Our farmer is closer than you’d think

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Judy Hagshi and Jeremy Nashen at Lufa Farms rooftop nursery near Marché Central

Lufa Farms is an agricultural company located in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville neighborhood of Montreal. It is reputed to have built the world’s first commercial greenhouse on the roof of a building. The company’s first Montreal greenhouse began operations in early 2011.

Covering an area of 31,000 square feet, Lufa Farms produces vegetables year-round without synthetic pesticides, capturing rainwater, and recirculating irrigation water. The company delivers more than 10,000 baskets per week.

Lufa Farms rooftop nursery grows a wide variety of produce capturing and recycling rainwater and irrigating the plants through drip technology

Lufa Farms’ relies on a direct-to consumer business model, which minimizes the transport of food. Unlike traditional greenhouses, Lufa Farms recreates several microclimates to provide the quality and productivity of cultivars. According to the founder of Lufa Farms, Mohamed Hage, “If we were using the roofs of 19 shopping centres in Montreal, we could make the city self-sufficient.”

My family signed up to receive a weekly basket of fruit and vegetables four years ago through the Cote Saint-Luc Public Library. After a pause of a few years, my wife Judy, decided to rejoin a few weeks ago. Lufa Farms’ members are called “Lufavors”.

The happy Lufavors: Phyllis, Glenn, Nicole, Nathalie, Jeremy and Judy

We attended yesterday’s open house in their rooftop nursery near the Marché Central. My family took part in the study tour learning all about their operations and distribution system. Did you know that your average fruit and vegetable travels 2500 kilometres until it gets to you. The produce is cultivated long before you consume it and is transferred via refrigerated trucking, stored in refrigerated warehouses and is redistributed to your grocer before you ever see it on their shelves. By comparison, Lufa Farms picks your personalized order from the vine overnight and it’s generally in your kitchen within 12 hours!

Big, fresh and delicious


From vine to your kitchen in 12 hours!

An vibrant micro-economy has sprung out of this venture with small artisan producers partnering with Lufa to bring their products directly to its member’s table through the Lufa distribution network.

My wife and kids select our weekly basket online and we pick up our order at the library, just a short walk from home.

It couldn’t not be easier, fresher, more educational and interesting with new foods to explore all while we support our local producers right here in the Montreal area.






Traditional transport from the farm still on display


Nathalie and her ‘Bubs’ Phyllis getting ready for Halloween cooking






Read and watch more:

Global News

Montreal Gazette

Globe and Mail


CSL’s first librarian passes away

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Eleanor London, Côte St. Luc’s original librarian for the facility that is considered to be a jewel of the community and one of the best libraries in Canada, passed away last week at the age of 80, after a long illness.

Such was her impact on the library, originally opened in the Côte St. Luc Shopping Centre in 1966 and then moved to what is now the Bernard Lang Civic Centre, that the library was eventually named after her.

Sadly, while there was an elaborate celebration last year marking the 50th anniversary of the library, complete with tributes and musical performances, London was even then too ill to attend the ceremony.

Tributes poured in last week for London.

“When I moved to Côte St. Luc at the age of four, 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,” said Mayor Mitchell Brownstein. “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,” the mayor added. “She will be dearly missed.”

Councillor Mike Cohen, in charge of the library portfolio on council, called London 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,” he added. “We are grateful for her invaluable contributions and extend our sympathies to her family.”

Cohen also revealed on his website that while there will be no funeral or shiva, the City of Côte St. Luc “will find an appropriate way to recognize her passing.”

Councillor Glenn Nashen, on his blog, wrote that London “never hesitated to speak out and give her opinion. 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.”

Nashen added that a memorial book is being placed in the library for members of the public to sign and that this will be presented to London’s family.

During last year’s 50th anniversary event, current library director Janine West said that “to make a public library great, you have to have a clear vision. And I have to thank Eleanor London for giving us her vision of a people’s library.”

