In a pandemic altered world, opera hits the streets of Montreal’s underprivileged neighbourhoods

Dominic Veilleux and Agnes Menard sing Opera in an NDG alleyway.

The leaves drift lazily off the trees and fall around the opera singers. When their song ends, the handful of parents standing near the jungle gym in Georges St Pierre park break into huge smiles. They begin to clap loudly.

“You sing well together. I should have recorded that,” says one father.

The opera singers, Dominic Veilleux, a bass baritone and Agnes Menard, a soprano, are among 1,200 classically trained musicians who’ve been giving free concerts in neighbourhoods across Quebec as part of Mecenat Musica’s mini concerts santé series. 

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The Depot and its gardens brings out the best in NDGers

“This is an HLM. You’ll notice there’s a lot of cologne,” says Terri Leckner as she waves her hand through the perfumed air. Leckner explains that the heavy aroma permeating her lobby is caused by two men who live in her residence. 

The 69-year-old is wearing bright red lipstick and a pretty dress with flowers on it. She uses a walker to make her way through the building where she lives with other low income seniors and people with disabilities.

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NDG pubs take a hit after bars blamed for COVID 19 spread

It’s lunch time on a warm, sunny fall day, but Ye Olde Orchard’s terrace is almost empty. 

“We are currently functioning at about 60 percent capacity of where we were at the same time last year and that is due to a number of reasons,” says Michael Whitty, co-owner of the popular neighbourhood pub.

“The first being the public fear and apprehension of actually coming into bars and the second being the media– I don’t want to use the word ‘attack,’ but that seems to be the only way to say it– on bars and restaurants.” Whitty adds that social distancing requirements also account for a loss of clientele. 

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New NDG businesses struggle with no government support

Sammi Liang and Tony Melki wave from the window of their new NDG restaurant.

Sammi Liang and her husband Toni Melki had always dreamed about opening a restaurant.

“We were set to open March 10 and everything was ready, everything was lined up. And then two days later, the premier of Quebec went on TV and shut down the whole province,” says Melki, from the terrace of Sammi’s Mongolian Delicacies in NDG.    

“I can’t sit here and cry to you about what happened to us, because it happened to a bunch of other people, not just here in Canada but in the whole world.” 

“When we rung in the new year, I mean, who would have thought this would be one of the biggest turning points in modern history?” says the 35-year-old. 

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Tensions ease as CDN-NDG council meeting wraps up

The Terrebonne bike path was the big item on the agenda at Tuesday night’s nearly 5-hour long CDN-NDG borough council meeting. The councillors voted unanimously to remove the controversial bike path earlier than planned. Borough Mayor Sue Montgomery voted against the motion.  

By the end of the meeting, the angry tone of recent debates had dissipated and the councillors appeared ready to put the past behind them and work together again. 

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Me Mom and Morgentaler reunion thanks to John Jordan’s newfound Zen

Me, Mom, and Margentaler

Montreal’s most beloved band of the 1990s will be reuniting for the first time since 2007 for this year’s online edition of NDG’s MTL vs Racism concert. Grateful fans have John Jordan to thank. 

These days Jordan may be better known to NDGers as the neighbourhood’s infamous alley cat gallery curator, but he’s also the Ska pop band’s saxophonist.  

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NDG’s Empanada Lady delivers the flavours of Argentina to your doorstep.

Dolores Lopez Barcala

Her husband, Lucio, jokes that she’s the empanada lady. “I like it,” says Dolores López Barcala. “It’s better than Dolores, which means pain in Spanish. When I was a kid that wasn’t so funny.” 

The nickname seems to suit the sparkly-eyed mother of two from Argentina, whose empanada delivery service is giving NDGers a taste of Latin American culture.  

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