Westmount Victoria Village Street Festival – The Westmount Victoria Village Street Festival is back for a fourth year and is taking place between June 14-17th on and around Victoria Avenue and Sherbrooke Street. The merchants street festival kicks off with a fashion show today at 7 p.m. to help raise money for the Cedars Cancer Foundation of the MUHC. This year the Westmount Victoria Village Merchants Association is partnering with the Cedars Foundation as its official charity. The evening will feature a fashion show of couture, activewear and casual design from Westmount merchants. Local residents and business people from 20-60 will model the clothing in “Strut for a Cause” making the fundraiser a true community effort.
“We wanted to bring a dash of fashion, flair and fun”, says WVVMA coordinator Kiefer Shaw. “And that’s why we will have a merchant’s fashion show, a Bodylicious dance by Vic Park and special guest performance from Sara Diamond on Thursday. That will be followed with shop ‘til you drop Friday, singing and dancing in Prince Albert Square on Saturday and a special Father’s day brunch and dog nail trimming on Sunday by Montreal’s Veterinary Hospital.” Bodylicious is a high-energy cardio-dance workout designed by Drea Wheeler owner of Victoria Park Health Club. Sara Diamond is a Canadian singer/songwriter from Montreal who is best known for her singing of the American National Anthem for the Montreal Canadiens during the 2013/14 and 2014/15 NHL Playoffs.
Up-and-comer Frédérique El Kaim, Royal Bank Business Account Manager, and local coordinator of the festival has high hopes for it. “The fashion show is there to kick off the event, to get everybody excited about it,” she says.”The whole purpose of the fair in a world where everyone is disconnected and always in front of their screens is to come together and connect. It’s about people supporting local businesses and having an authentic experience which we really don’t have anymore.” Many of the family-run businesses in the area have been there for generations. “These are people who have put their hearts into it,” she says.
The Cedars Foundation will have a booth at the festival to help raise awareness about cancer. People can ask questions, pick up literature and make a donation by cash, credit card, or check. Some merchants will also have bins set up to receive donations. Shaw who grew up in Westmount feels the same way noting that many of the stores’ mangers have been there for ages too, some since they were 16 years old. “Westmount is a very close-knit community. You run into your friends and neighbors. You know them by name.” She sees the merchants association as a catalyst to raise the profile of the borough. “We want it to develop, for people to join and know about it because there is a lot of history there.” It always comes back to paying it forward. “We’re keeping the cycle going. We’re trying to connect more with different organizations so that when we need support, it will be there for us.”
There’s lots happening to make this a success. El-Kaim was on Breakfast Television recently to pitch the event which she sees as more of a celebration. She’s brimming with enthusiasm about the movers and shakers who are lending their support and optimistic others will soon tune into the Victoria Village vibe. “Artists, merchants & service providers, and our residents form the winning trio of our community and we couldn’t be happier to devote countless volunteer hours to make the Victoria Village soar”, she says. Together she and Shaw form a formidable duo who have in their own words “lit a fire under the festival” this year by assembling “ambassadors” who will spread the word.
Among the top Montreal personalities who are shining a spotlight on the occasion are Montreal’s own celebrity chef Antonio Park, renowned Victoria Park Spa owner and creator of Bodylicious Drea Wheeler, real estate powerhouse Alfie Kaufman, Canadiens anthem singer & songwriter Sara Diamond, outstanding Wowwee toys Brand Manager Sydney Wiseman and one of Montreal’s top influencers Katherine Garbarino (KGMtl) who scouted local merchants who source organic products. They have all set their sights on raising money for the Cedars Cancer Foundation. Shaw is making an interactive video of the Westmount Victoria Village Street Festival courtesy of corporate sponsor Spotful and the Cedars Foundation has a link on its website to encourage Montreal festival-goers to come and discover the west-end burb’s 70+ merchants, food trucks and artists that the fair is featuring.
Fashion, food, fun, and a good cause – what’s not to like?
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