Tonight! Progressive Salon’s Harm Reduction in a Marijuana World


Source: Salon Progressiste/Progressive Salon/Facebook


If you’re in Montreal and especially if you can get to NDG tonight, there’s a really interesting event happening at the Coop La Maison Verte.

Progressive Salon (Salon Progressiste) aims “to offer regular opportunities for Montrealers to convene and discuss in a serious and structured way the great questions challenging Canada” and tonight’s Harm Reduction in a Marijuana World – the implications of legalization of marijuana in Canada will have you wondering what life will be like if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau keeps his promise to introduce legislation to legalize pot this spring.

Guest speakers include Dr. Mark Ware, Associate Professor in Family Medicine and Anesthesia at McGill University and executive director of the non-profit Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids (CCIC)  and Adam Greenblatt, Head of Quebec Engagement for Tweed, a Smiths Falls-based company licensed to produce medical marijuana.

When: 7:30-9 p.m.

Where: Coop La Maison Verte,

Admission: Free but get a ticket by filling out a form here.

Or visit the event’s Facebook page


Love art? Check out Saturday’s NDG Art Hive Pop-Up

Source: La Ruche d’Art de NDG Art Hive Facebook page

If you want to spark your creativity, there’s a fun, free,  family friendly event happening Saturday at the new Benny Library in NDG – a duct (duck) tape workshop.

I’m not exactly what this workshop entails – maybe you’re making a wallet? I’ve met some of the folks who run the Cheap Art Collective and the NDG Art Hive and I can assure you they are a lot of fun and very creative.

The art hive welcome people of all ages and children under 12 may attend so long as they are accompanied by an adult. The duct (duck?) tape workshop isn’t geared for the under-five set but there’s plenty of donated art material available so your child will have something to do even if they don’t participate.

The NDG Art Hive “popped up” last summer in NDG Park (what locals call Girouard Park) where it was based out of the park’s chalet.

Now it looks like this art hive pop-up will be a regular happening at Benny Library with future pop-ups planned for March 19, April 30 and May 21.

When: Saturday February 27, 2016, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Where: Benny Library, 6400 Monkland Avenue


Event Facebook page may be found here


Montreal Halloween happenings for the last-minute crowd

Tonight is Halloween and Montrealers have plenty of fun ways to celebrate.

If you can’t score a ticket to a Rocky Horror show, here are a few West End happenings you may not have heard about:

Dia de los Muertos poster auction at Cafe 92°

While Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos has nothing to do with Halloween, you’ll probably see some Halloween costumes at this fundraiser for the NDG Food Depot.

Two of Cafe 92º’s owners, Claudia and Maria, hail from Mexico. For several years now they’ve turned their café into a place that educates people about Mexico’s Day of the Dead. The cafe’s decorations help explain the tradition and they sell Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead), a delicious sweetbread. Artwork from local artists is replaced with artistic posters created in Mexico to honour the Dia de los Muertos.

The gorgeous posters are auctioned off to the highest bidder with all proceeds going to the NDG Food Depot.

When: Today (Oct. 31, 2015) @ 5 p.m.
Where: Cafe 92º, (Sherbrooke & Montclair, take the 105 bus)

Get there early, bring plenty of cash (I’ve seen bids go as high as $100 as people compete to win a poster) and have a good time.

colourful skeleton Dia de los Muertos poster on wall at Cafe 92 degrees (2012)

NDG Food Depot’s 7th Annual Thriller Halloween Dance

Get your zombie on and march 4.5 km with other zombies through the streets of NDG, dancing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. If you haven’t done the dance before you may want to get there early. A hot meal will be served and the NDG Food Depot will have makeup artists and materials so you can make signs (for instance, “Solidarity with Zombies.”)

When: Today (Oct. 31, 2015). Be there at 4 p.m. to rehearse, get your makeup on etc. If you’re Walking Dead ready, meet the group at 5:30 p.m.

