I’m really a fan of looking for new opportunities and experiences…I’m maybe a bit of a junkie for that.
The first thing you notice about Matthew is the way he completely lights up a room. His laugh is infectious and you can’t help but be drawn in by his genuinely friendly and affable manner.
The second thing you notice about Matthew is his home. It’s incredible – like a rustic, country-chic Pinterest board come to life.
A designated heritage home, Matthew has lived here for just a few months with his two roommates. After a quick tour, it’s obvious that Matthew’s home has everything that you’d expect from a charming heritage space: soaring ceilings, sprawling, grandiose rooms, an impressive collection of bold art pieces, vintage furniture and the retro-farmhouse kitchen of your dreams (I admit, I have a huge crush on Matt’s stove. It’s green and fabulous. What’s not to like?) To top it all off, he shares a large backyard that slopes down to a dock facing the Gorge waterway. Swoon.
But when it comes to his decor, Matthew is very humble. The place came partially furnished. “A bunch of this stuff is not ours” he says with a laugh.
When asked what it was like to move from Calgary in 2013, Matt describes what many Victoria transplants experience. “I had difficulties breaking into groups of friends and local organizations. But, I’ve lucked out, I’ve made some really good friends” he says.
Whether he’s at a networking event or hosting an epic housewarming party (he and his roommates just had a party a few weeks ago which involved masks, feather boas and copious amounts of beer – in other words, we wish we could have been there!), he now gets a lot of enjoyment out of helping other people create meaningful connections within the community. Even if it’s just introducing one friend to another, “if I can make those connections happen, that feels really good” he says.
With a degree in Environmental Science, Matthew works with a company that does Industrial Hygiene and Hazardous Material Assessments. He is passionate about the environment and meeting other people in the community that are “into social green things,” both through his job and advocacy work. Matthew is a board member for the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition. As explains, their “drive is to get more people cycling, more often, more places.” It goes without saying that Matthew is an avid cyclist himself. “I road cycle quite a bit. I also get around town by bicycle….I really love that mode of transportation. It’s self-powered. Same with surfing. You’re self powered – you make it happen” he says.
In case you haven’t figured out by now, Matthew is not the kind of guy that you’ll find home alone on a Friday night, binge watching episodes of Game of Thrones (in fact, he says he hasn’t owned a TV in over ten years.) Instead, he says that he gets his energy from being around and interacting with other people. This is one of the reasons he is so fond of living with his roommates. “Why have a big space and not fill it with life?”
As Matthew shares, “I’m really a fan of looking for new opportunities and experiences…I’m maybe a bit of a junkie for that.” Case and point: when Matthew moved to Victoria in 2013, he joined the Victoria Curling Club and has been actively curling ever since – something he says has been great for meeting people who are long time residents of Victoria. He is also an avid surfer, stand-up paddleboarder and is always up for a good hike. One of the things he loves most about living in Victoria is that all of these activities are so accessible. “To go surfing on a Friday morning isn’t a problem” he says. He loves being outdoors and adds, “being near the ocean is kind of grounding. I feel like I connect a bit better near water.”
Never one to say no to new adventures, this past summer, Matthew and his friends organized a stand-up paddleboarding pub crawl. Yes, a pub crawl. On paddleboards. “We had 15 of us. We paddled to Spinnakers” he explains. They then toured around the inner harbour, stopping to have drinks and swim. “It was a really nice day” he says (we have to agree!)
So, what does a typical Saturday look like for Matthew when he’s not on the water? As Matthew made us coffee, he explained that before we met up with him, he’d already been to Cafe Fantastico (one of his favourite coffee spots) in Quadra Village and had plans to hit up the Oakland Market, before heading out to NGO Ho Ho Ho – a holiday fundraiser hosted at the Victoria Events Center. We have to say, that sounds like a pretty solid Saturday.
At the end of the day, the most important thing to Matthew is surrounding himself with good people. “Professionally, I definitely want to connect with businesses that need the services that I offer or local businesses that are looking to grow their clientele” he shares. But he also points out,“I also love making connections happen that have nothing to do with my goals and gains. That’s one of my goals – to see those connections happen.”
Matthew is single and very open to meeting new people, however with his busy schedule dating hasn’t been a top priority as of late. “I’m enjoying being the king of my own castle right now” he says with a smile.
When it comes qualities he admires in other people, Matthew says, “People that are self-sufficient, but also tenacity. People who, when they do have a goal, they want to go the distance and can put in the hard work…even if that means sacrificing other aspects, like the fun parts or easy parts to get stuff done. People who are flexible and creative and open to change. People who are open to their life not being exactly what they thought it would be, but rather, rolling with what comes and making the best of it….or making it fantastic.”
As far fantastic future plans go, Matthew dreams of possibly buying a sailboat one day to tour the world. His dream locations? South East Asia and India, among many more. Also on his list: to experience snowboarding season in Japan.
In the mean-time, he is very happy where he is. After all, you only need to speak to Matthew for a few minutes to get the impression that this is clearly a man who is in love with his life. As he puts it, “If you think your life is going to be fun filled and fantastic, it doesn’t really matter how you get there.”
From the sounds of it, Matthew has taken his own advice and is enjoying the journey.