The mayor of Laval, Stéphane Boyer, followed his passions and beliefs throughout his youth. We’ll live with him his trip to several countries and the most important trip of his life, Percé’s trip to Montreal, on foot, when he raised $ 7000 for autism.
It is very important for him to understand the reality of what other people may feel in his life. Why did he choose politics? I never asked him the question, because his achievements in his youth were so dazzling to me that I found myself in the presence not of a politician, but of someone for whom humanitarian aid was so important.
You are a native of the Vimont district in Laval.
We lived in Vimont with our parents Michel and Nicole Charbonneau which allowed us to live an extraordinary family life. In Saint-François, there is a street named Boyer as a tribute to my grandfather, who was the first citizen to live on this street.
Your grandfather had a lot of work in his life.
He was a baker and he also worked in schools, but something still fascinates me to this day, he sliced ice cream in Rivière-des-Mille-Îles and then sold it to consumers.
You love to read.
At the age of 4, at 5 am, in the family kitchen with my parents, I learned to read by reading the Great Geographical and Encyclopedic Atlas of the World.
Your father is a construction contractor.
Dad had two businesses, one making steel door frames. Moreover, the children’s first job was to work in the factory every weekend, and then in the summer. Mom is in charge of the company’s accounts.
Your father is a trendsetter.
Dad had several women working for him in the factory, because he always believed that a woman had a place in the world of construction.
Find solutions to a problem.
My father taught me one aspect of life that was very important to me, and more than just being mayor: “I need to find solutions to a problem”.
You made your second 4 in New Zealand.
There was an exchange program in New Zealand and, to my surprise, my parents approved my school project. My host family allowed me to experience the outdoors every weekend as we hiked in the mountains, canoeing and sailing.
You played field hockey.
When I was just starting out in New Zealand I didn’t really understand the rules explained to me in English. Above all, I learned the importance of camaraderie that exists within a sports team.
What life lessons did you learn on this journey?
Above all, I learned not to be afraid to learn about other cultures and include myself in their social lives.
You are obligated to shorten your second 4 and 5 on your return.
When I returned to Laval, despite the fact that my school leaders assured me that my courses would be recognized, I had to condense my secondary 4 and 5.
You chose to live in your Compostela in Quebec.
I took a year off from my studies. I wanted to live the Compostelle experience, but, in the end, I decided to undertake this adventure in Quebec to help young people with autism.
From Percé to Montreal to raise funds for autism.
My friends worked at a summer camp with autistic children. I wanted to do my part to help these young people, so I decided to walk from Percé to Mount Royal, in Montreal, to raise money.
42 days later, you have reached your destination.
I took route 132 and other roads. One night, two families I did not know invited me to stay with them; the other nights, I slept in my tent near the road, in a woods.
You live in South Africa.
Before finishing my studies, I decided to go and work for almost two years in the ambulance service in South Africa as a dispatcher, covering one of 21 villages. I talked to them in English as much as possible, because there were 12 languages I had to try to master.
Were you accepted in your village?
We must understand the situation at a time when there are injustices against blacks. I am the only white man living in this village. The village was literally split in two, if I could stay with them.
Are you threatened with death?
On several occasions, I was surrounded by armed citizens who threatened to kill me if I did not leave their village. Yes, I was scared.
Nelson Mandela is an educator for you.
He taught me that instead of using physical confrontation to resolve a dangerous situation, you need to rise up to violence.
You loved the adventure abroad.
Along with members of my cohort at UQAM, we lived with families in Mexico. I also discovered Asia. My many travels have allowed me to learn English, Spanish and a bit of Mandarin.
You live in Le Plateau-Mont-Royal.
When I was studying at UQAM and the University of Montreal, I lived on Delorimier Street near Mont-Royal. I often go to bars and restaurants in the area.
You have been in a relationship for five years.
Camille Simard Lavoie and I had a happy life as we enjoyed the outdoors, short two-day trips with no planned destination. My husband prefers local canteen restaurants over gourmet foods, because I like ready meals. His complicity and his understanding of my work makes me a better person.