Where: 2146 Marlowe (Trinity Church),  near the Vendôme metro

Visit the Melrose Tunnel

For a few years now locals in the St. Raymond section of NDG have decorated the normally horrible pedestrian tunnel under the railway tracks that separate their community from the rest of NDG. The tunnel is usually a spooky place but it will be family-friendly and spooky and festive tonight, thanks to NDG community efforts.

When: You can visit anytime (folks from the NDG Park Art Hive are decorating it this afternoon) but after 5 p.m. is good.

Where: Melrose Tunnel. Walk south on Melrose Ave. to De Maisonneuve Blvd if you’re coming from Sherbrooke St. or find it by walking to Upper Lachine Rd. and Melrose Ave. and then head north on Melrose toward the railway tracks.

Update, Nov 2, 2015 Yvette Salinas posted a video of what the tunnel looked like in 2015:

On losing NDG small businesses

George the orangutan wears a Cartes etc. t-shirt as he sits in a chair outside in front of the store
George the orangutan returned to Cartes Etc. last fall (photo from Cartes Etc.’s Facebook page)

Yesterday I opened an email that left me saddened and shocked. Cartes Etc., a lovely card and gift shop on Sherbrooke St. West in NDG is having a closing sale this weekend. Only last month I received emails about the store’s new offerings – artisanal workshops and recently, a jewellery flea market.

The store features works by local artists – including whimsical purses, unique  jewellery and all sorts of cards (some featuring photos of landmarks in NDG and environs), paintings with whimsical images of Montreal sights, gorgeous tea cosies, handmade mugs and other pottery pieces, the list goes on. Cartes Etc.’s owner, Arlyle Waring, provides a great service to local artisans and artists by promoting and celebrating their talent. Regular vernissages, celebrations, sales and fundraisers have added to the store’s appeal as a community

I applaud Arlyle Waring for keeping Cartes Etc. going after the death of its founder, Necdet Kendir. He contributed much to NDG, fighting to revive the Empress Cultural Centre, setting up a merchants’ association for business owners on Sherbrooke St. W. and advocating for the needs of local citizens and merchants.Sure he had his detractors but what impressed me was his kind heart and passion for NDG. He was always thinking of some way to improve things in the community.

To me Arlyle has the same values and she’s given a lot to the community, even making people laugh by adding a mascot to the store, a huge (fake) orange orangutan named George. He went missing in November 2013 but last October he came back after someone told Arlyle where to find him.

I laughed when Arlyle wrote on Cartes Etc’s Facebook page just before New Year’s that she’s received complaints about George and a large stuffed animal moose named Mortimer being in “full celebration mode” and making less than tasteful remarks and Mortimer being a “negative influence on George.” As you can see in this photo from Cartes Etc’s Facebook page, they each have a martini glass as they sit in chairs in front of the store.

George the orangutan and Mortimer the moose sit with martini glasses in chairs outside Cartes Etc.'s store
Photo: Cartes Etc’s Facebook page

It made me wonder if people were taking things a little too seriously!

That’s why this news that the store is closing caught me and many other Cartes Etc. fans off guard.

Here’s what the email said:



Saturday, March 7th & Sunday, March 8th 2015

In today’s world of high rents and internet commerce, which can take their toll on brick and mortar shops, CARTES ETC has been in the process of adding workshops and an online store to create the customer base needed for survival. But financial constraints have been onerous and before being able to establish this additional artisanal showcase and revenue source, are forcing the store to close its doors.

CARTES has served as an important window for many NDG artists.  According to a study by Hill Strategies Research Inc., artists make up 4% of the population of NDG, a concentration five times higher than the national average, a creative resource of value to the community and one worthy of being more widely shared.   For the artists represented at CARTES and for many of its customers it is more than a store; it is a place for local talent to shine.

Business hours on Saturday, March 7th and Sunday March 8th will be dedicated to raising as much money as possible through sales and a silent auction of articles donated by artists represented in the store.  Proceeds will go to the closing costs for the store.  The event will celebrate the contribution CARTES has made to the community and will honour the artists who are represented there.

Refreshments will be served.    

Any and all help is welcome.


