Events

Susie and Harvey Schwartz to be honoured at Maisons Fleuries; real estate guru Moshe Shlomo to sponsor event

On Tuesday, November 7 the City of Côte Saint-Luc will host its annual Maisons Fleuries Awards Ceremony at the Aquatic and Community Centre. I will once again serve as  co-chair with Councillor Sidney Benizri.

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Councillor Ruth Kovac, Susie Schwartz, myself and Moshe Shlomo.

The event recognizes the superb floral arrangements at homes, condominiums, apartments and business complexes.This year`s  Maisons Fleuries Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to  Harvey and Susie Schwartz, who  have participated. The couple have been selected to either first or second place for the Townhouse Category every year since 2006.

“We love beautifying our outside gardens with lots of various types of flowers which enriches the outside of our home and our town house complex,” emphasized  Susie Schwartz. “People passing by always comment on how lovely are garden is. Harvey works hard all summer watering and making sure that all his flowers are happy and blossoming. We feel it is important to keep our city beautiful.”

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Susie and Harvey Schwartz join me.

The couple are also long-time and devoted members of the city’s Volunteer Citizens on Patrol (VCOPS).   District 2 resident Moshe Shlomo,  a lifelong Côte Saint-Luc resident and a real estate agent for Sutton Clodem Inc., will be this year’s event sponsor. George Deligeorge, the city’s socio-cultural arts instructor, has once again agreed to create a surprise masterpiece for the ceremony.  As in past years, the local art classes will display their  floral art work. This will involve Mr. Deligeorge’s work, as well as the students. The display will encompass the home and flower theme. 


Canada Day 2017: Shalom Bloom Sculpture Garden initiated, great music and fun and honouring a legend

A huge thumbs up to our staff in the City of Côte Saint-Luc for making sure our annual Canada Day celebrations went off without a hitch. Not only did we celebrate this country’s 150th anniversary, but we formally rededicated the newly-renovated Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park, honoured the Canadian general who saved tens of thousands people, unveiled a one-of-a-kind wildlife sculpture garden, and played host to thousands of residents and visitors.

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With Shalom and Roz Bloom in front of one of the sculptures.

The main Canada Day event began with the official unveiling of the Shalom Bloom Sculpture Garden. Ten life-size bronze sculptures of wildlife animals were donated to the city by Canadian artist Shalom Bloom, whom I am proud to have a constituent of mine. He and his wife Roz reside on Marc Chagall Avenue.

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Another one of Shalom Bloom's amazing pieces of art.

As the city councillor responsible for Animal Protection, I jokingly told Shalom that I will watch out for his life-like animals. In all seriousness though, Shalom came up with a good idea to teach kids to not jump on his sculptures at the park. Our Director of Public Affairs and Communications Darryl Levine looked to see what other cities have done and developed something called CSL Junior Park Rangers. Kids will say a pledge and then they will get a certificate and a pin. We're targeting it to kids ages five to 10, but obviously it’s open to anyone who really wants to do it.


Roz Bloom said that it was her then five year old daughter who inspired Shalom to become a sculptor at the age of 50, eventually leaving a successful career in business to pursue it full time. His main subject matter is wildlife. Sculptures by him stand at the Civil Aviation Organization headquarters in Montreal and the Museum of Nature in Ottawa, as well as in other private and public collections around the world. I first met with he and Roz about the possibility of such a collaboration with our city some six years ago. Former Mayor Anthony Housefather and his successor, Mitchell Brownstein, carried the ball and the result is an attraction that should bring guests from all over. Shalom promises a phase two.

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Face painting fun for kids.

Canada Day festivities were originally scheduled for, of course, July 1. But when the Thursday forecast called for heavy rain, we rolled the dice and moved it to Sunday. Well we had a few sprinkles, but in the end everything worked out perfectly and thousands of people attended.

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Getting ready to serve cupcakes.

There were so many activities going on for young children, from a petting zoo and pony rides to face painting, a magician, all kinds of games and great food. We handed out delicious Canada Day cupcakes and enjoyed great music presented by the Beatles cover band Replay. They have performed and toured as professional musicians and studio session players since the early 70's and have performed all over Canada and internationally. They were at Canada Day here two years ago, which went on with a somewhat modified schedule due to rain. The audience loved their performance. CJAD’s Dan Laxer  and Dr. Laurie Betito served as emcee and Councillors Ruth Kovac and Glenn J. Nashen served as the co-chairs.

