Volunteers delivering donations to homeless in honour of Edmonton’s piano man

Edmonton’s piano man Ryan Arcand died in March, but his music and memory hasn’t been forgotten.

Carrie Rockwood, a cousin of the talented pianist, has been collecting donations for the city’s homeless population since his passing.

Arcand lived on the streets before moving into a supportive housing complex. A 2014 video of the musician playing the keys in Churchill Square received millions of views, cementing his status as the city’s piano man.

Rockwood and Arcand were close as children, but drifted apart in their late teens.

She said she hopes to continue his legacy, and will drive around the city on Saturday with a group of volunteers, handing out a variety of goods to Edmonton’s most vulnerable people.

“We just want to do something to give back in his name because I know Ryan had a big heart,” she said. “And even if he had very little, he would help anyone in need.”

Rockwood has been collecting donations since March, including hats, sleeping bags, backpacks and non-perishable food. Bottled water, tents, sunscreen and bug spray are particularly valuable during the summer months, she said.

She helped hand out 11 carloads of donations two weeks after Arcand died, and hopes to have even more to offer this time around.

He was once homeless and impressed millions on YouTube with his piano playing. Now, Ryan Arcand, is back. This time, with a roof over his head. 1:27

“I feel very honoured to be able to do something to give back and help those in need in my cousin’s name because I know he would do the same,” Rockwood said.

Volunteers will meet outside Hope Mission downtown at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Rockwood said, collecting and organizing donations before heading out to hand out the goods.

Rockwood said she hopes to continue the charity drive in honour of Arcand, with the goal of handing out donations four times a year.



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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.

History

Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
Geography

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

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