Library

Sharron Gallagher's art exhibit at the CSL Public Library worth a visit

The Côte Saint-Luc Public Library presents some fantastic art shows and one by Sharron M Gallagher is no exception.

Gallagher's solo show called  ” Fish and trees, land and seas’ a runs  through June 30. A lover of the outdoors, she finds the woods are her sanctuary. Her love of nature and its creatures is evident in her work. The almost 50 pieces show the evolution of her art with a variety of applications, materials and techniques. She has a unique perspective and a sense of humour about the world around her.

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A multi-media piece by Gallagher called "Hidden Gold."

 

Gallagher has exhibited in juried and group shows around Montreal for over 10 years. She did a trio artist show with Barbara Sweeney and Jeannine Varalta at the Centre d’Art E.K.Voland in 2016. She was awarded the “Best by Theme’ [Invigoration] in the 125th Annual Juried Art Show of the Women's Art Society of Montreal this past April.  In addition she has studied at the Visual Arts School, the Montreal Museum of Fine Art Art School, as well as several years with amazing teachers like Marilyn Rubenstein.

For more information, please go to sharronmgallgher.net. 


Local artists Chandler and Mann present beautiful art display at the library

The Côte Saint-Luc PublicLibrary regularly has superb displays of art work from our very own residents. Through January 6, David Chandler and  Hélène Mann are the focus of attention in our Community Art Space. I strongly recommend you pay a visit.

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David is a resident of District 2 while I will always remember  Hélène as Mme Benoussan. She was my teacher at the former Wentworth French Immersion School (Grade 7) in Côte Saint-Luc. We reconnected years later via her art work. She was a public school teacher for some 25 years. Also a resident of CSL, she is presenting more than 30 of her original digital art works. Her brilliant images are sometimes based on photos which are worked into collages; others are completely original imaginative creations. A must see!

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Hélène Mann paintings.

 

David taught for over 30 years, including several years focusing on photography. His photographic experience exceeds 60 years. The digital works on display attempt to show that photography is as much an impressionistic art as any painted art. There is a wide range of topics leaving much room for personal interpretation.

“All the images on display are based on photographs I have taken over the past 20 years,” David shares. “They have been modified with any of several programs. While the images can obviously printed multiple times no two are ever quite the same, as with multiple fine art prints made from the same plate. I consider pixels to be a modern variation of ancient Greek and Roman mosaics where coloured pieces of glass were combined to create images.”

David’s speciality is travel and architectural photography, always looking for patterns in the world around us. In recent years he has turned to more abstract or impressionistic images, always trying to isolate  the essence of the image. “I am presently preparing a paper on these ideas,” he says. “My equipment in these digital days has always been Olympus but it matters not since if the artist/photographer doesn’t see the image no equipment can save it.”

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Some of David Chandler's work.


David has personally published a couple of books,  which are on display for library viewing only.

For more information he can be reached  at 514.482.4148 or dhchandler43@gmail.com .

All of these images are for sale.  

 


Artist Maxine Bloom opens a magnificent display of her work at the CSL Library

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I was pleased to meet with Maxine at her display.

Maxine Bloom, a longtime constituent of mine in District 2, is a wonderfully talented artist who lives and paints in two places. Here is Côte Saint-Luc spring, summer and fall and Deerfield Beach, Florida in the winter.

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Maxine’s style is mixed media and her eclectic subjects reflect her love of color and movement. She combines watercolor, acrylic and ink with collage.  As she and her husband Victor told me at the opening of an exhibit of her work at the CSL Public Library, many of the paintings are from holiday destinations of theirs.I encourage you to drop by the library anytime through November 18. Many of the 35 paintings on display are for sale, with net proceeds going towards the Cummings Jewish Centre for Seniors Foundation.  There is a price list on site. Cathy Simons oversees the latter operation. She is also a constituent.

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Maxine has exhibited in group shows in Florida and has won both first and second prizes. Her work hangs in several private collections and she is delighted that others are enjoying her paintings every day.

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You can reach her at maggiebloom1942@gmail.com.

