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  • Writer's pictureAidan G

The Seventh Very Terry Christmas

Updated: 4 days ago

It's that time of year again. Chestnuts are roasting on open fires, homes are lit up like the Las Vegas strip, presents are under trees, and I'm sitting down with my good friend Terry DiMonte for the 7th annual Very Terry Christmas.

It's our favourite tradition, especially since we no longer live close enough to go out for drinks together. Although, if I'm honest, the theme of this episode is less Christmassy and more grumpy. What begins as nostalgia for the good old days- Christmas in Montreal, great food, great friends, and great radio- slowly turns into wondering what happened to all that great stuff. I don't know if age turns everyone into a Scrooge, but I think it's starting to have that effect on Terry and I. Especially when it comes to the food. We talk a lot about food. We even spend a bit of time talking about the weather. I know.

But don't get the wrong idea, because there are still some incredibly funny and interesting stories tucked away in here. Guys with Terry's experience in broadcasting have no shortage of those. That's why I bring him back every year- well, that and the fact that he's one of the best friends I've got. And clearly age hasn't slowed him down too much, because he's still doing his annual discussions with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, which you can listen to here:

I hope you enjoy the seventh edition of A Very Terry Christmas, and from everyone here at the Soundoff Podcast Network, we hope you have a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.



Matt Cundill (Host) 00:00:13

Every year, Terry DiMonte and I get together for some Christmas cheer and a podcast episode. You see, Terry loves Christmas, and our get-togethers are filled with fun, Christmas drink, and innocuous frolic and chatter. This year we can't get together in person, so this podcast will represent the frolic and chatter. While we are recording this from our homes in Winnipeg and the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Montreal is our home, and we always speak passionately about it. So prepare yourself for discussion about that, and food, the weather radio, our lives, the people in our lives, and everything else that was top of mind for us when we recorded this. A small word to the wise that our language gets a little un-Christmaslike. So if you're just firing up a new device that you got under the Christmas tree, make sure the AirPods are connected, and that the ears of the young cannot hear the 7th installment of A Very Terry Christmas.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:01:10

Every year I drive my wife crazy. I go to Walmart and I see what the latest goofy Christmas kitschy animated thing is. And this year it's Snoopy. He dances, his ears flap. And I just figured because we were doing the Christmas Day thing- and when my wife Jess listens to this podcast, she's going to say, oh, for Christ's sake. Hi, Matt.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:01:50

Where is Jess?

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:01:52

She's at work. She's gone to the Death Star. She's gotta go to the office. I think it's twice a week, three times a week, something like that.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:01:59

In past episodes, we would always make Star Wars references to refer to going to work at a radio station, but here we are. Now, we've continued that, but now we're talking about other people reporting to the Death Star.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:02:10

Yeah, I have to say, I was talking with a buddy of mine a couple of weeks ago. I sure don't miss all of the bullshit that comes with it. I must admit- somebody asked me about doing a radio show. I must admit I do miss it. And because I was pushed out, I didn't think much of it. And I said that's enough. I'm old enough, tired of getting out of bed. And that's true, all of that. I don't miss getting out of bed, and I don't miss, you know, the politics and the yelling and the corporate nonsense, and you and I are both on the same page. I don't want to spend the whole podcast talking about what a mess the corporations have made of the broadcast industry in this country, but what a mess the corporations have made of the broadcast industry in this country. Jesus Christ. I moved to British Columbia and I live in the lower mainland, and I was kind of excited because we- I remember when, you know, in what I considered the heyday, like in the 80's and the 90's, if you drove from, say, Montreal, to Toronto. You know, you'd get to Brockville and you'd think, oh, let's listen to what they're doing. And get to Kingston and you think, let's listen to what they're doing. Or if you drove from Winnipeg to Kenora, when you got to Kenora, you got the little radio station in Kenora that was on AM and on FM, and it was all local, and it played some cool records that other people didn't play. When you drove the other direction from Winnipeg and you ended up in Moose Jaw, you could catch CHAB and hear all the young broadcasters coming up, all of that old reminiscing radio guy stuff. That's all gone. I mean, it's all gone. And I thought when I got to Vancouver, I thought, this is a big radio market. This will be interesting. It is not. As a matter of fact, one of the stations, and I feel bad for them, 1130 News, I think they're owned by Rogers. It's just staffed with children from the local college. And "The war in the Ukraine continues in Kiev," it's really- anyway, all that to say, I miss having a connection with an audience and I missed doing a radio show. The podcast that Ted and I do helps with that a little bit. And I don't know why I got on this tact, but we started to talk about something and a buddy of mine said, do you miss it? And I said, yeah, I do. I actually missed the whole idea of putting together a radio program and connecting with an audience and having a platform to do some good things.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:04:34

Well, you're doing it right now with the podcast. But what I would say is that when you went into a radio station, there were people in the station, but the B-part of that is the audience. You were creating a shared experience between like six and nine every morning. That would be a shared experience. And when you do it in podcast form, people will just listen to it whenever, and you don't get any feedback, and there's no blinking phone lights, and there's-

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:04:57

What's missing is, and people who are on the radio will understand this, it's the magic of the medium. There's a magic. I know I sound like a lunatic, but there is, there's a magic to when your finger touches the mic button and you know the curtain has gone up, and whatever you say carries out over the airwaves. There's a magic and an excitement to that that podcasts certainly don't replace. But I've been having an awful lot of fun with the podcast, and I was surprised that you wanted to do another one of these. Does anybody care about this anymore?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:05:30

This particular show?

