The milkman of Montreal isn't ready to stop delivering
Meredith MacLeod, CTVNews.ca
Published Monday, March 5, 2018 8:53AM EST
Arnaldo de Castris was supposed to retire from delivering milk in Montreal. He’s 82 and after 65 years on the job, time was catching up.
But retirement wasn’t really working out for him, so he’s back on the job, tagging along with his 69-year-old cousin Richard Di Monte who took over his route. It’s hard work – getting up before dawn, pushing around heavy milk, and navigating snowy streets and slippery driveways – but de Castris missed it too much.
“Well, I enjoy my job. I really enjoyed working, I still do. I miss it, I miss it unbelievable,” he said. “The whole thing, the customers, the area, the whole works.”
He’s delivered milk, eggs and butter in the neighbourhood of Notre-Dame-de-Grace for seven decades and his customers have become friends. De Castris is unfailingly cheerful and charming, greeting customers and their families and pets with a big smile and a “good morning” or “buongiorno.”
But his doctor said it was time to retire.
“He said, ‘You’re not 22 you’re 82.’ So he tells me to slow down.”
So de Castris reluctantly packed up his milk crates in the New Year. But now that he’s feeling better, staying home isn’t for him.
“I’m having a hard time. I just can’t do it, not yet. So I’m glad he’s taking me along with him. I’m happy,” he told CTV Montreal.
“It’s incredible. He has so much energy. It’s obvious he’s doing it for the love, not for the money. He loves to see his clients,” said one of de Castris’s customers.
“Arnie’s been really a pet,” said one woman, a long-time customer. “He’s been very helpful.”
De Castris’s uncle brought him into the business when he was 17. He was delivering from a truck when some were still using horses.
“There wasn’t much to learn. It’s only about milk. There’s only homogenized and pasteurized and skim milk and jersey milk. So that’s all gone but now we have a lot more.”
Many Canadian cities said farewell to milk delivery years ago and it is dwindling in Montreal, too. The city used to have 150 people delivering milk door to door but only about 30 remain.