Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Montreal's connection to the Philly fugitive

    One of Montreal's wealthiest clans found itself in the middle of an outrageous case that was to become a magnet for conspiracy theorists of all stripes and was even turned into a movie in 1997.
   Charles Bronfman's wife Barbara (nee Baerwald) brought considerable negative attention to the Seagram clan when she put up $40,000 of bail money for a Philadelphia hippie impresario who murdered his girlfriend Holly Maddux in 1979.
Holly Maddux - murdered in '77
   Maddux's decomposed body was found in a trunk in Einhorn's possession and he was charged with murder.    In spite of the murder charge Einhorn was allowed out on bail for a relatively small sum of $40,000 - put up by Montreal's Barbara Bronfman - and he skipped to Europe in January 1981 where he married a Swede and lived undetected for 24 years.
    Some have claimed that Barbara (Stephen Bronfman's mother) even sent Einhorn money while he was in Europe and remained in contact with him while he was on the lam but we have seen no hard evidence to support that.
Ira Einhorn and Barbara Bronfman
   Einhorn had claimed that the CIA had planted Maddux's body at his place to frame him.
   It isn't clear how Barbara came to know Einhorn so well or become such a champion of his efforts but she was said to have shared his interests in psychic phenomena.
   Einhorn was said to have been an aggressive bully to Maddux and even had bad hygiene but was surely a good talker because what else could there be?
   Barbara and Charles Bronfman wed in 1962 and divorced in 1982. Their children were 13 and 18 at the time of their split.
   Charles - who long owned the Expos - moved to New York City and remarried twice.
   Barbara, who'd be in her mid-70s at least, is one of the few Bronfmans still living Montreal. Her son Stephen is another and aunt Phyllis Lambert being the other main ones.
   The fugitive Einhorn was finally tracked down France in 1997.
   After many complicated attempts to extradite him, Einhorn was eventually shipped back to the USA in 2001. He was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole ion October 17, 2002.
   The case has led many to babble online about the Illuminati and such stuff but we're pretty sure that it was just a case of a friend trying to be loyal and perhaps getting suckered by a fast-talker.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Why Canadians cannot be paid to donate sperm and why that ban should be repealed

  Ten years ago Canada wiped out the market for a young studly man's greatest resource, as new legislation banned fertility clinics from paying sperm donors.
   This was a big problem for our local fertility clinics and likely cost some tall dark and handsome young bucks a chance for pleasurable financial gain.
   It also hurt lesbian couples as they were, in many cases, the ones who needed that sperm to start their families.
   “Payment for sperm donation has been criminalized. If I give so much as a bus ticket to somebody to come up and give a sperm donation I could be put into prison for five years,” local fertility chief Marinko Biljan told me at the time.
   (I wanted to ring Biljan up today to see if he had another great quote but learned that he died of ALS three years after our chat, aged just 49).
   The sperm payment ban became part of 2004's federal Bill C-6, (anti-cloning bill)  partially because of some emotional testimony from a young woman.
   Olivia Pratten of Vancouver was distraught because she'd never know her sperm-donor father.
    “I know that my biological father was paid $50 for his sperm in 1981. What are the implications for me 22 years after the fact? I am left to forever wonder whether he understood the full consequences of what he did. Did he pocket the money, thinking to himself, ‘Isn't this great being paid for something I do every day?’ Did he think that his sperm would not stay sperm, that it would become a person – me? Had he not been paid, I would at least know that he had the right intentions and that I am related to someone who wanted to help someone else first before helping himself. Allowing people to sell their gametes, to sell their biological ties is degrading and cheapens the essence of what it means to be human.”
  The committee was swayed by this and made recommendations to ban paid sperm donations, which was then enacted and passed into law.
   So since 2004 a man can't get paid to donate sperm and there's absolutely no upside to donating sperm for free, in fact one would be a fool to do so and indeed one local fertility clinic tells me that almost nobody donates sperm.
   A friend contacted me a few weeks ago panicking because a woman with whom he had a sperm-donor arrangement had suddenly filed papers threatening to sue him for support.
   He was outraged and perplexed and said that he couldn't afford payments or even a lawyer.
   Here's why now is the time to discuss reversing the ban on paid sperm donations: the law, when passed in 2004 was “proposed for 10 years,” according to Paige Raymond Kovach of Health Canada. Further review and discussion was promised and the feds were supposedly open to revision.
   Ten years is up.
   Lesbians might lead the charge to reverse the ban, as they are one of the groups most directly affected by the law - about one-in-four sperm donations goes to female-female partnerships. 
   As for the tortured and tormented young Olivia Pratten, her court battle to learn her sperm donor father's true identity was tossed out of Supreme Court a couple of years ago.
   By the way, if you're angling to become a donor, consider that one has to be aged under 35 to donate sperm. This seems like an unkind snub to me as I was conceived from the juice of a man over age 50 and I turned out ok. 

