Many things have excited Bradley Fauteux about his new life in Victoria – such as Melbourne’s arts and culture scene and the state’s passion for good food and wine.
But the 44-year old Canadian, who has been Parks Victoria’s CEO since last November, says with a laugh that his favourite moment in Victoria has been a little left-of-centre.
The real Bonnie Doon
“I didn’t know Bonnie Doon was a real place until we were driving to the alps and I saw the sign,” he says, having known of it merely from the beloved film The Castle as the place the Kerrigan family had their holiday home.
“I pulled over to get a photo with the sign. I bust out quotes like, ‘Straight to the pool room’, to freak out my Australian colleagues once in a while.”
Bradley brings great experience to his role at Parks Victoria, which manages 4.2 million hectares of parks and waterways. He is a former managing director of Ontario Parks and a former chair and board member at the Canadian Parks Council.
The Australian climate may be substantially different to what he is used to, but his aim remains the same.
Keep people coming to the parks
“Ontario has 250,000 lakes and rivers and the traditional way to move is by canoe. Here we walk, we bike and we four-wheel-drive. But the challenges are the same in terms of conservation and making sure people visit their parks,” says the new RACV member.
“The diversity of Victoria is like someone decided to put every conceivable type of geography and landform into one small place. We are blessed that everything is just a few hours away.”
Involve the children
Bradley is particularly passionate about engaging children with nature. He grew up in Fergus (born in Iroquois Falls), where his parents “felt they could turn me out at 8am on a Saturday and that I’d come home for dinner.
“I had opportunities to experience nature, like learning to canoe at a young age and how to be safe in the wilderness.”
It’s a philosophy he has passed on to his two young daughters.
“We’ve camped with them since they were babies. I am so grateful to give them that experience and help them develop a love and appreciation for nature.”