After working 12 years delivering The Coast, Doug Brown has become Halifamous as one of the longest serving---and most public---of the paper's public representatives. If you've been picking up the paper over those dozen years, there's a good chance Brown himself touched your copy. Or at least the bundle of 50 papers that yours came in from the printing plant.
He's spent time on every one of the five distribution routes that blanket HRM in Coasts, taking papers to each of the 650 shops, cafes, newspaper boxes and other hits where you can get your issue. He is currently working the north end route: You'll see him covering a territory from Lady Hammond Road to Gottingen Street on Thursdays, emerging out of his black van carrying a bundle of newspapers in one hand and a cane in the other, to hobble across the road for the nearest news rack. That is, you can see him until the end of this month. After next week's paper, the May 31 issue, gets delivered, Brown will be trading in his weekly routes for retirement.
Life after The Coast will doubtless continue to feature words: When he’s not working to bring you reading material, Brown likes to read. His reading list extends from biographies and history to books on politics. But in particular, he likes to read about old cars. His favourite types are from the pre-World War II era.
“I’ve driven a Model A once,” he recollects. “They’re temperamental, sweet cars.”
Perhaps it’s a good thing he likes cars so much too. He has to spend so much time in one, sometimes returning home at midnight from his rounds when there’s particularly bad traffic. But those days, he clarifies, are few and far between. For the most part, he enjoys the drives and he gets home by 10.
“When there are festivals, it gets a little difficult because some of the roads are closed off from delivery,” Brown says. In those instances, he takes out his handcart, which he modified himself.
“When I was starting out,” he explains, “I didn’t have a lot of money and I brought the cheapest one.” But he soon found out the newspapers didn’t fit perfectly and they would end up flying around. Being the dedicated worker he is, he brought some plywood and added it to the cart for stability. Now, the papers stay where they are.
If you see Brown on his rounds this week or next, take some time to say hello. He’s always up for a quick conversation, this man who brings you the news. And he's at least as sweet as a Model A.