Arlyle (and George…)

Last fall NDG lost another beloved business, Dad’s Bagels, when the bagel shop’s heartbroken owner, Kashmir Singh Randhawa, when he apparently learned his landlords were not renewing his lease to make way for a Dollarama expansion. The rent increase was beyond his budget, in any case. Many businesses are seeing increases in their commercial rents as landlords up rents in the areas around the new superhospital.

Both Dad’s Bagels and Cartes Etc. are community-minded businesses that made a big difference in NDG. Both made the neighbourhood a brighter place and both gave back to the community.

I moved away from NDG a year ago and I don’t stop along Sherbrooke nearly enough. Yes, online commerce is great but we have to find ways to support our brick and mortar businesses.

So if you live in or around Montreal, please come by Cartes Etc., 5901 Sherbrooke St. W. (Sherbrooke & Belgrave) this weekend and support Arlyle (and George) and the artists.

NDG card store mascot – kidnapped?

Arlyle Waring, owner of Cartes Etc. (she calls her store CARTES), says George, the store’s human-sized (fake) orangutan mascot, has been “kidnapped” from his chair in front of the store on Sherbrooke St. in NDG.

It’s unclear whether the thief/kidnapper left a ransom note.

If you spot George or know where he is, get in touch with Waring (deets on how to reach her appear on the poster below).

Kidnapped - George wanted poster

Montreal Halloween 2013: Some Frightful & Fun Events

Wed. Oct. 23, 2013 – Sat. Oct. 26, 2013

Richard O’Brien’s
The Rocky Horror Show

Shayne Gryn & MainLine Theatre

The description for this stage production of Rocky Horror speaks of words colliding in “Richard O’Brien’s musical-theatre masterpiece as camp sci-fi meets sexual exploration, glam-rock, and sensual daydreams to treasure forever.” Richard Burnett wrote a great blog post about it for the Montreal Gazette.

When: The show starts most nights at 8 p.m. but hours vary, check here

Where: MainLine Theatre

Tickets: $20 regular; $15 students

Runs 120 minutes, no latecomers

Note: This is just one of a number of Halloween events at MainLine this week. The fourth edition of the Nightmare Before Christmas plays on Friday Oct. 25, and the same night you can check out Night-Fight – Episode Two Halloween Havoc, billed as “a late night variety/talk show bringing together the earnestness of Charlie Rose and the exuberant insanity of blade-based combat.”

Friday Oct. 25, 2013

Le Milieu Anniversary/Masquerade Party

Crafty skill-sharing studio Coop Le Milieu is celebrating its first birthday with a masquerade party. Bring a costume or make one on site, and enjoy a free creative community celebration complete with birthday cake, drinks, art making, an art exhibition and music.

When 5-8 p.m.
Where 1251 Robin St. (Beaudry & Robin, metro Beaudry)

Saturday Oct. 26, 2013

Siamsa Halloween Ceili

Siamsa (pronounced sheem-sa) promotes Irish culture in Montreal and their ceilis (pronounced kay-lees) offer a chance to try traditional Irish social dancing. There will be music, and food and drink, it’s a party after all, but the difference between the Halloween ceili and regular ceilis is if you come in costume, you can win a door prize for best disguise.

When: Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, 8 p.m.-midnight

Where: Centre Culturel Georges-Vanier, 2450 Workman

Admission: $12 adults; $7 students, seniors and under 18s. Children under 12: free

Monday Oct. 28, 2013

Help decorate the Melrose Tunnel

Saint Raymond’s residents are especially invited to come prepare decorations to make the Melrose Tunnel as haunted looking as possible on Halloween Day.

Needed: Donations of toilet paper rolls, newspaper and rubber bands

When: 4 p.m.

Where: Saint Raymond’s Community Centre, 5602 Upper Lachine Rd.

Tuesday Oct. 29, 2013

QWF’s Spooky Schmoozer

Dress up as your favourite writer for a chance to win VIP tickets for the November 19th Quebec Writers’ Federation Literary Awards. Meet local writers who have penned crime, mystery and thriller books, including Michael Blair, P.J. Bracegirdle (aka Paul Blackwell), Trevor Ferguson (aka John Farrow) and Sheila Kindellan-Sheehan.