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Dr. Harry Rosen unveils public art sculpture Partenaires/Reliance at CSL's Ashkelon Gardens  

Côte Saint-Luc  hosted a wonderful unveiling of the public art sculpture Partenaires/Reliance at Ashkelon Gardens in District 2  on August 13.

The sculpture was created and donated to the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library by Dr. Harry Rosen. He has created and donated 17 sculptures in the Montreal area including the Montreal Children’s Hospital, the Jewish General Hospital, the Segal Centre for Performing Arts, the YM-YWHA, the YWCA Westmount, the Mt. Sinai Hospital, the Institut de cardiologie de Montréal, and the MAB-Mackay Rehabilitation Centre.

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Library Director Janine West, Councillor David Tordjman, Mayor Brownstein, Dr. Harry Rosen, Liberal MP Anthony Housefather, Councillor Steven Erdelyi, myself and Councillors Dida Berku and Ruth Kovac.

“Dr. Rosen's philosophy is to donate his art to institutions to which he shares their values,” Mayor Mitchell Brownstein said. “Our library was a natural fit and we had the perfect place for it in Ashkelon Gardens behind the library.”

Dr. Harry Rosen has enjoyed a successful career as a dental surgeon and professor at McGill University. He began working with stones at his country home in the Laurentians and developed his skills as a sculptor using the flat layers of sedimentary rocks, which he acquired around his country home property after breaking rocks apart with a sledgehammer.

The sculpture shows two people facing each other and holding hands as they lean backwards. The plaque inscription reads: “When communities build libraries, libraries build communities.”

“Public art has community-building potential,” Dr. Rosen said. “Not only does it create more beauty, joy, and connection in the world, but it has the ability to tell stories. In effect, it tells the library’s story. A library’s greatest asset is its ability to connect with people building relationships and creating partnerships.

“This is the message of Partenaires-Reliance. I always felt that we humans are social animals and rely on each other. We don’t live alone. The sculpture tries conveys that message.”

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D'Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum joined us for this photo as well as Dr. Rosen's wife Dolores and Councillor Sidney Benizri.

I was pleased to be asked to speak with you today regarding Harry Rosen’s latest installation.   While it is easy to admire the innovation, the craftmanship and the feats of engineering that resulted in this sculpture, landing in front of this library, it is the artist that I would like to focus on now.  In doing so, I hope you will gain an even greater appreciation for the work he has created as it is very much an expression of himself and his world view.

Joy Rosen, Dr. Rosen's daughter, beautifully explained  how this second career or hobby evolved. “How fitting that a first generation Canadian would choose big hunks of the Great Canadian Shield as the material for his artistic expression,” she said. “And how ironic that this denizen of St Urbain Street, whose Jewish immigrant parents saw peril lurking around every corner and who counselled him to ‘work hard with the head, not the hands’ would create two ton works of art, that would, if toppled, annihilate a bungalow.”

Joy described her dad as a studious, much loved third child, who through will, intelligence, and an abiding commitment to excellence, propelled himself into McGill, then dental school and then into the upper echelons of his field, never allowing lack of privilege, adversity, or bad weather deter him.  

“And just as Harry created his own narrative from the rough environment that he was born into, he seems to thrive in all kinds of rough environments,” Joy said. “Skiing down frozen mountains during snow storms, digging in 100 degree heat in archaeological ruins, and riding through the woods on the backs of frisky horses.   So, when he started to re-distribute the landscape at our country house, by hauling huge boulders out of the lake with a series of winches and pulleys, it was clear that our dad would never be joining a golf club. By the time the first perfectly engineered stone terraces began to dot the property, we knew, he was not merely trying to avoid drying dishes, but that it was another step in his lifelong project: to work with whatever nature gave him and make it better.”

Until now, Dr. Rosen’s art has touched on themes such as: Self Reliance & Ambition with Assent: Personal Strength with Little Hercules and then finally “we are stronger together” with The Connection.  “With this latest work, Harry’s oeuvre has taken another turn,” Joy explained.  “For the two figures cantilevered together, convey unequivocal trust and complete synergy between the partners. Together they are one and can spin together just like the world on its axis.  However, if one or the other partner were to let go, both would tumble.  In speaking with my dad about this sculpture, he indicated that it was like his relationship with my mother, Delores, over all the years of their marriage.  If you examine the work, it is easy to see that.  They spin together in beautiful balance, never breaking their hold.