I personally remember, during conversations with London in successive phone calls, she wavered back and forth for a period of time before revealing her final decision to retire — it must have been hard to let go.

London is survived by her daughter Mala and other family members.

CSLers charged up to learn about Electric Vehicles

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Simon-Pierre Rioux at CSL Public Library talk on Electric Vehicles

Simon-Pierre Rioux at CSL Public Library talk on Electric Vehicles

Simon-Pierre Rioux, of the Quebec Electric Vehicle Association gave an informative and educational presentation last evening to a group of Cote Saint-Lucers interested in learning if the electric car is right for them. The introductory talk addressed the facts and misconceptions about electric cars and highlighted key benefits both to the environment and lifestyles.

Despite the heavy rain, the evening began with a display of Electric Vehicles (EV) in front of the City Hall / Library complex.  A Volt and a Spark, both Chevrolet EVs, were on display courtesy of the Gravel dealership located on Van Horne at Decarie. In addition, my Volt and Simon-Pierre’s Nissan Leaf were also on display.

The event was sponsored by the Cote Saint-Luc Public Library as part of its 50th anniversary celebration. The library also has a display of books and sources available to consult and for members to checkout on EVs, the greening of the environment and other related material.

I was very pleased to open the discussion in talking about my 25 year fascination with the EV leading up to my own acquisition almost four months ago. Also, I was proud to announce that the city has just purchased its very first EV and will soon be installing charging stations at the Aquatic and Community Centre, Public Works and City Hall.




This was the first time AVEQ has given an information session in English, with about 75 events organized each year. Simon-Pierre did a masterful job of walking the audience through every stage of EV-101, explaining the differences between Battery Electric Vehicles, Plug-In Extended Range, Hybrid and more. He debunked common misconceptions about the EV and explained how to determine which kind of vehicle is right for different kinds of consumers.


Simon-Pierre Rioux, Presient and Founder of the Quebec Electric Vehicle Association and CSL Councillor Glenn J. Nashen

Simon-Pierre Rioux, President and Founder of the Quebec Electric Vehicle Association and CSL Councillor Glenn J. Nashen

The AVEQ website is a great resource offering a tremendous amount of information on EVs, although some English content would be beneficial. As a volunteer based organization, expertly advocating and promoting EVs across Quebec, hopefully someone with a mastery of both languages can step up and offer some assistance.




Coincidentally this was a very exciting week for EV enthusiasts. First, the City of Montreal announced that the third edition of the FIA Formula E  (Electric) Championship will take place in Montreal on July 29 and 30, 2017. The urban race course will be set up around the CBC building in the East End and will include 14 curves over 2.75 km, and at specific points along the course, drivers will reach top speeds of 265 km/h. Formule E was created in 2014 by the Fédération internationale de l’automobile (FIA) to showcase the potential of electric car technology through motor vehicle sports. This third edition began in Hong Kong on October 9, 2016 and features 12 races in 10 cities on four continents.


Secondly, the Quebec National Assembly adopted Bill 104 last Wednesday aiming to promote the reduction of greenhouse gases through promotion of EVs. By 2020, 15% of cars sold in Quebec will have to be EV, or auto makers will face stiff fines.


Thank you to Simon Pierre and AVEQ as well as to Danielle Belanger and Janine West of the CSL Public Library for this most interesting evening.


The Electric Car : Is it right for you?

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Thursday, October 27 at 7 pm

Cote Saint-Luc City Hall and Public Library

5801 Cavendish Boulevard

Free Information Evening

Join Simon-Pierre Rioux, founder and president of the Quebec Electric Vehicle Association, for an introductory talk that addresses the facts and misconceptions about electric cars and highlights their key benefits both to the environment and your lifestyle.

Since 2013, AVEQ  has supported the transport electrification  in the province of Quebec. With its main partners, Intact Insurance and Nissan Canada, AVEQ organizes an impressive number of events promoting electromobility such as Branchez-Vous and the Rendez-vous Branchés.

