A night with a homeless man

Back in early winter of 2004 I was covering a story in downtown Calgary for the Christmas Fund edition at the Calgary Herald.  A reporter named Linda Slobodian and I spent a night with Marc Nault, a 46 year old man living in cardboard boxes, located by the 5th Street underpass by 9th Ave SW.  Marc has been on the streets of Calgary for the last three years, and during that time been homeless.

These are a few of the photographs from the night.  It was all photographed with a Canon D2000.

Photographer Mikael Kjellstrom, Calgary Herald


6 thoughts on “A night with a homeless man

  1. This comment is for the story of a homeless man Marc Nault,

    I have found these pictures very hard to see and deal with as he is my step brother.

    I know there is nothing I can do for him, and that makes it even harder. At least now I can say he is living,(if that’s what you want to call It).

    I know I can’t send money, cause he will just buy crack cocaine with it, I’m not sure about clothes where would he keep them? It cant’ carry that around all day.

    Perhasp I could send some clothes and sleeping bag in a pack sack, but will he keep it, or sell it for cash ?

    It is sooo hard.

  2. Hi Denise,

    Edgar was my dad’s (Peter) uncle and he was my Godfather. I have only just learned of Marc’s existance. Please email me [email protected]

    I agree, it is really hard because that is just it – how can you help?


  3. Hello,

    My name is Denise. I’m Mark’s cousin. My mom, Jeannine is uncle Edgar’s (Mark’s Dad) sister. Unfortunately I have lost contact with Mark a very long time ago. I lost touch with Mark and his mom over the years when Mark was living in Sudbury.

    Today, Mark has come back into my life by means of another cousin to whom I am grateful he had this article on his Facebook account. I looked at the pictures but I didn’t feel pity at all because I believe pity will do nothing, nothing for Mark. After looking at the pictures on the internet people might say poor guy, I wish I could do something for him but what.

    I believe in action. I challenge everyone and anyone that looks at those pictures with pity to try this challenge. I promise you it will work . Mark will be touched by this more than you will ever know. I know by experience that this works. Please try it before you knock it. You want to try something try this, you want to do something, do this. See where it will take you.

    Here’s a question for you. Can you see the electricity energy travelling on the line post outside your house? it brings you energy that transforms into a picture on your TV right. It brings you energy that transforms into light to plug things right. Can you see the energy of someone calling you from a different city and reaching you. BUT it exist doesn’t it even if you can’t see right????? What you are about to do with your love for Mark if it is true love is going to be the same. Your love energy will travel from your heart/mind right up to Mark. Can you imagine hundreds of people doing this, the power surge it will make and the effect it can have on him. Did you ever hear of paying it forward. This could be it. What have you got to lose??? What has Mark got to win. Now isn’t this better than looking at the picture with pity and asking yourself what can I do. This is what you can do. Like the electricity of the post lines that transforms the energy, let this love you say you have for Mark transform into energy that will help Mark. Let’s pay it forward. (If you haven’t seen the movie, I suggest you rent it out)

    If you really care for Mark, here it is. Read the whole message then come back to these 3 steps.

    1. Close your eyes

    2. Bring about the love in your heart and feel that LOVE in your heart for Mark for a minute. What is it doing in your heart. What does it feel like.

    3. As you can feel this energy of love in your heart, feel or imagine that love is leaving your heart and reaching Mark.

    Dear Mark,

    If you get this message, I want to tell you that I LOVE YOU and I AM FORWARDING THIS LOVE TO YOU. You are part of me and my family tree and I care. You have touched my heart and I am sending you my love. My wish/hope for You is that someone will walk your path and will be able to touch You enough to make You realize that you are LOVED by family and friends and that you are a beautiful person. Regardless of the path you have chosen, you deserve this love and respect from your family and friends and especially from Yourself. IT IS UP TO YOU TO ACCEPT THIS LOVE, NO PRESSURE intented. I look at these pictures of you from the internet and have no judgement to pass but only love and respect to offer you. You have the right to live this life you have chosen as you have the power to change it IF YOU want to. Either way I respect your choice and continue to love you. Tonight I just wanted to tell you I LOVE YOU, MARK, FOR WHO YOU ARE. You have touched my heart today in a beautiful way for I have found You and you are alive. I know someone is watching over you and these pictures on the internet do not deter the feelings of LOVE and RESPECT not PITY I have for you.