Save the Turcot Interchange - 6 reasons why we need to cancel the rebuild

I still believe there's time to back off the blunder that is the remake of the Turcot Expressway, an ill-conceived project that will not only cost Quebec taxpayers a bundle of cash but will also make things considerably worse for motorists, pedestrians and nearby residents.
   Here are six reasons why the remake should be immediately tossed into the garbage at the halfbakery.
1-It will cost taxpayers an insane amount of money:  Rather than going the cheaper route of simply repairing the existing structure or even building one identical to a few feet over, the Liberal provincial government decided instead to totally demolish and build something entirely different much closer to the ground. Local engineerss were trotted out to point out how badly the structure is deteriorating, panic was struck and a blank cheque signed. The Liberals claimed that the project would cost no more than $1.5 billion (about the cost of the Olympic Stadium in adjusted-for-inflation terms) but the PQ said in 2013 that it will cost $3.7 B and the Liberals now say that it will cost $6 billion (even more expensive than the $3B-$5B estimate for the new Champlain Bridge.) And of course since this is a Quebec government project, you can safely double that cost projection.
2-Once-invisible traffic will become unpleasant and obtrusive Bringing traffic to ground level will bring massive amounts of traffic from a place where nobody sees it down to a place where it is impossible to ignore. Once quiet areas will be rife with noise and pollution. Pedestrians will be forced to navigate over or under the structure by using perilous and unpleasant underpasses or overpasses.
3-It will flood residential streets with cars. In fact, this has already happened ever since the entrance at St. James and Addington was closed. St. Jacques street eastbound and Decarie northbound at Cote St. Luc have already seen traffic increase radically as cars scramble to find ways to get onto the expressway. Designers have vaguely claimed that another eastbound entrance to replace the one demolished might eventually be built on Pullman (a far less convenient location than the one that was demolished) but they are not committing to it.
4-It will be easy to travel west but difficult to travel east There are no direct entrances to highway 20 eastbound for a six kilometre stretch - you can't get on anywhere between Angrignon and Greene - and even Greene is only accessible from the south.
5-It adds time to a drive. Heading downtown suddenly takes at least 10 minutes more for  many west end drivers, which adds up over the course of a year. It might sound insignificant but multiplied by millions, that wasted time undermines economic productivity and harms people in their lives, it's time people could be spending reading to their kids or cooking healthy meals.
6-It will cost us a signature structure The current Turcot Interchange in its elevated form is an impressive local landmark and feat of engineering. We lose part of our identity in demolishing it. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Murder in Verdun - updated

   An eastern enclave of Verdun was the site of a murder Friday, as a man named Peter was killed with a knife on a balcony at 3862 Allen.
  Peter was an English-speaking drug dealer familiar to the area but who lived in an apartment opposite the Verdun Hospital.
   One tipster suggested that the murder victim might be Peter Laurie, 46, but that is not the case.
   Laurie is a relatively high-profile figure as he gained notoriety in 1988 at the age of 20 when he was charged with beating an sexually assaulting a fellow prisoner at Bordeaux.
   Nine years later he was still imprisoned and this time was at the other end of a prison abuse story at Donnacona where he was nearly beaten to death in June, 1997, by inmates who repeatedly smashed his head with exercise weights for allegedly refusing to follow the Rock Machine gang's orders.
   Laurie was also described as a in the book Slave to the Farm in which the author recounts going out with Laurie during a rough period of her youth. Laurie committed many crimes during their time together and sneakily convinced a tattoo artist to put his name under a picture inked on her body (since retouched or removed). 
   Another acquaintance of Laurie told me that he thought Laurie was still in prison, so it's possibly not him.
  The murder victim was described as being about 50 and could also speak French, but with an English accent and had grey-and-black hair.
  He had a half brother named Sonny who is known around the area.
   Murder victim Peter (once again, we' are not saying that it's Peter Laurie) and a friend started dealing crack together but then Peter started using and soon owed his partner all kinds of money.
    He was supposedly beaten and stabbed to death by two men who fit the ethnic profile (black) of the partner.
  The block sits south of Lasalle Ave in a densely-populated, somewhat drug-plagued area inhabited by many people who are day patients of the Douglas mental hospital.
   The owners of the apartment building are Diane Gaudreau and Paul Lagace.
   Anybody with other information is welcomed to pass it along at megaforce@gmail.com