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:05:32

Yes, this particular show. The Christmas podcast with old, washed up Terry DiMonte.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:05:39

Actually, this could very well be the show now, but when you do something long enough and, you know, sometimes it's about showing up and being consistent. And if we didn't do this episode, we would get a note from Eli Curry who was in Sweden last year. He may or may not still be there. He's the first one to download this thing when it goes out, and he looks forward to this on Christmas morning.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:06:03

That's nice. I like that. Merry Christmas, Eli.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:06:06

And a lot of people don't want to do podcasts over Christmas, because they figure no one's listening, or they want to stop their workflow, and all that's fine, but why not? There's new devices that are being opened and started up this morning. So why can't we be their very first podcast listen?

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:06:22

Well, I know you're king of the podcast now, and you're immersed deeply in it. And your take on the releasing of podcasts on Christmas Day is?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:06:22

Do it.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:06:22

Do it.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:06:33

Look what we started. This is the 7th one we've done, and there are people out there who rely on this on Christmas morning who, if we didn't do it, we would hear from people. It's like my grandmother with the drink. Oh, no, it was a present. You got her a present and she said, you didn't need to get me a present. And then you didn't get her a present one year. And she says, I never got a present from you.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:06:58

Oh, God bless your grandmother. Oh, boy, you guys must miss her, because I do.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:07:02

Oh, yeah. Every day, 06:00, with the two things of water and two ice cubes.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:07:09

It's funny because she is still with us, because I think about her often and I think about her- in the new place in BC we got an old Hollywood style booze cart, the kind of thing that Carrie Grant would reach for the selzer bottle. One of those. And we have one of those in the house. And every time I walk by it, I think about it. And what we're talking about is, I became friends with Matt's grandmother over the last years of her life, and would always pop by around Christmas time and other times, too. Sometimes I would get invited over just for a cocktail before dinner, and your grandmother had one of those carts. So whenever I walk by the cart, I think of her, and I often think of what she would say and what she would do. And I often think, when Jess and I are considering having a drink, and I'll say to Jess, we're not farmers.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:08:04

Yeah, I think once you wanted to start at 5:58 and pour the drinks, she wouldn't let you start till six.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:08:11

I think I wanted to come over, you know, because I was visiting. I think I was visiting from Calgary one year, and I had a pretty busy day of visits. And I said, Is it okay if I drop by around 05:00? And I think she said five? We're not farmers.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:08:27

What are you doing for Christmas this year?

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:08:29

Well, this year on Christmas, it's a little different. And by design, as a lot of people who have relatives in other cities will understand. When my wife and I go home for Christmas, her family is in the Laurentians. My family is all now in Arnprior, Ontario, and we have to fly to Montreal or Toronto, rent a car and then split up because we don't have the time. So she goes to her family, I go to my family. It gets a little complicated, and as Jess pointed out to me, probably in the middle of the summer, she said, we've never spent Christmas together, which is true, and between pandemic and snowstorms and whatever, she's been with her family or- one year was awful. I can't remember exactly what happened, but she was in the apartment in Griffintown and I was with my family in Cornwall and she ended up spending most of Christmas alone. Anyway. She said, this year, you know what, I want a Christmas for us, just for us. And I said, yeah, you're right. And also, we weren't crazy about the travel. The travel at this time of the year. Boy, oh boy. You have to deal with what's happening with airlines and airports and everything else in these last couple of years. Anyway, long story short, we decided it was just Christmas with us, so it's just going to be my wife and me today, as you're listening to this, and there'll be FaceTimes with the family, and we're going to open presents and do our own Christmas this year. And it'll be different and it'll be tough on our families. But we thought, having been together for over five years now, it was time we had a Christmas together.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:10:13

I will be in Montreal, and I will let you know how the airlines made out, and the Uber and the construction of Montreal and everything else.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:10:20

Will you be with your mum this year?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:10:23

Yes. I called her and I asked if I was invited and I got shrieked back at, you're always invited.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:10:28

Let me ask you something. I haven't spoken to your mum in a number of years and that's shame on me, and I owe her a letter. Is she becoming more and more like your grandmother as she gets older?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:10:40

Yeah. I mean, it was inevitable, right?

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:10:42

Oh, yeah. That must be fantastic, though.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:10:45

Yeah. But I got to watch my mum react when my grandmother got a little older and my mother would come to me and say, that never used to be like that. And now I'm going to tell my kids, that never used to be like that. She turned 75 this year.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:11:01

I was just about to say, God love her, didn't she just turn 75?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:11:05

So we all went in on October 20-something, to have a little get together, and she was none too happy to see us. It was, I think a week before, it was Jackie. And Jackie is a longtime family, you know, friend, used to work with us as a nanny for Henry and Willie, for anybody who this is going to be tough to explain. My mum had me at 22. I'm the oldest. I was born in 1970. There were three of us, and then there's this little gap and then these two other kids show up a little bit later. So here I am, I'm 17 years older than William, who is the youngest. So my mum had a baby at 22 and then she had another one later at 39, but people thought she was crazy for having it at 39, but I think she's nuts for having one at 22.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:11:53

