Vendor Profile: Delisle Doucet is a longtime Megaphone vendor who enjoys giving back to his community
Watching Victoria change
“I started selling street papers in 1994. At that time it was called Redzone Magazine. I had heard about it and the next day I started up. It was actually on my dead brother’s birthday.
“I wasn’t born here. I was born on a little tiny island up coast, Minstrel Island. I was three-and-a-half years old the first time I came here, which was in July 8, 1968—the year they went from silver to nickel quarters.
“I’ve seen so much change. Back in the ’70s, there was a place you could go down and pay 10 cents for a cup of coffee. Back in the old days, you used to see a lot of punk rockers. You don’t see the multi-coloured hair or spiked hair anymore. Traffic was bad in the ’80s. It’s still bad.
“The thing that I like about Victoria first is it’s so close to the mountains. I spent my first three years in Comox, overlooking Mount Washington, so when I came down here I felt like I was home.
“I don’t get a whole lot of money from welfare but I do get weekly cheques, so it helps spread the money out through the month. All I can afford is peanut butter, coffee, milk, and sugar. But sometimes I buy other things when I have the money. But on a weekly basis that’s all I can afford.
“I have been politically active a little bit in the past. I was the driving force behind Alan Lowe’s win for mayor [Lowe was mayor of Victoria from 1999 to 2008]. I volunteered for him and he treated us all to a nice wine and cheese party. I couldn’t drink wine because I was on a court order, but I got all the cheese I wanted.
“I like being a vendor because it’s rewarding. I’m out there giving back to my community, giving them positive stories to read from the poor and homeless. I took like 10 years off because I had an income at one point, so I didn’t have to do papers, but I went back to it.
“I still do work. I work every day picking up butts on the property I live at, and then every Friday I do janitor work. I make $100 every two weeks for doing the work. Plus whatever I get from Megaphone.
“I live out in the suburbs, almost to the Saanich border. I used to live downtown for years and years, but I’m happy being out in the suburbs. It can be noisy too. The only time I went really far away from Victoria was all the way to Nova Scotia in 1987. My friend was dying so he wanted to die with his family. So I came with them to Nova Scotia so he could die at home. It’s a sad story. I wouldn’t have been so poor if he had survived.
“But I am a dragon born in a storm.
“When I was born, in the year of the dragon, there was a huge blizzard blowing. I was born on the kitchen table. The island I was born on was so small there were no hospitals so I had to be born on the kitchen table. I was almost born on a boat.”
Delisle sells Megaphone outside the Shopper's Drug Mart at Douglas Street and Yates in Victoria. Photo: Stefania Seccia.