Dick Irvin and Terri Druick on the Valentine's Dance Floor

Dick Irvin and Terri Druick on the Valentine’s Dance Floor

What a wonderful surprise! For the past 10 years I wasn’t able to attend the Cote Saint-Luc Winter Carnival Valentine’s Dance for one reason or another. This past weekend my wife and I attended for the first time and what a party it was — far exceeding our expectations.

The CSL gym was transformed into a dinner-dance social hall, warmed up with shades of red including centerpieces of helium and heart-shaped balloons. The BYOB added to the merriment with wine flowing and glasses clinking.

I was invited to have a glass of homemade Cabernet-Sauvignon by Kildare Road resident Paolo Biasini, a two-time award winner in the CSL wine contest. Paolo was seated with former Councillor Joe Panunto and his wife Brenda, and several other members of CSL’s proud Italian community.

Saint-Richard’s volunteers Leila Fernandes and hubby Ian Hendriques were also there, swinging and twirling to the tunes of traditional Jewish, Greek (Opa!) and Italian music.

Deejay extraordinaire George Thomas with partygoer Irving Shock

Deejay extraordinaire George Thomas with party-goer Irving Shock

It was an international hootenanny with locals from all corners of the globe. We met Asian neighbours, Eastern European friends, and Mid-Eastern cousins. This beautiful mix of CSL residents and others from neighbouring communities brought out the best of our civic core principles of harmony, inclusiveness and respect for one another. What a wonderful way to spend a cold winter’s night.

Said Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, “The food, music and decor were fantastic, but most important were the smiles on all your faces as you spread the love of the evening to all who attended.”

“The mood in the room was one of a happy and caring family. You make our city special as a place where life is good. Enjoy every moment,” said the mayor.

“These are 260 of the happiest people in CSL,” said my wife Dr. Judy Hagshi, who was among the younger partygoers.

Dr. Judy Hagshi and Peter Kovac

The endless stream of door prizes put an ever bigger smile on scores of faces thanks to the hard work of event masterminds Alvin Fishman and Harold Cammy of CSL Recreation. Partiers left with gift certificates, flower arrangements, cosmetics and even Persian rugs!

The politico table included our gregarious Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and the beautiful First Lady of CSL Elaine Yagod, Councillor Steven Erdelyi,  Councillor Dida Berku with her worldly husband Jacob Kincler, Councillor Ruth Kovac and her Dustin-Hoffman-look-alike husband Peter, along with the always-dancing Councillor Allan Levine and his soul mate Rhoda. Stylish MNA David Birnbaum and wife Hélène tore up the dance floor while the ever-popular MP Anthony Housefather was all smiles greeting his happy constituents.

Allan said to us, “We got you hooked. We’ll see you back next year!”

An amazing kosher buffet of Italian, Chinese, Japanese and traditional Jewish foods went from one end of the gym to the other. Ray Petrovich and Dalia Bosis of Blossom Catering laid out an exceptional spread. The sweet table was fit for a huge wedding.

Former longtime Recreation leaders Terri Druick who attended with her partner of sportscast fame Dick Irvin, and Louise Ferland who attended with husband Sam, were happy to mingle with old friends and colleagues.

I suffered a little performance anxiety dancing the cha-cha with Judy as our dance teacher, Carl Carlson, looked on. Carl, 82 years young has been instructing in ballroom and other dances in CSL and neighbouring communities for decades. He still teaches over 20 classes a week! Carl floated across the dance floor with women less than half his age.

Musical Entertainment was provided by the extraordinarily talented and creative George Thomas who acted as emcee, deejay, sound and lighting engineer, all in one. George is one of the best.

Many thanks to the many event sponsors including our friend, David Lisbona, of RBC.

Thank you very much to event co-chairs Councillors Allan Levine and Dida Berku.

Said Dida, “Every little touch showed the love and attention, from the beautiful smiles on the attendants at the reception, to the flowers – donated by Edgewood – given to the women on the way out. Such a classy affair. The food, the music, the dancing was all terrific. Thank you all so much for all the time and effort you invested in every detail.”

City Council and MNA Birnbaum at the 2017 Valentine's Dance

City Council and MNA Birnbaum at the 2017 Valentine’s Dance

“This was just such a fabulous event. Truly sensational,” Allan added.

A well-deserved thank you to event organizers Harold Cammy, Alvin Fishman, Cornelia Ziga, Laura Trihas, and Ryan Nemiroff along with their staff and volunteers including Moe, Dominica, the McEwens, Irving, Jordan and others who made last night the great success it was.

We’ll be back…

Happy Valentine’s Day!