Eater Montreal contributor Joanna Fox spoke with prolific restaurateur Peter Popovic recently about SVP Mile End, a charity event at The Sparrow this Sunday, March 30.
Mile End restaurant and bar owner Peter Popovic (The Sparrow, The Cardinal Tea Room, Maïs, Magpie, Sardine and Iwashi) has rallied Montreal's Mile End community to come together for a good cause: SVP Mile End. A charitable committee created by Popovic and his wife, Susan, to raise money for The Montreal Children's Hospital and more specifically, the Cardiology Department and The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), SVP Mile End is currently selling raffle tickets for over $50,000 worth of donated prizes to be drawn at the Bow Ties and Ball Gowns event this Sunday, March 30 at The Sparrow.
The charity initiative was prompted when one of the Popovic's newborn twins, Stefan, was experiencing health problems last summer and was taken to The Children's Hospital.
"After a few tests they discovered that there was something wrong with his heart" explains Popovic. "He had a heart three times the normal size, a condition called dilated cardiomyopathy. It was very severe, he had minimal heart functions to keep himself alive. He was only six weeks old."
Stefan was then brought to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit where the initial plan was to prepare him for a heart transplant. "It was a shock to my whole family – a twilight zone situation. It's still hard to talk about it," recalls Popovic.
Then, by some miracle, Stefan started to get better. As his health slowly improved, his heart grew stronger. With the help and dedication of all the incredible doctors, nurses and support staff of The Montreal Children's Hospital, Stefan, now 10 months old, is a growing, healthy little boy.
"The Montreal Children's Hospital is something so valuable to us and our families, we're so lucky to have them. The only way we held it together was with their support and 24-hour care. You don't understand until you're in that position. It was so overwhelming, we just had to give back to them."
By bringing together local business owners, entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, artists, musicians, and residents, Popovic hopes that SVP Mile End will get bigger and better with each passing year. So far, he can't believe how much the neighbourhood has gone above and beyond to help or donate in any way they can. From music equipment and instruments to Arcade Fire tickets, hockey tickets and gift certificates, there are tons of great prizes to be won. Raffle tickets are available for $10 at several participating businesses with the winners to be drawn at the Bow Ties and Ball Gowns event this Sunday night at The Sparrow. Tickets cost $75 and while space is limited, there's the chance to win a trip for two to Paris - and it's all for a good cause of course. Win-win.
· SVP Mile End [Official Site]