Vaudreuil ‘wizard’ shares his philosophy on modern life

Click to play video 'Vaudreuil’s hermit still keeping busy every second of every day' Vaudreuil’s hermit still keeping busy every second of every day
WATCH: Winter is not slowing down Vaudreuil resident Peder Mortensen. The former structural engineer lives in a house he built with his own hands and he keeps busy every minute of every day as he tells Global’s Anne Leclair – Jan 23, 2018

People have called him a hermit, a recluse, a man of the land. But Peder Mortensen is more of a wizard and self-proclaimed “philanthropist of life.”

The elderly Vaudreuil resident first made headlines in May 2016, when the city was threatening to tear down his makeshift home.

Close to two years later, Global News checked in with the 83-year-old who insists he’s thriving and turning his back on technology.

Mortensen never stops. He’s been spending many hours a day shovelling. His philosophy is to keep moving every waking minute.

“I think it’s very important when you get older, you shouldn’t stop doing some little things,” Mortensen said. “It’s very important, some little things every day.”

The former structural engineer started building his home in 1962. He lives without a conventional fridge or stove and always has a long list of projects on the go.

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“Ten different projects I’m working on right now,” Mortensen told Global News.

We first met Mortensen in May of 2016 when the city threatened to tear down his house and send him to a nursing home. The community rallied around him forcing the town to back down and allowing him to stay in the home he built from scratch.

“He’s spectacular — he’s a good example of what we should all be,” neighbour Scott Pope said.

A group of neighbours convinced the senior citizen to get connected online with a computer. But the experience was short-lived.

“There’s something about internet I could not get used to,” Mortensen said. “So I turned it into a clock.”

Mortensen insists he doesn’t need much to be happy. He’s focused on the future and looks up to other active seniors. A newspaper clipping of an 85-year-old marathoner hangs next to his bed.

While his neighbours haven’t seen him much since last fall, he wants to reassure them that he’s doing just fine, spending a lot of time in the warmest room of his house and using this winter’s large amounts of snow as extra insulation.

He had one response for people who believe that at his age, he should be in a nursing home. “Well, it has nothing to do with age,” Mortensen said. “It depends on how good you are at shovelling snow.”