A familiar moustached man, most known for his adventures in space, will be making his way to Vernon in May.
Retired astronaut, musician, and social-media legend Chris Hadfield is on a national tour for Canada’s 150th birthday and will make one stop in the Okanagan.
“It’s a birthday and birthdays are for celebrating,” he said. Hadfield isn’t a retrospective guy, but he says by looking to the past we can ask ourselves how we got to where we are, what we are doing wrong, what we can laugh about and what we can focus on for the future.
“That’s what I’m going to be talking about. It’s how I approach everything; flying an airplane, flying a spaceship, playing a song or celebrating Canada’s birthday.”
Hadfield kicks off his 150 tour on the West Coast in Vancouver, making his way eastward to Vernon on May 14. It’s his only stop in the Okanagan.
“I’m looking forward to being in the B.C. valleys. It’s such a beautiful part of the country. Whether you’re skiing or water skiing or looking down on it from orbit,” said the 57-year-old.
The Ontario resident has always been a big advocate of Canada. As an astronaut from 1992 to 2013 at the Canadian Space Agency, Hadfield travelled in space sharing songs and experiences through Twitter and YouTube to the earthlings below, gaining almost 2 million Twitter followers.
He didn’t just broadcast from space either. He has toured the far reaches of Canada, speaking, performing and inspiring those around him.
“I spoke at hundreds of places across Canada. When you have that experience, you can’t help but realize every single place is Canada. Everybody is prideful, they do the best they can in that particular place and it’s when you start knitting them together in your head you start to see what Canada really is,” he said.
Apart from his tour, Hadfield was involved in the recruitment process for Canada’s next astronauts which includes Kelowna candidate Richard Federley. Federley listed Hadfield as one of his role models and across the province, Hadfield’s story is told in Grade 6 textbooks.
“It’s a tremendous honour for someone to look up to you. I kinda shake my head. It’s a responsibility as well. It’s something to recognize that they’re using my decision making (ability) in life as an example to those young Canadians,” said Hadfield. “I see it as a huge privilege and also a reminded of how I need to conduct my life.”
He gives the potential candidates the same advice he gives to everyone, to choose the things in life that you dream of and find a way to pursue them. To Hadfield, it’s about the little things he puts towards his goals each day, from deciding to ride a bike, or eat dessert which makes him who he is. He thinks of it as “what can I do to change myself to become the person I dream about being? How complete a person can I be and how can I put my best foot forward?”
The decision will be tough for the space agency to choose two candidates from 3,700 applications.
“It’s so heartening to see just how good Canadians are. It’s somewhere between delightful and agonizing to try and choose (only) two,” he said. Hadfield owes his success to his “tenacious optimistic curiosity,” adding it’s a dissatisfaction with what he doesn’t know, and a delight in finding new things that led him on his career path.
At the core of his presentation, Hadfield will be talking about his curiosity and how it led him on his journey as well as looking at the history of Canada, the challenges we face as a country and how the best to prepare for them.
Hadfield will be in performing and speaking at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre May 14.
Tickets are available at the Ticket Seller box office, or by phone at 250-549-7469. Cost is $77.25 for all seats. This will be an all-ages show.