Vendor Voices: Vancouver vendor Louise Boilevin is working toward a better future while vigorously learning about the city’s past
Passionate about social justice
“I’ve been a Megaphone vendor since November. For years, I’d see Megaphone vendors everywhere when I was a kid, but I didn’t know much about it, and back then it was a different name and management.
“Now I’d say people know more about it. I was inspired by my friend, Suzanne [Kilroy, longtime Vancouver Megaphone vendor] to join Megaphone. I’ve known Suzanne for over nine years. She’s been a vendor a long time, and even so, I see her out hardcore selling those magazines. Suzanne was one of my main inspirations to join.
“I also like it because of the social aspect. My friend Leslie [Sekani Dakelth] sells as well. I like the concept of support, it’s helping me get out there. And a little money on the side helps. I like that it’s an interactive job, I like that aspect.
“The piece I submitted for Voices of the Street, it was my first time writing and submitting something to be published.
“I want to continue doing feature writing about the city, do more photography. I’d like to write articles about different things in the city. I love history, especially Vancouver history. Outside of selling Megaphone, I like to hang out with my friends, learn anything about history. We were like the wild west out here. Because it was a boom town, prostitution back then was a lot harder but it was legal and a lot of working girls got married because there weren’t enough women—and it wasn’t such a big deal.
“I really like studying about Vancouver before it became a city, before Expo 86—before we were discovered by the rest of the world—to when it was just First Nations here, and the explorers. I really like reading about things like what it used to be like before Stanley Park became what it is today.
“I was born and raised in Vancouver, born in 1986.
“I do outreach work at WISH Drop-In [Centre, which provides services and a space for women involved in Vancouver street-based sex trade]. I’ve been a part of their group for 10 years now. I get to see my friends and people I used to hang out with back in my hustling days. I’m still in and out of hustling if times get really tough.
“I’m also involved in political activism. The first time I protested was when I was 17. It was about animal cruelty. And at 18 I was part of a huge march for social housing. It was really huge, we all walked across the bridge to the Vancouver Art Gallery. I’ve also marched for human rights, and sex worker rights.”
Be sure to check out Louise’s piece, “Hustle” in Megaphone's 2017 Voices of the Street literary edition. You can find Louise selling Megaphone at Broadway and Granville. Interview by Stefania Seccia.