The socio community agents are meeting with the cinema management to establish proper procedures  for what to do when people light up, get into fights, etc.  As our City Manager Tanya Abramovitch righly told members of council today, "We at the city have the reflex to call  Public Security and/or the police, but they do not. Had such a procedure been in place, this likely would not have escalated in the way it did. The fact that what they were smoking was cannabis is not really relevant. They could have been smoking a cigarette and the same thing would have happened. "

I, like many people, often go to this theatre. It is absolutely necessary for one staff member to routinely go in and out of each room to see if anyone is acting inappropriately and to take the proper action. How many times have any of us turned around in a movie theatre and, for instance, asked someone to be quiet. As the Commander told me, the perpetrator "was clearly someone  high on dope,"

Côte Saint-Luc has the the second lowest crime rate on the island . The Commander said we can all can consider ourselves residing in a  a "safe" city.

 


Blood boils over as CLSC René Cassin Test Centre finally reopens

It was Groundhog Day for me and many others today at the CLSC René Cassin Test Centre.

 

The noticeFor the third day in a row I showed up at the Quartier Cavendish location for a blood test that required a 12 hour fast. On Tuesday, I read the sign in the window which said that the Test Centre would be closed from December 24 to January 2 inclusive. I called the CLSC hotline. Someone from the service responded and assured me it would be open on Wednesday. From the way the notice was written, it was difficult to tell. So again I woke up at 6:15 am while on holiday from work and headed over there. I was not the only one. At least 15 people joined me. Several us called the CLSC hotline. We were all told the same thing. It would open at 8 am. Test Centre hours are 7:30 am to 9:30 am weekdays so I found that odd. We all waited and at 7:50 am the lights went on.  There was hope until 10 minutes later a young lady opened the door and said blood tests would only resume Thursday.

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The line started early. Please install a bench here.

The CLSC René Cassin is a more attractive option for early morning blood tests than going to the madhouse at the Jewish General Hospital at that time. But it is hardly the novelty it used to be. I was there at 6:50 am. At this time there were six people ahead of me, mostly elderly. Fifteen minutes in one man, a constituent, could stand no longer and took a seat on the floor. By 7:25 am the lineup snaked up the hallway like a rock concert. We all shared the same comments. Why did the Test Centre have to be closed for such a long period of time? "Do they think just because it is the Christmas holidays we can all skip mandatory blood tests?" one lady asked.

Old friend Harvey Hershenkopf,a Registered Nurse by profession and all-round great guy, was the volunteer

Harvey
Harvey Hershenkopf has the magic touch with frustrated clients.

on duty making sure people got the numbers. All of us were so happy to sit down.

A memo to the CLSC or the Quartier Cavendish administration --could you not install some benches  or chairs in the outdoor waiting area where that nice big paid advertisement for Air Transat hangs on the wall? And here is a tip for some business people out there. The Idolem Hot Yoga studio next to the CLSC closed recently. A coffee shop open from 6:30 am in that spot would have made a bundle this morning for those not fasting or folks like me who had to walk  all the way to Maxies or Cafe de L'Avenue for a muffin or something similar after the test.

I did not count but there had to be at least 100 people in the waiting room, many standing. There were two people behind the counter processing the requisitions and two technicians drawing the blood.

With Gaetan Barrette no longer in office destroying our health system, perhaps the new CAQ government will give agencies like our own CIUSSS West-Central Montreal the budgets necessary to expand the hours  of these test centres and ideally have some afternoon hours.

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Standing room only.

I was taken by 8 am and out soon after. The technician had already heard complaints from people who had lined up the day before. She asked me what they should do next year. "For starters," I said, "have your answering service properly briefed. Secondly, clearly spell out the date you reopen on the notice."

Why did I write this story? I was recognized as a city councillor pretty quickly  and as the crowd grew a de facto Town Hall meeting evolved. I tried  to read my newspaper and explain to everyone that the CLSC was not under the umbrella or the city, nor was the management of the Mall. I did finally make a promise to share their concerns in writing.