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The performers from Replay were superb.

We had words of welcome from Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, Liberal Member of Parliament for Mount Royal Anthony Housefather, D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum and we inducted Roméo Dallaire into our Human Rights Walkway. A celebrated advocate for human rights, especially in regards to child soldiers, veterans, and the prevention of mass atrocities, General Dallaire is also a respected government and UN adviser, a best-selling author, and former Canadian Senator. He was represented by his son Willem. Alexandra Cohen sang the national anthem and then our very large crowd stood in awe of an amazing fireworks and laser light show.

I am so proud to live in this community! Bravo to everyone!

See Darryl Levine's video of the event.

See Councillor Glenn J. Nashen's blog.


Traditional Canadian Citizenship ceremony held in CSL

The City of Côte Saint-Luc hosted its traditional Canada Day Citizenship Ceremony on July 1 at the Aquatic and Community Centre. With Judge Barbara Seal presiding, 39 candidates from 18 countries were sworn in. 

Dan Laxer and Dr. Laurie Betito from CJAD were the emcees. Kelly Guerrier and Constable David Pouliot from the RCMP joined Judge Seal as part of the Platform Party. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, members of city council, Mount Royal Liberal Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather and D'Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum each spoke and helped handout the certificates. 

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Birnbaum, Brownstein, Housefather, and Seal welcome a new citizen.

Mayor Brownstein, who initiated these ceremonies in the city and is an immigration lawyer by profession, said this process touches his heart. He spoke about his late grandfather who came to Canada on August 19, 1927 from Europe. "You," he said to the new citizens, "will always remember being sworn in on July 1, 2017 on Canada's 150th anniversary."

Housefather, our former mayor, said that we are the only city where an entire council comes out to welcome new citizens.

Birnbaum welcomed them to a very "distinct,"  province and promised that they would not feel any tension. He must be comforted by the PQ slipping in the polls.

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I take my oath with the others.

As the new citizens rose to take their oath, so did all of us in the audience.

The ceremony concluded with the singing of our national anthem and a small reception,

 


CSL Men's Club raises $400,000 for Magen David Adom

The Côte Saint-Luc Men’s Club continues to outdo itself year after year. Now 620 members strong, it welcomes residents age 55 and older. Founded in 1987, the club welcomes local, provincial and national speakers every Thursday morning at 9:30 am. The club also organizes activities like fitness, bowling, bridge, golf, choral and discussion groups.

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Syd Kronish sits on the scooter his family donated.

Under the leadership of District 2 resident Syd Kronish for the past three years, the Men’s Club held a gala evening June 27 to benefit Canadian Magen David Adom for Israel (CMDA). Since 1976 CMDA has been the sole authorized fund-raising organization in Canada dedicated to supplying ambulances, medical equipment, supplies and blood testing kits to support the lifesaving efforts of MDA in Israel. All of CMDA's assistance to MDA has been made possible solely through  generous donations.

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I took the time to congratulate Syd and Elaine Kronish, two of my distinguished constituents.

With its Head of Operations in Montreal and supporting Chapters across the country, CMDA's commitment to this cause runs deep with over 100 dedicated volunteers and a permanent staff of full-time professionals. Our newest city councillor, Sidney Benizri, is the executive director. In addition to providing ongoing support for the people of Israel, CMDA has contributed 20 percent of the funds required to build the national headquarters of MDA's Blood Bank located in the Tel-Ha'shomer complex just outside Tel Aviv, supplied 100 of the 800 ambulances in service today and 25 of the 200 emergency First-Responder Medical Scooters with plans to purchase another eight this year. Two of the Mobile Blood Units and $1.2 million in annual contributions to purchase specialized blood testing kits have all been possible due to your generous donations.


MDA is not a government agency, and therefore,depends heavily on donations, primarily from the Diaspora. In order to continue safeguarding lives in routine times and in times of emergency, MDA requires constant support.

