“I’m Just a Contractor” – Mike Holmes
To the millions of people around the world who watch Mike Holmes on TV every day, he is far more than just a contractor. Fueled by a larger-than-life personality, Holmes is the powerhouse behind a media empire that encompasses several award-winning television series, syndicated newspaper columns, bestselling books, DVDs, magazines, and his own line of personal protective equipment manufactured by 3M. Dubbed “Canada’s most trusted contractor,” his reputation for quality, integrity and honesty have international appeal. His reno-reality shows, Holmes on Homes, Holmes Inspection, and his latest endeavor Holmes Makes It Right, air in multiple countries around the world, built upon the premise of Mike’s “Make it Right” credo.
Michael James Holmes was born in Canada on August 3, 1963. He grew up in a modest three bedroom home in the east end of Toronto, Ontario with his mother Shirley and father Jim. The middle child of three, Mike shared a room with his younger brother, while his older sister got her own room. Growing tired of not having his own space, Mike took it upon himself to “renovate” his closet into a bedroom – one of his earliest building projects. Mike’s father allowed him to keep the makeshift room for about a year before making him restore the closet back to its previous state.
Mike described his childhood family as poor but content. Kraft Dinner and hotdogs were standard fare in the Holmes household, but Mike and his siblings never felt like they were lacking. Most importantly, growing up in a blue collar working class family taught Mike the value of “doing things right the first time” – an ethic which both of his parents exhibited.
From very early on, Mike exhibited great interest and a natural proficiency in the skilled trades. At the tender age of three, he began to follow in the footsteps of his father, a licensed plumber employed with General Motors as an engineer, who also happened to be a “jack of all trades, master of none.” Stuck to his father’s knee as he completed odd jobs around the house and neighborhood, Mike took advantage of his father’s wealth of knowledge. “He would always say to me ‘Why am I doing this?’ So he made me think for myself,” he said in a TV interview.
From Curiosity to Craftsman
As a youngster, Mike would often dismantle his toys to see how they worked to the chagrin of his father. As he grew older, however, Mike’s potential as a master craftsman became evident to all around him. At the age of six, the young prodigy helped to rewire the second floor of his family’s home, as well as using Jim’s entire supply of lumber and nails to build a three room tree fort in the front yard. At the age of 12, under his father’s supervision, he finished his uncle’s basement completing the electrical work, plumbing, bar, and stairs. Mike also recalled putting his building skills to good use crafting some of the most amazing go-carts the neighborhood kids had ever seen. In later lears, Mike admittedly excelled in school classes such as shop and auto mechanics, citing such classes as part of what enticed him into skilled trades.
Learning the skilled trades from his father was one of the greatest influencing factors in Mike’s life. To this day, he frequently credits his dad with instilling in him a love of craftsmanship and his “make it right” ethic. “In my eyes, he was Superman,” he recalls. “I talk about my dad all the time…sometimes I get the feeling I talk about him too much, but he is the inspiration behind what I do, for sure.” Mike’s dad not only passed down his knowledge of the trades, but a heart for people as well. While growing up, he often observed his father doing odd jobs around their eastern Toronto neighborhood. Whenever any of the neighbors needed help fixing something up around the house, they would often call on Jim, who had a soft spot for helping others in need. In his eyes, it was just the right thing to do. While Mike described his dad as a “tough guy [with a] heart of gold,” he described his mother as an intelligent woman who was ahead of her time. As an example, he cited the fact that his mother taught him and his siblings sex education while they were young at a time when doing so was considered taboo. “My mom was my really good friend and my dad was my buddy, and they brought me up the right way,” he stated in a TV interview.
TEENAGE AND YOUNG ADULT YEARS
As a teenager, Mike found himself at odds with authority and would often butt heads with his teachers. Unable or unwilling to deal with the pressure of school, he dropped out in grade 11.
At the age of 17, Mike and his friends decided to get tattoos, and Mike chose an English bulldog wearing a hat, placed on the lower portion of his right bicep. A year later, after some peer pressure to get a second tattoo on the other arm (“because it was the cool thing to do,” to paraphrase Mike), he chose a small cobra on the lower portion of his left bicep. Years later at the age of 48, Mike would have his teenage souvenirs covered up with larger, more appropriately placed ink. On his right arm, he now sports a half sleeve cover up tattoo of a large bulldog, arms folded wearing his trademark overalls against the backdrop of a brick wall. “Make It Right” a remnant of his previous tattoo added in 2006 is highlighted in a banner, above a hammer and saw, crisscrossed “skull and crossbones” style just above his elbow. On his left arm, Mike sports a half sleeve black and grey Viking on bended knee, which is a tribute to his Nordic heritage. “On my mom’s side… we date back to the Vikings,” he explained in a recent episode of his show.