“Our family is so lucky to have such an inspiring role model although there is not one among us that would not admit that he is a tough act to follow.  Harry is an incurable optimist with no illusions that creating perfection requires a lot of really, really hard work. And yet, I don’t think he’s ever found himself between a rock and a hard place that he could not engineer into something awesomely positive.  This is, both as an artist, as a human being, his gift, his message and his legacy.”

Congratulations to Library Director Janine West and her staff for the work they did on this project.

Watch Mayor Brownstein’s interview with Dr. Rosen at https://youtu.be/bXlRBoODPa0. Watch the sculpture being installed at https://youtu.be/KGP1-0fzfyw.


Walkway leading to CSL City Hall/Library to be named Leonard Cohen Lane

I am pleased to announce that the walkway from Marc Chagall Avenue, which heads directly to the City Hall and Library facility, will be named Leonard Cohen Lane in memory of the legendary Montreal  writer, poet, composer and singer who passed away in November 2016 at the age of 82.

While Leonard Cohen never lived in Côte Saint-Luc, he was indeed a Quebec icon we all revered. Indeed his presence was always felt at our very own CSL Public Library through  CDs,  videos and books.

When we formally inaugurate Leonard Cohen Lane later this year, I will work with Library Director Janine West, Councillor David Tordjman, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and City Manager Tanya Abramovitch on an event which will celebrate this great man’s life and all of the joy he brought to us.

This land was unofficially referred to as Marc Chagall Park. We had considered calling it Library Lane, but a few people, including community activist Tamar Hertz, suggested that we honour the memory of Leonard Cohen There are a number of people I know in Montreal who were personal friends with him. I am sure they will be thrilled to attend any event we organize.

Cohen (no relation to me by the way)  was born in Montreal on Sept. 21, 1934, to a middle-class family. His father, who ran a well-known clothing store, died when he was nine. He pursued undergraduate studies at McGill University and became president of the debating union. He flirted with a legal career and attended McGill law school for a year after completing his bachelor's degree. He also went to Columbia University for a year. But literature had a stronger call than litigation.

"Let Us Compare Mythologies," his first book of poetry, was published in 1956 when he was an undergrad. The "Flowers For Hitler" poetry collection and the novels "The Favourite Game" and "Beautiful Losers" followed in the 1960s. He etablished himself as a poet and novelist of renown by the age of 32, Cohen decided that songwriting might pay better. Leonard cohen

A big break came in 1966 when Judy Collins recorded his standard "Suzanne," and he came out with his first album "Songs of Leonard Cohen" the same year. That was followed up with "Songs from a Room" in 1969, which included the popular "Bird on the Wire." He had a fairly steady output although his popularity dipped in the 1970s as disco, not doom, was deemed to be the treat for consumers' ears. But Cohen began a comeback in 1984 with "Various Positions," which included "Hallelujah."

Ironically, "Hallelujah," was on the only Cohen album ever rejected by his record company and was little noticed when it did come out on an independent label. But it has become modern standard after hundreds of cover versions, high-profile performances and use in TV and movie soundtracks.

It is  played at weddings, funerals - including the 2011 state ceremony for then NDP leader Jack Layton - school concerts and religious services. It was repeatedly played on VH1 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and at a telethon for relief efforts after the Haitian earthquake in 2010.

 

 


Local authors salon at CSL Public Library showcased three impressive writers

As the city councillor in Côte Saint-Luc  responsible for Library and Culture I take great pride in everything this iconic institution provides.

I always like to say that we are a lot more than just loaning books. Programming makes up a good portion of our agenda. A case in point was our June 28 Local Author Salon at the Harold Greenspon Auditorium.

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Prior to the program I met with (left to right) authors Ravit Rose, Amy Sands Brodoff, Harry Rajchgot and Librarian Janine West.

Ami Sands Brodoff (In Many Waters), Harry Rajchgot (Gravitational Fields: A Novel of Peacetime & War) and Ravit Rose (Unwanted Nasty Divorces) shared from their latest works. This was an opportunity for our audience to get inspired and learn first-hand what it takes to write a novel, have it published and be ready to share it with the whole world.  The eye-opening experience featured three distinct writing styles and paths to discovery, self-help and the art storytelling.

