Londoners are paying tribute to the man known as the “Mayor of Richmond Row.”
Roy McDonald, a poet, author and story teller, was found dead in his home. He was 80 years old.
The London Public Library tweeted it would miss their meaningful connections with McDonald.
Lynn Cooper first met McDonald in the 1988 and says the two had a strong bond.
“I’m kind of his inspiration for becoming a busker,” she said. “Roy and I used to sing together a lot. He was the kindest man I’ve ever met.”
While McDonald appeared to many to be homeless that wasn’t the case. He owned a home and was a published author.
Living: A London Journal, which shares a week in McDonald’s life and The Answer Questioned, a long pun-poem where both published by Ergo Productions and can be found in the London Public Library and the UWO library.
The London Arts Council tweeted it was sad to hear of his passing.
McDonald would hold court on Richmond Row between Joe Kool’s and Jim Bob Ray’s (now Toboggan), which are both owned by Mike Smith.
“When you think of Roy he’s like a piece of art,” he said. “He’s like a living statue or a sculpture who was part of the city.”
Smith says while many in the city knew of McDonald, few knew him well.
“The thing about Roy was people knew him really well to see him but didn’t know that much about him,” he said.
McDonald would sometimes give passersby a polished rock as a gift.
McDonald spent most of his life in London but also some time in Montreal. Pocketman, by Don Bell, is a book based loosely on his time in Montreal.
He was such a fixture in the city, Londoner Cory Downing decided to do a documentary about him.
“He will be missed but never forgotten,” said Cooper.
Funeral plans haven’t been announced.
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