March 6, 2015 4:41 pm
Updated: March 6, 2015 10:18 pm

Homeless piano man now off Edmonton streets


WATCH ABOVE: Ryan Arcand, who’s now off the streets, plays the piano at his new home.

EDMONTON — Video of Ryan Arcand playing the piano went viral last October. Now, after reportedly living on the streets in Edmonton for 20 years, he’s found a home.

Arcand is settling in to his new room at Ambrose Place — a local transitional housing facility.

Story continues below

“I like to inspire people who are still struggling like I was,” said Arcand, seated at a piano in Ambrose Place Friday, “from being on the street, sleeping outside, going to shelters. Because I love people. I play for people.”

“I really love this place… There’s good people here,” he added with a smile. He’s been living at the residence for about three weeks.

“I’m not used to this. Once in a while, when I’m in my room, I’ll think ‘do I really deserve this?'”

“It’s an opportunity,” Arcand said. “I’m starting to accept this place.”

WATCH: A look inside Ambrose Place

Not only is Ambrose Place offering him a new start, it’s also offering him new keys to create music with.

“This song that I played, the first one, I wrote that for a homeless man who passed on,” said Arcand on Friday.

He became a YouTube star last fall when video of him playing on a free outdoor piano in downtown Edmonton was posted by Roslyn Polard. Polard was walking in Churchill Square and when she heard him, she asked if she could record him.

WATCH: A video posted to YouTube showing an Edmonton homeless man playing piano went viral.

There are several other videos of Arcand – who is said to be self-taught – on YouTube. He’s had hundreds of thousands of views.

WATCH: Video of homeless piano man in Edmonton goes viral 

His impromptu performances have drawn crowds and moved many of those who take the time to listen.

Arcand said he lived on the street for about 20 years, a situation that began after some personal tragedies.

“I quit my job. I quit everything,” he shared. “I just wasn’t the same. I lived outside. I slept outside.”

Arcand admits he is still struggling with alcohol, but the policies at Ambrose Place are helping him significantly cut back.

“I like it here. It’s opened the door for me.”

The piano he was playing in Churchill Square was part of OpenPianoYEG, an outdoor public piano project launched last spring.

WATCH: There is a good news update about the homeless Edmonton man who became a YouTube sensation last year for his piano skills. Eric Szeto reports.

Report an error


Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.