Times were different back then that's, you know, it's like my mum and dad, they were they were married at 20 and had me at 21. It's, you know, largely unthinkable today and I- you know, there's a real richness to that story, I think, about your family and Jackie coming along to help with, you know, the two younger arrivals.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:12:12

Right around the same time that I'm off to university.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:12:15

Yeah. And sort of becoming a member of the family. And for people who don't know, your mum is not one for celebrations and fusses. She doesn't like to be the center of attention.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:12:26

So Jackie announced that she was coming a week before and then I got an email and we all got an email saying, when are you coming to surprise me? So worst surprise party ever.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:12:40

So no one yelled Surprise, I guess.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:12:42

That's right. Jackie, by the way, was coming from Scotland, and that's where she lives. And the rest of us came from across the country, except for my brother, who lives in Montreal, and my sister came up from Costa Rica and we all got together in October, and I guess most of us will be back for Christmas.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:12:58

You know, there's a little bit of jealousy on my part when I think about the house, because you go back to the house that basically you grew up in, and this is rare, especially in English Montreal, this is very rare, that your family is still in the home you grew up in. So the rooms are all familiar. The Christmas tree is in the same place, in the same part of the living room. There's no hockey equipment scattered at the door. But when you walk into that house, it's awash in memories of your childhood. And even for me, there's a lot of memories for me in that house over the course of the years of my friendship with you and the rest of your siblings. Is that a thing for you when you go back? I know you're not a sentimental guy, but are you watching memories when you open that big wooden door and it creaks and you walk in the house?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:13:53

Or don't forget the three dogs that will bark at you the minute you open up the door.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:13:57

Well, as soon as you step on the landing, I think.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:14:01

Yeah, so when you describe it like that. I just realized I don't really know any other Christmas and I've done that. I have spent Christmas away. Did one in Winnipeg, and I did one memorable Christmas in 1997 in Edmonton when there were where there was no snow. It was strange. It was like 17 degrees on Christmas Day and I was hitting golf balls, just so I could say I hit golf balls in 1997 at 17 degrees in Edmonton. But I'll even take that one step further about that house. And so we had a cocktail party for my mom for her birthday, invited a number of her friends, which included Stephen Molson. That house has only had two owners, and the original owner was Stephen Molson's family, or father, who had it. And so they've got stories of the house and we shared stories of the house, and he was back in the house telling us stories.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:14:50

That's really cool. Like I said, especially for people who know the politics of Montreal, a lot of English families left over the years. So it would be really cool if my family could gather at our old house on Granger Street in Pierrefall. But my you know, my parents left in in the 70s right after Levec took office. And there are a lot of families in Calgary and BC and other parts of Alberta and Winnipeg, all across the country who aren't in the same house. And I am a sentimental guy. I'm a weepy italian. And I think there's something special about sitting in that living room at your mom's house with that tree in the same place that it's always been with siblings and now for her grandchildren and stuff. It must be pretty cool.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:15:35

Yeah, it is. I think for me, though, I look at the friends and places where we have drinks, where's Terry living. Can we go and get our Christmas drink?

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:15:44

Yeah, I missed that because that was a bit of a tradition, too, where you and the boys and Avery would drop by the house in NDG before you headed back to your mom's house. And I missed that. And that's a consequence of me moving. There are a lot of good things about moving, a lot of bad things about moving. And we're working through that now that we've been out here for a year and a half. There are some things we love and some things we don't love very much, and there's a lot of things we miss.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:16:11

I kind of feel like you haven't left Montreal, though, with the podcast that you're doing. You've got a radio show that does reach in Montreal once a week with Ted. I feel as though you're still in the market and still a part of Montreal in the fabric. Your picture still sits on the side of the Montreal General Hospital.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:16:30

Is it still up there? Yeah, I think it's because it's too expensive to take down.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:16:36

But yeah, even though you've left I mean, it's not like when you left in 2008 and you moved to Calgary, and the only way to get you back to Montreal was to have you co host or host a noontime show on Q 92, which was voice tracked in.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:16:52

Yeah, it's funny you mentioned that because my wife and I were having a discussion about this after I was, quote, unquote, retired, and I think we may have talked about this last year. It takes a while to unwind from that and to find your way and get your feet under you after you've been doing something for as long as I did. And to be sort of, in a celebratory way, escorted out. It was a celebration, but it was also, your services won't be required anymore. It took a while for me to find my feet under me. What do I do? And at one point I said to Jess, no one's going to give a shit. There's no point in doing any of this. I'm gone. I'm off the air. And she said, terror. It's 2022 with social media and a podcast. You're never gone. You're never really gone. She said, Maybe not as big a force as you were with a morning radio chair, but she said, even that platform is diminishing in stature. And she said, between Twitter and Facebook and podcasts and some fun with Ted on a Saturday morning, you haven't gone anywhere. And it took a while for that to dawn on me. That's very true.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:18:05

How would you like to have that on your permanent record? Terry's gone nowhere. Hasn't gone anywhere.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:18:13

