Funeral services were held last week for Raphael Fleming, a remarkable man whom I had the pleasure to get to know over the past decade. He was 85 and lost a brief battle with cancer.
Ray was an avid reader and The Suburban was among the papers he leafed through each week. When he would go to Florida for the winter he would call me regularly. In particular he wanted to know which restaurants were opening and closing. He had owned some dining establishments of his own in the past. A devoted member of the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue in Westmount, he organized successive reunions of his Bar Mitzvah group – the last being in June 2017 for the 70th anniversary with the very same Rabbi Wilfred Shuchat presiding. Ray was good friends with Leonard Cohen. When I organized an event to name a lane in Côte Saint-Luc after the legendary singer last summer it was Ray I called upon to be our guest speaker. He brought the house down. His daughter Shari Anne delivered a beautiful eulogy, describing his aversion for new technology and his love for dressing stylishly in full living colour. I miss those calls already Ray!
WONG THE WINNER: Pauline Wong received the Ordre De Montréal Grade de chevalière recently at ceremony act the Old Port. A resident of NDG for close to 60 years, who know calls Côte Saint-Luc home, her family founded Wong Wing Foods, Canada’s largest manufacturer of frozen Chinese food which is now a division of McCains Canada. The award was in recognition for her decades of community service in NDG and her volunteer work in the Chinese community
GO ALS GO: As the Montreal Alouettes get set to kick off the 2019 CFL season, I for one hope they turn the corner. Last Thursday evening I was on hand for a 20-20 pre-season tie with Ottawa. More than 13,000 tickets were sold. It was a picture perfect evening at a classic outdoor facility overlooking the city skyline. I am a huge fan of General Manager Kavis Reed. While I want to see the Als succeed on the field for many reasons, I especially want it to be proven that Reed is indeed the right man for the job. In all of the years I covered the Als for my column, I never once got to meet then GM Jim Popp. He was the invisible man in the community in terms of any public appearances. Reed gave me his private cell number and said to call anytime. As a result he was a fixture at many community events this past off season. Some are criticizing him for removing head coach Mike Sherman only days before the start of the season. I consider it a gutsy move.
SCHNEIDER UPS SANDLER: I was among the Adam Sandler fans at his Totally Fresh concert at the Bell Centre last Saturday night. Needless to say, his performance was very disappointing. Rob Schneider, who opened things up, on the other hand was very funny. I especially appreciated his dead on take on the ridiculous amount of construction in this city. Yes Mayor Plante, ripping up every single street in the city is now an “international” joke!
COHEN CHATTER: To mark its 30th anniversary Galerie Simon Blais is presenting through June 29 the work of the artists it has represented over the past three decades on St. Laurent Boulevard. Galerie Simon Blais is also one of the oldest galleries representing contemporary art. It currently represents some 30 artists… My former Wagar classmate Dr. Susan Mitchell, who now teaches at Harvard Medical School, will be the guest speaker Thursday at the CSL Men’s Club... That is for this week. Bonjour-Hi!