6 Ways Justin Trudeau Is Linked To British Columbia

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Chuck Stoody/CP
Chuck Stoody/CP

Canada's incoming prime minister, Justin Trudeau, was born in Ottawa and represents the Papineau riding in Quebec — but he's got strong ties to British Columbia.

Here are six ways the Liberal leader is linked to Canada's Western-most province.

1. He studied at the University of British Columbia.

Trudeau completed his bachelor of education at UBC in 1998 after studying literature at McGill University in Montreal. As a student, the future politician lived in Vancouver and frequented Whistler-Blackcomb resort on the weekends.

2. He taught math, drama, and French in Vancouver schools.

The Liberal leader worked at Winston Churchill Secondary School, West Point Grey Academy, and Prince of Wales Secondary after graduating from UBC. He also taught briefly at Pinetree Secondary School in Coquitlam.

Cameron Sinclair was a student of Trudeau's at West Point Grey.

"If I could have had every teacher to be like him, guaranteed I would have done better in school," Sinclair told HuffPost's Ottawa Bureau Chief Althia Raj in 2013.

Another one of Trudeau's students, on the other hand, said the Liberal leader played favourites in class.

"In terms of his teaching, there was nothing spectacular but nothing horrible either," said Nicole Jinn.

Trudeau spoke at a teacher's conference in Ontario in 2007 about his path to a career in education:

3. He was a ski and snowboard instructor on the West Coast.

Trudeau taught at Whistler-Blackcomb resort in the late '90s. Sean Smillie was a close friend, (close enough to let the future prime minister crash on his couch time and again,) and said Trudeau was a natural with students enrolled in the Red Tribe program.

“Justin always got the wild, crazy kids who were running all over the mountain. He was perfect for that, so I ended up working with him a lot, riding with him and the kids," Smillie told Macleans in 2012.

Trudeau discussed the idea of having the Olympics in Vancouver, marijuana decriminalization, and the great Canadian sport of hockey in an interview from a Whistler chairlift in 2001:

4. He started advocating for mountain safety after his youngest brother was killed while skiing in the B.C. Interior.

Trudeau and his family founded the Kokanee Glacier Alpine Campaign to honour Michel Trudeau, who died after an avalanche swept him into Kokanee Lake in 1998. His body was never recovered.

The Liberal leader also worked for the Canadian Avalanche Association, with a focus on educating skiiers and snowboarders to explore the back country safely.

justin trudeau kokanee lake
Justin Trudeau stands with his father overlooking Kokanee Lake in 1999.

5. His mom, Margaret Trudeau, is from B.C.

Born Margaret Joan Sinclair, Justin Trudeau's mother was born in Vancouver. She later attended Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Burnaby to study English literature. She married Justin's father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, when she was 22, and the couple divorced after 14 years of marriage.

margaret trudeau

6. His maternal grandfather, James Sinclair, was a federal cabinet minister from B.C.

In 1940, Margaret Trudeau's father was elected to the House of Commons. James Sinclair served 18 years in government: as an MP for Vancouver North and Coast—Capilano, and the fisheries minister for five years.

Sinclair, who studied at UBC, died in 1984.

Justin Pierre James Trudeau is named for both his father and grandfather.

james sinclair justin trudeau

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