Yeah, I guess that's not a great I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. And a couple of friends have razzed me about moving, saying you should have never left the city. Misses you, miss aspects of the city, blah, blah, blah. But I'm not looking to go back to work full time. But you're absolutely right. Ted and I have some fun at the little radio station in Hudson. We've got some businesses who are still loyal to us after all of these years. The folks from Sun Youth have asked me to be part of their fundraising campaign in the new Year. And then there's the podcast, which I like to fly in and sit across from Ted to do those podcasts. But you know this. It's like every other Montreal, or all the Montreal ex Montrealis who live across the country. They're a pain in the ass because all they do is talk about Montreal. Yeah. Smoke meat bagels. Yeah, I know. Shut up. I've heard all the little stories before. It's one of those things when you live in that city, it's such a giant pain in the ass on so many levels. And when you leave that city and you're out of that city, you realize all of the good that's there and all of the things that you left.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:19:22

Behind when Avery and I go to Montreal. She insists on making stops at St. Vidar bagel to pick up four dozen bagels. And then eventually we realized we don't even get through the four dozen bagels and we get back to Winnipeg. So we stop, we cut back, we just get like one dozen now.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:19:39

Yeah, it's part of the ritual. Friend of mine, this is how long I've known my buddy Doug Moore. We were friends in Cub Scouts when we were, I think, eight years old. And he lives in the United States now, and he's bringing his two almost grown daughters to Montreal at Christmas time, and I can't be there to squire them around or point them in the right direction. And he asked me for a little bit of a guidance for a tour, you know, like he wanted to take them to walk down St. Denis. And I think St. Denis is over. It's been screwed by construction and everything else in a lot of places of clothes, so I'm going to steer him away from that. And then when I started to put together what I thought should be a good itinerary for him, I realized after making the list, I realized it was like, well, you want to go to Chalet Barbecue and you want to go to Gemma Pizza and you want to take the girls to Bonkeys for puts in. I realized, like every Montreal or, I was building the tour around food, but those are classics. To your point about you and Avery, when you go to Montreal, you think, okay, I'm going to bring home some maple syrup. I got to stop and get some bagels. I'll get the guys at Snowden Deli to vacuum pack some smoked meat for me because I don't give a shit what anybody says. There's places out here who sell Montreal smoked meat, spotamate shows, and all of those things that have become, you know, staples of ex Montreal or visits are cliches because they're true. Like all other cliches, they're things that are very true. But to your point, you also realize you don't need 48 bagels for the plane ride home. Probably a dozen will do, but you get carried away because you know you're not going to get another St vietnam bagel once you get back to Winnipeg.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:21:22

So Avery and I, we have our stops in Montreal. Places will go for lunch. Lexpress is still one of the faves. And by the way, you're right about Saint Denis. I want to think it's coming back, but it looked a little better. But I don't know.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:21:36

Boy, they screwed that street up, man. In my opinion, they screwed that street up. That used to be one of my favorite streets, but now a lot of the business is bolted. I mean, I've been gone over a year, so maybe it's coming back, but a lot of the business is bolted. There's nowhere to park. Things have changed on St, and either way, things have changed on Santoro, I'd be more inclined now to send Doug and his family down to morale. From the corner where beauty is all the way down that street, it's a little more funky and fun. And when it's not a pedestrian mall like it is in the summer, you can actually park on the street if you can find a spot.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:22:12

I noticed that Pine was closed for like, a long time and I see it's reopening and it looks pretty nice, I got to say. We'll see how it works out.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:22:20


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:22:20

You're right about Mo Royale. It looks great.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:22:23

Yeah. And I think it's kind of an example of when you don't close the street for two years, what can happen, and when you don't become obsessed with removing all the parking from everywhere, it shows that everybody this is one thing, and I don't want to get on this because it's such a pain in the ass. The people that are anti car and pro bike are so vociferous and so anti car, it's hard to understand. But in a lot of places like Westmount, in Westmount on Green Avenue, which your grandmother used to refer to as not quite downtown, wasn't it where Hampstead thinks they're going? Downtown? That's right. Anyway, if you've been down Green Avenue, which used to be quite a commercial thoroughfare and had a lot of legendary places on it, they made it so there was a bike lane, a really decent sidewalk, picnic tables to sit at and parking. Everybody gets along. You want to take your car because you got a bad knee, take your car. You want to take the bus and go for a walk, sit at the picnic table and go for a walk. Why can't everybody sort of make room for everybody else? But that's not the way the world works.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:23:35

Shout out to Christina Smith, the Mayor of Westmount.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:23:38

Yes, I was really taken with it. I used to be on Green Avenue a lot and park your car, go into the bank, go into Nick's and have some of their famous food. That place has been there 100 years. And find parking in the lot. Find parking on the street. Ride your bike if you like, walk on the wide sidewalk if you like. There's room for everybody. And in a big city, that's what I think it should be. But I'm not running the city, so what do I know?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:24:08

We should have a disclaimer person come on and mention that the mayor of Westmont is my sister in law.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:24:13

By the way, how do you get into Lexpress? Apparently they've cut back their hours and staff and it's hard to get in there.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:24:20

It is very hard to get in there. However, here's what I did. Started walking at eleven in the morning. We were going to go shopping on St Denny, see what was there, and called them at 11:00 and said, do you have a table for four. And they said, yes, we do. I've got one for you. And I think one of the things of the pandemic that my restaurant friends are telling me is that a lot of people just cancel. They book and they have no bones about canceling things an hour before, 2 hours before. So a couple of hours before there's opportunity.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:24:53