When Lachine demolished the wrong house


  If you ever want a good gig teaching at a university, try to persuade them to let you preach on Montreal's architecture built between 1929 and 1944.
   You'll have plenty of time to toss paper airplanes at truant students and tell stories of your childhood because what went up during those 15 years was precisely nothing.
   Between the Great Depression and the end of WWII not only did little get built, empty lots proliferated all over and many buildings were torn down, some that weren't even supposed to be.
   Take for example the now-vacant space on a prime location overlooking the Lachine canal on St. Joseph between 6th and 7th Aves.
   The City of Lachine demolished a building there in 1936 only to realize that they had knocked down the wrong house.
   Lachine authorities had the right to demolish one structure but the other was the property of the same owner. That's the one that they demolished.
   Of course the owner Louis Clement, who seems to have been a bit of a deadbeat, immediately launched a lawsuit and sought compensation. The building was valued at a whopping $800.
   (Explain it right dummkopf:  The one ordered demolished had been repossessed by Lachine due to unpaid tax debts. Clement likely didn't pay the bill because claiming ownership of one part of an inheritance also ties you up with whatever debts also belong to that estate - Chimples).
   The spot - now prime real estate - remains vacant to this very day.

Montreal's Oliver Kloseoff - literary genius or local degenerate?

   Ever since printers, editors and publishers became unnecessary vehicles for literary expression, a new breed of voices emerged that are difficult to classify - are they writers or just gossips?
   Such is the case of prolific internet Montreal street scribe Oliver Kloseoff, whose real name, address and profession remain unknown.
   Some consider Kloseoff a sort of rough-hewn Montreal version of Henry Miller or William Burroughs, while many others would simply dismiss him as a deviant or degenerate sex addict.
   Kloseoff - who has no literary pretensions or ambitions - has spent 15 years painting graphic images of his visits among Montreal's downtrodden, whom he deals with and often befriends in hopes of finding commercial sex bargains, all while apparently maintaining some semblance of respect and good manners.
   His efforts have spawned a wide array of reactions. One woman in her twenties reacted to a profile I wrote on him (below) by vowing never to set eyes on the publication again.
   Another young woman - now a esteemed scientist - recently thanked me for writing about him.
   "I was a huge fan of his writing," she wrote. "It was fucking poetry. He was a creative genius."
   Montreal musical group The Scroll even wrote a song about him,
   I met Oliver one evening at St. Hubet and De Maisonneuve in 2003 after speaking to him on the phone many times - he's a chatterbox - and we strolled the strip along Ontario just east of the bus station near the Fun Spot Bar where he'd strike up conversations along the way.
   No sex transactions occurred during our time but he shared his arcane street wisdom and chatted with a variety of demimondaine characters along the route.
   The tall, outgoing and affable working-class anglo from Lasalle  is considered a resource for wisdom and amusement among others sharing his hobby.
  Over the years he shared his knowledge about how to best conduct negotiations in order to shave five bucks off a sex service or get a more satisfying experience in a massage parlours in thousands of posts on such sites as (the now defunct) Canbest and Merc, where he posted 4,500 times between 2006 and 2009 and another 900 since announcing his apparent retirement from the pursuit.
Not the real Oliver Kloseoff 
   Kloseoff also appears to have attracted the frequent disapproval of moderators who have deleted photos he posted.
   Here's a sample of one of his literary efforts describing his time with down-and-outers near Atwater on Nov. 5, 2005, this one without much mention of sex and demonstrating much compassion to those he spends his time with.
----
hi members
