CSL inaugurates Leonard Cohen Lane

From left, D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum, CSL councillors Oren Sebag and David Tordjman, CSL Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, CSL resident Raphael Fleming, Councillor Mike Cohen.

The City Of Côte St. Luc held a ceremony Monday to name a lane between the Bernard Lang Civic Centre and Marc Chagall Avenue after iconic songwriter, poet and singer Leonard Cohen. Cohen died in late 2016.

“We are honouring Leonard Cohen because of the influence he had through his words and music,” Mayor Mitchell Brownstein said. “Arts and culture are important to Côte St. Lucers and adding his name to the landscape here is another way to recognize that fact.”

Brownstein added that many CSLers knew Leonard Cohen, including his mother. “When she would go to Hillel, there was always this cool guy wearing a turtleneck, playing guitar in the corner,” the Mayor said. “She didn’t know him very well, and she never expected he would go so far.”

District 2 Councillor Mike Cohen pointed out that while Cohen never lived in Côte St. Luc, his life paralleled those who do live in the city. “Leonard Cohen attended Roslyn Elementary School, Herzliah High School, Westmount High School, and McGill University,” said Councillor Cohen. “He is all the things Côte St. Lucers revere and his name will be a fine addition to the landscape of Côte St. Luc.”

Cohen also gave credit to CSL resident Tamar Hertz, “one of my great advisors.

“She suggested we do something for Leonard Cohen,” he explained. “Originally, we were thinking of naming this Library Lane. We wanted to remember Leonard Cohen.”

Raphael Fleming, a childhood friend of Leonard Cohen, said he and Cohen were bar-mitzvahed together in 1947, and also talked their way into a movie in the days when children were not allowed into Montreal movie theatres, following the 1927 Laurier Palace theatre fire.

“He said, Ray, maybe you should put on a pair of your mother’s high-heeled shoes. I put on the shoes, went down to the Strand and we got in! We saw him on many occasions.”

During the ceremony, Shaare Zedek Cantor Daniel Benlolo and his nephew Joshua sang a touching version of Cohen’s much-covered Hallelujah together.

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