Ami resides with her family in NDG.   Ami Sands Brodoff is the award-winning author of  three novels and a volume of stories. The White Space Between centres on a mother and daughter grappling with the impact of the Holocaust and won The Canadian Jewish Book Award for Fiction. Bloodknots, a volume of thematically linked stories about families on the edge, was a finalist for The Re-Lit Award. Her debut novel, Can You See Me? penetrates into both the point of view of a young man with schizophrenia and his sister who struggles to help him. The novel was nominated for The Pushcart Prize and is a recommended book of NAMI (The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill). A native New Yorker, Ami now makes her home in Montreal with her husband, children, and Brittany Spaniel. She recently completed her fourth book, the novel In Many Waters.

Harry, who is a neighbour of mine in District 2, was born in a displaced persons’ camp in Pocking, in what was then West Germany, after the end of World War II. He is the son of Holocaust survivors who spent the war years in the Soviet Union after escaping from Poland in 1939, soon after the war began.  In his day job as a dentist, he is a staff member of the McGill University Health Centre, and a faculty lecturer at McGill University. Gravitational Fields is his first novel. Formerly co-editor of the Harvest-HaAsif Literary Anthology, he is currently editor of JONAHmagazine, an online literary magazine. He amuses himself by writing musical plays for the Jewish festival of Purim, and is a founding member of the Greene Writers Collective.  He spent more than 20 years writing  Gravitational Fields, having started  at the time his father became severely ill in 1994. It gives a fictional account of a family of Holocaust survivors struggling to overcome their past, based on the stories of many individuals and families who went through similar experiences. The novel is historical fiction, a family epic that begins just before the German invasion of Poland in 1939, the event which resulted in the start of World War II. It is a fantastic read.


Ravit Rose is a deeply devoted mom to her two young sons and a former  Côte Saint-Luc resident. This is where her passion lives and breathes. Pre-divorce, she envisioned a successful career building her business dreams and actively making a contribution to her community. Her confidence and trailblazing spirit is evident in her keen work ethic and entrepreneurial acumen. She earned her Bachelor of Commerce degree specializing in Marketing and Entrepreneurship & Small Business Management along with a Human Resources Certificate. She continued to pursue her career path from the very first day of her separation despite the fact that it was often thwarted. She found the emotional impact her divorce was having on her and her children to be heartbreaking. She was also very much aware that her ex-husband was having a hard time. Often, she felt that she didn’t understand why and how matters seemed to go wrong all the time. So she went off on an adventure to find the solutions she needed to end her struggle. This took her to discoveries she had not expected- to common issues that affect parents around the world, regardless of the varied laws in their respective justice system. Her book speaks of the Quebec Justice System as a means of comparison for her readers around the world. With the help of hundreds of other divorced parents’ stories (majority of which were mothers), Ravit proudly authored her book, Unwanted Nasty Divorces, hoping everyone’s voice will encourage a chorus of others to engage in a much-needed dialogue in support of families everywhere. More importantly, she intends to ignite conversations about needless suffering families face because of inconsistencies in the family justice system and how these flaws are failing families far and wide to make way for monumental change.

This evening represented a great opportunity to encourage local talent.  Copies of their books were available for purchase at the event.


For more information about what’s on this summer at the Library, visit csllibrary.org or call 514-485-6900.


Our library to help explore the historic role of Jewish immigrants in Canada

As part of the Federation CJA 100 Year Celebration, in association with the Côte Saint-Luc Public Library and the Côte Saint-Luc Historical Society – the public is invited to explore the historic role of Jewish immigrants to Canada who became independent farmers and community builders throughout the province of Quebec.

The history of Jewish farmers in Canada stretches all the way back to the 1880’s – from the Maritimes to British Columbia. Although some scholars allude to the proliferation of Jewish immigrants as farmers mainly in the Canadian west, it is very clear that their presence throughout the country did have an equally significant historic impact to the overall Jewish community.

