Former students start petition to save Riverdale High School – Montreal


Jason Comm, Amanda Lovelace and Sam Godon have fond memories of attending Riverdale High School.

“There are families and generations that have gone to this school,” said Lovelace while at a meeting with Liberal MNA Monsef Derraji.

The three former Riverdale students met with the Nelligan MNA to see what steps can be taken to save their old school.

Riverdale High School building to be handed over to French school board

Francois Legault’s CAQ government announced Monday that it was closing the English school in Pierrefonds, and giving it over to the over-crowded French Marguerite Bourgeoys school board.

“This is an English institution. We have to keep it around because we are Quebecers, too, and deserve to have our institutions maintained,” said Comm.

WATCH: Quebec a key battleground in federal election campaign

The group has started a petition to try and keep the school open, and Derraji says the petition could help him make a case to the minister.

“It is something I can take to the minister and say, ‘this is serious and from our community,’” said Derraji.

While at a caucus meeting in Gatineau, Premier Francois Legault told reporters that the party considered having the French school share space with the English school, but that after months of negotiations, realized that it wouldn’t work.

English schools in West Island will fill empty classrooms with French students

“We were open to this scenario, but after reviewing the number of students in the different schools, it was possible to have the school only for francophones,” said Legault.

Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge says that the overcrowding situation at the French school is a “crisis” and so the government had to take action.

Comm and his friends are convinced that there has to be another solution — one that keeps Riverdale open and in the English community.


© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Man admits he dismembered woman whose remains were found behind a Riverdale meat shop, but says he didn’t kill her


Ian Albert Ohab has admitted in court he dismembered the body of a 30-year-old woman whose partial remains were found behind a meat shop in Riverdale and on a conveyor belt at a North York recycling plant.

But while the 40-year-old pleaded guilty to indignity to a body, he pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder of Melissa Cooper sometime between April 15 and 19, 2016.

Prosecutors say Melissa Cooper, 30, was killed sometime between April 15 and 19, 2016. Her partial remains were found in a waste bin behind a meat shop on Broadview Ave.
Prosecutors say Melissa Cooper, 30, was killed sometime between April 15 and 19, 2016. Her partial remains were found in a waste bin behind a meat shop on Broadview Ave.  (TORONTO POLICE SERVICE)

Ohab originally pleaded not guilty to both charges last week as jury selection was getting underway.

On the opening day of the jury trial Monday, the prosecution outlined the anticipated evidence in a case Crown attorney Bev Richards said is “about a young woman who is killed by a man she encounters by chance in the elevator of an apartment building.”

“The man who killed and cut up her body with a hack saw is the accused in this trial, Ian Albert Ohab,” Richards said.

Cooper went to that building at 220 Oak St., near Gerrard and River Sts., around midnight April 14, 2016, to visit a friend who, like herself, battled alcohol and drug addiction. Richards said that friend, Maurice Liberty, will testify Cooper left his 18th-floor apartment after about a half-hour and told him “I’ll be back.”

Read more: Why was a publication ban imposed on Melissa Cooper’s identity?

Cooper, who had other friends in the building, appeared fine, was not high or drunk and left her backpack behind, Richards told the jury.

Surveillance footage shows Ohab joined by Cooper on an elevator on the 15th floor around 1:35 a.m., Richards said. “There appears to be some interaction between them. A minute later both Melissa and Ian Ohab get off the elevator at the 23rd floor and turn left in the direction of Ian Ohab’s apartment,” she said. “She is never seen alive again.”

On Saturday, April 16, 2016, security footage recorded Ohab “coming and going” in various locations throughout the building, Richards said. On one occasion, she said, Ohab was captured carrying a distinctive large gym bag, and other times he can be seen with a large shopping cart wheeling out an item wrapped in a plastic bag. He was also seen throwing items into garbage dumpsters at 220 Oak St., the prosecutor said.

The Crown also alleges Ohab that day rode his bicycle to a hardware store on Parliament St. and purchased a 10-inch tubular hacksaw that he used to cut up Cooper’s body and dispose of in various locations, including the lower half of her torso in a waste bin behind Charlie’s Meat Shop at 383 Broadview Ave. Her arm was discovered in a bag on a conveyor belt at the North York recycling plant. No other body parts, including her head, have been found.

A neighbour will testify Ohab came to his apartment around that time, although he does not remember the exact date, twice asking to borrow soap and bleach, Richards said.

A forensic pathologist will testify he cannot provide a cause of death “given the limited tissues” available, nor was he able to rule out any cause of death, nor pinpoint the time of death. Cooper’s mother, Michelle Ball, reported her daughter missing after she failed to show up for dinner at her grandmother’s or respond to phone calls or texts.

Cooper’s DNA was also found under floor tiles in the Ohab’s bathroom, Richards told the jury.

Richards said while Cooper struggled with addiction issues since she was 14, and was living on the streets for a period of time, she had begun rebuilding her life.

She had her own basement apartment where she lived with her cat and was going to counselling for severe anxiety issues. She was also learning to manage her money and budget wisely and volunteering at a mission with her grandmother.

Ohab is a tall man who wears his thick black hair swept back. He was wearing a dark suit, glasses and took notes during Richards’ opening address.

The Crown’s case will include witness testimony, video surveillance footage, diagrams and photographs, Richards said.

Betsy Powell is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and courts. Follow her on Twitter: @powellbetsy


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Controversial tiny, tall home in Toronto’s Riverdale neighbourhood on market for $3M – Toronto


From their back deck, a couple of homeowners in south Riverdale discuss the “big white square” that has become their rear view.

“We knew by the height of it that it would just be grotesque,” said Linda Bourgeois.

“It’s just been a mar on a community.”

Bourgeois is referring to a house that is up for sale on Hamilton Street, near Broadview Avenue and Dundas Street East, and it about a block away from her own home.

The asking price is $3 million for the tiny but tall, 1300-square-foot, modern-style home. It sits on a 15-by-86-foot lot.

According to the MLS listing for 154 Hamilton St., it is a “unique home in central Toronto” and a “modern marvel with four levels of functional minimalism naturally lit via full-height Juliette balcony windows, beautiful terraces, and a central skylight.”

Seller Cyril Borovsky, who bought and built the existing home, calls it a “piece of art.”

“Really the most important thing was the fact that I wanted to make it extremely efficient with the environment in mind,” he said.

“The entire building works on natural gas with very little electronic components. The heating is completely radiant throughout the house… These are completely new ways to build a house.”

But the look of the tall and skinny look of the home has raised eyebrows in the south Riverdale neighbourhood.

“The only thing you could use it for would probably be to show movies on the side because it’s just a big white … It would be a great drive-in movie theatre but unfortunately it’s not, it’s a house,” said Linda Clowes while giggling.

Clowes, Linda Bourgeois, and a group of other area residents, fought the home’s construction several years ag, when they first caught a glimpse of the design plan.

“People weren’t happy with that design and the height … it doesn’t really fit,” noted Councillor Paula Fletcher, who has been to the home before.

“I was a little surprised that the planning department didn’t suggest that it was out of character and shouldn’t be approved.”

The listing has been active since September, but remains for sale.

Borovsky, who initially started building it for himself now, said he is looking for someone who would appreciate it.

He acknowledged the home has led to a lot of discussion within the neighbourhood, and some people expressed their distaste for the style of the home.

“I really hope that this will be landmark after I’m long and gone,” he said.

“I hope they treat it like it’s the Eiffel Tower. It’s something that is new and beautiful part of the neighbourhood.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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