Today is the 10th anniversary of Mordecai Richler’s death.

To mark it the City of Montreal has decided to name a gazebo on Mont Royal in his honour.  This has drawn a scathing response from the Westmount Examiner which decries that a  writer who did much to put Montreal on the literary map “will be remembered by a gazebo – a  graffiti-covered, outdoor flophouse for transients, not far from the St. Urbain Street stomping grounds of Richler’s youth and the setting of many of his most beloved works.” (I drove past the gazebo the other day coming from Beauty’s restaurant and it is indeed a dump.)

The late American writer, Saul Bellow, was born in Lachine.  Although he spent 80 years of his life in the United States, Bellow has a municipal library named for himself in Lachine.  Not so Richler.

Richler’scharacters like Duddy Kravitz and Barney Panofsky are part of Montreal’s literary fabric.

The Westmount Examiner continues:  “Richler’s public tangle with Quebec nationalists in the 1990s might challenge the political correctness of honouring his memory with anything so prestigious as a Montreal library, but let’s face it – a mere gazebo is an insult.”

I met Richler several times over the years.  He was like a porcupine shedding its quills.  But that has nothing to do with the quality of his literary heritage.

Should the City of Montreal think again?

Should it perhaps name St. Urbain, the heart of Richlerland, for Mordecai?

Does Richler deserve better than a moth-eaten gazebo?

What do you think?


  1. 1

    Renaming Quebec City “Mordechaiville” would be an appropriate way to honour Richler’s contributions to Quebec.

  2. 2
    Neil McKenty Says:


    Re-naming Quebec City for Mordecai would make about as much sense as re-naming Montreal for General Wolfe.

  3. 3
    Trev Says:

    Maybe MTL should rename St Urbain street to Richler street – no I am joking – but the next time a new bridge or street needs a name, the city should definitely honour the St Urbain horseman
    After all they named the McGill library after Hugh MacClennan, the previous big-hitter from the anglosphere

  4. 4
    littlepatti Says:

    No matter what is done to honour Richler, some anti everything will defile it.It’s too bad that the recent generations have not been taught to respect property.
    It riles me!

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