“It breaks my heart that my neighbours could possibly think I could be against them,” Nanci Murdock says. “I’m not. But I am against Bernard, at least a significant four to five block chunk of it, becoming 70 per cent, 80 per cent, 90 per cent non-secular. That’s very concerning to me.”
Murdock is a Chartered Financial Analyst as well as an investment and marketing expert. Much of her expertise was gained as she worked in sales, social media strategy, and marketing in the financial services industry. For a time she managed marketing for a global investment research business.
“When I did marketing, you watch yourself building other people’s businesses. And at some point you think, what could I build? The advice kept coming back: ‘What do people ask you every day?’ And for me it was sisters, cousins, friends, calling me, getting divorces, inheritances, settlements for some reason, and saying, ‘I should just go to the bank, right?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, no, no. That’s the last place you should go. So then I would take them through the whole concept of exchange-traded funds, of risk tolerance, and … it’s not complicated, but you have to know it. It’s a set of skills that can be learned, by anyone. And then just to see the sense of relief on their faces.”
Living just a few steps away from Bernard Avenue, Murdock is one of my neighbours in Outremont, and she cares passionately about the borough.
“I love Outremont and the Mile End for the diversity. It feels safe. It feels happening. It’s fun. I like the diversity of the streets. Van Horne is sort of rugged and up-and-coming. Laurier is a bit chichi. Bernard is my favourite. It’s the intersection between grassroots and high quality. Interesting stores. I’ve started going to the cheese store [Fromagerie Yannick], and there are cheeses like I’ve never seen. There’s this little store, Safran, which sells decorative stuff. I walked in there and I saw butter dishes shaped like whales.
“It comes down to a sense of community. My neighbours. My friends. I was just having lunch with a friend at Souvenir, and her office is just around up the street. I went home, just 30 feet away, to check on my son who is home sick from school. And now I am meeting here, in this fabulous café. I don’t know anywhere like it in the world, and it’s affordable, unlike, say, New York. I just can’t imagine living anywhere else.”
But learning that a large building on Bernard Avenue, just steps away from her home, was being converted into a place of worship alarmed Ms. Murdock. Her concern for the character of Outremont moved her to work for the borough referendum campaign supporting a ban on new places of worship on Bernard Avenue.
“I feel like I was in Outremont for nine years, and for the first eight and a half years I was asleep. I thought everything was peaceful. I didn’t know this issue was simmering, and just about to explode. Few voters in Outremont – including myself – ever woke up, ever put down the glass of wine, ever came in from the country, to vote.”