Remembering Laura-Kay Prophet, aka the Vancouver Duck Lady

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      I still remember the first time I saw the Duck Lady. It was March 2019. I was waiting for a bus on Broadway. And there, in the window of a chariot speeding past, was the marvel: a perfect white duck, in a cage, contentedly chilling. 

      It felt like finding a Vancouver cryptid—spotting the Sasquatch eating at Breka, or Nardwaur doing a cold plunge at Kits Beach. 

      Naturally, I uploaded the blurry photo to my Instagram stories. 

      Where were you the first time you spotted Bus Duck??

      My friends responded, saying yes, they too had seen the Vancouver Duck Lady. So had everyone. 

      Laura-Kay Prophet, owner of said beautiful specimen cozied up in a cage, was one of those local micro-celebrities everyone knew of. 

      Prophet died on Thursday (March 21) aged 82, according to Global News. Her beloved pet duck, Bobbie VI, apparently predeceased her over the winter. Bobbie VI was the latest in a long line of ducks that Prophet chronicled on her website

      According to a profile in Scout, Prophet has travelled Vancouver with her duck(s) since 1980, and found that the feathered friends helped her to live with multiple sclerosis. She started a non-profit, Duck $oup, to give away food to people in need. Prophet was chronicled in a 2011 project by the Vancouver Film School, as well as in a 2013 myVancouver short dedicated to her charitable efforts. 

      Prophet’s love for the white waterfowl had a spiritual dimension that she was reportedly happy to share with passers-by. From describing her first duck, Harvey, as “a holy duck… [who] wanted to be human,” to referring to her line of iteratively-named Bobbie ducks as “reincarnations” of the original “fortune telling duck,” she believed that the ducks were more than just her quacking pals. 

      And, in a way, they were. Whether she sought it or not, Prophet transcended the mundane to become something more: a story. Like the Opera Guy, or Roller Girl, or Canuck the Crow, she was part of the fabric and lore and legacy of Vancouver: a regular person whose life made the every day feel a little bit more magical. 

      The Vancouver Duck Lady was more than just a woman. She was an urban legend. And legends never really die.