A shirtless Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes a selfie with Jim Godby’s son. Godby says they were hiking in a Quebec park when they casually ran into Trudeau and his family. (Source: Jim Godby)
When a Peterborough family set out on a hike inside Quebec’s Gatineau Park, they didn’t expect to see a cave, let alone a shirtless prime minister popping out of one!
“It was like a 20-foot-wide round hole and Justin (Trudeau) emerged with his family in tow and said, ‘This is the moment of truth; do we stop here or do we carry on?’” said Jim Godby, who was on a five-day camping trip at the park last week with his wife, Arlene, and two kids — Alexander, 13, and Charlotte, 10.
They had decided to go on a hike on one of the trails near their campsite Tuesday and happened upon the Lusk Cave, a marble cave thousands of years old in the centre of the park.
As they went to take a peek inside, Godby heard the familiar voice. That’s when Trudeau, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau and two of their children surfaced in what Godby described as a casual chance encounter that humanized the prime minister.
“It was just said with such an enthusiastic, joyful tone that that’s what kind of struck me,” Godby said of Trudeau’s comment, which appeared to be referring to whether the family should continue hiking or not. “He evidently enjoys leading. . . . It seemed pretty characteristic of his personality.”
Godby only spoke with an excited Grégoire Trudeau, who urged the family to venture inside the cave: “You’ve got to try this!” she said, noting the waist-high stream inside, which explained Trudeau’s shirtlessness.
The couple’s keenness made Godby want to venture inside, but he says he and his family weren’t dressed for it.
The cave, a 45-minute drive from Ottawa, was featured on CBC last year as one of Ottawa’s “hidden gems.” It’s 100 metres long and lies in the Lac Philippe section of the 360-square-kilometre park.
It was formed after the ice age as glaciers melted, and a stream carved out the marble.
Godby’s son, Alexander, asked for a selfie and Trudeau obliged. A few body guards were stealthily circling, appearing at first to be hikers “not exactly dressed for hiking,” Godby said, adding he realized who they were thanks to their earpieces. He chatted with them and they, too, were “very nice people.”
Godby said he realized who Trudeau was because of his voice, which seemed more relaxed in the outdoor setting. “It was a pretty normal dad moment,” he said. “I think some of the other people walking by had no idea it was the PM.”
It was a “really neat encounter” not only for Godby and his wife, but for their children as well. Since the family talks about politics a lot, Alexander and Charlotte knew who they were dealing with at the cave.
“It was just like, ‘Wow, that’s crazy! We just met the PM,’ ” he said. After the exchange, both families went their own ways.
The Prime Minister’s Office said it could not confirm Trudeau’s whereabouts or activities while he is on personal time.
Godby later put his son’s selfie with Trudeau up on Facebook in a post reading, “When you step out your front door, you never know what adventures await.” The post was later picked up by Peterborough blog PTBO.
Godby’s fondness for the Trudeaus dates back to Pierre Trudeau’s time in office. The Peterborough dad became old enough to vote for the elder Trudeau six months after his last election.
Godby noted the hike even seemed like something the elder Trudeau may have done with his son.
As for the scion, “I have nothing to complain about,” Godby said. “I think personally that he’s doing a great job and that he’s just a real down-to-earth guy.”
In this case, that he was — literally.
Article Source: Toronto Star