Marriage, Kids, and Early Career
At the age of 19, Mike Holmes married a woman by the name of Alexandra Lorex and began a career as a contractor. Later that same year, he started his own contracting company with 13 employees –quite a feat for such a young man. From the start, Mike began to make a living at fixing the mistakes of other contractors. His early business cards read “The F-up Fixer.” At the age of 21, Mike became the father of a daughter, Amanda. He also made large strides in his professional life, becoming the owner of his own renovation company.
Passing the Torch
It was during this time early on in Mike’s career that he started to realize he had not only followed in his father’s footsteps, but had surpassed him in his skill and knowledge of the trades. Mike recalled the time he brought his father onto one of his jobsites to show him a $60,00 bathroom he had just completed. “He was speechless,” said Mike. “I’m walking around and he goes, ‘This is beautiful.’ I said, ‘Dad, you could do this in your sleep,’ and he goes, ‘actually, no I can’t Mike…You talk things I don’t even understand. You’re talking codes that I don’t even know exist.’” Mike reluctantly admitted to becoming teary-eyed at his father’s remarks because it was at this point that he knew his father was truly proud of him and all that he had accomplished.
In only a few short years, Mike’s family would grow once and twice again, with the addition middle daughter Sherry, and youngest son Mike Jr. By the age of 25, Mike Holmes was a husband, father of three young children, and a successful business man.
The early 1990’s was a difficult time for world economically. The recession that followed hit Mike’s young family especially hard, nearly wiping out his entire company, as well as the entire construction industry as a whole, leaving only “bottom feeders,” who were willing to do poor work on the cheap. As a result, Mike’s company went bankrupt and he was forced to sell his business and lay off all of his employees. The dire situation he found himself in became a hugestrain on his young family, and Mike’s marriage crumbled. He sold his car and separated from his wife soon thereafter. At the age of 30, Mike and his wife divorced. A month after his marriageended, his father Jim died at the age of 55 in a tragic accident. As he was walking down a narrow staircase with no handrail into the basement, he missed the first step and fell. As he tumbled down the stairs, he broke his neck and died instantly. Shortly after his father’s death, Mike’s younger brother suggested to him that he get his left ear pierced in memorial to his father. Mike thought it was a great idea, and he bought a pair of matching diamonds. He had one made into what would later become his trademark left stud, and set the other aside for a later date. A few years later, his mother Shirley passed away at the age of 56 from a heart attack. Mike described his mother’s death in an interview as partially the result of complications from a dental surgery gone awry. His mother had suffered throughout her life from a heart condition, and years of over-medicating from the surgery she’d had on her jaw eventually took her down.
A NEW START – TELEVISION
If you ask him, he’d be happy to tell you – Mike Holmes never sought out a career on television. “It was an accident,” he has stated numerous times, and a “happy accident” at that. In 2001, while working as a stagehand building sets for the HGTV show Just Ask Jon Eakes for a measly $400 a week, Mike Holmes met Michael Quast, the director of studio programming for Alliance Atlantis at the time. Quast was taken aback by the loud and outspoken Holmes, who “came in with veins popping out on his neck, and diarrhea of the mouth, talking about how he was sick and tired of seeing people get screwed by contractors.” Quast thought Mike was on to something and wanted to turn his ideas for a new kind of TV show into a reality, with one small caveat – he wanted Mike to be the host. At first, Mike was opposed to being on camera (after all, he was just a contractor), but Quast saw star potential in Holmes, and after a little persuasion, Mike reluctantly agreed to do a pilot.
HOLMES ON HOMES
Getting Holmes on Homes off the ground turned out to be a greater challenge than anyone could have ever imagined. “Nobody wanted anything to do with Mike. We couldn’t get into anybody’s house to film,” said Holmes on Homes director Peter Kettlewell. There were very few submissions to the show at first, and Mike was reduced to handing out fliers in Home Depot parking lots to drum up participants.