today i did my good deed of the day-ive helped many people over the years and never look for anything in return--its interesting to be able to converse with the down and out who have all their marbles--ive recently met a few people who are on welfare and ive been drinking with them over the last few weeks-today i brought 2 big bags of stuff for them-pansé glasses utensils for the kitchen storage jars for sugar spice etc- and a bag of video movies and they love this and wathc all day long.-one of the many visitors who passed throught their apartment was a gentlemen who i could tell by briefly talking to him he had money and a good job at 1 time-older than me he aloso had prostate problems at one time and had his removed and he said he can still do the nasty as some im told cant after.-ive met many like him over the years and its kind of a wakeup call as you realise it could be you 1 day--he had a great job in the 50k + range and was forced into early retirement--he has a good pension but its not indexted-today he is on the street-long story-recently a fight with the adminastration of his apartment complex and bad judgment and actions on his part and voila.actually theer is a guy who worked for the same corperation and lived near me and the same /similar story--this guy lost his job(my age) and is on the street-they threw him out of his dwelling--this was a long story as well but i think both cases drugs and complaints from neightbours and not paying rent were all factors.
after a brief stay here i passed to atwater metro-many inuit woman--1 real cute one and guess waht this one had all her teeth--i dont know waht it is with these inuits but most seem to have lost teeth and from wath ic an astertain its pribably through violence--anoterh real cute on i saw with a real black eye and bloodyed eye-i asked what happened and she said her husband beat her up--anoterh one sitting with cowboy boots and drinking beer out of a burger king cup told me her husband she caught cheating and he threw her out--2 more arrived one whit a bidy that says fuck me fuck me-actually she is the one who i saw at the place i drink and she wa passed out in bed-and yesterday she was panhandling and i came back to find her in hopes of fucking her--today i went out with just a bit of money as this weekend ive blown $640 and enought is enought.
there was a sthubert street hooker in the atwater entrance down befroe you go up the stairs--not attractive at all but i recognised her as she came after me many times-
taking the metro at atwater i was grossed out--im walking and loooking down and see waht looks like bloobs of greenish brown sludge and i say no it cant be--go to sit and i see this old bumb with his leg up and shit dripping down his ankles to the bench-yup--so i exit stage right as far away from him as i can be.
weather was cold and rainy--in this apartment complex where ive been drinkign there is a lot fo woman who use drugs--holld a stlaurent streek hooker from verdun is always tehre--she was a useless fuck the time i had her and not the cleanest so iven if she offered herself for free id refuse her
oliver
---
  And below is the feature article I wrote about him, published in September 2003. Warning some of the content might be considered a little gross.
---
Red Light Luminary:  Whoremonger shares tawdry tips for navigating Montreal’s demimonde - September 2003
The strapping early-middle aged man sauntering the streets with a gentle voice and disarming smile hasn't always prioritized the challenge of getting more street bang for his buck.
   But after a breakup five years ago William (names have been changed to protect the less-than-innocent) started cultivating his a taste for the joys of inexpensive sexual bliss with women who prowl the streets just east of the bus terminus. In that time he’s managed to get intimate with over 200 women including a wide variety of crack hos to basket cases and is happy to share his accumulated wisdom of his craft.
“Hookers aren't unionized. They will always try to get more,” says William while sauntering in the early twilight on St. Hubert near Ontario, “So I can nickel and dime them because their need for drugs is greater than my sex drive.”
The talkative working class toiler says he broke more hearts in his youth than the average guy, a pattern that didn't prepare him for his own romantic eviction. “I was devastated,” he says of being dumped. “After that the first woman I got picked up by was at Thursdays, she invited me for coffee and I spent the weekend. She was a divorced and we had sex without a condom and shortly after I felt a burning sensation, I got the two swabs down the dick,” he says. Penicillin cured the ailment but he’d look to treat his lingering romantic disillusionment elsewhere.
   “One day I was bicycling near the Rose Bowl when I ran across a girl who used to live in my area. She wanted forty for a BJ and I only offered her 20 and she complied,” the two coupled in the great outdoors in full view of highway traffic. “It was amazing. I was intrigued.”
William would write up the encounter in his meticulously maintained diary of sexual encounters with local prostitutes, a list that averages over 50 a year, information which he happily shares on lurid internet forums.
   He also maintains a diary of the results of his regular testings for STDs, “That way, if I ever caught something, I’d have a good idea of where I got it,” he says, noting that so far he’s been deemed clean. William’s cash fueled conquests also include many experiences in massage parlours, only some of which offer sexual services. “Before you hand over any money, make sure that it’s clear they’re going to massage all of you,” he says. One way to accomplish and avoid spontaneous price markups is to blatantly “point to the front of your pants and ask ‘do you include this part too’?”