When: 6-8 p.m.

Where: top floor of Brutopia Pub, 1219 Crescent St.

Thursday Oct. 31, Friday Nov. 1 &

Saturday Nov 2, 2013

The Rocky Horror Picture Show Halloween Ball

Do the Time Warp in a fun and crazy way. Watch the original cult classic movie on a big screen while a cast performs live on stage and encourages audience participation. Montreal DJ/singer/nightlife personality Plastik Patrik hosts a contest for most outrageous costume.

Where: Imperial Theatre, 1430 Bleury (metro Place des Arts, Bleury exit)

When: 8 p.m. & 11 p.m.

Tickets:  Cash only in person or online via PayPal (see here for details). Advance tickets: $17.95 (+ tax & service fee). Door price: $19.95 (+ tax & service fee) – limit of six tickets per person. There’s a $5 discount for students for the Oct. 31 shows only. Valid student I.D. is required and there’s a  limit of two tickets per person for Oct. 31 student-discount tickets.

There’s a group discount as well. It’s complicated, but info is available here.




The dog days of summer

I realize this is hardly hard-hitting news.

Lots of people in my NDG neighbourhood have dogs and appreciate it when businesses offer water bowls outdoors for their dogs. A local franchise of a supermarket chain called Provigo wants to offer dog owners a designated place to tie up their four-legged friends while they shop. The dogs get bottled water in stainless steel dog bowls.

I wrote an article about it  for the July 9 issue of the Free Press, a paper in my neck of the woods (my article is on page 14).

Unfortunately the photo I wanted to accompany the story never ran. Instead another a photo I took was published. It offers a view of the supermarket’s new “doggy bar” area, which looks like a bleak stretch of pavement with no dogs in sight.

Here’s the story, plus the photo I wanted published and waited hours to take. There was a heat wave and it took over two days of searching to find a dog using the space!

Provigo provides place to tether dogs

By Stephanie O’Hanley

The Provigo store on Monkland Ave. has posted huge signs announcing in French an opportunity for shoppers with dogs — a “waiting room” on the Marcil Ave. side of the building reserved especially for four-legged friends.

The “waiting room” is not really a room at all, but a stretch of pavement about the length of two parking spaces where five rings for tethering dog leashes have been drilled into the wall. To quench dogs’ thirst, there are two dog bowls filled with bottled water.

The store’s director, Mélanie Boisclair, made the doggy “waiting room” happen about a month ago. At press time, Boisclair was on vacation, but the store’s service manager, Denis Gauthier, called client reaction “favourable,” with plenty of people using the space reserved for dogs.

Last week, when temperatures reached over 30°C, few dogs were seen at the new reserved space. Last Friday a Free Press reporter observed a woman tying her dog’s leash just under the awning near the store’s front entrance, only to be advised by customer Josée-Renée Trudeau about the doggy area on the Marcil side of the building. Rather than do this, the woman and her dog left.

“This is nice,” said Trudeau, of Provigo’s new initiative. “I used to have a dog. They’re in the shade and they have water.”

On Saturday morning, however, the Marcil side of the building was in in full sun. Old Orchard resident Anne Adams, a Provigo customer who was walking by the store with her small dog, Punkie, said she wouldn’t use the doggy “waiting room.”

“In this heat, it should be an area that’s not going to be boiling hot,” said Adams. “It should be on the other (Monkland) side, an area under the awning. She’s (Boisclair) made an effort, but it’s the wrong effort.”

Gauthier said as far as he knows, Boisclair has no plans to install an awning to protect dogs from sun, rain or snow.

Area resident Marie, who preferred to give only her first name, used the outdoor dog area on Saturday morning to briefly tether her dog Bérénice, a chocolate Labrador, as she shopped for groceries. “I’m happy,” she said. “I find this is terrific. I only hope people with more aggressive dogs will tie them at a distance,” she said, adding that when she shops, her dog is the only one there.

berenice, a labrador dog on a leash tied to wall, lies down on pavement waiting for her owner