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Leon Maliniak: A Full 360° Turnaround

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  It gives me great joy to write this message.  I have known Leon since the late '70's when he was a squash and tennis member at Cavendish Club and I was the racquetball pro.  Our friendship has gone through many phases - I have called him 'Bones' for years - referring to 'skin and bones' - which he never was - as in the vast majority of times he always carried a rather large abdomen owing to his love of food. By education - Bones was a lawyer - and an excellent one.  But he was so much more - he was a great multi-sport athlete - playing football for McGill - hockey -and a very good game of squash and tennis.  He put himself through school as a professional musician .  And even more interesting is his abilities as a scientific mind.  He has explored a wide variety of subject areas - coming up with alternative therapies for some.  As testament to his guidance from above, he wrote, scored and performed an amazing love song he envisioned Celine Dion singing to Rén

Insights Into Heaven on Earth

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This blog in general is about people and places - mostly in NDG - and my experiences with these.  Yesterday I had an amazing day I would like to share with you. It started early - just before 6am with my connection to my eternal soulmate Norah Jones through her amazing 20th Anniversary livestream of Come Away With Me  - something I do every morning.  At just before 7am CBC News had an interview with a friend and amazing person - Dany Bouchard - who is a music therapist at the Montreal General Hospital and heads up a program called Musi-Art .  Dany was speaking about a show they were doing yesterday afternoon at the Osler Amphitheatre at the MGH - a free concert - for the program.  I hadn't connected with Dany for several months and seeing this I was motivated to email him my best wishes - as I couldn't attend the concert. As I headed for my 'office' at 7:30am - I came across a lady taking pictures of for rent signs on apartment buildings.  I stopped her and told her abo

Yangtze: Good Old Fashioned Chinese

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In the 70's and early 80's - my Dad owned Harvey's Sport Shop - the neighbourhood sporting goods store in Snowdon.  He worked 'til 6pm Mondays through Wednesdays - then 'til 9pm on Thursdays and Fridays.  A special treat for us kids on Friday evenings was that we got to stay up late and have Yangtze dinner with my Mum and Dad - which he picked up from the location which at that point was on Van Horne. In those times, Yangtze was renowned for having the best egg rolls in the city - to go with great 'Jewish' Chinese food - otherwise known as Cantonese.  That location was gutted by fire on December 4, 2011 - and soon thereafter rose from the ashes in its second life as Tchang Kiang by Yangtze on Sherbrooke.  I have been there a handful of times - and had heard from a friend that the old cook from the Van Horne restaurant had given the secret recipe for the egg rolls to the new owners and that they were finally as good as previously. I had been dying for Chines

Resto-Depot: Much More Than A Meal

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About a month and a half ago - my great friend - Leon Maliniak - who is a career lawyer - real estate developer and professional musician - told me about this place on Somerled where on Tuesdays they offer a great meal combined with live music all afternoon.  He invited me to join him the following Tuesday. I didn't go with Leon the following week - but I did meet him there along with some of his friends.  I sat with some people I know from the neighbourhood - who I didn't know patronized this place.  The meal I received - as I explained to Tasha Lackman (the Executive Director of the Depot NDG) in an excited email to her - I would have gladly paid $20 plus tax and tip for in a restaurant.  Add to this that there was a very proficient musician playing guitar and singing - which only added to the amazing chemistry of the very full venue. Since that day I have become a regular.  My situation is not unlike many people in NDG at the moment.  With the rents soaring to unprecedented

Barbie's West Island: A Nice Alternative

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I got home from a busy day today at 3pm - to receive a message from my sister Jo-Anne - inviting me out to my favourite Szechuan restaurant - Emeraude Bangkok - at 6pm.  I was really excited as I have had a hunger-on for good Chinese for a couple of weeks now and hadn't seen my sister, brother-in-law, Al and my Mum for several weeks. I got to the restaurant with about 10 minutes to spare and to my dismay found the door locked - owing to a family emergency.  I called my sis and she said she was almost at the resto so she would come and we could decide where to go from there.   We decided on Barbie's - which is in the same little plaza just off 55th Ave in Lachine.  I haven't been there for probably 25 years and was very impressed with the decor and overall liveliness of the place.  We started with drinks to cool us down as we perused the menu. Jo-Anne and my Mum split an order of ribs and wings with fries, Al had a meat lover's pizza and I had a Barbie's Classic Bu

Maryla Zylicz: Raising Our Children Right

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About 5 years ago I moved from the middle of NDG to the northwestern margin of the borough (Coronation and Cote St Luc).  This changed my daily walking pattern - and took me out of the path of several people I really enjoyed meeting up with regularly.  Maryla was one of these. Often I would see her rushing to work at the daycare near her house - or at lunch walking one of several dogs she did - because she loves dogs and wants to keep them an important part of her life.  Often I would see her with her young charges - off on an outdoor field trip and would happily greet and say hi to all the little ones!  It wasn't a daily occurence - but running into Maryla was always very enjoyable and enlightening. I first came to know her through our dogs.  Maryla had a large breed pooch - Olive - who was the love of her life.  She did everything for Olive.  Maryla used to joke that my dog - Smokey - didn't really care that much for Olive - but that was Smokey - he loved people and only tole

Ye Olde Orchard: Butter Chicken Heaven!

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Today I had a hankering for Chinese food - and planned my walk to take me on a path towards Soba and Sushi on Sherbrooke just east of Decarie.  When I got there, they were closed until 5pm - so I pointed myself north towards Monkland to see what else jumped out at me.  When I got to Old Orchard - the choice became clear - Ye Olde Orchard! While the restaurant was quiet - the staff were active - getting promotions ready for the week's events with respect to the UEFA European Championships soccer - they were raffling off a very attractive Guinness cooler.   A really nice young man came up to me with a menu and I told him I was looking to try something different than my standard - but always great - cheeseburger and fries.  A quick gaze down the menu and my mind was made up - I would have one of their Sri Lankan specialties - Butter Chicken with basmati rice and Na'an bread. It took about ten minutes before my meal was ready and it was well worth the wait!  There was a healthy por