But lately William has found better value among the street hookers and speaks of his conquests like a backpacker describing the beaches of Thailand. But some simply don’t pan out, including a recent encounter in which he agreed to supply a hooker $20 for cocaine to be deducted from later services.    “She had been awake for five days on a binge. At the hotel she took her clothes off. I was turned off by the scabs, bruising and needle marks. When she went in to shoot up, she came out all fucked up. I told her I’d stay with her for the hour to make sure she was ok but I didn't want to fuck her because I was turned off by her scabs. She was picking at them and forcing her finger sin her ears. I said ‘be fair, give me back 20 and keep 10 because we did nothing,’ she replied that it was her money now.”
The desperate streets also include a woman mother of four who juggles as a hooker and a shoplifter. “Steaks, videos, she hides all kinds of stuff under the stroller. She takes her four kids to steal with her like a shield, most probably don’t have the heart to turn her in.”
Other unlikely purveyors of poonani include certain hacks motoring through the city streets, “A taxi passed me and the guy rolled down the window and said ‘the girl in the back thinks you’re cute.’ I get in and she asks if I want anything, I say ‘a BJ would be great.’ The cab driver later turns around and says, ‘She gives great head eh?’ I said ‘just drive!’ Some drivers will tell you hookers and drug dealers are their best customers, but they've got to make sure they pay upfront or else get burnt.”
  To make sure what looks like a hooker isn't actually an undercover cop William advises men to never directly ask for sex, if there’s any doubt “get her to touch you, if she does that, or lets you touch her, she’s not a cop.” Another part of his ritual includes urinating and rinsing before and after, whenever possible. For those not expecting surprises, be wary of transsexual hookers. “They come out late at night and some are difficult to tell. I met one looked like a good looking girl, she has real boobs but still beans and weiner in pants.”
   William’s enthusiastically speaks of the odd outdoor frolic in a neighbourhood backyard and also raves about stress-free experiences like the one he had with a 38 year old German crackhead who he met outside the Fun Spot bar. “We waited in the cold for the dealer to come, she let me feel her up and down, I quite enjoyed it. We went to a motel on St. Andre, it cost $20 for a room and I gave her $40.”
  “Never pay more than $20 for oral sex,” says William. “I had a young girl 18 tall, with dark hair who wanted to give me a BJ for 40. I told her I’d never pay more than 20. So she said ‘fine.’ I said wasn't interested she begged me to start her day off for $10,” says William. “You have to admit at those prices it’s tempting.”
   But too good a bargain might lead to pang of guilt. “One time I felt bad that I had exploited a girl who asked for money for food. I said let’s go the hotel and I’ll give you my change. I gave her $20 and a chocolate bar in exchange for one of the best BJs I have gotten and awesome sex last November. I met her again in January and took her to the bar, she ordered the most expensive drink, the barmaid said no. I gave her $5 for the poker machine, I told her to get off the street and collect welfare.”
   William reserves his disgust for the insalubrious hotels on the circuit and underagers. “It breaks my heart when I see young girls on the street just tonight a saw a knockout near the Montcalm Park she quoted me 80 full sex. She looked 15, a tall beautiful girl. I almost felt like calling the cops but they don’t give a shit.”
   Those seeking the pleasures of street hookers must couple a sense of adventure with a stomach for mayhem. “I met this hooker with the biggest tits I ever saw,” he says.
   “We got to her place and start having sex, then the door bell rings, it’s the dealer. She opens the bathroom door and her roommate is blowing a guy in there. The drug dealer came out and I decided to walk with him rather than do something stupid like punching the chick out, which crossed my mind. The only positive thing I can say about her was no body odour but her legs reminded me of a much older woman.”
   William has no plans to end his adventures in the fleshy underbelly of the desperate city, which he says he prefers to non-cash based monogamy. “With street whores you don’t have to feel to please them so a lot of stress is off you with them, generally.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Scenes from Montreal in 1970


