This past Friday, a very special vernissage and book launch was put on at our new exhibition space Art Victoria Park entitled 'The Last Game at the Forum'. It is a series of images that photographer and noted documentary filmmaker Ezra Soiferman shot twenty years ago, chronicling the people, places and spaces that have left such a mark on our collective soul.
Friday March 11th was the 20th anniversary of the historic last game and was the perfect date to launch this touching tribute.
In all of the art exhibitions and promotional events that I have been involved with over the years, this one drew the most attention by far. In the week leading up to the event Ezra, who is probably best know for his acclaimed documentary film ‘Man of Grease’ was a guest on CJAD, CHOM, CBC, TSN 690 and Global News. He was also featured in several newspapers, on-line columns and will be the subject of an upcoming Bill Brownstein article in the Gazette.
When Ezra first approached me with his idea and showed me the prototype for his book, I knew that there would be enough general interest to warrant putting on a show. I had no idea just how much it would mean to so many. The event was packed with people, a few local celebs and former staffers, who were there not only to view something of interest but to share their experiences with one and other. What started off as a vernissage and book launch about the Forum quickly turned into a ‘forum’ for heartfelt discussions, beloved memories and shared experiences.
One of my favorite stories of the night was one from former (and once again, soon to be) anthem singer André Ouellette.
Landing the spot as anthem singer for the Montreal Canadiens was a dream come true for Ouellette, who had grown up a diehard Habs fan. And even though he was classically trained and had many performances under his belt, singing at the historic Montreal Forum in front of his idols and the sold out crowd had him rattled. Ouellette was a professional and he channeled those emotions into what he felt was one of the best performances of his life. After he walked off the ice, the first person to call him over and congratulate him was legendary figure, Jean Beliveau. He introduced himself to Ouellette (not necessary!) gave him some very kind words of encouragement and handed Ouellette his Canadiens business card, with an offer to call him anytime for anything.
After sharing this story with us, Ouellette dug out his wallet and rifled through it to produce Jean Beliveau’s slightly dog-eared business card. He has carried it with him everyday since meeting Mr. Beliveau as a good luck charm. Ouellette said that he is going to show it to Mrs. Beliveau at his upcoming performance at the Bell Centre…and yes, of course I suggested that he should have it framed after that!
‘The Last Game at the Forum' exhibition runs until March 25th at Art Victoria Park, 376 Victoria in Westmount. For more information or to purchase one of Ezra’s photographs or a copy of the book ‘The Last Game at the Forum' contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or
call 514 369 2633.