Skip to main content

Kinesiology student's passion for travel featured in commercial

Michael Mathews
Photo courtesy of Michael Mathews

University of Guelph-Humber Kinesiology student Michael Mathews is the type of person who is always up for an adventure, whether it’s hiking the corners of Canada’s North or snowboarding down the slopes of Blue Mountain.

It was that adventurous spirit that led Mathews to respond to a casting call for an Interac commercial on a whim — and it was because of that same spirit that he was also the perfect candidate for the job. 

Mathews — alongside Zeus, his beloved Husky Lab mix — was recently featured as a part of Interac’s “Gifts that Mean a Million” series. He’s not an actor by trade, but he’s simply not one to let opportunities pass him by.

“It was just a new experience and I like to try new things, so I just went for it,” Mathews said.

“I met some really cool people. I’ve never had somebody dress me and do my hair for me,” he added with a laugh. “It was definitely a fun experience.”

An avid traveller, hiker and explorer, Mathews also found his own path to post-secondary education.

After taking over a decade away from school to work and travel, Mathews started to get the urge to pursue more education. Over years of snowboarding and skateboarding, Mathews had accumulated plenty of injuries. He was becoming increasingly interested in studying the body and the mind, and he wanted to study it further. The University of Guelph-Humber’s Kinesiology program’s college block credit transfer pathways allowed him a faster path to an honours degree.

Now, Mathews is currently working on an undergraduate thesis. His research study looks at the feasibility and effectiveness of a remote breathing intervention on persistent depression and anxiety symptoms post-concussion.

Michael Mathews
Photo courtesy of Michael Mathews

“Coming back to school, I was able to apply the experience I had from the work field to school, and it really made the transition easy,” said Mathews, who plans to pursue a post-graduate education in neuroscience. “And just having that experience when you come back at an older age, you have your priorities set. Your focus is set.”

In those years away, Mathews travelled extensively through every corner of Canada. He’s driven cross-country, and he’s run camps in Iqaluit teaching youth leaders how to run sports camps. The highlight of all his exploration? Seeing the mountains on the West Coast and the tundra in Nunavut.

“Those are two things I suggest everyone in their lifetime see,” he said. “You get a different perspective. You really realize how small in the world you are.”

Mathews’ passion for travel is what makes the true anecdote he tells in the Interac ad so charming. 

In his early teens, his mom gifted him a globe for Christmas and — to put it lightly — he was disappointed.

“I really didn’t like it. ‘Thanks Mom, a globe — what about a Game Boy or a stereo?’” he recalled with a laugh. “It’s still an ongoing joke between my mother and I and it will be forever now.”

Well, he still has the globe — it’s been with him more than half his life now. And now he also has this advertisement that he booked on a whim as another cool memory (and yes, he saved a copy). No one enjoyed seeing it more than his mother.

“She loved it.”