Mike, 67 yrs

Apr 16th 2023

“I was born in Edmonton, but I didn’t know anything about my dad. I found out that he was from Montreal, so I went down there to see him. He turned out to be abusive, so I moved out when I was 14.

At 16, I tried to find a job. It was hard since nobody took you seriously at that age. At the time, I was restoring a house that was 300 years old, and one guy watched me work on it. He was born in that house and owned a construction company. He wanted me to work for him, so at 16, I started building colleges, shopping centers, and putting skylights in. It was tough work. I went to night school at the same time because I never finished high school. When there was no more construction work, I transferred up to telecommunications in Northwest Territories and Yukon. During that time, I stayed with the Inuit; they took me polar bear hunting and I went to every settlement up North. I went from mountain top to mountain top building towers. I’ve also been in a plane crash and went down from a helicopter for 8 days without food and water.

You shouldn't be afraid to do something. It’s better to do it and say you’ve done it than regret not doing it. And do as much as you can when you’re young. People always delay things, but you don’t have time when you’re older. I used to take a whole year off and travel. I would go to parties and meet people; I’d end up all over the place. I like to say that I’ve seen my country before I go to other countries, so I’ve been across Canada from coast to coast about 8 times. There’s so much to see; so vast and beautiful.

Sometimes you trust people and you shouldn’t. I live by a handshake, it means everything to me, so I've been taken advantage of many times. But I wish there were more guys like me who'd stand up for injustice and help the poor. I cooked a Christmas meal for the Boyle Street Christmas dinner for 40 years. I put down 125 turkeys every Christmas. We fed a lot of people.

Despite what I’ve gone through, my favourite time in my life was when my girls were born. I loved being a dad and taking them to school every day and just hanging out. They don't compare to anything else in my life."