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From places in Quebec like La Macaza (Mt. Tremblant), Ste Agathe, Ste Sophie / New Glasgow, Laval, Côte Saint-Luc and the Eastern Townships, the involvement of Jewish immigrants within Canada’s early agriculture industry was extensive and significant. Whether it was in the tobacco industry, grain production, vegetable cultivation, raising livestock, poultry, eggs or in the dairy industry – Jewish farmers were creative, industrious and innovators in a profession that was constantly evolving.


Throughout month of July 2017, the public is invited to explore the life and times of these Jewish farmers who settled in parts of Quebec from as far back as the late 1890’s. The exhibition will be on display at the Eleanor London CSL Public Library (5851 Cavendish) beginning July 2, 2017 – with special days that will include presentations and guests speakers. Please log on to www.csllibrary.org for additional information, directions and opening hours.

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The exhibition (in French and English) titled Jewish Farmers of Quebec: A 100 Year Retrospective will focus and detail the important historical dimension of Jewish farmers throughout the Province of Quebec. Whether living in organized communities or as independent entrepreneurs, the choice to begin a new life as a farmer in Canada was a hopeful option.
From the many places they settled and businesses created, this exhibition will highlight the people and their contributions throughout Quebec. By means of personal histories, statistical data, photographs, including a special series of paintings (two shown in this blog) contributed by CSL artist and District 2 resident Michael Litvack, this event will be a rare opportunity to learn, and appreciate the history of Jewish farmers that settled in Quebec post 1890.


The exhibition will conclude on July 30. The public is invited to visit the exhibition during the opening hours of the library. On Sundays Dr. Howard Gontovnick will be present on site for questions and discussions. Developed exclusively by Dr.  Gontovnick for the Federation CJA’s 100 year Celebration, in cooperation with the CSL Historical Society and the CSL Public Library, this unique exhibition becomes an important footnote to the contributions of the Jewish immigrants as farmers in Quebec. Dr. Gontovnick, who is a psychotherapist and Adjunct Professor at the State University of New York in Plattsburgh, New York in World Religions and Jewish Studies – is a researcher and has a background in agriculture. He has written many articles and book chapters focusing on understanding and the role of Jewish farmers both in Quebec and Canada. For more information, please consult the website www.jewishfarmers.ca. After arriving in Canada during the 1920’s, the Gontovnick family later settle in Ste Sophie, Quebec in the early 1940’s. Shortly after a chicken farm was established and gradually became one of the largest egg processing stations for Greater Montreal and surrounding regions. Today, the farm is semi-active producing potatoes, corn and other grains. For more Information - Dr. Howard Gontovnick ( howardg@alumni.concordia.ca )


Mourning the passing of library visionary Eleanor London (Montreal Gazette story included)

We are saddened to learn about the passing of Eleanor London, a legendary figure in the City of Côte Saint-Luc who was the heart and soul of our extraordinary public library, which bears her name.

It was Eleanor who first came on board to start up our library from scratch, recruited by then Mayor Bernard Lang. She retired about 13 years ago. In following her wishes, there will not be a funeral or a shiva. We as a city will find an appropriate way to recognize her passing.

Eleanor londonI last spoke to Eleanor last summer when we were planning 50th anniversary celebrations for the library, which is one of my portfolios as a city councillor. She said that she had not been well for many years, noting she hadn`t left the house. "I am not well Mike," she said. "I do not know what is wrong with me and I want to keep it that way. I refuse to see a doctor. I will accept my fate."

I have fond memories of Eleanor. I was four years old when the first library was established on the second floor of the Côte Saint-Luc Shopping Centre. She was the visionary behind the library we see today, open seven days a week and the envy of every other municipality in Quebec. Lisa Milner assumed her duties during the time when we were part of a borough in the merged City of Montreal. Tanya Abramovitch became the chief librarian in 2005 and when she was elevated to City Manager, Janine West stepped into the role.

Make no mistake about it, this library will always have the Eleanor London touch. We are grateful for her invaluable contributions and extend our sympathies to her family.

 

 And Montreal Gazette Coverage Below

Visionary Montreal librarian Eleanor London dies

Librarian Eleanor London and her daughter, Mala. Montreal Gazette photo, 1994.

