Mark the Litter Guy Gets A Brand New Bag
Photo of Mark Giesbrecht from this past January by Nick Kozak.
Mark Giesbrecht—better known as Mark the Litter Guy in the areas of the city that he patrols and cleans up in exchange for donations—has been tending to Queen Street West for long enough now that, when the West Queen West, Queen West, and Parkdale Business Improvement Areas (or BIAs) went looking to hire someone to help clean the area up, he was a natural choice.
“We approached Mark,” Jamie Angell, a board member of the West Queen West BIA and owner of Angell Gallery, explains, “since he’s a familiar individual that seemed like a likely match to work with.” Three weeks ago, Angell says that his BIA hired private waste pick-up services to come every Saturday. But as the strike now enters its fourth week, “we decided that it’s not enough; the streets do need to be maintained….it could pose a health problem if this continues.” (He adds, too, that “it’s not visually appealing,” though, thanks to business owners along the stretch, “our area’s coping very, very well.”)
As a result, Giesbrecht has now been hired to clean up the busy expanse of Queen West that the BIAs cover—from Roncesvalles all the way to University—three days a week, with the help of two other people. (“If it takes longer, they’ll do what they have to do to make sure that the street is maintained properly,” says Angell.) What’s more, though: after the strike ends, Angell says, Mark’s employment by the area BIAs may well continue. “Depending on how things go,” he explains, “we’ll most likely continue working with Mark to make sure that the streets of the BIAs are maintained. This may turn out to be an ongoing agreement with Mark the Litter Guy.”