April 29, 2017
April 27, 2017
Police who continue to sport camouflage pants on duty could face fines of $500 to $3,000 for each day they wear them under new legislation proposed by the Liberal government, reports the Montreal Gazette.
After three useless, sad years of vandalism of police cars (and fire trucks and ambulances with union stickers) and wearing camouflage and clown pants, the government has finally awoken to put an end to this lawless fashion flap.
I said early on that it was not fair to claw back on pensions that were already agreed to and that any changes ought to affect new officers or else be renegotiated within their collective agreements.
Forget that there are so many police officers earning in excess of $100,000 per year and the time-and-a-half pay for standing at intersections pushing traffic buttons, three times the going rate for trained civilians. These folks put their lives on the line, after-all, to protect us and deserve to be reasonably well paid for doing so. And they normally deserve our respect and appreciation.
But, their protest have gone much too far. Three years were three years too long.
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April 26, 2017
Canada, Events, Jewish Community, Montreal, Quebec, Travel Air Transat, Amos Sochaczevski, Henri Elbaz, Israeli Consul General, Lionel Perez, Robert Presser, Sandie Sparkman, Tel Aviv, Ziv Nevo Kulman Leave a comment
A whole lot of Quebecers are about to get an incredible experience travelling directly to Israel aboard Air Transat. The Montreal-based airline kicked off its Trudeau to Ben Gurion non-stop service as a sort of birthday bash, marking its 30 years in business and highlighting Montreal’s 375th anniversary. 150 years of Canadian federation, as well as 100 years of Federation CJA.
The event took place in the ultra-modern Montreal Science Centre at the Old Port. There was an interesting mix of politicos, business leaders, young entrepreneurs and community who’s who. English, French and Hebrew-speaking, Kosher or not, young and less young, the audience reflected the multicultural, hip crowd of would-be travelers that Air Transat is targeting.
Airline prez Jean-Marc Eustache, lead off the formalities by saying that they weren’t looking to become mere transporters. The airline’s strategy is to build travel experiences with local partners in Israel to offer excursions, lodging and tours to meet the needs of Quebec couples, families and singles alike. And, publicity will soon begin to promote Montreal and Quebec as a hot tourist destination for Israelis.
Consul General Ziv Nevo Kulman was beaming with excitement at the prospect of tens of thousands of Quebecers seeking a taste of Israel. Whether it’s for the food, the wine or the music, for exploring or for religious travel, Israel has it all, said the coolest diplomat Israel has sent to Montreal in modern times. The Israeli Consul for Tourism, Uri Steinberg, said that the relationship between Israel and Air Transat would flourish, like a romance, as they become closer and closer, falling in love with one another. Quebecers will love Israel, he said.
Montreal City Councillor and Executive Committee member Lionel Perez said that Montrealers will benefit from being five or six hours closer thanks to the direct flights and that Israelis will come in large numbers to enjoy Montreal’s flair, sites and culture. And we have great religious sites to share with them such as the St. Joseph’s Oratory, the Notre Dame Cathedral and eventually a downtown Expos stadium!
The Transat folks created a true Israeli atmosphere, raffling off two free flights for two to Israel, serving spicy, tasty hors d’ouevres and five kinds of humus provided by Alan Serour of Beso Catering. A 5-piece orchestra belted out Klezmer tunes and Israeli wine flowed freely.
It was great to see my old JGH boss Henri Elbaz and his physician wife Dr. Sandy, CIJA chief Eta Yudin, Senator Marc Gold, Hamsptead Mayor Bill Steinberg and his wife Doris, Outremont City Councillor Mindy Pollak, Israel Day Rally impresario Amos Sochaczevski, Israeli commuter-in-chief Dado Ben Brit, community activists Sandy Sparkman and Robert Presser and former news anchor Pascale Dery. CSL Insurance and Travel Professional Ruth Cohen will be plugging Air Transat service from her Cavendish Mall headquarters,
Good luck to Air Transat in finally bringing back direct service to Ben Gurion airport after a decades long gap. Here’s to falling in love with Israel!
April 25, 2017
MONTREAL — Canada’s oldest Jewish community is commemorating its heritage with a newly-opened museum just outside Montreal’s historic Jewish Mile End neighborhood.
Housed in a former Jewish garment factory, the small Museum of Jewish Montreal distinguishes itself from other Jewish museums in Canada by not focusing on the Holocaust but on local Jewish history.