Holmes on Homes first aired on HGTV Canada in 2003. The episodes in the first couple of seasons were 30 minutes in length and had much lower budgets than the hour long episodes in the later seasons. By the show’s fourth season, however, the show had exploded in popularity and Mike was receiving hundreds of emails a week from desperate homeowners begging for his help. It became clear to Mike that there was something fundamentally wrong with the industry, and the “minimum code” as it stood had to change. Mike has stated often that he went into television for two reasons. One — to be able to teach many people at once about how to avoid getting scammed and ripped off by bad contractors, and two – to fundamentally change the industry. Holmes on Homes created the perfect platform for Mike to get his message out to the masses. Mike was particularly pleased with how his show was loved by kids. He has since erected a “wall of fame” in his office filled with pictures of coverall-clad children wearing tool belts and brandishing hammers who want to be like Mike Holmes when they grow up.
The shooting schedule for Mike and his crew was grueling. Early mornings and late nights were the norm, and shooting often took place seven days a week. In 2007, Holmes on Homes officially wrapped after seven enormously successful seasons, which aired to captive audiences all over the world, and continue to air in syndication building Mike’s fan base internationally. Although he had initially stated he would only do two seasons of the show and that was it, Mike slowly began to realize that there was a huge need for what he could offer people, and that he could do a lot of good in front of the camera.
HOLMES IN NEW ORLEANS
In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina swept through the southern gulf, breaking levees in Louisiana. The rising floodwaters took many lives and caused tremendous amounts of damage to the city of New Orleans. In 2008, celebrity superstar couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie started a foundation to render aid to those affected by Katrina in the poorest and most heavily devastated areas of New Orleans, particularly the Lower 9th Ward. They called their foundation the “Make It Right Foundation.” Although the A-List couple had only good intentions when they started their foundation, they failed to realize that the phrase “Make It Right” was already trademarked to Mike Holmes. Instead of starting a war over words, Mike decided to pack up his crew and head down south, where he worked to help build the foundation’s first house in the Lower 9th Ward. Their efforts were filmed for the special Holmes in New Orleans. The recipient of the first house was Gloria Guy, a woman who was doing her best to raise her deceased daughter’s gaggle of children.
The work was physically, mentally, and emotionally draining for the crew. “It was brutal. Unbelievably HOT AS HELL…Seriously – the heat was extreme. We were shocked every day how it got so hot and humid from early in the morning, and it never let up,” Mike stated in response to a fan’s question during a 2009 live chat on his website. The experience proved to be too much for one crew member, Corin “Pinky” Ames, who left the show during the filming in New Orleans and never came back. Those who survived were left with lasting memories, and some even decided to commemorate the occasion by getting tattoos as physical and visible reminders of their work. In lieu of a new tattoo, Mike decided to have his other ear pierced as way of taking his experiences in New Orleans with him wherever he goes.
It was only after the work was done that Mike got to have a face to face sit down with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Mike recalls his meeting with the celebrity couple as a pleasant experience. “Better than I expected,” he stated in an interview. He glowingly described them both as “nice people” who were “not spoiled.” He also stated that Angelina was “awesome” and described Brad as a “great guy.” It was around this time period that Holmes on Homes was just making its way onto American television, and he recalls being photographed with Jolie by paparazzi who erroneously identified him in tabloids as one of Angelina’s bodyguards. He also joked about wondering if the tabloids would think that he, with his buzz cut and brown overalls, was Angelina’s “new man.”
In 2009, post Holmes on Homes and Brad Pitt, audiences eagerly awaited Mike’s new show Holmes Inspection. HI combined Mike’s expertise and know-how with entertaining and educating computer graphics. “I call it Holmes on Homes meets CSI,” Mike said to fans in 2009. “I think it’s really great for teaching the viewers about what’s going on behind the walls of the house. I can’t show things like air quality or mould spores on camera, so the special effects lets me do that.” The concept of the show was similar to its predecessor, with one main exception. “I saw an opportunity to educate homeowners so they can hire the right inspectors – just like Holmes on Homes tried to teach people how to hire the right contractors.” Throughout the show, Mike would not just re-inspect people’s homes, but would do the equivalent of exploratory surgery, sometimes going so far as to punch holes in walls to find the source of leaks, creaks, mold, funny odors, and much more. Armed with sophisticated equipment such as the FLIR IR camera (cost: around $20,000) as well as the more standard fare of a flashlight, digital camera, and a ladder, Mike proceeded to document items and issues not caught by the original home inspector. Mike’s diagnosis was often grim as he pointed out the problems, education and explaining every step of the way.
