#VendorWeek is a time to celebrate vendors but, such is the nature of their lives, sometimes tragedy strikes, and it is good to remember that, and the people that tragedy touches, too. Earlier this year, Montréal-based paper L’Itinéraire lost one of their vendors. Stéphane Avard was a bright and loving person worn thin by years of homelessness, and his story speaks to the relationship between sleeping rough and mental illness. The magazine’s editor wrote a touching tribute.
Benoit Chartier sells L’itinéraire from his pitch at the corner of Bercy Street and Ontario Street East in Montreal. He has been a vendor for 20 years and credits his work with providing him with respite from feelings of isolation by enabling him to meet people and to be part of the wider community. He has a message for both L’itinéraire and his customers: “Bravo!”
Last summer, Sylvie was left reeling after she lost everything. But there was something that helped her to get through: L’Itinéraire. Thanks to her time as a vendor years earlier, she was aware of the support that was available for women experiencing homelessness. But it wasn’t easy to secure the help she needed. Now, Sylvie has a room for her own and is appreciative of the friendships that she has formed within the L’Itinéraire community.
Like INSP, this year Montréal street paper L’Itinéraire is celebrating its 25th anniversary. In a special edition of the magazine to coincide with celebrations of the milestone, L’Itinéraire vendor Jean-Paul Lebel wrote candidly about his break-up, drug use, how he got involved selling the street paper and the effect that has had on his life.
Linda Pelletier is a L’Itinéraire vendor who sells the paper from her pitch at Marché Maisonneuve in Montréal. She has faced many challenges in her life and now considers herself as one of the many good writers at L’Itinéraire. Here, we learn more about her experiences earlier in life and her journey through trauma to self-acceptance. Now, aged 64, she can appreciate the beauty within herself.
Isabelle Raymond, a L’itinéraire vendor based in Montréal, has always been sensitive to the differences between people. As a child, she recalls trying to educate her classmates when they made fun of students at a nearby school for children with special needs. When her sister was born with several health needs, and later diagnosed with intellectual disabilities, Isabelle gained privileged insights into what life is like for someone with special needs.
Réjean is a one-man band – an extremely talented individual. Here, he talks about his love of music, a more dangerous and temperamental love of alcohol, giving it up, using his talents for those in need and finding himself a L’Itinéraire vendor.
Jason and Brendan are members of The Squeegee Punks, which is a well-known group who wash windscreens for money in Montréal. When the city’s street paper L’Itinéraire asked them about whether it was possible to find love on the street, both men looked back in amazement: “Why can’t we?”
Montréal street paper L’Itinéraire opened its doors to readers, partners, and any other interested members of the public, for yet another ‘Journée Portes Ouverts’ (Open Doors Day) to celebrate #VendorWeek.
Yannick, a L’Itinéraire vendor whose pitch is at Jacques-Ferron Library in Longueuil, Canada, is undergoing gender reassignment. Over the next few weeks, they will see their body start to change as they commence the physical transition towards becoming Yannick. As the process begins, they will no doubt face numerous questions from customers and loved ones alike – something that is only natural when many people don’t know much about gender reassignment. So, what is there to know about the process? We asked Yannick to tell us more.
Cindy sells The Big Issue on the streets of Adelaide. Lynn sells L’Itinéraire on the streets of Montréal, Canada. The blazing heat has officially hit Cindy’s city, while Lynn shivers through snow and ice. Sitting in vendor offices on either side of the world, they stare into computer screens and greet each other ahead of #VendorWeek 2019.
Luc Lenoir is 59 years old and sells L’Itinéraire from his pitch at the corner of De Maisonneuve and Saint-Denis Streets in Montréal, Québec. He is a L’Itinéraire pioneer: Luc has been involved with the magazine since the mid-90s and was one of the organizers of its launch. He credits the magazine with helping him to forge meaningful relationships with others and providing him with independence.
This year we asked vendors: if you could give a song as a present this Christmas, what would you choose? The result was the INSP Vendor Playlist, which is now available for your listening pleasure. A handful of L’Itinéraire vendors talk about their particularly festive choices for the #VendorPlaylist.
37-year-old Mélanie Noël sells L’Itinéraire from her pitch at the Verdun metro station in Montreal, Quebec. Here, she looks back on a childhood spent moving from home to home and her troubled relationship with her sister, while affirming how positive her time as a L’Itinéraire vendor has been. She loves her work and has found strength through relationships forged with friends and mentors.
Working as a L’Itinéraire vendor has put a smile back on Antoine Dereochers’s face. Here, he looks back on his past and reflects on his experiences of living without a permanent address. He also talks about his experiences as a vendor and thanks his customers for their support and encouragement.
In honour of #VendorWeek 2018, Megaphone vendor James Witwicki and L’Itinéraire vendor Yvon Massicotte had a ‘face-to-face’ interview to swap experiences of how both wound up selling street papers.
To celebrate #VendorWeek 2018, The Big Issue Australia took an in depth look at the ways street papers around the world are creating extra employment opportunities for the people who need them most. And what better way to learn about them than from the people who are employed by and benefit from them. Social enterprises featured in the article come from these INSP members: The Big Issue Australia, =Oslo, The Curbside Chronicle, Shedia and L’Itinéraire.
As 2017 draws to a close, we asked vendors across the global street paper network to look back on the highs and lows of their year and reveal their hopes and aspirations for the next one. First up is Jean-Claude, a L’Itinéraire vendor.
Simon first ended up on the street at the age of 16, where crime and drug use got him into trouble with the law. He eventually found stability and started a family, before the death of his father led to another downward spiral. Now he sells L’Itinéraire, and says it probably saved his life.
Our special vendor wishes series continues with a heart-warming message and festive greetings from Jean-Guy in Canada.
L’Itinéraire vendor Jo believes Canada’s controversial prostitution bill “isn’t suited to the reality of sex work” and hopes more sex workers can “find the courage to speak out and share their point of view.”