The industry cocktail party on Saturday evening was just around the corner from the Verdun room that I had visited at the end of Part 2, and eagerly accepted a ticket for a free beer from Sarah Tremblay at the door. After a busy day I was quite thirsty.
As music played from an unusual combination of electric guitar and trombone, numerous encounters with friends in the industry ensued. I was dumbfounded to learn that I had missed an entire hallway on the upper level. This would necessitate a quicker than usual pace the next day. I savored the beer.
Michel Plante, Sarah's husband, took the stage and drew the attention of the crowd for the awarding of the annual Lifetime Achievement Award.
Mark Mandlsohn, owner of Bay Bloor Radio in Toronto, introduced the recipient of this year's award, Sylvie Thibault and Bernard Fillion the owners of Fillion Electronics in Montreal. Their son Samuel Fillion was also asked to join them on the stage. Each of them manages one of their three stores in the Montreal area and the business is celebrating their 60th Anniversary this year.
Then, after their speeches, in a surprise twist, Mark Mandlsohn himself was awarded a second Lifetime Achievement Award this evening and handed an Inukshuk trophy Bay Bloor Radio is celebrating their 70th Anniversary this year. And of course, he too gave a speech. Michel Plante tells me Fillion is unique in their way of promoting their stores. He added, "Bay Bloor Radio and Fillion are the largest retailers in their own cities and even if their sales volume is very important, the customers' experience is still their priority number one."
Vincent Belanger joined Caroline St-Louis and her husband, guitarist Stephan Ritch, for a song. A few songs later, the duet on the podium in the middle of the room joined in. I must say, it's been a couple of years since I've heard Caroline sing, and that night her performance seemed especially good. But a man does not survive on song alone, so I set out on an adventure for food and ambiance.
I found the ambiance first, at the AntiCafe where they sell ambiance by the hour along with free non-alcoholic beverages, but not food. Nonetheless, Ben suggested I could buy my dinner elsewhere and bring it back to enjoy here. It was a comfy place to hang, populated by young folks, the sort of place I would have liked when I was in my twenties. Except nowadays it's a Wi-Fi spot where people can blog or do their homework among peers rather than parents. But I left in search of sustenance.
I encountered the Place des Arts and across the street from it, a huge indoor mall where I chanced upon another St. Hubert chicken restaurant that was considerably more upbeat than the historic one at the train station where Tom and I would typically eat and discuss the day's discoveries. The Take-Out service was much more proletarian than the restaurant itself, geared more for people in work clothes and jogging suits, and without a place to sit.