Concordia University Magazine
Letters to the Editor

Immigration issues
I read with interest the End Piece article (“For Better or Worse,” June 05) by Carol McQueen. I agree wholeheartedly with the views she expressed so persuasively and compellingly. The Canadian public knows little about the immigration process, and you have helped raise awareness of a serious problem that is keeping countless families apart. Her story speaks for thousands, I am sure.

I, too, am facing a similar situation with the sponsorship of my wife and stepdaughter, Israeli citizens residing in the U.S. The immigration process is well into its third year with no end in sight. Entreaties to immigration and MPs, including P.M. Martin, have availed little in the way of information. Communication is lacking, to say the least. To be sure, the process that the Canadian government puts spouses and families through is scandalous and truly heartless, if not inhumane.

One wonders the wisdom of it all.

Perry J. Greenbaum, BA 96

Marking history
This is the story of Uncle Mark’s, a short-lived but very remarkable institution on the Loyola Campus. Uncle Mark . . . was the late Mark Karbowski, L BA 72. Mark had travelled from Schenectady, New York, to play football for the Loyola Warriors. Middle linebackers are supposed to be tough, and Karbowski was as tough as you could find on the football field. Off the field Mark lost control of the tough image as he became known to many at Hingston Hall as a genuine leader of people.

As resident assistants (RAs), we arrived a week before students did to prepare for the welcoming of returning and new students. Several of us found ourselves in the basement of B-Block in Hingston Hall looking at the trunk room. It was serving no useful purpose because the age of travel by steamer had passed into history. Someone (was it Mark?) suggested that we build a bar and thereby up the utility of the room. Mark insisted that we live up to our idle musing. He organized the manual labour and resources requirements. His contacts within the physical plant lent us tools and equipment. He developed his Gantt chart to include contacts for equipment, facilities and supplier of beer. We recycled every bit of wood and hardware. Resident students returned in 1970 to find a fully operational Uncle Mark’s where the trunk room had been.

Beer delivery was much easier than we had imagined. A now multinational brewery found that the COTC (Canadian Officer Training Corps) mess had had a licence; not used in several years, not cancelled. All sales were cash; five beers for $1.50 on a card system similar to what coffee shops now use to develop customer loyalty. The choice was limited to Golden and Export. An interesting likeness of Mark was featured on the card.

Planning for all eventualities, we asked JD, a then intrepid cub reporter with the Gazoo, to check out with the police if they knew about us. Indeed they did. Not high enough on their list of criminals, we were deemed to be fulfilling some sort of community service by keeping the wild ones from the Ottawa Valley (hockey team) away from downtown Montreal.

In November 1970 many of us were at Uncle Mark’s when the death of Pierre Laporte was announced during that political crisis. In the great snowstorm (1971), many students spent the night in Hingston Hall; Uncle Mark’s provided a refuge for those who were stranded at Loyola.

Uncle Mark’s remained in business until Mark graduated in 1972. It filled the gap that was eventually satiated by the Campus Centre. Until then, Uncle Mark’s was the place to go after campus activities such as sit-ins, carnival celebrations, and football, basketball and hockey games.

Mark and his wife Diane truly loved Montreal and often visited to attend the Grand Prix, play golf or spend a week exploring the restaurants or visiting the Quebec Carnival. Mark is gone, much too early for a true leader.

I visited the site in early April this year. It has found another vocation, albeit less colourful, than when it was Uncle Mark’s: it now serves as the storage area for electrical equipment on the Loyola Campus.

Harold Murphy, L BA 71

Concordia University Magazine welcomes readers’ comments. Letters should include the writer’s full name, address, school(s), degree(s) and year(s) of graduation for alumni. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. Correspondence should be sent to the Editor, Concordia University Magazine, 1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W., Montreal, Que., H3G 1M8. Fax: (514) 848-2826, e-mail:


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September 2005

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