Highlights of Atwater Library fundraiser
Lionel Blanshay honoured at annual benefit cocktail party
By Byron Toben
On November 4, the venerable Atwater Library’s Guest of Honour at its annual benefit cocktail party was Lionel J. Blanshay. Mr. Blanshay, a McGill law grad, is senior Counsel to the Montreal office of Borden Ladner Gervais. In addition to his involvement in several charitable activities, he served on the Atwater Library and Computer Centre board for the past 12 years.
The Atwater Library traces its origins back to 1828, when the first Mechanics’ Institute established in continental British North America was formed in Montreal. It is the sole survivor of the many Mechanics’ Institutes established in Canada in the 19th century, the rest either closed or merged into public library systems. By adding Computer Centre to its title, it maintains its original goals in the digital age. Located in its historic building at the eastern border of Westmount since 1920, it has flourished under the executive directorship of Lynn Verge who has added many cultural and educational programs.
Since it receives only 11% of its core funding from government sources, it relies on its dedicated army of volunteers and generous sponsors to maintain services and activities such as the annual benefit cocktail. This current event raised approximately $70,000 net from attendance fees and the proceeds of about 100 items donated for the popular silent auction. The items ranged from event or travel tickets to hockey equipment to clothing, hotel rooms, restaurant meals and paintings. Especially popular were an array of Terry Mosher “Aislin” original cartoons. I bid on two but was quickly out bid by others.
Former CBC host Dennis Trudeau smoothly M.C.’d the whole. Attendees relished the mountainous smoked meat sandwiches provided by Dunn’s, which enticed a few vegetarians to not limit themselves to the juicy pickles.
Cool jazz music pervaded the evening, provided by the Dave Turner Jazz Trio (Dave on sax, Gary Schwartz on guitar and David Gelfand on Bass), all three profs at Concordia. Among the selections were “You Stepped Out of a Dream”, “Alone Together”, “There is No Greater Love” and the seasonal “Autumn Leaves”.
Feature image: Lionel Blanshay and family
All images photographed by Daniel Francis Haber.
Byron Toben is the immediate past-president of the Montreal Press Club.