“One of my inspirations was looking out of the window,” says Zev Moses, the museum’s director. “I saw a building that looked like a synagogue that was converted into apartments. I googled it and there was no information about it. Eventually, I found out it was a synagogue but no one had put Montreal Jewish landmarks on a map.”
So Moses, who was 26 years old at the time and had a degree in city planning, decided to do just that.
The Museum of Jewish Montreal started out as a digital project, dots on a map representing Montreal’s old Jewish landmarks. For instance, Moses says there were at least 90 synagogues that had been converted to other uses.
‘One of my inspirations was looking out of the window’
Later, the museum began to offer walking tours, and finally last summer — with support from the government of Canada, the city of Montreal, and the Jewish community — established itself in a permanent physical space.
Visitors can find temporary exhibits and a cafe that serves surprising Jewish foods, such as gefilte fish sandwiches on challah bread. There is also a bookstore, with novels by Jewish authors set in Montreal, and works of nonfiction about the city’s oldest Yiddish newspaper or the smoked meat sandwiches from the famous Schwartz’s deli located just down the block. It is the only non-religious Jewish bookstore in Montreal, Moses says.
One of the recent exhibits featured old photos of Montreal synagogues next to pictures of what these buildings became: apartment blocks, churches and cultural centers. One former synagogue houses the Ukrainian National Federation of Canada; others have been reincarnated as a Greek Orthodox church, a Vietnamese Buddhist temple and a private high school called “College Francais.” The school looks like a modern building, but on closer inspection Hebrew writing can still be seen in a semi-circle above the front entrance.
‘This is the stuff on the tour where people are really shocked’
“People walk by it all the time and don’t notice anything. But when we tell them to look up, they see the writing,” says Magdalene Klassen, a researcher at the museum. “This is the stuff on the tour where people are really shocked.”
The building where the museum is located is itself linked to the city’s Jewish heritage. Originally known as the Vineberg building (it was built by Abraham Vineberg in 1912), it was a garment factory that employed mostly Jewish workers. The owner thought he was a good boss because he let his Jewish workers take Saturdays off instead of Sundays, Klassen says, but the workers still hungered for higher wages.
Montreal’s Jewish history
Moses, who has lived in Montreal since he was a child, knows all about the city’s Jewish history.
Canadian Jewish history began when Montreal’s first Jews arrived in around 1760, after the British conquest. Until that time, French Catholics did not allow Jews to settle in New France, Moses says. These first Jewish settlers were English-speaking Sephardic merchants, who established Montreal’s first synagogue at the end of the 18th century.
But the largest wave of Jewish migration to Canada took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when Jews began arriving from the Russian empire and Eastern Europe. Famous Montreal citizen Leonard Cohen‘s mother, for example, was a Lithuanian Jew of Russian descent, who immigrated to Canada in 1927.
Most of these new immigrants settled in the working-class Plateau neighborhood of Montreal, renting cold-water apartments along Saint-Lawrence Boulevard, also known as The Main (street), because it divides Montreal into east and west. English-speakers generally lived on the west side and French speakers on the east. Addresses in the city are counted from the Saint-Lawrence Boulevard.
“Because the city was divided between the French Catholics and the English Protestants, and the Jews lived in-between, they were able to maintain their culture and the Yiddish language much longer than other Jewish communities in North America,” Moses says. “The third most spoken language in the city for 50 years was Yiddish.”
In fact, Yiddish is still the mother tongue of about 15,000 Montreal Jews — the Hassidim, including the Belz, Satmar, Vizhnitz and Skver dynasties, as well as the Tosh (or Tash), a Hungarian dynasty entirely based in Canada with a village just north of Montreal.
However, after World War II, as the Montreal Jewish community prospered, Jews began moving away from the Plateau neighborhood to other parts of Montreal. And then, with the Quebec independence movement gaining strength, many left the French-speaking province altogether. Some settled in Toronto, which is now home to the largest Jewish community in Canada.
Jewish Montreal today
Nowadays the Jewish community of Montreal is stable, with a population of about 90,000, Moses says. French-speaking Moroccan Jews who immigrated to Montreal in the 1960s number around 25,000, and the rest are Ashkenazi, mostly English-speakers.
In recent decades, Montreal also welcomed Jews from the former Soviet Union, France and Argentina, Moses adds.