AVEQ is a key player with more than 4,500 active members, 800 volunteers, 10 million visits to its website with 4,000 items in the daily news section.

Throughout the year, AVEQ holds different activities all over the province to inform people of the benefit of electric cars and even allow them to link up with local EV drivers in order to get their very own personalized test drive, through our volunteer EV owner program, “Match and Drive”.

AVEQ has also participated in several parliamentary committees to achieve its mission. It is  a key source for electromobility among Quebec media.

The evening will also feature a display of locally-owned EVs. Residents are invited to bring their EV for display in front of the City Hall / Library complex beginning at 6PM.

“This event is sponsored by the Cote Saint-Luc Public Library as part of its 50th anniversary celebration,” said Janine West, Library Director. “The library will have a display of books and sources available to consult and for members to checkout on EVs, the greening of the environment and other related material.”

“I’ve long promoted the EV movement politically, advocating for the City to purchase EVs and to install public charging stations,” said Councillor Glenn J. Nashen, who will host the October 27 event at City Hall and discuss local initiatives in the municipality. “I’ve also encouraged the Jewish General Hospital and CIUSSS West-Central Montreal network to install charging stations at each site. Some already have such installations, others will follow soon.”



“AVEQ has done an expert job and has been very active in organizing information sharing across Quebec in French,” Nashen said. “We have invited them to Cote Saint-Luc to provide information to the English-speaking community and we invite participation from across the region.”

“With a goal of 100,000 EVs on Quebec roads by 2020, all levels of government will have to do much more to move current numbers beyond the 8500 EVs in the province,” said Mayor Mitchell Brownstein. “Cote Saint-Luc is now stepping up to do its part and we encourage residents to join us on October 27 to become better informed on their options.”


Reaching out to the youngest Cote Saint-Lucers

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Entitled ‘Children’s Programming in the Community’, Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein held a public consultation last week to hear from parents of those under five years of age about young children’s services.

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, Library Director Janine West, Parks and Recreation Associate Director Cornelia Ziga nd City Manager Nadia Di Furia at the public consultation on children's services

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, Library Director Janine West, Parks and Recreation Associate Director Cornelia Ziga and City Manager Nadia Di Furia at the public consultation on children’s services

Mayor Brownstein announced that he wants our kids to have the best quality services and activities. “We want to hear your ideas on what to do to improve programming in the library and in Parks and Recreation department,” the mayor said. “The current Sunshine Group is no longer viable for the city to run with six participants but we’re open to private teachers coming forward or other ideas to continue this program running under private management.”
Janine West, Director of Library, Parks and Recreation indicated that the city runs Family Story Time, Russian Story Time, Toddler Time, and other children’s programs on a regular basis out of the public library.
Cornelia Ziga, Associate Director of Parks and Recreation went through a lengthy list of programs and services offered to the 0-5 year age group in the City of Cote Saint-Luc. The fact is, there are plenty of offerings to this age group but with the advent of $5 a day. inexpensive daycare a few years back the city program diminished in interest as parents had many more options available. Even nowadays with $7 a day government subsidized daycare the city program could not attract more than six children and has been losing thousands of dollars a year, the mayor explained.
Even the crowd at this publicly promoted evening showed that interest is waning with barely eight parents turning out, one of them being the group’s teacher. Ironically, there were more City Hall folks in attendance than parents.
Nevertheless, the mayor said that while he is committed to trying to help find an alternative for the parents using the service he has a duty to the residents across the city to ensure the best use o city funds for all programs.
I was pleased to attend this meeting to hear first hand from all those present. Mayor Brownstein is on the right track in being sensitive to the nees of all residents while ensuring that city expenses and services are properly aligned.