One of the things that we don't like about Vancouver is we think the food is terrible. By and large, mostly chain restaurants. If you like to go to Cactus Club or Earls, you're in for a good time. And if you think the Olive Garden is Italian food, you got to be prepared to get in a lineup for it. So we really haven't found any great restaurant that we've really enjoyed except for one. And when we organized with a couple of new friends here to go to this restaurant, run by Quebec's, by the way, and just picked up a Michelin star, when you go to this restaurant, you have to get online and make reservations when they open up the tables. And when you make your reservation, you got to pay upfront. You have to pay $125 upfront for two people and then wine and tip and whatever else will be added the night you arrive. And because the restaurant is so small and because its menu is geared to the amount of people that sit at those tables every night, they don't want you canceling and they want you to make sure that you're going to arrive. And initially I was kind of horrified by it, but now I'm understanding it more. Restauranters are struggling with people who are just out and out assholes who make reservations and don't bother calling back. My wife and I two weeks ago made a reservation at Highs Steakhouse, downtown Vancouver, and at the last, at the last minute, about a half an hour beforehand, we realized we weren't we were going to be unable to go. And we called the restaurant to cancel. And the woman said, oh, my God, thank you so much for calling. Of course we made a reservation. We wanted to make sure that you knew we weren't coming. And she said, you wouldn't believe how many people don't bother and screw up our rhythm of service every night. So you make a restaurant reservation. Don't be a dick.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:26:50

You see there? I told you that was going to happen.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:26:54

We were going to talk about food.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:26:55

And that the language might veer off Christmas. By the way, we're not done talking about food. We might even transition to the weather. I know it's riveting. One thing we have not touched on in this episode is Terry's annual talk with the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. Well, that did take place, and you can access that on our web

Mary Anne Ivison (VO) 00:27:24

This podcast supports podcasting 2.0. If you like this show or getting value from it, hit the boost button now. If you don't have. A boost button. You can get one now at new podcast

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:27:37

So I wanted to bring this up about the rest of Canada and food because my first day in Edmonton, 90, 94, eric Samuels, who grew up in Montreal or whose dad actually I didn't know this was quite predominant on Radio Canada as a performer. But anyhow, Eric in Edmonton took me to lunch and we went to Earls and he said, okay, so here's your warning. The food is not good here. And what you're eating now at Earls is considered fine dining locally. And I think he mentioned it so that I wouldn't complain about it a week later. But to your point about the Olive Garden always being full, the same stuff goes on here in Winnipeg. This is what Canadians do when they dine.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:28:18

You know what? It's got to be a Quebec thing because if you're born and raised in Quebec, you're born and raised in a culture that has such a passion for much like mostly a European based culture, such a passion for food and the way food is prepared and expanded palates and interest in other cultures and blah, blah, blah. I always say that if in Quebec, whether you're going to Mazhome Buddh at the Ritz or you're going to Joe Beef or Liverpool or you're going to Lafleurs. Or your favorite steamed hot dog place, the people that are making you a steamed hot dog want you to have the best steamed hot dog that they could possibly prepare. And they prepare it with pride. And if they don't, they don't stay in business. So you become accustomed to places whether, like I said, whether or not you're going to pick any one of the amazing restaurants like Imposto or Gemma Pizza, or any of the highly regarded restaurants like Job B for Liverpool. Or if you're going for schwarma or souvlaki, as it's called in Quebec, or you're going to carry hot dog, or you're going to snowden deli. Those things are family run and run with such great pride. And chains don't have that. Chains just don't have that. And when I was in Winnipeg, my favorite restaurants were restaurants that I think are gone now. I know Colechus is gone. That was a Greek family that did shirt. They did burgers and fries. But Jesus Christ, no matter what you had at Colechus was prepared with unbelievable pride. There was always a family member hovering around where the food was being prepared. Alicia's Ukrainian Kitchen was another favorite of mine. Oscar's Deli was another favorite of mine. But. Now I guess it's Earls and Cactus Club. And Joey's. Joey's, there's another one. Joey's is big brown. Social house is another one out here. And they're all owned by the same chain. And I guess if that's what you grow up around, that's what you get used to and that's what you think is good again.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:30:29

Yeah. So all that's lost on me because you ever seen. The bill like $17 glasses of crappy wine, $24 plates of nothing. And I'm telling you, I'm more versed in eating in Barcelona than I am in Winnipeg or Calgary or Vancouver. People say, well, I'm going to Barcelona. I said, Well, I'll talk about the restaurants in that city, or Madrid, the same way we would talk about them in Montreal. Unique places, great prices, and something to talk about afterwards.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:31:01

You have found a couple of places in Winnipeg, though, haven't you?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:31:04

Yeah, you know, I guess one of the things is they come and they go. I found that, well, you know, this Winnipeg had the best restaurants, but I think it really petered out in 2015.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:31:14

Yeah, I don't know what happened, because when I know what happened, what happened skipped the dishes. Okay?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:31:21