    I ask the Universe to watch over you and to bring to you whatever your needs are because truly She has been watching over you ever since you were born (because your still alive) and respecting your choices. I , myself do not understand your hardship or are they??? But trust this to be as it should for the time being.

    Take care of YOU and know I AM FORWARDING YOU MY LOVE!

    Your cousin,



  4. November 22, 2011

    Dear Denise,

    I would like to tell you that as of one week ago I had Mark in my home for 3 weeks. I took him off the street and brought him home, because he had some medical issues, and it seemed to me that he would just die down there. After three weeks of sleeping…because had brain injury, he seemed to come around a bit. I had him clean and sober for 3 weeks, so I sat down to talk to him about further recovery, and I was hoping to get him into a good Health and wellness center…but he chose to go to the local Drop-in-center instead. Basically…back to the street. So I called the DOAP TEAM and they came and gave him a ride down there. He would like a place off the street, but it would only be for the use of drugs and alchohol.I would like to tell you that he had been stabbed through the heart and the lung…they did open heart surgery, and in 5 days they put him back on the street. Then he got mugged from behind, and they stapled it up and put him back out on the street the same day. My boyfriend and I were looking for him, as he is an ex addict, and was worried about him. I said I wanted to pray for him, and he begged for me to pray that he would die that day. The problem is Mark has no ID…no Birth cirtificate, and can’t get one, as he can’t remember all the particulars that he needs to get one. Because he has no ID they can’t really do anything.I tried…He needs to know the hospital he was born in, his mother’s maiden name, and where she was born. His Father’s name and where he was born, and because he was adopted we were not sure where he was born. I know where Mark is, and can always find him him you would want me to. When I had him…his memory was not good, and all he did was sleep. As far as his addiction…I doubt that he will give that up. He has some crazy notion that he is the head of some underground revolution to take over the world. That God has put him there to lead the street people, and take over the government.One moment he can be very sweet, and the next minute he is just mean and nasty. He does not want to come off the street, and trust me I tried. I know how you must hurt for a family member, but having worked with addicts for years…trust me, they have go to want it for themselves. There is one thing though. If you happen to know, is his Mother dead or alive, and if so where is she. He doesn’t know. I could get a message to him, and then I will bring him home to make a phone call if he wants too. Pray for Marc….that’s all we can do right now, unless you can think of some way to reach him.

    I hope that this gets to you, and please send me an email address, and I will send you a picture that we took of him.

    Smiles…………….Donna Weber

  5. Dear Donna,

    Thank You for this e-mail. God is working in mysterious ways and He is looking out for Mark because I was just about to delete this e-mail since I did not recognize the e-mail address and I was afraid of getting a virus. But this is a good virus because it could lead this to Anne-Marie trying to speak to her brother to make a difference in his life.

    I do not know the answers to your questions but I can give you his adopted sister, Anne-Marie Ross’s address if you would like to get in touch with her. This is the last address I have for her. 256, Dell Street, App. 4, Sudbury, ON. Tel. no. 705-674-0589. Unfortunately, I do not have an e-mail address for Anne-Marie. She might know who his birth Mom is. My uncle Edgar and aunt Simone Nault adopted both Marc and Anne-Marie when they were babies. Unfortunately, they have both passed away sometime ago.

    my e-mail address is raydensau at yahoo.ca

    Thank You for being an earth angel for Mark, you might think you have not help much but you do not know to what extent You did make a difference.

    Let us all keep on praying because this is the only way of sending Him some light and positive energy. One day this might be the speck of light that will bring Him hope and strength enough to make Him want to stop the co-depence of drugs and it will be His time to make a difference in this world and help others who have walk his path. He must be a really sensitive person and hurting very much inside very much right now for not wanting to face up to this big challenge in life.

    I hope this will have helped you and may God bless you in ten folds for what You are doing.

    Denise Sauvé (Marc knows me in my maiden name Chartrand if he still remembers me – my mother, Jeannine, and his father, Edgar Nault, were brother and sister)

  6. My name is Daniel Ross. I am Marc’s godson(nephew).

    The address and phone number for my mother is correct.

    She does not have an email address. Should anyone hear any important news you can contact me directly as well. 705 626-9134 or [email protected].

    We spoke to Marc on the phone while in the hospital from the stabbing incident. He had moments of clarity however no real want to make any changes to his lifestyle. He is not working with a rational or healthy mind and body. I am not sure there is much we could do to help when someone is this far lost.

    Marc wasnt always like this. I hope we try to feel empathy for people in these spots.

    Also Donna thanks for your time an energy.

    Daniel Ross

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