Librarian Eleanor London and her daughter, Mala. Montreal Gazette photo, 1994.

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There was no library, no books, and no staff when Eleanor London was first interviewed for the position of chief librarian for Côte-St-Luc.

“When I got the job in 1965, I asked ‘where’s the library?’ And they said ‘there is no library — yet.’ I started with some pencils, a telephone and a desk,” London told the Montreal Gazette in 1994.

Côte-St-Luc’s founding librarian died Thursday at age 79. A very private person, London will have neither a funeral nor a shiva (the traditional seven-day mourning period in the Jewish religion), said Côte-St-Luc city councillor Mike Cohen.

“Côte-St-Luc residents flocked to that library and loved that library. They certainly loved her,” former mayor Robert Libman said Friday. “Everyone knew her, and she knew everybody. She created a special environment.”

After spending a year collecting materials, London began the library in 1966 in a second-floor storefront of the Côte-St-Luc shopping centre. 

It remained there until the library moved to a new building it shared with city hall in 1986. London had a hand in designing the building, emphasizing a warm atmosphere. She made suggestions about the architecture, picked out the colours on the walls, and even found and purchased an old stained-glass window from a Westmount mansion during a garage sale, which remains a fixture in the library. Throughout her tenure, she was known as passionate, detail-oriented and hard working, starting early in the morning and staying many nights until the library closed. She managed many aspects of the library, from the wide ranging to the minute, even occasionally pruning the library’s plants.

London retired after 36 years at the helm. The library was named in her honour during her last years on the job, but her personality and vision continue to guide the library even 13 years after her retirement.   

She said she wanted the library to be “a cross between a hotel lobby and a Westmount living room. Plants, paintings and a fireplace.”

Under her watch, the library grew an extensive multimedia collection of DVDs, and audio files. 

The Eleanor London Cote Saint-Luc Public Library in Montreal in 2015.

The Eleanor London Cote Saint-Luc Public Library in Montreal in 2015. ALLEN MCINNIS /MONTREAL GAZETTE

‘Determination, fight, intelligence’

“That library would never be what it is without her determination, her fight, her intelligence and her unique personality,” Libman said. “She made it one of the most enviable libraries, not only in Montreal, but in the country.”

He added that London insisted the library be open every day of the year from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., regardless of holidays, and when the city was merged with Montreal in 2001, she waged a public battle against a plan to reduce library’s hours.

While she fought for the good of the library, she also fought for love, which allowed her to be one of the first single parents in the country permitted to adopt a child. When she was 40, London adopted Mala, from India.

At the time, hers was one of 12 single-parent adoptions in Canada.

“It took three years of fighting and calling and never giving up hope,” she said in another interview in 1994.

Her determination paid off. London described Mala’s arrival from New Delhi at 18 months of age as “sort of like a miracle. She’s my best friend.”

Current Côte-St-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein said London was a remarkable woman.

“When I moved to Côte-St-luc at the age of 4, one of the first things my mom did was take me to the library where Eleanor would read books to us kids during story time,” Brownstein said. “In 1990, when I was first elected to Council, our relationship grew as Eleanor would tirelessly ensure her library remained the best. During the last couple of years as her health was failing, we stayed in touch by phone and her love for the library was always foremost in her heart. Her love for community and excellence in customer service is a legacy that continues to shine and will remain for always, thanks to all she has done for our city. She will be dearly missed.”

In hearing about London’s passing, Cohen wrote that the library will always reflect its founder’s vision.

“I have fond memories of Eleanor,” Cohen wrote on his blog. “I was four years old when the first library was established on the second floor of the Côte-Saint-Luc Shopping Centre. She was the visionary behind the library we see today, open seven days a week and the envy of every other municipality in Quebec. Make no mistake about it, this library will always have the Eleanor London touch. We are grateful for her invaluable contributions and extend our sympathies to her family.”

City councillor Glen Nashen wrote he appreciated London’s outspoken nature.

“She never hesitated to speak out and give her opinion,” Nashen wrote on his blog. “That was Eleanor’s way. The flamboyant and dramatic tall woman with long flowing silvery hair was a giant not only in the library world, but throughout the city. Her face was iconic and her name forever linked to our town.”