So I think a lot of the food delivery services that popped up, whether it was uber eats or skipped the dishes, really began to suck the innovation out of the market. And so you created a culture of people who would sit inside and eat from styrofoam plates and whatnot. And I think it cut in on the margins, but it cut in on the innovation. And so I know listen, I know the city has some excellent chefs that I see what they need to do to stay in business. And often we will see very popular and smart chefs, not only in Winnipeg, but they'll default to pizza because the margins are super strong. Or they'll default the hamburgers because the margins are super strong. And I look at the menu and I go, this is what you're offering up? And that's not again, I'm not taking a dig at some of the people who have opened up restaurants because retail space is expensive, taxes are expensive. All of it is expensive. But, yeah, the innovation, I feel, sort of has dropped out of the market. Some places are not even open for lunch in Winnipeg. I mean, the Pandemic really put the boots to that. And again, even Tony Romas up on St. James street not open for lunch because they can't get staff.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:32:27

Well, this is another thing that we're trying to figure out, is somebody told me that's what happened to Lexpress, I think, was Leslie Chesterman told me this, that they had to back off their hours and close one of the days a week. And a lot of it is because of staff. They can't find staff. And yet this restaurant in Vancouver that I was trying to remember the name of, that I was telling you about, that's run by QuebecA, it's called St. Lawrence Restaurant. They found a staff, and every one of the staff speaks French. And I was like, Where did you guys all come from? Because it's so hard to find staff. I guess in a smaller restaurant, it makes a difference. But I've heard this staffing thing everywhere, like all over the place where I take my truck to get serviced. Airlines, restaurants, we can't find anybody to work. But what's everybody doing? I don't know. I mean, I'm retired, so I've got nothing to say about it. But Jesus. Where'd everybody go? And what's everybody doing?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:33:28

I've thought about this a lot. Where is everyone? I think a lot of people learn to work from home. I think that's a big deal. I think a lot of people manage to learn new things and realize that they don't need to work for minimum wage or tips at certain times. So again, you can curse and say, goddamn Internet, which would be appropriate. But when I go to hire and I'm interviewing people, I feel as though that these people are looking at me. They could easily be going and working the front desk at Deloitte, and I feel that they could do that for $40,000 a year, or they could work from home in their jammies and produce podcasts with me for $40,000 a year. And I think there's been this incredible leveling of the labor market when it comes to making choices. So I know some radio people, they'll open up a post, come work at our radio station. You'll work the midday show or the drive show or whatever, and they'll get a handful of applications. But if they put it out to work on a podcast and you can work from anywhere, they'll get ten times the number of applications.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:34:29

And by the way, I jokingly curse the Internet. You and I wouldn't be able to be doing this if there was no Internet. I couldn't do the radio show with Ted. If there was no internet. I couldn't do the podcast this season round without an Internet. And I get it. But sometimes Jess and I look at each other and say, goddamn social media ruined everything. That's because I have memories of when you needed a dime for a phone call or a quarter for a phone call. And I'm not suggesting that it was easier, but it certainly was simpler. It was a simpler time, for sure.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:35:04

Yeah. I just see the restaurant people are the ones who really struggle trying to get people to come in and work.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:35:11

Yeah. And it's sad because restaurants, I guess, because we're Montrealis, and there's people in other cultures, too, it's not just unique to Montreal, but restaurants were always really cool, you know, finding a new one, finding a favorite one. Those were fun. You know, you'd find a family who had a thing and they opened a small thing and they did things a certain way. And it's a big part of the Greek culture in Montreal. A lot of people don't know this. Greeks make the best pizzas in Montreal, and those places are all family run for me anyway. You know, like when when I ordered a pizza, I ordered a pizza from a place called B and M Pizza in NDG, which was at the top of the street where you went to school, royal Avenue. Yeah. And that's a Greek family run restaurant that just makes for me the best Montreal style pizza. It's not the kind of pizza you would get in Naples. Those kinds of places, those kinds of discoveries were always really fun and different neighborhoods would say no, our pizza is better because Pandelis does it better than BNM does or to Veris would do it better on the West Island in another place. And I never thought of skipped the dishes. And you're probably right, they probably skip the dishes. And these kitchens that they're setting up, that can be owl's burger joint is in a basement kitchen somewhere and shipping via the internet, that's not as much fun as going to Cosmos and having Tony yell at you while he makes a burger with a cigarette dangling over the grill. I found that more interesting.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:36:44

Well, no. What about the day it was a son, hey Terry, I cut my finger while he's baking the potatoes.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:36:53

I want to get a bandaid on that before you dive into my food. Best burger and home fries ever in the history of the world, though.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:37:01

We should start a podcast. It's called former Montreal or is bitching about Montreal.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:37:05

Well, I worry about that because my wife does that at her office in downtown Vancouver. She's working for a big corporation in downtown Vancouver that's in the broadcast industry and she's always complaining about the food here and stuff and talking about Montreal. And I said, one day someone's going to say to you, well, why don't you just fucking move back then? But those are our experiences, right? That's our bar. Our bar was set at a certain level because of where we grew up.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:37:38

It's tough to explain this to people, especially the time we had a PD from Ontario come in, so shout out to Bob Harris. And when it came time to going out for lunch with the record reps, I had to explain a bunch of things such as the lunch is going to be 3 hours, we're going to have a couple of bottles of wine and we're not going to talk about business. And the look on his face was I don't think I can do this or go you're going to have to handle all the record company lunches. And I did and it was great.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:38:06