Côte Saint-Luc Public Library 50th anniversary event

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The City of Côte Saint-Luc will be celebrating the 50-year anniversary of its public library all day on Sunday, September 18 culminating with an outdoor concert and laser show behind the library.
“There is a slew of free events for the whole family,” Mayor Mitchell Brownstein said. “There will be a special birthday-themed story time for kids, face-painting, library bingo with prizes, cake and much more. Don’t miss the concert by Vintage Wine highlighting hits from the 1960s and the laser show.”
The concert starts at 5:30pm. The laser show – originally scheduled for Canada Day – takes place at 7:30pm. For the full schedule of events, visit csllibrary.org.
“Library Director Janine West and her staff have planned a wonderful day for all,” said Councillor Mike Cohen, the council member responsible for library and culture. “We will be celebrating this anniversary throughout the year, so visit the library website and subscribe to its e-newsletter and Facebook page to stay informed.”
The city council established a citizens committee in December 1964 to look into establishing a public library. The city hired Eleanor London and the Côte Saint-Luc Public Library opened its doors on September 7, 1966. Its 4,322 square feet was originally located on the second floor of the Côte Saint-Luc Shopping Centre. It moved to its current 23,000 square feet of space in 1986.
“Having been part of this great library, this jewel of Côte Saint-Luc, for almost 35 of these 50 years, it is fair to say I have seen some substantive changes,” West said. “However, one thing has remained constant: our commitment to Eleanor London’s vision of the ‘people’s library’, a welcoming and personable community space where its staff go above and beyond to provide exceptional customer service.”
For more information about these events and programs, visit csllibrary.org or contact the library’s Programs Department at 514-485-6900, ext. 4205.

CSL Library gets jazzed up for its 50-year landmark anniversary

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Emie R. Roussel at the brand new Baby Grand Piano

Emie R. Roussel at the brand new Baby Grand Piano

On Wednesday, June 22 rising-star pianist Emie R. Roussell and her jazz trio performed the concert Quantum, featuring music from their critically acclaimed CD of the same title. The concert was presented in collaboration with the Conseil des arts de Montréal en tournée.
Winners of the Felix Award for Best Jazz Album 2015, critics and jazz lovers alike are unanimously referring to the Emie R. Roussell trio as “one-to-watch”.
“I am so proud of the library and its outstanding programming,” Mayor Mitchell Brownstein said. “I hope residents enjoyed a delightful evening of jazz music and got a sneak preview of what the trio will be offering at this year’s Montreal International Jazz Festival. What a great chance to hear them first right here in Côte Saint-Luc.”
We also inaugurated the library’s own baby grand piano. We were able to acquire this gem of an instrument through various fundraising initiatives including our heartfelt 88 Keys to Music Campaign, allowing us to honour donors’ names on a plaque unveiled at the concert. We are thrilled to be able share this piano with our community, and our hope is that it will be enjoyed for years to come.
“I want to thank all those who contributed to our 88 Keys campaign and our dedicated staff and volunteers for the efforts they put into the library’s books sales, proceeds of which helped pay for the piano and achieve our goal,”  said Councillor Mike Cohen, who is the council member responsible for library and culture.
If you’re a Côte Saint-Luc resident and haven’t joined the library yet, bring some ID and we’ll sign you up for free. Tell your friends and family, and help us continue to make the Côte Saint-Luc Library the perfect place to discover, share, create and connect.
Cllr. Sidney Benizri, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, Cllr. Ruth Kovac, Cllr. Mike Cohen, Library Director Janine West and Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen inaugurate the 88 Keys to Music plaque honouring the donors of a new Baby Grand Piano

Cllr. Sidney Benizri, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, Cllr. Ruth Kovac, Cllr. Mike Cohen, Library Director Janine West and Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen inaugurate the 88 Keys to Music plaque honouring the donors of a new Baby Grand Piano

I’m proud to have been one of the donors to the 88 Keys to Music Campaign in purchasing one key in honour of my parents, Phyllis and George Nashen. A few keys are still available to purchase.
For more information about these events and programs, visit csllibrary.com or contact the library’s Programs Department at 514-485-6900, ext. 4205.

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