Unlike Holmes on Homes, Holmes Inspection turned over the bulk of the on-site work to right hand man and construction supervisor Damon Bennett. Damon took on the role and persona of Mike as he supervised the crew, including Mike’s son-in-law, Adam Belanger, and Mike’s two children, Sherry and Mike Jr. “MJ” Mike’s real life uncle Billy “Uncle Billy” Bell rounded out the crew, making the show a family operation. Holmes Inspection was a great opportunity for Mike’s fans to get to know his protégé Damon; however, many were disappointed to see Mike taking a more off-camera role. “I don’t miss getting dirty so much,” he said. “I worked hard for years – and I tell you, overseeing as the white helmet is better… for the first time in years I feel like I have a life – I have a few days off in a week.”
HOLMES MAKES IT RIGHT
Holmes Inspection officially came to a close in 2012 after three successful, albeit controversial years. Mike received just about as much criticism as he did praise over Holmes Inspection. Critics pointed to Mike’s lack of a background in engineering and accused Mike of playing it up for the cameras. Undeterred, the work-a-holic Holmes spent the better part of the year 2012 filming episodes for a new show, Holmes Makes It Right, which debuted to eager audiences on HGTV Canada in October 2012. The show is a lot like its predecessors Holmes on Homes and Holmes Inspection, but with a few major differences. One, Holmes Makes It Right goes beyond helping one family at a time to helping entire communities. With episodes such as “Building Castles” in which Mike and his crew rebuild a beloved playground in Toronto, and “Labour of Love” in which Mike steps in to support a shop teacher and a group of students who try to help the family of a deceased classmate, the scope and impact of the projects seem to be much broader than in previous shows. “With this series we really wanted to get back to the roots of building and helping families who need it. But we are looking for stories with a lot of heart–if we can help a community, like we were able to with this High Park build–that’s even better.” As with Holmes Inspection, episodes utilize computer graphics to explain and illustrate not just complex concepts, but also what Mike is thinking throughout the episode. “We’ve used a new FX idea–all the handwriting you see on the shows, in the titles and any drawings is all mine. Pretty cool the way new technology gets used in television now… I’m really happy with how the concepts get shown to viewers so they can visualize the project.” Mike stated in a 2012 live chat with fans.
After a ten month delay, Holmes Makes It Right finally debuted in the United States on the DIY Network on August 6, 2013. “We would have loved to have the series air at the same time in the US and Canada–in fact that is what we were planning on…I’m disappointed that our US fans have to wait…” Mike stated in October 2012 to anxious fans about the delay. Several tentative dates were given as to when US fans would be able to see the show air, including “early 2013,” none of which panned out. It was announced by TV Guide magazine in early 2013 that the show would debut on the DIY Network in August of 2013, a date which was later confirmed by the Holmes Group via social media pages and their official website.
Being the handyman superstar that he is, Mike has served as a judge on the hit show Handyman Superstar Challenge in Canada and its American counterpart All American Handyman. Both shows are competitions between tradesmen and women who particpate in challenges designed to test their abilities in the trades. In the end, one person is crowned the master craftsman champion, receiving a handsome prize package. Since 2005, Mike has also participated as the official spokesman and self-proclaimed mascot forSkills Canada. Skills Canada is part of WorldSkills, an Olympic-like world competition for the skilled trades that Mike endorses as a way to entice young people to consider a career in the trades. For years, Mike has attempted to address and remedy the looming shortage in skilled tradesmen and women in the coming decades. Part of solution, he feels, is WorldSkills, which celebrates young people for their excellence in trades such as carpentry, landscaping, robotics, mechanics, cooking, and more. In July 2013, Mike and his son MJ attended the WorldSkills competition in Leipzig German, where Mike addressed the Leadership Conference about having future competitions televised as a way to get young people excited about the skilled trades. He cited computers, video games, and the removal of shop class from standard school curriculum as reasons for the lack of interest in the trades, and hence the shortage of tradesmen and women. After his address, he was honored by being made an official WorldSkills Ambassador.
In 2006, given the immense popularity of Holmes on Homes throughout Canada, Mike Holmes accepted an endorsement opportunity with Nescafe brand instant coffee. Mike did several nationally-aired commercials for the brand, which encouraged users to “start their day off right” with Nescafe, “(so it won’t go wrong.)” The campaign was hugely successful, and Mike’s contract was renewed three times.