Yeah, that too. That, too, was a culture that, if I'm not mistaken, I don't know, because I wasn't, you know, I wasn't around in the 50s, but I think it really caught on after expo 67, that there was a culture of we'll be back at two ish when you went out the front door for lunch, and two ish often was. Three often was we're not coming back to the office today. And that was in those were the days before cell phones. And there's some legendary stories not only about bars inside general manager's offices but one particular general manager had a phone installed at a bar downtown on Crescent Street where, you know, if he wasn't in the office at 786-4742, you could reach him at 786-4795. And that was the phone that rang at Sir Winston Churchill in the middle of the afternoon. That's a wacky culture, but it's cool.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:39:03

Well, my dad told me about stockbrokers at lunchtime at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, smoking, and generally four or five drinks at lunchtime, and then people would wander back to work to complete their day of trading before the market closed.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:39:17

I was lucky enough to have lunch a number of times with the legendary Gord Sinclair, and he loved and had been going to the same restaurant. And I wish I could remember the name at the top of my head. It was the restaurant in the Shadow Champlain. The Shadow Champlain Hotel was right in downtown with those half moon windows. If you've ever seen the skyline. Big sort of skyscraper, but it has half moon windows just by the bell center. Yeah. And in that hotel was a famous restaurant whose name is escaping me. And he got the old Mr. Sinclair. Hello. Bonjour. Suboptim mr. Sinclair. And he would sit down, and before he could get his ass in the chair, there'd be a cocktail at the table, and he would sit and he would bark back, like, three or four of those. And I had been up since, like, four, and he had been up since four and driven in from Hudson, and it's like 130, ten to two. And I finally got to know him well enough where I had to say at one point, gordon, I got to go home or I'm going to fall over. And he'd say, all right, let's go. And he would get in the car and I'd think, Jesus Christ, not only are you 100, but you've had, like, four side cars or whatever this is you're drinking, but that's what people did. Like, you were explaining to Bob, this is the way it goes. That's what you got to do. Yeah.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:40:38

Avery and I get a rush out of that when we go to Montreal, whether we go to Express or to any one of those restaurants where the service is different, just like, do that thing again when Mr. BoJo, Mr. Sinclair, BoJo, Mr. Conde, your usual place?

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:40:53

Yeah, it's the best. I always found a real comfort in that. I had that at a restaurant called Le Mondes Olivier. And Le Mondez Olivier was a classic. Where it was during lunch rush, there were captains of industry from French businesses, captains of industry from English industries, the editor of La Presse, the editor of the Gazette, Brian Mulroney. It was one of those places. And it was owned by a guy named Jacques Mueller, who was your classic sort of bit of a belly on him with a striped apron. And he would greet you at the door. Cuts to the point where I was there every Friday night and sometimes Friday and Saturday night. And I got the same kind of after you become a regular, you're like, Mr. Gibbonte, behave. New behavior. What? Dab is over here. And same thing. My giant martini was on the table before I could even pull my chair in. And it's a wonderful feeling. It's a really nice feeling. And it's a lot different than waiting in the lounge at a chain restaurant and having the waitress, or the, you know, the hostess seat you and say, now remember, you've only got the table for 2 hours. Fuck off.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:42:08

Oh, no. You can also tell you're in the wrong place when two minutes after you get your food, how are the first few bites? And I'm eating. I would just feel like just spinning it out at this point.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:42:20

But it's my own fault for being.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:42:22

In the wrong place.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:42:25

That reminds me of another great story that I'm sure I've told on this podcast before. I wasn't there. I can't confirm it. It could be hearsay. Ted Blackman at a lunch table ordered a bottle of red wine and they poured the wine for him to taste. And he tilted his head back and took a big swig of the wine and went and spit it out and looked up at the waiter and said, That'll be fine.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:42:54

You brought back such great memories of that restaurant. It was on Crescent Street, right?

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:42:58

Lamades Oliviere on Bishop Street. Another street that's been ruined, by the.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:43:03

Way, by that one is definitely yeah.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:43:05

That street is over. That's been ruined by condos. Nothing but condos. And I think a four year construction project.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:43:12

Yeah, way to fuck that up.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:43:14

And jock who owned Le Martin Levie was smart enough to get out before the end came. And I think there's one good restaurant still hanging in there called DA Vinci's, which has been there for a very long time. But yeah, Le Mondes oliviere that was the night. It got to the point where, you know, I would make reservations for 730 or eight, and at 1111 15 I'd say, well, anybody want to go to Ziggy's? You know, we'd sit. Dinner would be the event of the evening. I love nothing more than that. You know, this. I love nothing more than that. You know. I have a long lingering dinner like that. But now a lot of places will tell you upfront, you can only have the table for 2 hours.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:43:51

I'm like, what time do you close? We close at eleven. I said, Well, I'll take a table at nine. Honestly, I do that because I can't be told to hurry up. It's not going to happen.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:44:00

I didn't mean we've gone down the food alley and I don't think it's very Christmas evodcast this year.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:44:05

Matt well, I'll take a note for next year that we probably should not record the episode just before lunch.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:44:13

Yeah, there's another thing that has taken some getting used to is living in the Pacific time zone is really weird.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:44:20