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CMDA President Michael Levine, Mayor Brownstein and Mannie Young thank the Spectors for their donation. (Charles Eklove photo)

The event held at the CSL Aquatic and Community Centre began with the announcement that two ambulances and four medical scooters had been donated. More than 400 people attended, raising an incredible $400,000 for CMDA. Some of the proceeds from the event will be used to provide essential medical equipment for MDA Israel paramedics and first responders.

Standard Ambulances were donated by Simon and Fagey Rossdeutscher and Judith and Harry Rossdeutscher in memory of their families who perished in the Holocaust and by Derek and Richard Stern and Families from Olymbec. The Medical Emergency Scooter were purchased by Sheila and Nat Agensky in memory of Brian Agensky, Marion and Lazarus Caplan, Elaine and Syd Kronish/Steven, Etty, Samantha and David Kronish and The Spector Family. Harriet and Harry Fried made a donation towards medical equipment.

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Cantor Yossi Pomerantz sings.


Mayor Mitchell Brownstein served as the master of ceremonies for the evening, which featured performances by Cantor Yossi Pomerantz (accompanied by Joseph Milo) and humorist Al Kustanowitz.


“Just having returned from a visit to Israel, where a group of us visited MDA’s Medical Dispatch Center, I can tell all of you that it truly is an amazing organization which responds to all types of emergencies,” Kronish told the audience.


CMDA President Michael Levine also spoke. “The pride we all feel in being part of Magen David Adom exists on so many levels,” he said. “Saving lives, mitigating the suffering of human beings whoever they may be, supporting the 15,000 volunteers and 2,300 employees in Israel that, too often, knowingly put themselves at risk to care for others, and MDA involvement around the world, are just a few. There is so much more.”


The audience was moved by this video  of a young boy whose life was saved by MDA


The entertainment was superb. Afterwards, a dessert reception was held in our gym. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to speak to so many of our constituents,


Warm weather brings out large crowds for 2017 Winter Carnival

 

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With Bonhomme, Mayor Brownstein, the Snow Queen, Sidney Benizri and Anthony Housefather

When it comes to the annual Winter Carnival in Côte Saint-Luc, my memories shoot back to when I was a mere toddler. I lived on Wentworth Avenue and at the time the park behind my house was the hub for all activities. My parents would take my brother and sister and I to enjoy some hot chocolate, take part in all kinds of fun games and most importantly take my photo next to Bonhomme Carnival.

As a city councillor for the past 12 years, I have had the good fortune of taking part in the planning of the event. It all kicks off with the wildly successful Valentine`s Day Dance, continues with a PeeWee “A” Outdoor Hockey Tournament and concludes the following Sunday with a wide array of programming.

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With Jacqueline Mallet, Pierre Brunet and Ronald McDonald.

I was so happy to see our good friend Pierre Brunet, franchisee of nearly 20 McDonald’s restaurants, including the two in Côte Saint-Luc and Jacqueline Mallet from Manoir Ronald McDonald at the Samuel Moskovitch Arena. I joined Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, Councillors Allan J. Levine, Ruth Kovac and Sidney Benizri, along with Mount Royal Liberal MP Anthony Housefather and D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum, in presenting a cheque of $10,000 to Manoir Ronald McDonald. This was a record breaking year for us, bringing our grand total to $59,000 for this wonderful cause.

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Presenting our cheque for $10,000 to Manoir Ronald McDonald.

Manoir Ronald McDonald is a temporary home away from home for out-of-town (more than 55 km) families of children with critical illnesses who must travel to Montreal for medical treatments. It is located on Hudson Avenue in Côte des Neiges, around the corner from the Centre Hospitalier Ste. Justine.

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Presenting a trophy.

We made the cheque presentation prior to another annual tradition: the awards for the CSL Figure Skating Club. That was followed by a nice show on the ice.

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Petting Maggie the horse.

It was five degrees Celsius this year and with the sun beating down it seemed warmer. This represented a mixed bag. It was extremely pleasant to walk around and the crowd was fairly large. I remember days when it was so bitterly cold nobody wanted to be outdoors. With the warmth came a lot of slush and some of our ice sculptures and other snow attractions were melting.

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Serving up the pancakes.