Meanwhile, the Plateau neighborhood has become one of the hippest areas to live in Montreal, with cafes and restaurants offering varied international cuisine. And while the Jewish community has moved, the neighborhood is still famous for its Jewish food — the Montreal bagels, which are baked in ovens right in front of the customers and sold when they’re still warm; the poppy seed pastries; cheese-filled blintzes; and the smoked meat sandwiches served with a pickle on the side.
Not to be outdone, the Museum’s café, Fletchers, prides itself on using the city’s rich Jewish culinary heritage to create unique dishes. For instance, they sell a cookie based on a recipe from an Iraqi Jewish Montrealer — there are said to be a few thousand Iraqi Jews living in Montreal. The cookie is made with almond flour, cardamom and rosewater and is kosher for Passover, says Kat Romanow, who is in charge of the menu.
The cafe also offers the traditional bagel with a twist — Moroccan-spiced lox.
“We’re taking a very Ashkenazi dish — bagels and lox — and putting a Moroccan spice mix on the fish, marrying the two largest Jewish communities in Montreal,” Moses says.
And then there is the gefilte fish sandwich.
The gefilte fish is pan-fried and served warm with a horseradish sauce, accompanied by a carrot and parsley salad on challah. Moses says that the sandwich does not contain any of the either loved or reviled fish jelly.
“I was like, ‘No way it’s going to sell,’ but it’s probably our most popular dish,” admits Moses.
April 24, 2017
From April 24 through April 30, Canadian Pacific CP will conduct rail safety blitzes in communities across their network – from Montreal to Vancouver – with participation from police agencies and schools to educate motorists, pedestrians and the general public about staying safe.
“When people use railway property or tracks as walking paths, they are risking their lives,” said Laird Pitz, CP’s Vice President and Chief Risk Officer. “Rail safety requires vigilance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. We are asking everyone to consider their own safety around railroad property. The impact of an incident can have tragic consequences for all concerned, including family, friends and community.”
CP is proud to be the safest railway in North America, with the fewest reportable train accidents per million train miles among all Class 1 railroads for 11 years straight.
While we are pleased that crossing incidents declined in Canada last year, a sharp rise in trespassing incidents means we must continue to do more. Tragically, 46 pedestrians and 19 drivers lost their lives in these preventable incidents. This is in comparison to 31 pedestrian and 14 driver lives in 2015.
CP believes that one incident is too many. That is why they are working tirelessly, along with their community partners, to promote safety in and around railway property throughout Canada.
Cote Saint-Luc is surrounded by CP Rail yards and tracks. CSL Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, Councillor Glenn J. Nashen and the entire City Council remind our residents to stay safe, to keep out of the rail yards and off of their tracks. Report any damaged or missing fences along railway property. Most importantly, take the opportunity to remind children of the extreme danger in ignoring these vital safety tips.
· Did you know this week marks Canada’s Rail Safety Week? Remember to Look and Listen to Live!
· This week we’re joining @CanadianPacific and all Canadian railways in reminding people to make smart decisions around tracks and trains
· Scary stats: In 2016, 46 pedestrians and 19 drivers tragically lost their lives in preventable rail incidents
· Always practice situational awareness around tracks and trains to keep yourself safe
· This Rail Safety Week, choose the safe route to school or work and stick to it. Don’t let a shortcut cut your life short
· If you use railway property or tracks as walking paths, you risk your life. Always use designated paths and crossings
· This Rail Safety Week, speak to your children about dangers at level crossings and railway property
For more social media content, visit Operation Lifesaver’s website at www.oplifesaver.ca
April 23, 2017
From April 23 to 29, 2017, the City of Côte Saint-Luc joins communities across Canada in celebrating the county’s 12.7 million volunteers during National Volunteer Week.
“Côte Saint-Luc is home is to more than 530 active volunteers,” Mayor Mitchell Brownstein said. “This includes our first responders at EMS, our vCOP patrollers, sports coaches and officials, actors and production staff of our Dramatic Society, and the many people who donate their time at the Côte Saint-Luc Library and the Parks and Recreation Department. Thank you to everyone who gives up their time to enrich the lives of people in Côte Saint-Luc.”
In 2016, Côte Saint-Luc distributed 15 awards to its Volunteers of the Year. See the list and video at CoteSaintLuc.org/VolunteerAwards2016.
Côte Saint-Luc has proclaimed April 23 to 29 as National Volunteer Week in the city.
April 21, 2017