I wanted to tell you about the Mabez. Olivier, Josh, my brother, has a birthday that's on the 23 December. And of course, we all feel sorry for Josh for many reasons, including when his birthday lands. But one year we went there for his birthday and out came the two giant baguettes on the table. But I was sitting across from Henry and we pulled them out like lightsabers and started dueling at the table. And if you can imagine this wonderful upscale restaurant with these two Westmount Hillbillies duking it out with baguettes.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:44:50

Who were the adults at the table who were horrified?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:44:53

All my family, actually. No, it was just my mother. It was just my mother.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:44:57

Your poor mom. That was another thing that I liked about lemon, was I never went in there without a collared shirt on. But it wasn't stuffy. There was linen tablecloths and linen napkins, and the waiters were all old pros with black vests on. But it wasn't stuffy. It wasn't like that. They wanted you to have fun. It was like going to your uncle's house.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:45:22

Do you want to mention the time you went to Le Pari?

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:45:28

Your family introduced me to Le Pari. Why were we there that day? It was classic spot on St. Catherine street that had been there since the had never been. I don't remember how old I was, but I don't think I had been going to restaurants, you know, nice restaurants, for very long, and I thought, Stick for it. That's the way to go. And I made the mistake of asking for ketchup. And I don't think anybody warned me that you couldn't ask for ketchup at Le Parry for the fries. I got such a dressing down with the eyes. It was such a disdain of, how dare you put that shit on our French fries. He didn't say that, but he meant that.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:46:08

So I would like you to know that this has evolved because Avery and I went to Sheila Vac and said, Woolley, will you catch up?

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:46:16


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:46:17

I said, Mayonnaise. I said, Ah, we miss you. Du ketchup blonde. Where is this place now? He's just making fun of us, saying yes.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:46:25

Where is this place now? What is this?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:46:27

Yeah, shayla VEC is a brasserie, and it's actually across the street from another great restaurant called Lemiac up on Lore. So sometimes I'll badger the mayor of Westmount by saying, check out Lori. Is Green Avenue. Keeping up gentle, Chiding? I'm not. Try not to be too mean, but I will say that after a couple.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:46:45

Of drinks, last time I was there, Green Avenue was struggling, tony's was gone, and Tony's Shoes was I know a shoe store doesn't sound like a big deal, but it was a real kind of like an anchor tenant of that street. And a few of the other shops have since closed, too. I haven't walked down Green Avenue in months, so I don't know if it's on the rebound or not.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:47:07

I'm glad you mentioned it, because it was described to me that Tony's was an anchor tenant of the street. And by the way, if people are wondering why we talk about Green Avenue, I grew up three blocks from Green Avenue and we worked on Shom. And if you worked at CKGM, this is where these radio stations were located for many, many years. And so, inevitably, we're going to walk up and down Green Avenue and notice, you know, the big changes and the differences with it. But, you know, for instance, the bank on the corner, the Scotia Bank, think back to the got a paycheck, you had to run it up the street to the bank to cash it. So that's why we knew these places. There was a Lulu Lemon up there on the corner, but it's been vacant for five years.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:47:46

And it's one of those old classics that were built in probably 1910, 1920. And that bank was when I started working at Showman 1984. That was the bank. That was the bank that show me. So that was the bank where I opened an account. 40 years later, I'm still a Scotia Bank customer. Not that that's breaking news or anything, but it's amazing how those things happen. Yeah.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:48:10

And by the way, just a little bit to Green Avenue because you mentioned a little bit about putting the tables out where parking used to be.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:48:16

Well, parking is still there. That's the thing. They managed to keep the parking and put the tables and include a bike lane and have a sidewalk.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:48:25

I've been trying to convince people in Winnipeg to look at that space as instead of having parking stalls in some spots, why not open it up for restaurants? On the sidewalk or on the street, you'll get way more revenue than you will doing like a dollar 95 an hour or whatever it is that you charge for parking. But I mean, you can, you can imagine how swift they are in Winnipeg to for progress.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:48:47

I'm sympathetic because I lived in Winnipeg, and one of the things that has not changed in Winnipeg is public transit. Public transit is shit in Winnipeg. Unless you're jumping on the bus from St. James and going downtown, that's an easy fix. But if you live in Charles Wood and you work downtown, or you live in Kildonan and you work downtown, or, you know, you live out St. Patel way up by the Mint, you know, where our old friend, the master of the morning lives, I wouldn't want to have to take the four buses downtown from there. Or if your aunt lives in St. James and you want to get to St. Patel, I understand why people go to their cars.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:49:25

Winnipeg is unique because it does have an eight lane highway that runs all the way through the center of town to meet another eight lane highway called Main Street.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:49:33

Yeah, well, there was a time before the Perimeter Highway. If you were driving across the country, you had to drive down Portage and you got on Portage and that's how you got to Brandon. So you had to drive through, make the corner of Portage in Maine and head west and keep driving past St. James and on past the racetrack, and then you're on your way to Brandon and there was no highway to drive on. So I understand how that happened. And what was that Italian place you took me to when I was there a couple of summers ago? Remember? We went to the Italian grocery store. Who the hell would want to take.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:50:08

The bus out there? Oh, DeLucas, which is located down south landing off McGillvary.

Terry DiMonte (Guest) 00:50:14

Yeah. When I lived in Winnipeg, none of that was there. All of that was just open field.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:50:19

I think someone got a tax break, so