By Rhonda Massad
Originally from Nova Scotia, Pointe Claire resident since 1953, Gordon Bell, often known as the Can Man, collects cans and bottles on his bike has brought in a staggering $200,000 over the past 20 years.
What started out as a lark quickly turned into a part time job for Bell when he realized there was money to be made with plenty of hard work. With the help of a friend he bought a new bike to start out his business.
“If you work hard you can make things happen,” Bell told The Suburban in a curb side interview, “I have never collected welfare, ever. I pay my bills and I spend money. I contribute to the economy.”
According to Bell he made mistakes at first but got the hang of collecting cans and bottles to return to local grocery stores. After some trial and error he developed what he calls the overnight run and the morning run, to beat the recycling truck. Bell can often be seen driving his bike loaded with cans around the West Island.
“I also have regular pick ups at people’s homes,” he explained. “I have earned a lot of respect from people who know me and know what I do.”
Bell confirmed that some weeks are better than others in his business.
“How many needles can you find in a hay stack?” he joked. “There is no guarantee, some weeks are good some are less so.”
Bell receives a pension from Quebec as well as an old age supplement along with a pension from working in a grocery store. He has RRSP’s that he plans on using when he retires closer to 70 years old.