Hank Young, country-and-western musician from Halifax turned Gladstone Hotel character-at-large, died of a stroke this past weekend at the age of 68. I first met him at the Gladstone during its grungy pre-renovation days at its karaoke night, where he was known for his rendition of Hey Good Lookin’. When the hotel underwent its transformation from fleabag to boutique, the management made him the operator of its antique elevator and his enthusiasm made him the hotel’s unofficial historian and tour guide.
In addition to his better-known work at the Gladstone, Hank also did a fair bit of community work. He opened a centre to help teenage kids off the street, volunteered at a program to feed the homeless and advocated for his neighbours at City Hall.
Hank always had a smile for anyone who passed by and a hearty “Hey, Accordion Man!” whenever I dropped in. He was one of Parkdale’s finest characters-at-large, and the neighbourhood was a little bit better thanks to his presence.