The Life & Times of Joseph Mahoney

After years of travelling around Canada working odd jobs, Joseph Mahoney came out to live in BC in 1978. Originally from Guelph, he “wanted to see the other side of the mountains”. In 1974 he had been diagnosed with depression and was ‘treated’ with electroshock therapy. Then in 1976 he was hospitalized and diagnosed with schizophrenia after an episode in which he could see and hear three people dressed in old Roman-style clothing, taunting him from a balcony in the air. Despite these events Joe continued to work and travel.

After arriving here he got a job at the Vancouver Aquarium doing janitorial and security work, living in an apartment in the West End. Six months later he was hospitalised again, at which time he lost his job and his apartment. After that he moved to the Downtown Eastside and lived in various hotel rooms and SROs for the next 14 years. It was during that time that he started to write poetry. One of his poems, Made Whole by the Tree, was published in an anthology, and apparently is still under copyright, so we can’t reprint it here. Joe moved into WindChimes when it first opened, in July 1993, and has been living here ever since. Gentle by nature, he has nevertheless served WindChimes on a number of occasions by escorting unwanted visitors to the door. Now that the cooler months are here he likes to walk around the seawall at Stanley Park… he says his main interest these days is in the search for peace and quiet.