Enjoy life with Guy Mongrain

August 11, 2016


Mr. Mongrain, you and your spouse have been in love for 37 years, married for 33. What is the golden rule if you want your union to last?

You have to choose your battles and respect each other. You know, your adversary is not necessarily your enemy. Every couple disagrees on some things. My spouse and I, we never argue. Every day is not easy, but we explain our thinking and communicate. We have to be able to put things in perspective. We have to be able to love the other person more than ourselves.

You have two granddaughters, Zoé and her little sister Anaïs. What have they changed in your life?

Lots of things! For one thing, my sense of urgency has disappeared. With my granddaughters, I take my time. Daycare opens at 8 a.m., but if I’m with Zoé one morning and she wants to have a 45-minute breakfast, it’s no problem. She’ll be at the daycare by 9:30!

With my two sons, it was different. I had to raise and discipline them. But with the two girls, I’m there to have a good time. I get to be silly all the time! Disciplining is their parents’ job. At the same time, I’m careful to not undo what they try to teach their daughters. But only grandparents can show their grandchildren that a serving of ice cream is the size of a soup bowl! I am their silliness teacher!

It’s unconditional love. You know, when your little granddaughter jumps in your arms and says, “I love you, Grandpa,” it’s magic! The younger one is still very little, but I look forward to when she begins to interact more!

You have been the victim of bank fraud. A man you considered your friend tricked you out of $300,000. Since then you have been a spokesman for Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF). Do you have any tips for people who want to make their hard-earned money work but do not know enough about finance to do it themselves?

Unfortunately, there always have been and always will be fraudsters. Something I say all the time is “don’t let your emotions take over.” Fraudsters are heartless and have no honour. They are persuasive and know how to gain your trust. You mostly have to be able to tell if a person is trustworthy or malicious.

And how can you tell?

Don’t sign anything or move too quickly. Ask questions and do some research. You can also check with AMF to see if the person is properly registered. Ask a financial advisor for references and client names. Once the fraud was revealed, I was surprised to learn that about 102 people had been tricked, including some people I knew. But I didn’t know they were clients of the fraudster, since he took care to “compartmentalize” us and make sure we did not communicate. You should do business with brick and mortar institutions that are willing to put you in contact with other clients of theirs.

You have hosted the show La Poule aux œufs d’or for 23 years now. Its weekly ratings in Quebec television world have been phenomenal. What explains this success?

First, I think spectators identify with the participants. They are there by chance, not a casting call! The participants are amazed to be there, to experience live television. I think the moment where participants have to choose between egg and an envelope touches people a lot. They can relate to it and play along with the winners. It’s interactive! They play armchair quarterback in their living rooms! (Laughs)

You hosted the first Fort Boyard show. Do you have an anecdote or something special you could tell us?

There is one scene that made a mark on everyone’s mind—the famous test where we see the late Marie-Soleil Tougas screaming in fear, rage, and frustration thinking of having to put her hand in a jar full or insects, trapped between her phobia and her desire to win. At a certain moment, she yells to teammates to “keep quiet!” and punches the rock wall with her hand covered with mud. Since then, her fist print has been there. It’s Cell 209.

Another memorable moment is the monkey bridge trial that exposed Yves Corbeil’s phobia. Poor Yves! He was screaming in terror! No one knew. In front of the cameras at Fort Boyard, all of Quebec learned that Yves Corbeil suffers from severe vertigo. Even I, his longtime friend, didn’t know at the time.

Few people know your spouse and you are frequent travellers. You have travelled much of North America by RV (recreational vehicle).

We did more than 80,000 km in eight years. With our little dog, we crossed Canada, including Newfoundland, which I think is the nicest province in the country. People there are so kind and landscapes are so spectacular that I vowed to never make “Newfie jokes” again after visiting the province.

We both drive, my spouse and me. One of the nicest trips we took was to the United States Southwest: Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. Santa Fe is a wonderful city. The U.S. Southwest has many large parks. The Grand Canyon hits is the top one, but others—including Canyonlands, Zion, and Antelope Canyon—are fantastic, and Monument Valley is absolutely impressive!

What will be your next destination?

We still have a few in mind. We want to go to Alaska, but that will take lots of time! I also want to go back to California by RV. We went once but not in an RV.

Thank you for your time. We wish you some nice trips by RV!