   Great looking street scenes from Montreal shot in 1970, in The Apprentice/Fleur Bleu featuring Susan Sarandon.
  The film, by Larry Kent, tells the story of Jean Pierre who needs to earn a living. An actress befriends him and they spend time doing threesomes with a perverted older professor, meanwhile he's trying to please his steady girlfriend. He starts getting involved with a bank robber and the bank
robber's sister with a predictable ending.
Check out these scenes:
A cool looking streestcape of what's likely Ste. Catherine with a movie theatre and restaurant in the background.
A hilly street where his rooming house is located, which appears to be something like Wolfe below Sherbrooke,
 good view of Peel just below Ste. Catherine which features a massive BBQ rooster sign,
Various shots of Crescent and De Maisonneuve and bits of Mountain.
  They drive around an unrecognizable area that transforms into a familiar westbound on De Maisonneuve from about Fort, an area that has changed little.
-Cute scene shot on Peel again, near Dominion Square.
-Bad influence shows off his eight-track and the duo rob a store somewhere downtown.
-In a non-geography scene, actress Dorothy Davis steals a scene as an English teacher.
-A good looking scene shot in a downtown bar terrace.



   The director Kent was born in South Africa, moved to Vancouver and then came to Montreal where he did most of his films, including High from 1967. He also worked as a techie as the Gazette and raised two daughters.
   The movie High was countercultural flick that starred such local notables as Melinda McCracken and beatnik-club promoter Gary Eistenkraft. They both left town after being nabbed - among several others - in a marijuana raid at Atwater and Sherbrooke a couple of years after the film came out. McCracken, who was originally from Winnipeg, returned to her home town and became quiite famous for her literary contributions. 

Don't put the lunatic in charge: The Verdun hold-up that rocked a town

Hawley, Thompson and Moran
   When setting up a robbery, a gang is tempted to give the most difficult task to the most fearless and brazen member.
   But that person is also be the likeliest to be the least predictable and most insane.
   This issue led to one of the saddest events in Verdun in the early 1960s when a trio of bandits entrusted a member with serious mental problems to carry out a robbery.
   Tears, death and ample prison time ensued.
   On Saturday Oct. 26, 1963, Yvon Tousignant, 49, who co-owned the Tousignant Brothers Market at 4835 Wellington was shot dead in a robbery which saw $2,027 stolen from his deposit bag at Wellington and Fourth.
   Soon after, Toronto police rounded up wheelman Robert Hawley, 23, gun supplier Robert Moran, 29, and Robert James Thompson, 25, who fired the fatal shot with a .38 handgun.
   Hawley confessed to Toronto detectives John Bassett and Kenneth Evans and the gang was rounded up and charged.
Myrtle "Terry" Feehan and Rose Anne Johnson
     “I wasn't there. I was around the corner waiting in a car with the motor running," said Hawley. "Thompson was the one to get the money. He ran to the car and jumped in. We went to our apartment on St. Denis St. My wife was there. We listened to the radio and heard that the guy was shot. We divided the money and left for Toronto. We got arrested tonight and here I am.”
   The two Toronto detectives that recorded the confession would die soon after, as they were among the 118 killed in a downed TCA flight from Ste. Therese on November 29. They had the confession in their possession and it was one of the few items that survived the crash and so it was admitted as evidence.
   Hawley said that the confession was coerced but the court had already heard the confession. It was read again in court and Hawley was sentenced to life imprisonment.
   Thompson - who said that he had shot Tousignant twice after the grocer had grabbed him by the arm - was deemed unfit to stand trial and was kept behind bars.
 Moran, who played a minor role, was tried at a later date.
   Hawley and Thompson had met at the Verdun Protestant Hospital where both had been admitted for suicidal tendencies.
   Hawley had slit his wrists in order to get a break from the prison and had escaped the hospital 13 days before the killing.
   When asked about how he was making a living while on the lam, he said “I sold pills, seconal tablets. I bought them in a tavern on St. Lawence and sold them to anybody who wanted to buy them.”
   Hawley confessed to owning a .32 calibre gun that he had purchased outside a tavern on the Main.
   Hawley denied fleeing to Toronto in order to escape capture following the murder. He said he paid Donald Smith $200 to drive him there just because he wanted to visit.
   His girlfriend Myrtle Feehan, 20, also known as Teery Feehan, contradicted much of his testimony.
    Feeham,20, and Rose Anne Johnson were charged with the crime of being accessories after the fact. They were released from prison on strict conditions after serving about one year.
  Terry Feeham, as she was known, had disposed of the gun. Johnson hadn't done much of anything except accompany her Toronto boyfriend to Montreal to organize the pick-up.
   Feehan went on to live a normal life, marrying a man named Fiddler. She had two children in the early 70s and died in 2006.
   Moran, according to a relative, obtained a degree in Criminology while in prison. He was a free man by the 90s but died shortly after his release while living in the Maritimes.
   Irving "Slim" Tovell drove the robbers to Toronto but he also died in the same air crash that killed the detectives.
   One person who might have a description of the crime was Valerie Edwards, 18, who saw the event happen.  She was a stenographer who lived across the street. She was 18 at the time and would be 70 today.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The grisly story behind Point St. Charles' Ireland Park