In the Lawrence Bergman Chalet, Pierre Brunet’s team was serving up 1,300 McDonald’s pancakes. People were asked to make voluntary donations to the Manoir. Members of the Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society presented a preview song from their new show Fancy Nancy, about to debut at the Segal Centre  for three to nine year olds.

There was a dog sled, horse-drawn carriage rides, and taffy on the snow, tobogganing on the hill, face painting, snow games, public skating and more hockey games. It was so nice to see all of the young families enjoying the experience.

Congratulations to our Parks and Recreation staff for the fabulous work they did planning this event, which included signing up many sponsors.


Maisons Fleuries Awards Ceremony to honour Dirk Van Egmond and Edgewood Florist

On Monday, November 7 the City of Côte Saint-Luc will host our annual Maisons Fleuries Awards Ceremony at the Aquatic and Community Centre.

I am pleased to be co-chairing the event with  fellow city councillor Sidney Benizri. This event recognizes the superb floral arrangements at homes, condominiums, apartments and business complexes.

Sidney and I decided to add something new to this year's event and that would be the presentation of our first Maisons Fleuries Lifetime Achievement Award. Quite fittingly it will be presented to Dirk Van Egmond, 92, who has devoted his life to flowers and plants. Mr Van Egmond will be present with his children and grandchildren. His wife Teuna (Toos) passed away in 2010.

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Sidney Benizri, myself, Murray Van Egmond, Mayor Brownstein, Laura Trihas from Parks and Recreation, Corinne Van Egmond and Dirk Van Egmond at the nursery.

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.

I believe that this honour for Dirk Van Egmond is a long time in coming. We did not give Edgewood a proper good-bye four years ago. Dirk played such a wonderful role in the lives of our citizens. It is time to salute him and his family in public.


Adds my colleague Councillor Benizri: “Even though Edgewood is not physically located in Côte Saint-Luc, they remain very much part of our community."


Mayor Mitchell Brownstein notes that Dirk Van Egmond and Edgewood Nursery will forever be part of Côte Saint Luc. ``The wonderful gift of flowers has brought so much joy to our residents and continues to do so,” he says. “ Edgewood`s flowers have brightened all of my special family celebrations, and have brought smiles to the many who have received them as gifts for performing in our theatre productions or graced our tables at dances and special events. It is most appropriate to recognize Dirk Van Egmond`s contribution to our community at our Maison Fleuries event.”

Councillor Allan J. Levine, who has been proud to call Dirk Van Egmond a constituent for nearly three decades, notes that Hudson will always be remembered as the birthplace of Edgewood Florist. “As a high school teacher at Wagar I remember all of the students going there at prom for their corsages and boutonnières,” he recalls. “We miss their physical presence here, but are comforted by the fact they are just next door and only a phone call away.”


George Deligeorge, the city’s socio-cultural arts instructor, has once again agreed to create a surprise masterpiece for the ceremony. As in past years, the local art classes taught by Suzy Levy to display will display their floral art work. This will involve the art teacher’s work, as well as the students. The display will encompass the home and flower theme.

 


A proud day for all of us in the formal naming of 1 Sidney Shoham Place

The City of Côte Saint-Luc renamed a section of Hudson Avenue to Place Sidney Shoham Place at a beautiful ceremony on Sunday, September 25

Several hundred people  turned out on a nice sunny day. Rabbi Shoham passed away on September 21, 2015, at the age of 86. He retired 10 years earlier as the founding rabbi of Beth Zion Congregation after having served in that role for 50-plus years. Rabbi Shoham continued to remain very active in synagogue life and in fact, passed away only hours after attending the synagogue’s annual Cantorial Concert, of which he was most involved.

Shoham Street name

As the city councillor responsible for naming rights, I was approached last winter by Beth Zion president Earl Rosen about honouring Rabbi Shoham’s memory.  We do not often rename streets, but in this case the decision was a natural. Beth Zion is no longer located at 5740 Hudson Avenue, but rather 1 Place Sidney Shoham Place.  The Hebrew Day School is now at 5 and 9 Place Sidney Shoham Place.

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When I went to district Councillor Allan J. Levine, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and the rest of council, the name change was agreed upon immediately.  I would like to thank our Director of Public Affairs Darryl Levine and Director of Public Works Beatrice Newman for their work behind the scenes.

