photos: Delisle Doucet. By Adam Gilmer.

"Selling the paper is our livelihood" - Delisle Doucet, Victoria


 “I first started out working as a street paper vendor around 1993—that was when the street paper in Victoria was called The Redzone. I heard about The Redzone through the community and I thought, well, I want to join in.



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“The Redzone collapsed, but Street Newz, the street paper that replaced it, has lasted a lot longer. I started out working with [Victoria's former, now-defunct street newspaper] Street Newz early on, around when it started in 2004. I sold for awhile, and then I took several years off. I just started up selling again last year—I now sell at Douglas and Yates in Victoria.

“I sell because I like reaching out to my community with a very good paper. That’s why I like Street Newz, and I’m excited about Megaphone.

“Most people ignore me when I’m out there selling—but it feels really good when people do stop and buy it. That’s the whole purpose of going out. It’s a lot smaller population here in Victoria, but it’s still got a good solid community that is grounded.

“I was born on a little tiny island up the coast in Knight Inlet, called Minstrel Island. It’s just east of Alert Bay. I came to Victoria at the age of three and a half. Other than as a small child, and five years when I lived in the Comox Valley, I’ve lived all my life in Victoria. I like it here—‘it’s not too big, I’ve got good friends here that help me out, and I help them out. It’s not like I’m alone—I’ve got friends to look out for me. It feels good to have a good community around me.

“I used to be an avid photographer. I used to spend all my money on photo finishing, but I haven’t been doing that lately. I lost all my photos. I always liked doing landscape photography. There are some beautiful landscapes around here. I liked shooting in Beacon Hill Park.

“There are lots of tourists here in Victoria. We have ten million people come to visit the city every year. I remember the Commonwealth Games in 1994. There were so many people on the sidewalk that there wasn’t enough room to cross the street. I jumped about 14 feet diagonally! The pedestrian traffic was just nuts in the Commonwealth games. I got stuck in a big crowd, so I walked around to the dock on one side of the harbour and from there I got to watch the Crash Test Dummies play the Superman song on the big screen. That was a fun memory.

“I’ve seen a lot being out on the streets in Victoria—lots of changes, businesses come and go, big events. It can be hard work out on the street, but you see a lot happen.

“Last year, after time away, I got back into working as a vendor again. I started out of necessity. I’m on the PWD (Persons with Disabilities) benefit, but that support only goes so far. I need something else to supplement my income. Welfare is totally underfunded. Over 12, the PWD benefit has only increased a tiny bit, but the cost of living has gone up so much that the money all just gets swallowed up in rent.

“If I could talk to the people of Victoria I would tell them that selling the paper is our livelihood. Without sales, we’d be broke all the time. Selling a street paper is a great opportunity, and we need it. I was doing so well when I first started, I just want to keep it up, and meet new customers and get connected with my community.

“We’re a lot smaller over here in Victoria—but I am excited to learn more about Megaphone and really hope to see the paper do well.”  

Delisle sells Megaphone at Douglas and Yates streets in downtown Victoria.







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