Yellowknife artist honours Charlie Delorme, former street person who donated thousands

A Yellowknife artist is memorializing Charlie Delorme in a mural. The former homeless man made headlines after giving away thousands of his residential school settlement.

Before his death in 2013, Delorme gave away $17K of $100K residential school settlement

Local artist Terry Pamplin works on a mural memorializing his friend and former homeless man Charlie Delorme. Before his death, Delorme donated thousands of his residential school settlement to organizations in Yellowknife. (Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi/CBC)

A Yellowknife artist is memorializing a former homeless man who made headlines after giving away thousands of his residential school settlement.

Just months before his death in 2013, Charlie Delorme received $100,000 in compensation from the federal government for years spent in residential schools. The 64-year-old donated $10,000 to the Stanton Territorial Hospital Foundation, $5,000 to Yellowknife's Salvation Army, and $2,000 to the city's SideDoor Youth Centre.

Local artist Terry Pamplin was friends with Delorme and recently started work on a mural in his honour. It includes two large portraits of Delorme, who spent nearly 40 years living on the streets of Yellowknife.

Pamplin's mural includes two 'larger than life' shots of Delorme and a map of Yellowknife, which he calls Delorme's 'stomping grounds.' (Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi/CBC)

"They're both larger than life," Pamplin says.

The first shot is a portrait of Delorme, which Pamplin says was taken just days before his death.

"The other one is an upright full figure of Charlie in one of his, I call them, traditional poses," Pamplin says. "Cause you'd see him on the street and wave to him and he'd always wave back."

The background of the mural is a map of Yellowknife, which Pamplin calls Delorme's "stomping grounds." The artwork will be displayed on the wall of the strip mall across from the downtown grocery store.

Pamplin was a friend of Delorme's and wants him to be remembered for more than just donating money. (Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi/CBC)

"I think a number of people in town will remember the fact that he gave away money and everyone was happy with that," Pamplin says, but he hopes the mural will go further and help break down stereotypes.

"Hopefully encourage people to look beyond initial reactions and emotions and look at their background and learn to develop a little more acceptance and tolerance of people who aren't exactly like them," he says.

Pamplin got funding for the project from the Yellowknife Heritage Committee, the federal government's Canada 150 fund and the Yellowknife Community Foundation. He hopes the mural will be unveiled in the next six months during Yellowknife's 50th anniversary celebrations.

Pamplin stands in front of a mural of Charlie Delorme. He hopes it will be unveiled in the next six months. (Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi/CBC)