City honours intercultural efforts

Limonchik remembered

By Joel Ceausu

The city of Montreal handed out a special prize last week that recognizes efforts of individuals, businesses, and organizations to improve intercultural relations and the promotion of diversity in Montreal.

Côte des Neiges-Notre Dame de Grâce borough Mayor Russell Copeman and Pierrefonds-Roxboro’s Dimitrios (Jim) Beis, awarded the Prix interculturel Abe Limonchik at a ceremony in a new community centre bearing Limonchik’s name in the most diverse sector of one of the city’s most diverse boroughs

The Individual award went to Université de Montréal Education department professor Marie McAndrew. McAndrew is actively engaged in the promotion of intercultural relations in schools and has implemented innovative programs promoting success for immigrant students. Her collaboration is an essential component of the successful response to challenges faced by the Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys, whose student population is more than 60 percent non-francophone.

The Organization category recipient was the TOHU in the heart of Montreal’s Cité des arts du cirque whose director-general Stéphane Lavoie said the goal is convergence of culture, environment and community involvement. Finally, the Business award went to consulting and operations management firm Drakkar et Associés.

All recipients acknowledged the foundation of the award, named for the man who died in 2002 and whom many credit as having led the way on inclusion of diversity in civic life.

“Abe Limonchik stood out among this group of builders and unifiers who introduced a progressive public service and contributed to the opening and democracy of our city and our borough,” said Copeman. “We, the new generation of politicians are inspired by this precious legacy.” Simply put, says Beis, “This award allows us to honor those who help us stay true to those values.”

Nicknamed Mr. Democracy, Limonchik was a founding member of the Montreal Citizens’ Movement and CDN city councillor for 12 years.

“Personally, he was in many ways my mentor and why I started my career in municipal politics,” the dean of Montreal city council Marvin Rotrand told The Suburban, and credited Limonchik’s efforts leading to the adoption of a visible minority hiring policy at the Société de transport de Montréal. “It is entirely appropriate that the city has invited community organizations and citizens to celebrate the opening of this community center.”
Limonchik’s daughter, Quebec actress Macha Limonchik agrees: “He would have been very happy for this award, in this building, in this neighbourhood. It’s a perfect marriage.”

The Centre communautaire Abe Limonchik is an 830 sq. metre space in the new social housing project at 6600 Victoria. The centre will be officially inaugurated in the spring and will house non-profit organizations Relais Côte des Neiges which provides services to families, and the Centre des Aînés Côte des Neiges.
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