Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Canadian Mayor and Tagore books

In Canada, I am staying in a small town called Dollard-des-Ormeaux, often referred to as D.D.O or Dollard, on the Island of Montreal in southwest Quebec. The town, named after French martyr Adam Dollard des Ormeaux (1635-1660), is a 45-minute drive from Montreal - one of the famous and big cities of Canada. This small town was incorporated as a city bearing the name of the famous French soldier Dollard who was killed in May 1660 at the Battle of Long Sault while staving off an Iroquois raid on the French colony of Ville-Marie which is now known as Montreal.
In 1960 there was a population of few hundred and had increased on 18,000 by 1975. Currently there are approximately 50,000 residents in Dollard. This small town, however, prides itself as one of the most multi-cultural and multi-religious towns of Canada with English, French, Arabic, Italian, Greek, Indians, Chinese, Lebanese, Africans, Jewish, Spanish, Filipinos, Thais and other communities who have settled there. I am quite amazed by the facilities available to the people of this town given the population.
The town is very proud of its Centennial Park which is a nature park with natural oasis, a lake, forests and mounds spread over 35-acres of rich and varied bio-diversity of plant and animal life. The lake is teeming with yellow perch, pan fish, catfish, carp, goldfish, turtles, muskrats, great blue herons, kingfishers, cormorants, hen fish and mallards while the forest is the home to grey and red squirrels, raccoons, woodchucks, hares, skunks, mice, red fox, doves, frogs, salamanders and garter snakes. It also has a variety of trees like maple elm, red ash, beech and butternut along with several varieties and species of shrubs and herbaceous plants.
A three to four minutes walk from my place and I find myself in the mesmerizing precincts of the Park where I lost sense of time and spend hours in the arms of mother nature.
Close to the Centennial Park is the Council Office from where the Mayor runs the local administration. I met the Mayor of Dollard yesterday Mr Ed Janiszewski (picture) who briefed me at length about the Park. The Civic Centre can be seen from the Mayor’s office whose facilities include a library, cultural centre, two pools, centre for arts etc which are used by the locals. Mr Janiszewski, who has held the post for the past 25 years, is one of the oldest serving Mayors in North America. Originally from Poland, his father had come to Canada but the Mayor and his six brothers and sisters were born and brought up in Canada. Ed is a hockey player and is fully committed to developing the town to the best of his abilities. He proudly says that Dollard is a multi-cultural melting pot with churches and gurdwaras.
My mother used to visit this city twice every year and she had penned many of the chapters of her books and articles from here. The atmosphere is so soothing and can stimulate anyone to pick up the pen and write.
The purpose of my visit to the Mayor was to contribute something to this town in memory of my mother who was so attached to this town and had spent very many qualitiy days of her life out here. The Mayor agreed to open a small Indian section in the library 
which will have books of Tagore and other Indian authors for which I will send him the books on behalf of PRABHA KHAITAN FOUNDATION once I return to India. The Mayor has very kindly suggested that a tree may be planted in her memory in the town. The The 50th Anniversary celebrations are currently on in Dollard and I am lucky to be here around this time of the year. It would be really good that on the occasion of the 150th Anniversary of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore the residents of this town would have access to a collection of Gurudev's books during their Golden Jubilee celebrations.
ess bee

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