East end microbrewery co-owner Pierre Lessard-Blais is the new mayor of the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough following Sunday’s city election.
Lessard-Blais is co-owner of Ontario Street’s Espace Public, which he established in 2012 with a group of friends, and has built it up substantially over time, with Espace Public beers now sold fairly widely around the province. He ran with Projet Montréal, whose leader Valérie Plante was elected mayor of Montreal last night.
It wasn’t Lessard-Blais’ first attempt to crack city politics — he ran for the same position in 2013 but lost by about five percent of the vote to Coalition Montreal candidate Réal Ménard. Ménard (who ran with outgoing mayor Denis Coderre this time) was roundly defeated, with 44 percent of the votes, compared to Lessard-Blais’ 55 percent, an “upset”, in the words of the Montreal Gazette.
Lessard Blais (who is also a former president of a neighbourhood business association, the Société de Développement Commerciale Hochelaga-Maisonneuve) echoed many of his party’s plans for the borough, including improved public transit and social housing.
Lessard-Blais wasn’t the only hospitality industry figure running in the municipal election — over in the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough, bar owner Zack Macklovitch, who stood with Coderre, was easily defeated by the incumbent mayor of that borough, Luc Ferrandez.
Macklovitch owns three venues on St-Laurent: bars SuWu and Apartment 200, and nightclub École Privée. Macklovitch is part of the St-Laurent Boulevard merchants’ association, and points to that association’s role in bringing down the number of vacant business on the street. His arguments leaned into a “pro-business” stance a bit more than the broader Coderre team, with Mackovitch painting Plateau mayor Luc Ferrandez as “anti-business, anti-global”.
But Macklovitch, just 27 years old and new to municipal politics, probably didn’t stand a chance, given that the Plateau has long favoured Projet Montréal. Though he drew a respectable 34 percent of the vote, a mid-campaign trip to Prague probably didn’t help Macklovitch’s chances.