   Ireland Park, nestled deep near the tracks in the Point at the corner of Liverpool and Coleraine, might seem like a pleasant green space with a bench and a small playground but those who know the grisly story behind the spot might detect the stench of death.
   Houses once sat on the land including one at 2075 Coleraine where someone named George Yeates  (aka Yates) lived. It went vacant after Yeates' inheritors disclaimed ownership. The duplex fell into an advanced state of disrepair as people would enter and pillage wood and bricks and other items.
   Police would sometimes patrol to ensure nobody went inside the two-storey structure but they still did nonetheless.
   Disaster struck on a Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. January 8, 1936.
   Children  were running around inside the creaky structure when they heard the structure start to shift.
   Within seconds the whole thing came down and young Douglas Norman, 9, of 839 Charron was crushed by a beam.
   It took 30 minutes to dig his body out of the mess and remove the ceiling beam planted firmly in his forehead.
   His father Arthur Norman was informed of the disaster later that afternoon as he returned from work as boilermaker (welder) at the nearby CNR shops.
  William Baxter, 60, of 855 Liverpool helped rescue Edward Kavanagh, 13, of 822 Liverpool. Clifford Bowden, 7, of 630 Fortune also managed to flee before the collapse.
   The remains of the building and several other creaky adjacent structures were torn down immediately afterwards.
   The boy's father sued the city for $848 because they had neglected to tear the building down after doing the same to other nearby buildings. The  court awarded him $639 plus costs, a decision that the city of Montreal sought to appeal. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

The rise and fall of Montreal as a world centre for Chinese study

  McGilll University was well on the way to making Montreal a world centre for Chinese Studies in the 1930s until a series of misunderstandings and money issues led to the end of a Chinese studies institute and the removal of one of the world's great Chinese libraries.
Guion Gest
  The story starts with Guion Gest, a New Yorker who was familiar with Montreal - he owned a couple of properties here and hobnobbed with some folks from McGill.
   Gest had incurable glaucoma and found relief in some Chinese medicine.
   This fortuitous Asian soothing led him to suspect that the Chinese have all sorts of cool ancient cures that we don't know about so he hooked up Commander I.V. Gillis who supplied him with large numbers of cheap-but-valuable Chinese books.  
   Within a few years Gest had too many books to store and was looking for a university to house them.
   He chose McGill, partly because Principal Arthur Currie was enthusiastic.
   The books were put in the basement of the Redpath Library. Gest persuaded them to put them on the second floor for a ten year period.
   When it opened on Chinese New Years, ie: February 13, 1926, the special library was a posh joint equipped with Chinese antiques and rugs. There were ceremonies and fetes and all visits from China.
   But Gest was unimpressed with the cataloguing, as staff was unable to master the language sufficiently but that was resolved with new and better staffers.
   The collection grew from about 10,000 books to 100,000 between 1926 and 1932, making it the second largest Chinese library in North America.
   Currie and his right-hand man Ed Beattie established a Chinese Studies department 1930 and hired Kiang Kang-hu to lead the operation.
  But behind the scenes things were far less smooth.
  Gest eventually made it clear that he had no intention of donating the books to the school.
  You must remember that the creating of a library of this kind has taken considerable time and money." he wrote in 1930.  
   McGill and Gest weren't even close when it came to what the books should cost.
   About one third of the rare books were on Buddhism, museum pieces maybe, but unsuitable for a library.
   Gest said that he had paid $208,000 for them but one expert evaluated their value at between $25,000 to $50,000.
   Buying books wasn't fashionable at McGill during this period. Their collection in 1930 was 450,000 volumes. In 1944 it was the same total. So buying this great number of books might seem unjustifiable.
   Also the Great Depression had hit the school hard.
   During 1932 Currie had staffers take a salary cut between 3 and 10 percent, an initiative that saved $87,000. Therefore paying such a princely sum for the collection made little sense.
   Gest, who already had been seen as pushy, came asking McGill to lend him money to help his business survive. Currie arranged a mortgage but they school wasn't comfortable with the deal.
    Gest also differed on what the library should do. He hoped that somebody would read the books and come up with some ancient Chinese knowledge that would transform medicine and science, whereas Currie wanted it used as a way for westerneres to get acquainted with Chinese culture.
   Gest was also miffed that McGill opted not to invest in a massive translation project, as Currie thought there was a lack of qualified translators and the subject had already been done elsewhere.
   The bottom truly fell out in 1933 when Currie died at 58.
   Without Currie the school lost direction and went two years without a principal.
   Professor Ira MacKay persuaded the board to force the Chinese Studies school to pay for itself and that led to its end.
   Prof Kiang was let go as was Nancy Swann, who had organized the library.
   Without a Chinese Studies School, and without an agreement on how to keep the books, McGill told Gest to come get his books. They were shipped to Princeton - which paid Gest $140,000 (about a buck a book) - on July 31, 1936 .
  McGill relaunched its Chinese Studies program in 1968. As of 1999 the school had about 20,000 Chinese volumes (1999) considered insignificant.
*Source: The Gest Chinese Research Library at McGill University, 1926-1936 Su Chen and Jumin Zhao 