In 2012 Mike Holmes teamed up with innovative product company 3M to create his own line of personal protective eyewear through their 3M TEKK Protection line. In 2013, Mike Holmes began a national campaign in the US for 3M Filtrete brand air filters, in which he was branded “America’s Most Trusted Contractor” in a humorous commercial he did with Chicago actress Christy Bonstell. The commercial featured a young mother holding a small baby, and Mike Holmes informing the mother how she could make the air in her home healthier for her little one by using Filtrete brand air filters. The commercial allowed Mike to show a little bit of his natural humor and improvisational
skills as he and the actress interacted with the baby.
In June of 2013, while in Vancouver, BC with Skills Canada, Mike announced on a local morning show that he would be featured in a series of commercials and online videos for insurance giant Allstate, one in which he would play “Ike” the not-so-handy husband, and others in which he would star as himself. In the first of several nationally run commercials entitled “Nightmare,” Mike Holmes magically appears at the side of a couple’s bed as they fret over insurance related worries. He comforts them and lets them know that they’re not in a dream, they’re in an Allstate commercial.
CHARITABLE AND PHILATHROPIC ACTIVITY
Much in the same way his father Jim sought to help others by doing odd jobs for people around the neighborhood, Mike Holmes has spent nearly a decade of his life in service to others. Often referred to as “Canada’s most trusted contractor with a social conscience,” not only does Mike seek to help victims of bad renovations, but also people and children around the world and at home who are in dire circumstances and desperately need a helping hand. A philanthropist to the core, Mike has lent his name, time, and resources to children’s charity SOS Children’s Villages, traveling to Africa to drum up support for orphaned and abandoned children in the third world. Mike’s involvement in the charity began in December 2005, when Mike participated in a nationwide television campaign to raise money and awareness for the charity. In 2009, Mike traveled to Kenya and Tanzania in Eastern Africa to participate in another campaign for the charity. In a short film produced by SOS Children’s Villages, Mike visited with two young boys, Elian and Moses, whose father had died of AIDS and mother had been missing for almost five months. He also visited orphans Rebecca and Godson, whose entire family had been wiped out by AIDS, and who were currently residing in a dirty smoke-filled barn. He implored viewers to support the charity to help feed, educate, and provide a loving environment for boys and girls just like the ones he had visited with. Mike has also done humanitarian work in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake through SOS Children’s Villages.
Although he’s done some amazing work internationally to alleviate suffering, for Mike, charity has always begun at home. In June of 2013, after a flood caused by torrential rain devastated areas in the neighboring province of Alberta, Canada, Mike was quick to do what he could to help his fellow countrymen. After making a donation to the Canadian Red Cross to help with flood relief, he implored others to do the same. He then toured the devastated areas, rendering a great deal of comfort and support to victims. In July, Mike spoke to flood victims and first responders at the rodeo grounds in High River, offering some common sense advice, and a little humor. Although stating he couldn’t fix everyone’s home, he pledged his future support, stating that he would “make it right for one family” and help up to 500 more families with a special contractor package he was developing. It was exactly what Albertans needed to hear during this challenging time.
Mike Holmes and his crew have also been proud participants in “Movember,” an event in which normally clean shaven men grow mustaches throughout the month of November as a means of raising money and awareness for men’s health issues, especially prostate cancer. “That was a lot of fun for all of us. Prostate cancer is an important cause for all of us personally–Uncle Billy who we all love, is a survivor,” he stated in regards to team “Grow It Right,” Mike and crew’s Movember team.
Along with individual acts of good will, Mike Holmes can say he’s one of the very few contractors with his very own charitable foundation. Started in 2006, The Holmes Foundation seeks to “ensure that residential renovation and construction is done right,” according to their website. They do that by providing scholarships and bursaries to deserving students who “demonstrate both a commitment to a career in residential renovation or construction and a need for financial assistance to obtain training.”
THE HOLMES FOUNDATION
In 2006, Mike took on what was supposed to be just another project for Holmes on Homes. The homeowners had hired a contractor to renovate and add a second story addition to their home. However, as Mike inspected the structure, he soon came to the realization that the previous contractor had done such abysmal work, no amount of repairs could sufficiently save the home. Mike knew the homeowners were in a heap of trouble and that the entire house needed to come down. He approached the show’s producers with the details of the situation and expressed his desire to help the family. Although producers attempted to talk him out of it, Mike was adamant, and he threatened to leave the show if they wouldn’t let him do it. After two years of work, the infamous “Lien on Me” aired, documenting the build. The ordeal affected Mike in such a profound way, he was inspired to create The Holmes Foundation. The Holmes Foundation seeks to aid victims of renovations gone wrong, and encourages young Canadians to choose careers in the skilled trades by providing financial aid and bursaries for the training of future tradespeople. “Canada does not have enough skilled trades people – in construction or in other trades – and the problem is only going to get worse as the baby boomers retire unless we do something about it,” Mike stated on his website. He also stated that the only remedy for an abundance of bad contractors is to train good ones, and without good trades men and women, the future looks pretty bleak. Through financial aid and assistance, the Holmes Foundation awards scholarships and bursaries, half to men and half to women, who desire to have a career in the skilled trades.
