Plenty of praise for North Sydney's 'Street Sweeper'
Published Thursday, April 11, 2013 1:10PM ADT
Richie Penny is known as the 'Street Sweeper' around his hometown of North Sydney.
“I’ve been doing it all my life,” says Penny. “Ever since I was a kid, everywhere I go, Ontario, Sydney, Frenchvale.”
Penny takes care of the roads in his area all year round.
“Every day of the week, summer, winter, snow, rain, doesn’t matter,” says Penny
Working at a feverish pace, Penny takes pride in keeping his community clean.
“I sweep all the doorways, walkways, parking lots, I sweep all the garbage from church parking lots,” says Penny. “All around the sidewalks, all over the parks.”
And, if you ask him, there is no doubt it makes a difference.
“When the tourists are in town, the first thing they say when they go into a restaurant is, ‘geez this place is clean, the doorways sure are clean here,’” he says.
With his trusty kit of brooms and buckets, Penny serves North Sydney and nearby Sydney Mines. In nice weather, he walks from town to town. In winter, he takes the bus.
His work is appreciated in his hometown and he has become one of the community’s most recognizable faces.
“I see him a lot,” says resident Gavin Rudderham. “He’s sweeping the streets, keeping our town clean. Nice guy, nice guy.”
“You know springtime’s here when you always see his little stop sign there, with his bandanas and stuff on it,” says resident Leo Boutilier.
As a retiree, Penny can spend more time on what he calls his true passion.
“It kinda gives me a little high,” he says. “Keeps my spirit going, eh. People are blowing their horns and carrying on, I like that.”
Penny says he has been sweeping the streets for nearly 30 years now and has no plans to stop anytime soon.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald