If you’ve followed my blog lately (which I’m sure you do religiously, right?) you might remember a post about the future of St. Laurent boulevard between Rene-Levesque and Ste. Catherine. Long story short, as part of the new Quartier des Spectacles project the city is attempting to evict tenants of the Southwest corner of St. Laurent and Ste. Catherine (some of whom have been there since the early 1900’s) in favour of an office tower. Read on…

One of the building owners being pressured to abandon ship is John Zoomboulakis, owner of Cafe Cleopatra (est. 1975). I actually bumped into him this past weekend and we had a chance to exchange a few words. I must admit, I never really pictured Mr. Zoomboulakis as the man I met. Simply put, picture an older, very stoic business man (suit and all!) with a very heavy Greek accent. As we talked about the future of his building and business, you could instantly not only see but feel how pained he was with the uncertainty of it all.

Although he believes the southern part of the main is in need of a facelift, he argues that destroying buildings and essentially the past is not the solution. Rather, he believes that it is a question of building upon and reworking what is already present.

Zoomboulakis’ establishment is highly recognized by the alternative lifestyle communities in Montreal and it is probably one of the only venues of its kind to still be around in what is infamously referred to as the red light district.

Artists of Cleo’s have even gone as far as to form a group better known as “Coalition des Artistes du Cabaret Cléo” to try and save their home. So far, they’ve organized everything from petitions to special events to try and heighten awareness over the whole situation and gain support — something which our City representatives did not see coming.

Another reading of memorandums as well as the presentation of the petition will be held at the Holiday Inn Select (99 Viger W. corner St-Urbain) this Tuesday, June 9th at 7 pm. I am told that the public is more than welcome to attend to show their support.

The petition is also available at www.ipetitions.com/petition/spectacles

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