Brownstein has ordered the flags at city hall to be lowered to half mast in tribute to London. A book will be on display in the library for people to sign condolences. The city will hold a public tribute to London in the near future.

jmagder@postmedia.com

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Author Emma Richler delights audience at CSL Library sponsored talk

Author Emma Richler  was a big hit with her audience at the Harold Greenspon Auditorium at Côte Saint-Luc City Hall. She spoke about her book, Be My Wolff, which tells the story of a sister and her adopted brother who share a profound connection.

This free lecture, presented by the  Côte Saint-Luc Public Library, drew a nice crowd. Author as well of Feed My Dogs and Sister Crazy, Richler shared her experience of growing up as the daughter of Montreal's larger-than-life presence, Mordecai Richler, and how that influenced her career choices. Journalist and commentator Anne Lagacé Dowson conducted the interview on stage and questions from the audience were taken at the end.

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With Emma Richler.

Emma Richler grew up on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, spending time in London, where she was born, and Montreal. Originally an actress, she turned to the family industry, writing, in 2001. Many of us in the audience were surprised to hear her speak with a strong British accent. But London is where she spent the first 11 years of her life and resides today. When the Richlers moved back to Montreal, she said that her parents underlined the importance of learning French and she did. Looking out in the audience, she saw some former classmates  - people she had not seen in some 30 years.

Richler spoke lovingly about her late dad, mom Florence and siblings Daniel, Noah, Martha and Jacob. Lagacé Dowson asked her about the famous gazebo the City of Montreal refurbished to the tune of $700,000 in her dad`s memory. She responded politely to what has become a  controversial and very much delayed project. Richler clearly had a close relationship with her dad, her voice breaking when speaking about him.

Regarding her mom,  Richler said: "Florence is beautiful and radiant. She looks incredible. I read to my mom by phone. She is a brilliant editor."

Asked by Lagacé Dowson about her decision to quit acting for writing, Richler said that she felt compelled to write and jokingly added that if she ever did return to the screen she'd like it to be as a James Bond girl. 

Following the popular talks last year featuring Kathy Reichs and General Roméo Dallaire, our library is  excited to be working again with Paragraphe Bookstore and Lagacé Dowson. Events like these highlight the importance we place on culture in our city.


Paragraphe Bookstore was represented at the event  and sold  copies of Richler's books, which she signed.

 

 

 

 


A fabulous 50th anniversary for our CSL Public Library

 

The Côte Saint-Luc Eleanor London Public Library is 50 years old and on September 18 we celebrated this remarkable silver anniversary with an entire day of events. As the city councillor responsible for Library and Culture, I could not be more proud of the job Director of Library Services Janine West and her team did to put this together.

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David Birnbaum, Mayor Brownstein et al dance up a storm.

When our 2016 Canada Day celebrations were rained out, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein suggested immediately that we make our Library celebration bigger than usually planned. So we concluded everything with a bang – an amazing concert performance by the band Vintage Wine and laser show. Oh yes, the weather was absolutely perfect. We created a makeshift outdoor concert bowl at the rear of our parking lot. The band was so well received that the moment they began to play people came out of the audience to dance. Special mention must go to Mayor Brownstein and wife Elaine, Councillor Allan J. Levine and wife Rhona and D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum and Councillor Ruth Kovac who really danced up a storm.

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Vintage Wine rocks the crowd.

While Eleanor London, our founding librarian could not attend due to health reasons, Miriam Lang addressed the audience. The wife of the late Mayor Bernard Lang, Miriam told us all how the creation of our library all began in the kitchen of her home with a small committee. She said some people questioned Mayor Lang’s decision to select the second floor of the Côte Saint-Luc Shopping Centre as the initial location, but it turned out to be the perfect spot until our City Hall/Library Complex was constructed. We now have without a doubt the finest public library in Quebec and possibly Canada.

So how did we else did we celebrate?

We start things off, under the circus tent in the Children’s Library there was an extra special storytime, with birthday themed books, party hats for all, and a great birthday craft for the kids to take home. We then brought in kosher pizza for all, along with juice boxes and waters. This went over very well with those who lined up for a fun lunch.

