Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Ivaan always wanted to take a photograph of these two men playing chess. Cyril Greenland, on the left,  is my father (and thus Ivaan's devoted father-in-law). Henry Morgentaler, on the right, is his longtime friend and frequent chess partner.  One day about ten years ago, when Dad dropped over to our house on Portland Street with Henry, Ivaan figured his moment had arrived. He loaded his Hasselblad camera with film.  I don't think he realized how seriously these men took their chess. They quickly made it clear that they didn't want a  camera shutter interrupting their concentration.  Cyril was a very superior chess player, but Henry played a ferocious game.  He didn't  lose often, and he certainly didn't lose graciously.  Ivaan didn't play  chess at all, and he wasn't remotely competitive, but he knew when he was beaten.  Cyril and Henry settled on the sofa for a chat, and Ivaan got a chance to take some photos of them in conversation.  I've occasionally been out with Henry and Cyril, and particularly from the rear, I  sometimes had difficulty figuring out who was who.  They were the same height, fairly bald, bearded, wearing glasses, they dressed alike, and they walked slowly.  In Cyril's case, it was because he didn't want Henry to lag behind.

Cyril died on New Year's Day, 2012, aged 92.  We miss him profoundly and remember him with the greatest warmth and affection.

This morning we received the sad news that Henry Morgentaler died peacefully at home, at the age of 90, with his beloved wife Arlene, and his family all around him.  I do not know if there is a Celestial Chess Board set up and waiting in The World To Come, but Henry, if there is,  Cyril has the pieces set up in preparation for your arrival.  And Ivaan has his camera loaded with film.  Those are some photos I'd love to see.  To Cyril and to Henry:  enjoy your game.  Ivaan, get a good shot and beam it back to me.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Just one short week from today, we'll be celebrating our first year on Dupont Street.  Here's the invitation we sent out.  I'm ashamed to admit our record-keeping hasn't been brilliant so we're not  entirely sure who received an invitation and who didn't.  But frankly, whether there are 10 people in here or 30, it feels like a crowd.  Luckily, the revelry will continue all afternoon on June 1st, and I guess people will be popping in and out at whim.  If it's nice weather outside,  maybe we'll set up a few chairs out front so people can get a breath of fresh air.

Ivor, the VP of Atelier Ivaan, is jetting into town on Thursday evening to help organize things and attend the event. Too bad he'll have to leave on Saturday night, but I'm extremely glad he can make it.  If you come, you'll recognize him:  he's the tall, good-looking one who appears to know what he's doing.

Ivaan, my beloved, let me tell you this: owning and operating a retail store is not for the faint of heart.  It has toughened me up in many ways, but I have had lots of sage advice and inspiration along the way.  I think my favourite lesson came even before I opened our doors to the public for the first time.  I had just taken delivery of my POS terminal, on which credit and debit card purchases are processed.  I'm not afraid of technology whatsoever; I just don't like it.  I was fretting to my friend Tatiana, the owner of Pimlico Design Gallery, from whom I bought this building, about my inability to operate a POS terminal.  She listened patiently for a while, and finally said, "Eya, even STUPID people can use those things."

That put things in perspective!  I laughed my head off, and in fact although my first customer had to help me process his transaction, after that I was an expert.  Ivaan, I know you thought I was a genius before, but you'd be even more proud of me now.  And you would love this place.  So don't forget to make an appearance on June 1st.  Because there will be food.