The staff were wonderful and kudos to Harvey for keeping the clientele in check.

Groundhog Day at the CLSC is finally over for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Quartier Cavendish (Cavendish Mall) to get first ever Quebec Cheesecake Factory location

As the city councillor responsible for District 2 in Côte Saint-Luc, which encompasses Quartier Cavendish, I am thrilled to inform you that a much anticipated sit down restaurant is on its way. And not just any restaurant, but the first ever Cheesecake Factory location in Quebec.

Cheesecake-factory

Michael Wolfe, whose company owns Quartier Cavendish, told me that he promised tenants he would succeed in bringing a franchise aboard which would attract customers from across the island. Cheesecake Factory certainly fits the bill. It will be established in the space presently occupied by the Dollar Store, which is moving next to Econofitness

The sister and brother team of Marissa and Noah Sidel will own the franchise. Last summer they opened the Cafe de L'Avenue at the Quartier. That was just a warmup for this huge announcement, which they have been working on for more than a year.

Cheesecake Factory only recently opened its first Canadian store at the Yorkdale Mall in Toronto

"For nearly 40 years, The Cheesecake Factory has been known for creating delicious, memorable experiences for tens of thousands of Canadians visiting the U.S.," said David Overton, the company's founder and chief executive officer, in a news release. "We are now delighted to be expanding  further into Canada. Toronto was a success and so will our new venture at Quartier Cavendish."

Known for its extensive menu, generous portions and legendary desserts, the new Cheesecake Factory is expected to be ready to open next spring.

With more than 250 menu selections including Saturday and Sunday Brunch – handmade, in-house with fresh ingredients – and more than 50 signature cheesecakes and desserts, The Cheesecake Factory’s opening provides exciting new choices for shoppers and area residents. "It will also make the Quartier Cavendish a destination location," promised Marissa Sidel.

Featuring imported limestone floors and custom mosaic tile columns, hand painted murals and modern lighting, the new restaurant will include the distinctive and contemporary décor that is as creative and imaginative as The Cheesecake Factory’s extensive menu. Wolfe said that with the Dollar Store moving out, there remains substantial space from where Canadian Tire used to be a tenant right out towards parking lot level.

This being April 1, I must tell that while this is an April Fool’s Day joke, how many of us would not love to have the Cheesecake Factory come to Quebec?  Why not the Quartier Cavendish. Put a Cheesecake Factory anywhere on the island and the crowds will come! And if I know Marissa and Noah, they are already on the phone with Cheesecake Factory officials in California  to see if this could actually come true.

The only question that remains is this: Will the Office québécois de la langue française (OLF) insist that it be called Usine de Gâteau au Fromage?


McDonald's at Quartier Cavendish to close on May 31

The McDonald’s Restaurant at the Quartier Cavendish food court will shut down operations on May 31, franchisee Pierre Brunet has confirmed with me.

Last week I began receiving messages from constituents and readers concerning a “rumour” of such a closing. Brunet, who now owns 19 franchises in Montreal,  told me that after 20 years at Cavendish he had a decision to make when it came time to renew his lease. The fact that his locale at the Côte St. Luc Shopping Centre, opened four and a half years ago, is thriving helped him make  the call. All of the Cavendish staff will move to the CSL Road location.

“We will remain open until May 31 and it will be business as usual,” Brunet promises. “I wish to thank the administration at Quartier Cavendish and all of our loyal customers. This was a business decision  and keeping that franchise open would not have been profitable.”

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Pierre Brunet

Brunet’s first McDonald’s franchise was on Walkley and Côte St. Luc Road. That closed more than 20 years ago at a time ironically when the Cavendish location had just opened and was doing well.  “It is very important for me to retain my connection to the Côte Saint-Luc community and I am doing that with our newest location,” he said.