Pizza
Everyone loved the pizza

 In our multi-purpose room we asked youngsters to create their very own birthday cards for the future library time capsule we will unveil so that future generations can read their birthday wishes for this very special place. Kids decorated and filled out a card and then had their pictures taken with our “happy birthday” sign. The activity involved the creation of the content for the time capsule. All those who participated will be invited to attend the time capsule burying ceremony, taking place at a later date.
Cupcakes

Our friends from RBC joined us to hand out the cupcakes.

Rather than a large birthday cake, we ordered 900 absolutely delicious cupcakes. We thank our sponsor, RBC Royal Bank at Kildare and Cavendish, for this amazing snack. I admit – I had more than one!

Outside behind the library, in Ashkelon Garden, we had face painting, a glitter tattoo artist, a balloon sculptor, chess, inflatables, WIMA musicians playing music of the 60s and a few inflatables.

A photo booth was setup in the lobby. Folks loved having their pictures taken with fun and wacky props and received a print as a memento.  There were also stations for button making, rainbow loom bracelets, a treasure hunt, an AWE Literacy Station and a game of Bingo. Prizes    included Pharmaprix gift cards, free passes to library events and one video club membership, and items sponsored by Bonder Books

There were some notable displays celebrating 50 years of Memories: A history of the library in photographs in the art gallery and near the Natural History Museum. We had a first look at the CSL Thursday Painting Group’s 50th Anniversary Gift, a large painting of different renderings of a room in the library. It is on the wall behind our reference desk. Also worth checking out is: 50 Years of Time on the cafe glass wall (large Time Magazine covers from 50 years);  Library Memorabilia In the Art Gallery Exhibit table; the Senior Men’s Club Art Show in the Community Art Space

We had a number of kiosks, including a Library Bag Giveaway (sponsored by Quartier Cavendish), and Adopt-a-Book Table.

At a VIP reception, we welcomed members of council, former Mayor Robert Libman, former councillors David Klinger, Isadore Goldberg and Joseph Panunto, Liberal Member of Parliament for Mount Royal and former Mayor Anthony Housefather and David Birnbaum.  We recognized Lisa Milner, a manager at our library who oversaw the operation during the four years we were a borough of the city of Montreal and City Manager Tanya Abramovitch, now on maternity leave with twins who served as our chief librarian before being elevated to her current post.

"I am really very honoured to have had the privilege be part of this great library all of these years and I thought I might take this opportunity to talk about greatness and what is it that makes a public library great," Janine West said in her remarks. "First and foremost you have to have a clear vision. And here I have to thank Eleanor London our founding librarian for giving us her vision of a people’s library where the library is built for people first and foremost and not just for books.

"To be great a library needs the support from upper city management. The library has always been blessed with city managers who support the library but the library has a great champion in Tanya Ambramovitch, the previous library director and now our city manager. Tanya, whose passion and vision equalled if not surpassed Eleanor’s saw the library could be an important player in city building creating a healthy and vibrant city dedicated to improving the quality of life for all residents.. I thank Tanya for believing in me and trusting me to carry the library’s mission forward with this all important torch. In order to have a great library you need great staff, staff that understand the vision of the library and who are smart, creative, loyal and dedicated and will do what it takes to not only to deliver outstanding service but outstanding experiences to CSL  residents.My staff, I am lucky to have them at my side. To the ones present I want to tell you that you make my job so much easier. Your contributions to the library are sometimes unsung but never unappreciated. I am so grateful to have you as part of my team.

"To make a library great you need to have a great city council, a council who believes in the library. From past mayors and city councillors to our present mayor Mitchell Brownstein and current slate of city councillors, all have believed in and supported the mission of the library. We could not do what we do without their support. I thank them wholeheartedly. And finally there is the community. The library cannot be great if you don’t have the love and support of the community. In our library that support comes in the form of dedicated and committed library ambassadors, individuals that give not only of their time, but their ideas, their spirit and their love. Support from the community also comes in the form of our local businesses who support library initiatives through generous donations.  So in summation, all of you here today know that it is because of you that this library is great, why it still has the reputation it has today, why it is still referred to as the jewel of Côte Saint-Luc."

 

It was an absolutely fabulous day!