Our vendors: Luc Lenoir (L’Itinéraire, Montréal, Québec)

By Ariane Chasle, L’Itinéraire

Luc Lenoir has been involved with L’Itinéraire since the 1990s, when the magazine was still free and he himself was just getting off the street. He remembers the launch of the first issue of L’Itinéraire in May 1994 at Parc Émilie-Gamelin (then known as Parc Berri) in detail – he was one of the organizers.

Since then, he has sold the magazine off and on. This has allowed him to work other jobs and get treatment for his addictions, and also to travel. He has a particular affection for Mexico, which he first visited in 1979. He recalls that, back then, his hotel cost “two bucks a day, and they changed the sheets every day!”. He’s been back there three times since.

For Luc, L’Itinéraire has brought him independence, human contact and the possibility of building relationships with people, especially through dinners and organized activities. “Interacting with others isn’t easy for me,” he admits, “but it’s easier to make connections over a good meal.” He can recite from memory and with feeling, the first poem he wrote that was printed in the magazine, Mégot de vie [“Cigarette butt life”], which later became a trilogy. He no longer writes, but still sells the magazine while he awaits his retirement.

Apart from the magazine, family is very important for Luc. He remembers having a good relationship with his mother, who died when he was 13. She was a professional swimmer who had won prizes with the Red Cross. It was his mother who, when he was 4, taught him to swim in the lake at Lac-des-Écorces, while she followed behind in a canoe.

Credit: Milton Fernandes

He also remembers childhood celebrations at his great-uncle Claude-Henri Grignon’s* house: “He let us into his study and said, ‘Do whatever you want’,” Luc recalls. “The walls were covered with huge bookshelves – but then again, when you’re young, your perspective may be a little different!”

He left Mont-Laurier (a small town in the upper Laurentians), where he was born, at the age of 18, “to see what was out there.” He travelled to Mexico with friends and spent 65 days there.

Nowadays, the most important thing for Luc is simply being on good terms with his brother and sister, and spending time with them.

Luc has studied a lot – in real estate, civil engineering, insurance, accounting, film and construction management – at five colleges and two universities. He has also done office work and held other jobs in Western Canada and around James Bay in northern Québec, not to mention being “on the hay run” as a young man!

Luc means it when he says that he’s covered a lot of ground. He considers himself lucky to have known love, to have travelled and to be able to share and help others. “Sharing is good for the soul,” he says. After many years of hard work, he’s starting to think about retirement, because he will turn 60 this year. The first thing he plans to do once he’s retired? “Shave!”

He would also like to go back to Mexico if he can and spend more time with his brother, who is ill. In Luc’s words, “the more you do, the better your retirement!”. Luc’s retirement will be well deserved indeed.

*Claude-Henri Grignon was a well-known Québécois author who wrote about the colonization of the Laurentian regions in the 1800’s. ‘Les Belles histoires des pays d’en-haut’ became a very popular TV series in the 50’s and 60’s.

Translated from French to English by Irene Pratka