At the ceremony we heard words from Mayor Brownstein, Liberal Member of Parliament for Mount Royal Anthony Housefather, Liberal Member of the National Assembly for D’Arcy McGee David Birnbaum, Rabbi Boruch Perton, Earl Rosen and Linda Lieberman, Rabbi Shoham’s eldest daughter. She joined her sisters Donna and Mindy and mother Jewel in the unveiling of the civic address and street signs. You can watch the entire ceremony right here.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland the son of the late Rabbi Yechiel and Rebbetzen Ethel Shoham, Rabbi Shoham attended the Talmudical Academy of Baltimore and then went to Mesivta Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin in Brooklyn, New York. While studying at the yeshiva, Rabbi Shoham attended Brooklyn College at night and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in psychology. Later, he attended graduate school at New York University, School of Psychology and continued his studies in Montreal at the Allen Memorial Hospital – McGill University where he furthered his degree in Pastoral Psychiatry. 

Rabbi Shoham arrived in Montreal in 1955 to visit his brother Gilbert, who was Rabbi of the Beit Hamidrash Hagadol Synagogue on McKenzie. While here, he met with an enthusiastic group of individuals anxiously waiting to build a new community in the western suburb of Montreal. After discussions with the committee, he was quickly hired as the Rabbi of Beth Zion. Over the years, he had been active with nearly every Jewish organization in the city, notably Combined Jewish Appeal, B’nai Brith and State of Israel Bonds and the founder of the much needed Miriam Home. 

On Tuesday, September 27, Beth Zion will host Scholar in Residence Rabbi Benjamin Blech at the Rabbi Sidney Shoham Memorial Lecture and then, on Thursday, October 6, the newly renamed Rabbi Sidney Shoham Tribute Concert called “The Gift of Music” will take place.

“After the idea was conceived for this street renaming and address  change,  time seemed to take forever  to  arrive at this momentous occasion,” said Rosen. “We at Beth Zion have had many momentous events take place over the years.going from  the house to the auditorium,then the sanctuary, torah dedications, the 36th and  50th  anniversary celebrations, the cantorial concerts and on and on  to me.”

Our newest member of city council, Sidney Benizri, was wearing his other hat today as executive director of Canadian Magen David Adom for Israel. Thanks to the generosity of  Judith and Harry Rossdeutscher and Fagey and  Simon Rossdeutscher a brand new ambulance was dedicated in Rabbi Shoham’s memory. It was on display at the ceremony.     

I  was honoured to know Rabbi Shoham almost all of my life and  I am so proud to play a role in further ensuring his wonderful legacy in our city.


More than 300 people attend our benefit concert for the Cats Committee

How proud am I of the Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee (CSLCC), a group I helped established six years ago? Very much so.


We are a small group of volunteers, dedicated to Trap, Neuter, Release and Adopt. Few communities on the island of Montreal have such an entity. While the city provides us with an annual grant of $5,000, we need more to fulfil our mission. There are veterinarian bills to pay and supplies to purchase. So a year into our existence we decided to start doing some fundraising. Our biggest event is a concert we present featuring the extraordinary Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Joseph Milo.

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Larissa Macmac and Joseph Milo.

For our fifth annual concert on August 23 at the Syd Wise Auditorium of the Marymount Adult Education Centre, more than 300 people were in attendance. A Bouquet of Classics: The Music We All Love was the theme. Net proceeds plus funds collected via donations and purchases through our bake sale – spearheaded by Fern Collier-Pereira – gave us the boost we needed to keep doing our job. In fact the money received from the latter goes to a new fund which will enable us to purchase cat food for those who feed outdoor community cats year-round.


It is safe to say that most of the people in the audience were there to hear good music. As I said in my address, if only a few of those individuals step forward to help us then it will be a plus for us. I must say that over the last couple of years, different people have joined our team and truly made a difference. Diane Liebling is the heart and sole of our committee. She oversees the most difficult task of trapping the homeless community cats we find, often fostering them in her own garage. As I saw the large gathering around the bake sale at intermission, with Fern and committee members working so hard, I felt very very proud,

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Volunteers oversee the successful Bake Sale.

