Robin des Bois, the giving restaurant, is a community initiative; the result of volunteers coming together in 2006 to create a very unique space.
Volunteers began to formalize the concept by putting together a board of directors and writing a business plan.
Then they defined its “raison d’etre”; to give back to the community through the support of these charities: Le Chainon, Sun Youth, Le Refuge des Jeunes & Meals on Wheels.
The first restaurant, like the second, set up shop on Blvd. Saint-Laurent, in the Plateau Mont-Royal neighborhood. The community on the “Plateau” is eclectic & diverse; of varying ages and of multi-ethic backgrounds, men & women from all walks of life and persuasion.
Financing was required and to that end the Caisse Populaire du Mont-Royal along with many private donors came to the fore. Companies gave of their time and expertise – Bois Nordic (their wood products) and Auxilium Media, Edelman (for their website), etc … They all deserve our thanks!
Once again, those volunteers did a lot of the heavy lifting.. they sanded, painted and did whatever was required to beautify the space.
Robin des Bois was off and running! Corporate events, group outings and weddings were major attractions. By 2008 a larger space was needed and so, not far from the original location, the move was made.
Onwards & upwards went Robin des Bois; Press conferences, book and record launchings, corporate team-building exercises and even commemorative parties (ie; Irish Wakes!) were all in the mix.
Then there were those volunteers! God bless those volunteers! – over one thousand of them at last count- giving their time in the kitchen, in the dining roomfand imparting their good humor and energy throughout.
A lot of money was raised over the years. Just as importantly a level of consciousness was created, people felt good about being part of this greater good, about contributing to the community in such meaningful ways.
My idea for creating Robin des Bois was to provide an inviting milieu for people to assemble, give of their time and raise some funds for the less fortunate in our community.
I fondly remember the Christmas parties we held for client and employees at Soma Productions, the company I started in my earlier working life.
We would all come together to cook meals for the Acceuil Bonneau, a charity to help the homeless. The parties were animated; we cooked, we drank, we sang – I remember how happy we all were, how fulfilled we all felt – we even coined the slogan “the only party where you actually felt better the day after!”
We had such fun doing this that the idea came to me; Why not make this happen on a regular basis? Why not put socializing and charitable giving on the same page?
And so it was! I turned 40, sold my company, went on a defining trip to Africa and returned home to put my plan to work on a business that would challenge me professionally while fulfilling my personal convictions.
Robin des Bois filled that need for me and fulfills that need for others. It’s an idyllic place where we can all meet for good food, a drink or two, fellowship, where we can all have fun working in the restaurant, where we can all volunteer for the greater good – what a feeling!