Thursday, June 02, 2016

The Op / The Image on Park Ave. never-before-seen photos from 1967

  These previously-unseen photos were taken outside of 3545 Park Ave., now demolished for an entrance to the garage of the La Cite towers.
   The venue was home to a down-three-stairs place called The Op in 1967.
 The place became The Image coffee house in 1968 with Sam Fried being part-owner. It closed soon after.
   The Image was a hotbed of flower power and drug experimentation but Satan's Choice bikers also moved in and police also cracked down on hippies for no particular reason.
  I have been doing intensive research on that place and time and seek to talk to hippie scenesters from that era.           Some, like Paul Kirby of Logos Magazine are difficult to reach.
   Others are disappearing before I get a chance to talk to them. Oscar Sanchez who moved to Cambodia, died a few days ago and astrologer Axel Harvey, who had a head shop around there also passed away a few weeks ago.
   Please let me know if you have memories of those times or can suggest others who do, by writing me at 


  1. Wonderful pics. I was in grade 7 in '67, but I used to wish I had cool clothes and hair like the older kids.

  2. Would you agree the guy on the steps looks a bit like... Leonard Cohen?

  3. Also, the supposed "hippie chick" with the salon hair and designer outfit is a dead ringer for Penny Colville. I think she's still around although I haven't seen her in two decades.

  4. Although I hate to be the only one commenting here, I can't stop. Those photos are a rare, fantastic find for so many reasons, but especially because they appear to be so posed. Especially the ones of the girl. Could the intent of The Op Cafe be any more Op-vious? A place for 'alienated youth' to buy drugs and learn the basics of the counterculture. When they changed it to The Image, they made sure the message was clear: Come to the Image and meet wealthy chicks with swinging hair who will grasp your handlebar while staring into your eyes as if to ask 'how much?'. Or, if you're a girl, you could meet cool bikers wearing beads and recently pressed shirts. All under the watchful gaze of cops with brushcuts.

    And this cafe was run by convicted pedophile John Robert Stahl, who wore a black cape and hawked copies of the CIA-linked Process Church magazine on Ste Catherine Street, where I met him twice in 1969 or 1970 and he attempted to recruit me into the cult...

    Those were the days, all right.

    1. By the way, the girl in the photo - whom i have identified - was 14 years old in 1967. So may I ask, what was actually being sold at the Op Cafe?

  5. I thought Ray Cohen and Cliff Gazee ran the cafe?

  6. I think leonard was a process church member as was charlie manson and many celebs. one visual in those days were the black clothes sometimes topped off with black turtle neck.

  7. I hung out Sam s gfs kid brother.

  8. Sam Fried was a weird looking guy, I'm told, who had a scrapbook of all the women he bedded. Apparently there were way more than one would imagine. He kept his drugs in an otherwise-empty high rise apartment unit he rented. One time someone came over to do business and he impressed the guy by walking along the balcony railing. Totally nuts. The laughing gas that killed him was stolen from a dentist office in NDG. He would lie on a mattress full of it and just breathe it in all night. The obit published in the Gazette, written by Esmond Choeke, is a classic. You've got to read it to believe it.

  9. re: is that Leonard Cohen on the steps with his guitar? In her memoir SO LONG, MARIANNE, Marianne Ihlen mentions that in 1966 she and Leonard moved into a modest flat at 3567 Aylmer, a few doors north of the Yellow Door coffee house, which opened that same year. I can't find any record of Leonard performing at the Yellow Door - his folksinging career was just getting going in 1966-7. Makes sense he would wander over to Park Avenue to play for passersby.

  10. Might be right about that being Cohen

  11. Compare the photo of Cohen in 1966 with the man on the Op stoop

  12. Paul Kirby isn't that hard to get in touch with. He's been running the Caravan Theatre Co. in BC for years.


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