Councillor Sam Goldbloom once again co-chaired the concert with me. Sam and I are the only pet owners on council and he adores his Mr. Darcy as much as I love my Cleopatra. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein has been very supportive of our cause. So has his predecessor, present-day Mount Royal Liberal Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather. Both gentleman spoke at the start of our program, as did Elisabeth Prass. She runs D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum’s office. David, following the lead of his predecessor Lawrence Bergman, provides us with an annual donation of $500.


Mr. Birnbaum could not attend because he was sitting in a Parliamentary Commission in Quebec City. But Ms. Prass explained how Mr. Birnbaum has been proud to report to his colleague, the provincial Minister of Agriculture, that  Côte Saint-Luc is a leader in the welfare of cats and humanitarian practices towards pets. “In the spirit of this, in December of last year, our Liberal government was proud to adopt Bill 54, the Animal Welfare and Safety Act, which legislates for the better protection of animals and defines them as sentient beings with biological needs, rather than as objects,” she explained. “Our government's goal with this ground-breaking legislation is to better protect pets and ensure humanitarian treatment of animals raised for food production.”


Alexandra Cohen served as our emcee and opened up with two songs, Corner of the Sky from the Broadway show Pippin and Life is a Cabaret from the Broadway classic Cabaret. 


The Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra are nothing less than outstanding. This year some members also presented superb solo performances. Founded in 2006 by conductor Milo and his wife Lucy Ravinsky,  this one of a kind orchestra is composed of 55 musicians: about 80 percent of its members are from 15 countries around the world, while the remaining 20 percent are natives of Montreal who successfully facilitated the integration of the newcomers. They have been rehearsing at Côte Saint-Luc City Hall for many years

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Anna Levitina, Rami Negev and Sean O'Brien.

I could have listened to them all night. The first half was dominated by classics. After intermission we heard many Broadway tunes from the likes of The Lion King, West Side Story and Phantom of the Opera. Every year Joseph surprises us with something dedicated to cats. Sean O’Brien, Anna Levitina and photographer Rami Negev belted out Everybody Wants to Be a Cat from the Aristocrats. It was a feel good way to conclude proceedings. We all left truly happy, very much looking forward to doing the same thing next August.


Nutrience Pet Food by Hagen served as a sponsor as did Expedia Cruises, which even set up an information kiosk. The latter had a lot of traffic.  Scotiabank Cavendish generously donated some door prizes. I thank them for supporting us.

Thank you to Alvin Fishman, who steered the ship on logistics from day one and went the extra mile on the day of the concert with Mo Giobbi; to Harold Cammy, while on a well-deserved break, always gets things started for us by booking the auditorium and getting ticket sales going; to Regine Banon, who takes care of printing the tickets, overseeing our flyers/programs and all publicity related to the event (this year she went the extra mile and came to video tape); to Lisa Milner, who keeps us regularly up to date on crucial sales at the library; and of course Marymount Adult Education Centre head caretaker Michel Leblanc who stays after work to ensure to oversee the crucial component of sound.


There are so many people on our committee I can single out, from Rebecca Katz who oversees our Facebook page and takes care of our hotline to young Liz Brenhouse who fosters and socializes cats in her own bedroom and seeks homes for them. True cat lovers exist in our community and I want to meet more of them.


We received a lot of media coverage leading up to the concert. You can review it all here.


Shalom Bloom's wildlife sculptures on display at CSL Library

An exhibit of wildlife sculptures from District 2 resident Shalom Bloom will be on display at the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library’s Art Gallery from March 31 to May 29, 2016.

The vernissage is April 14, 2016 at 7 pm.

Bloom is considered one of Canada’s pre-eminent wildlife sculptors. Many of his sculptures are on display at corporate headquarters worldwide as well as in White Tail Deer Park in Elliot Lake. His work has been commissioned by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to create a sculpture for their headquarters in Montreal.

See this impressive video of his work

 

Just as fascinating as his art is his personal story. Bloom, who is today an active resident of Côte Saint-Luc, only started working on his sculptures at age 50, while creating a successful career building his own businesses. He was CEO of Arlington Sports, the South Africa Diamond Company, as well as a chain of restaurants. Starting in 1995, he devoted much of his time to pursue his art.

