Montreal

Homeless man gifted new violin after reporting his old one stolen

Montrealers — and the city's Orchestre Métropolitain — are reaching out to help a homeless man who says his violin was stolen.

‘God bless you’: Mark Landry, Montreal transit system performer, thanks Orchestre Métropolitain for new violin

Mark Landry plays a song on his brand new violin, which the homeless man received as a gift from the Orchestre Métropolitain and a local violin shop after his old one was stolen. (CBC)

"God bless you."

Those were the first words out of the mouth of Mark Landry, a Montreal homeless man, when he saw a man approach him holding a brand new violin case.

Landry, a frequent performer in the Montreal Metro transit system, made headlines today after a Montrealer's Facebook post this morning said Landry's violin was stolen.

Mark Landry, a frequent busker in Montreal's Métro system, says his violin was stolen. (Facebook)

When Orchestre Métropolitain heard about it, they knew they wanted to help.

They got in touch with a local violin shop and bought him a new instrument.

They hand-delivered the Gewa violin, with a new case and bow, to Landry on Tuesday afternoon.

"When we heard what happened to you, we contacted our friends at Maison du Violon...and we decided to give you back your joie-de-vivre and give you back the opportunity to do what it is you do best, which allows you to earn a small living," Jean Dupré, president of L'Orchestre Métropolitain, told Landry.

Francis Lapointe of the Maison du Violon, who offered to sell it at cost price, said they wanted to help "put music back in his life."

"He will have everything he needs to be playing again," Lapointe said. "It's a good instrument and it's going to work for years, hopefully, for Mark to enjoy his music and for us to enjoy his music also."

Mark Landry, a homeless Metro performer whose violin was stolen, is playing once again thanks to Orchestre Métropolitain and La Maison du Violon. 1:32

'Lower level of poverty' without violin

Landry says he was disappointed to wake up this morning and realize his violin was gone.

"I just said, 'OK, I gotta go through the lower level of poverty, which is to live without my violin.'"

But Landry said he never had a doubt that he would get his hands on a violin again.

"I said, 'God's gonna give me a new one.'"

"We hope that it gives you your smile back," Dupré told Landry, who has been playing the violin since he was 17.

"Oh yeah!" Landry said. "I'm going to go play right away."​

With files from CBC journalist Alison Northcott

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