Last year, as a CSL city councillor, I was honoured to work with Pierre to establish the first ever Pierre Brunet McDonald’s  Parks and Recreation Bursary Fund to assist families who cannot afford to register their child in a program and taking into account requests from children with special needs. This is connected to McHappy Day, which this year falls on May 2. Pierre has also been a regular supporter of our CSL Men’s Club, our Winter Carnival and the annual CSL Golf Classic.

We will miss the Cavendish location, but remain grateful that Pierre will remain part of the CSL landscape.


A new café opens at the Quartier Cavendish: let's all support it!

When the Cavendish Mall transformed into Quartier Cavendish and city council approved the accompanying housing development, we envisioned the new street we named The Avenue  in District 2 to become our own version of Monkland in NDG.  Naturally, it would not be as elaborate, but a few cafés and restaurants would add a nice touch to our community.

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Mayor Brownstein, MP Anthony Housefather, Noah Sidel, Marissa Sidel, Johanna Miller and me.

Four years ago Yeh! Yogurt opened amid much fanfare on The Avenue and we were all very excited. The owners made a strong attempt to make it work, but a number if factors led to its closure.  It was therefore very exciting for me to attend the pre-opening of  Café de l’avenue in the same spot, brought to us by the Sidel family. Leading the way is CSL resident and business owner Marissa Sidel, working with her brother Noah, sister-in-law Joanna Miller and dad Jerry Sidel. Marissa is also the moderator of the Let’s Chat CSL Facebook page.This immediately becomes  our neighbourhood’s first sit-down, storefront coffeehouse. It opens to the public on Wednesday, Aug. 16.

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There were some nice appetizers served at the pre-opening.

“I’ve lived here my whole life and I can’t remember a time in which people weren’t asking for a proper, sit-down, storefront café,” said Marissa. “We saw the opportunity to partner with the Quartier Cavendish and we jumped at it.”

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Pharmaprix boss David Banon and one of my favorite constituents Sari Litman.

Marissa, who has run her company, National Dispatch Services, out of CSL (and District 2) for nearly five years, enlisted her family and friends to get the café started. “Côte-Saint-Luc is all about family and we’re excited that our own family is able to further cement its place here with this café,” she said.

You can access Café de l’avenue from within Quartier Cavendish and via an outside door and terrace on The Avenue. The coffeehouse features free WIFI for customers, power stations throughout the seating area, and a real neighbourhood feel.

“We’ve partnered with great kosher suppliers like Elna Bistro and Mimimelon for all of our food and desserts, and our beans come from Union Coffee – legendary among Montreal coffee drinkers,” Marissa explained.

Opening hours are 6:30 am to 11 pm Monday to Friday, and 8:30 am to 11 pm on the weekend. “We’re open seven days a week so we can always serve the entire Côte-Saint-Luc community,” she said.

There was a wonderful atmosphere at the café pre-opening. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, most members of council and several candidates for election were on hand. So was Ron Basel from the BSR Group, whose new  rental apartment building will open on September 1. His ground floor is zoned commercial. Ron told me that the Quartier Cavendish management team will decide what type of tenant takes that spot.

Marissa and her team put this all together in only seven weeks. She heaped praise in her sister-in-law Johanna Miller, a busy mother of three, for playing a crucial role. “This could not have happened without her’” Marissa said, upon presenting her with a bouquet of flowers.

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Proud father Jerry Sidel.

While the new café no doubt will count on the local population to help it succeed, Marissa and her team are taking the very smart route of opening its doors to community groups and activities. There will be a Mommy and Me and painting activities on site. The café will ultimately sponsor one of the local school sports teams and in-turn invite that club and others to utilize the premises for pre and post-game bites.  With the free WiFi and work stations it is hoped that this will become a “go to” place for students.

While all of the food is kosher, the café itself is not MK certified. Marissa notes that some items will be pre-sealed in order for everyone to have a comfort factor.


The café’s menu includes a wide variety of coffee, breakfast items (bagels, cream cheese, croissants, muffins, granola bars, cheese and greek yogurt), sandwiches, soups, salads and desserts.


Good luck to the entire team! Let’s all get out there and support it.

www.cslcoffee.com