Trudeau's travels: from snowboarder to Liberal leadership front-runner

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OTTAWA - A look at the life and career of Liberal leadership front-runner Justin Trudeau:

Born: Dec. 25, 1971, first of three sons born to then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau and Margaret Trudeau.

Age: 41.

Education: Bachelor of arts in English literature from McGill University, bachelor of education from the University of British Columbia. Studied engineering at the Universite de Montreal and environmental geography at McGill, but did not complete degrees in either.

Private career: Snowboarding instructor, white water rafting instructor. Taught math, French, humanities and drama at West Point Grey Academy and Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in Vancouver. Chaired the Katimavik youth service program, from 2002 to 2006. Earned about $1.5 million on the public speaking circuit from 2006-12. Since his election in 2008, he's topped up his MP's salary by some $277,000 with speeches to charitable groups and educational institutions, among others.

Political career: First elected in the Montreal riding of Papineau in 2008, narrowly defeating the Bloc Quebecois incumbent. Re-elected by larger margin in 2011, in the teeth of an NDP wave that swept Quebec. Held relatively low-profile positions in the Liberal shadow cabinet as critic for multiculturalism and youth; citizenship and immigration; and post-secondary education, youth and amateur sport.

Personal: Married Quebec television host Sophie Gregoire in 2005. They have two children: Xavier James, 5, and Ella-Grace, 4.

For the record: "If we work hard and stay optimistic, we will put forward an irresistible alternative to the Conservatives 30 months from now. Irresistible not because it is Liberal, but because it will be 100 per cent, undeniably Canadian. It won't be easy ... Hope, my friends, yes. Always hope. But more than that. Hope and hard work."

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