Pénélope McQuade and her niece Grace didn’t hesitate to challenge their shared fear of heights by descending 25 meters above the ground on the Montreal Old Port zip line. This activity took place as part of the Challenge of Generations, which involves 17 foundations, in particular that of the Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal, of which Pénélope is the proud spokesperson. The hostess tells us about her summer and her projects.
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Penelope, why the zipline?
You should first know that I suggested something else as a challenge. I wanted to do yoga paddle boat because I’ve never done one, but as it was a bit complicated to organize, I was offered to go zip-lining at the Old Port instead. I thought it was the little thing that looks like a pirate ship in the Old Port, but I was wrong. When my niece and I saw what it was, we freaked out a bit. It brought me back to the days of Fort Boyard: I had to do the angel’s leap and it was extremely traumatizing. I’m afraid of heights, but my niece and I are highly motivated to take on this challenge for the cause.
What makes you want to take part in the Challenge of Generations?
I’ve been a spokesperson for the Montreal Sacré-Coeur Hospital Foundation for six years. This facility is one of four that treated me after my car accident in 2009. I was traumatized in that hospital and it was then that I realized how much love and redemption this place needed. When I was contacted to become a speaker, I immediately said yes. For me it was a decent pendulum swing. I wanted to get involved. There are many new necessary and important projects for this institution that I wanted to help fund.
You have decided to take up the challenge with your niece Grace. Why?
At first I wanted to do it with my dad but he’s not scared enough so it wouldn’t have been a big challenge for him. I told myself that he would not support me as he would not understand my horror. So I asked my goddaughter Grace, my brother Sébastien’s daughter. She thought about it and decided to board. She is also very afraid of heights, she even hates the rides at La Ronde.
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How’s your father, Winston McQuade?
He’s doing great, he’s in great shape and he’s impressing me a lot. He still went through three cancers! It’s a force of nature. He will be 79 in August but he is still working hard. He saves his capsules Culture 2.0 and he gives almost as many interviews there as I do on my daily show. He always goes to the evening shows and goes everywhere with his girlfriend, who is a violinist with the Orchester Métropolitain. On August 2nd I will also host the big show OM at the foot of Mount Royal.
And how is your mother?
My mother, France, is more physically impaired, but I have brought her closer to home. She now lives in a condo in my building and has a small garden. I have it close to me; it is easier to help him with his shopping and his various needs. That makes me happy. We have just returned from a short break in Bas-Saint-Laurent and it was a wonderful trip. We went to Kamouraska and Bic.
Do you have any other holidays this summer?
Yes, I did a yoga retreat and then returned to Montreal and rested. I slept for a week. My vacations make up for so much of the lost time of the year when my social life is almost non-existent. I have three weeks off before returning to the air and I intend to use it.
And love life in all of it?
She’s been minus ten for two years, I haven’t had a single date. I’ve been in a relationship so many times in my life that it’s like making up for lost time alone with my friends and my parents. My work also takes up a lot of space. I don’t find it difficult to be alone, but I would love to be in a relationship. However, without being closed to love, I am not so open to it. At 51 I don’t miss much in life. I am very good.
How exactly do you foresee this decade of the 1950s?
I’d loved my quarantine, I’ve put myself out there professionally and I’m continuing. I continue to learn about my job, life and people and see it only positively. I’ve also gotten back in shape over the last few years. I do a lot of yoga and it’s good for me. After my accident I saw myself aging with pain so I really take care of my body. The only thing that worries me a bit is growing old alone, without children or companions, and watching my parents grow old. I find it very difficult although both are still on. It’s the only little shadow in my life. By the time I’m fifty, I’d like to find a balance between my private and professional life.
You have until September 24 to take part in the Challenge of Generations. For more information: defidesgenerations.com.
The presenter will be back at the helm of her show Penelope on ICI premiered at the end of the summer.
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