He stumbled across his talent by accident when his children were working with plasticine modeling clay and asked for his help.

“The minute I got my hands on the wax, it changed my life,” Bloom said. “All my inner thoughts, philosophies, and my yearnings and doubts came out in the wax. I became the master and wax became my tool.”

Bloom credits his wife for encouraging him in his new endeavour.

Bloom says there was one incident that convinced him to get into art more seriously.

Shalom Bloom wildlife scultures

"One day my secretary was standing at the door of my office with her 5-year old son,” Bloom said. “The young boy was standing there just staring at the life-size sculpture of a sleeping cub. Then he ran to the sculpture, gave it a hug and kiss, and shyly turned back. I realized that if I am able to evoke that kind of reaction from a child, then I should enter it seriously.”

For many years, Bloom worked in his studios as well as his garage at home. Often after dinner, the children on the street would sit near the driveway and watch as he worked. He would explain what he was doing and often allowed his young audience to add small pieces of wax to his sculptures so they could feel they contributed something.

“On many occasions, someone would be driving down my street, glance in my garage and stop the car so suddenly that one could hear the screeching of the brakes,” Bloom said. “They thought they saw a real life-size bull in the garage.”

Bloom, an opera lover, created most of his sculptures with the music of Puccini in the background.

“A businessman achieves success with his head and tongue, while an artist creates with his heart and hands, providing something that outlasts material wealth,” Bloom said. “Each human being is like a mine and you must constantly dig to find the vein of talent that is hidden. Once you find it, it can lead to endless beauty and interesting directions—changing your life forever.”

The Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library is located at 5851 Cavendish Blvd. and is open from Mondayto Thursday from 10 am to 10 pm, and Friday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. The Library remains open on all statutory holidays from 12 pm to 5 pm. For more information, call the library at 514-485-6900 or visitwww.csllibrary.org.


Another successful winter carnival is in the books

My memories of the Côte Saint-Luc Winter Carnival go back  some 50 years (yep I am 53) when I grew up on Wentworth Avenue. At the time Wentworth Park (now Kirwan Park) was the hub of activities organized by our Recreation Department and I looked forward all year to seeing the different mascot, taffy in the snow, athletic competition, fun and games and loads of people. 

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With the Dahan brothers and one of the mascots.

I got to relive that experience as a parent a number of years ago, but today as a city councillor the kid in me still enjoys a day at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park for some winter fun.

Our Parks and Recreation Department really gets into the Winter Carnival spirit these days, with a week's worth of activities. It all began this year with the popular Valentine's Dance on February 13. That was followed by an outdoor PeeWee "A" hockey tournament throughout the week, an adult hockey tournament, public skating, figure skating, the Youth Hockey all-star game and finally the February 21 finale at the park and arena. There was a a free pancake breakfast sponsored by McDonald’s (Pierre Brunet Franchisee horse-drawn carriage rides, inflatable games , taffy on snow, tobogganing on the hill, face painting, ice sculpture activities and snow games. Representatives from 92.5 The Beat FM were on hand to play music. The weather was terrific for mid-February. At our Aquatic and Community Centre, there was even a Winter Carnival Swim Meet.  

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Presenting our cheque to Manoir Ronald McDonald.

I joined Acting Mayor Dida Berku, Councillors Allan J. Levine (Winter Carnival Co-Chairman with Dida) and Ruth Kovac, Federal Liberal MP for Mount Royal Anthony Housefather, Quebec Liberal MNA for D'Arcy McGee David Birnbaum on the ice at the Moskovitch Arena to present trophies to the figure skating winners. Mayoral candidate and long-time city councillor Mitchell Brownstein was present all day. We presented a cheque for $6,500 to Manoire Ronald McDonald, the wonderful facility on Hudson Avenue in Côte des Neiges which provides a place to stay for out of towners caring for children requiring medical attention.  This has been one of our designated charities for years and one of the rooms in their building even has the Côte Saint-Luc name on it. Stay tuned for some exciting new regarding our next event with them.

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Everyone had a blast!

A great time was held by all. Hats off to Councillor Levine  and Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Cornelia Ziga and her entire staff.