Atwater Market's violent cake theft ring


This photo reconstitutes a real gang of four thieves who would sneak up on trucks at the Atwater Market and steal racks of food and run off with them to Point St. Charles just after World War II.
   The gang would case out the market for days, then show up at the crack of dawn and descend on unsuspecting merchants.
   One part of their modus operandi was to pull a tuque over the eyes of the victim and light his beard on fire and flee during the distraction.
    The gang included included one man who became a hardened, oft-jailed criminal and his girlfriend named Wilma.
   Yes, Wilma.
   Why were they so keen on doing this?
   Mostly because Wilma enjoyed the cakes that the vendors brought to market.
  According to the story she was eventually imprisoned and sadly, she killed herself in prison.
  She was still a teenager.
   (Keep in mind that this story comes from one family's passed down oral history in which all characters seem to either go blind or commit suicide.)

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Longtime heavy metal bar manager killed in Lachine

  Sad news about Louis Adams, a well-respected former nightclub manager who was killed outside a home in Lachine Friday night at 9 p.m. at 2757 Thessereault (he can be seen outside the home on that Street View link).
   Adams, 49, was the father of three young children, including one born one month ago.
   Louie - as his name was pronounced - was stabbed to death after fighting a trio of assailants who barged into a home looking for drugs.
   Adams was best known as the manager for the now-defunct Backstreet Club, a spacious heavy-metal joint on Mayor near Bleury.
   He was there for the club's glory days when groups like Ice-T (in his metal phase) and Cannibal Corpse performed before the club closed in 1997.
  He was not, as some thought, of African heritage, rather he was mixed-black and East Indian from St. Vincent, although he was raised in Montreal and was part of Lachine High's Class of 1982.
   He was also a proud and loving father, according to all.
   Adams was out for drinks at a local bar and his friends urged him to stick around but he chose instead to leave to go home at around 8:30 p.m. Friday.
   Had he stayed his tragic fate might have been altered but it's impossible to say.
Google Street view snapped him here
   Adams had previous arrests for weed but had not committed any violent crimes, as far as anybody knows.
   Police have not made any arrests but they will likely be on the hunt for three English-speaking guys who were responsible for the fatal knife attack.
   The attackers were two tall, thin black guys and one man who appeared to be East Indian or Arab, all wearing masks, all aged between 20-35.
   Adams came to the scene after an associate phoned him asking for help dealing with the three attackers who were traveling in a purple Dodge. They came to raid the second-storey grow-op, robbing over $1,000 in cash and demanding a cocaine stash.
   Adams arrived and fought the assailants and was stabbed in the back.
   He tried to crawl to his home nearby but died of his wounds.
   "He was a very nice man and friend. And he was always happy even when stuff was going bad for him but there's a lot of stuff that a lot of people don't know about him," said one of his pals.
   Another noted that - surely unrelated  - Louis was always vocal in his sense that fellow portly doorman Le Gros Michel of Foufounes Electriques glory, did not die a natural death in 1991.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Awful guy doing horrible things in NDG

 Weird old guy crouched down with his pants down at his knees today on the east side of NDG Park today.
   I came a few seconds late to see the most unfortunate moments of the pathetic display so you can only imagine what he was doing.
  In fact, better yet, don't imagine.  
  (Last time I saw something this unusual was when I was walking over a bridge in Bombay (Mumbai) in about '93 I passed a crouching woman who stood up and then looked down at the steamy item she left on the sidewalk.)