When David Suzuki is not away on one of his many speaking engagements or political campaigns, the 71-year-old scientist and broadcaster can be found in his Point Grey home spending time with his wife, Tara Cullis. Suzuki made the CBC’s list of the top-10 most important Canadians of all time, due in large part to the David Suzuki Foundation (www.davidsuzuki.org/), which was set up in 1990 to advance environmental solutions.
How long have you lived at your current abode?
“Almost 30 years now; it was when my daughter [Severn, age 28] was born [that we moved in].”
What made it the right house for you and the family?
“Tara had always wanted to live on the ocean. I thought, ”˜Of course that would be great,’ but in Vancouver, we are talking about a standard I felt I could never live up to. She went away to graduate school to do her PhD at the University of Wisconsin. She said, ”˜Look, if you are going to get a house, look on the ocean.’ Then a friend called up and said a house has come up and it is available. It was a woman who had lived in this single-storey house and said she needed to sell it, because she had bought a place to retire in Victoria. The deal she had fell through, and she was desperate. She had to make a sale in order to move, and didn’t have much time. And I walked in, and at the time it was still beyond anything I could possibly imagine. It was $135,000.”
How would you describe your home style?
“Sloppy. You walk in to some of these homes—especially a lot of them along the water there—and they look like museums. They are filled with art and they’re so clean. We are not like that.”
Do you have a prized possession?
“When we went down to the Amazon, we won a big battle to stop a series of dams being built in the Amazon. The guy that led the battle took his headdress off—a leather headdress—and he gave it to me. That is a really important possession to me.”¦And I would want to save the albums of pictures of my family, I guess.”
Is there a defining characteristic of the house that
really makes it Dr. Suzuki’s place?
“Along the [garden] wall, we have a clematis plant. When my mother died in 1984, we cremated her and spread her ashes on that clematis plant. Then my niece died unexpectedly and we put her ashes on that plant. And every year, when that clematis plant blooms, I know that my niece and my mother are there. Those are the things I list that make my property a home.”
Are there any favourite electronic gadgets?
“I like my laptop and I like the television set. We hardly ever use it though. I don’t like my voice mail and we hardly use the microwave oven. I love the gas stove.”
Do you excel at any particular dish or food?
“I do specialize in fish, but the one thing I am really proud of is making pumpkin pies from scratch—the shell and the pumpkin. I think they are the best I have ever had.”