ACCOLADES AND AWARDS
As someone who has made a living out of improving the lives of others, Mike Holmes has been the recipient of many honors.
On December 14, 2004, Mike Holmes was the recipient of the Viewer’s Choice Award during the 19thAnnual Gemini Awards for his work on Holmes on Homes which had quickly become the number-one show on HGTV/Canada. He received another Gemini Award for Best Lifestyle/Practical Information Series for the special Holmes in New Orleans in 2009.
On October 30, 2006, Mike Holmes was recognized by Canada’s House of Commons for his promotion of skilled trades and for his advocacy of improved building standards. He was acknowledged by the Honourable Peter Goldring,MP for Edmonton East, as an “extraordinary craftsperson” and “an accomplished master builder with a social conscience.” That same day,Mike received a special award from the Government of Nova Scotia for ads he shot to promote the first ever Skilled Trades Day in Canada.
In 2009, Mike was honored by being made the 2009 Stampede Parade Marshal for the world famous Calgary Stampede, which kicked off on July 3, 2009. Donning a cowboy hat and boots, big belt buckle, and a cowboy shirt, Mike lead the parade on horseback along with 8 other Honorary Marshals from Skills Canada’s Albertan team. Cheered on by 300,000 people who lined the streets of downtown Calgary, with military jets roaring overhead, Mike Holmes cut the ribbon officially kicking off the event.
When your reputation is built on integrity, it’s not hard to realize why people would rank you high in the trust department. Such has been the case for Mike Holmes in poll after poll. For the last several years, Readers Digest Canada has been conducting a poll asking Canadians to rank their favorite notable countrymen in the category of trustworthiness. As one would expect, Mike has ranked quite high over the years. In 2010, 2011 and 2013, Mike Holmes has snagged the #2 spot amongst readers and the #5 spot in 2012. Mike Holmes also was also named by Forbes Magazine as the 3rd most trusted celebrity in 2012. “You always hear about Forbes list of trust billionaires or top-earners. But this is one list I’m really proud to be on. I just can’t believe I beat Betty White,” he gushed in a news release.
In June of 2012, Mike Holmes was honored as an outstanding Canadian citizen by being awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. The award was given to citizens or residents of Canada who “have made a significant contribution to a particular province, territory, region or community within Canada, or an achievement abroad that brings credit to Canada.”
Although Mike Holmes has never attended a formal University, he has been recognized and honored for his contributions to the academic world as a teacher and an outstanding representative in his field of work. On February 21, 2008, Mike was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Technology from the British Columbia Institute of Technology during their Winter Convocation ceremony, during which he wore his overalls, work shirt and steel toed boots underneath his cap and gown. “Honorary degrees are the highest accolade that BCIT bestows, and are awarded to individuals who are widely recognized for their outstanding and sustained achievements in their area of expertise,” stated the university in their 2008 spring newsletter. “With more than two decades of construction experience, he has earned an outstanding reputation for his honesty and professionalism,” they added. On May 13, 2012, Mike Holmes received yet another prestigious award, this time from Niagara University. As one who initially agreed to do television in order to teach many people at once about the importance of doing things right, Mike was honored by the university with an Honorary Doctorate of Pedagogy. “Today, it is our turn to recognize a man steadfastly determined to improve the lives of those around him,” stated Niagara University President Joseph L. Levesque in his introduction to Mike Holmes, who made a rousing speech to the graduating class, many of whom were eager to shake Mike’s hand as they passed him on their way to receive their diplomas.
MIKE HOLMES TODAY
Mike Holmes currently resides in Halton Hills, Ontario, Canada. Mike “doesn’t live in a palace,” to paraphrase him. In fact, his 1970’s era home is around 2,000 square feet and sits on 10 acres of property in the rural community located just west of Toronto. Mike admittedly has a huge garage, which he plans on converting into a workshop once he completes construction on his even bigger garage to house his collection of toys. Some of his “toys” include a 2012 Mustang Boss 302, which he brings out for events such as the DaSilva Racing SickKids Charity Open House, a charity to raise money for an Ontario children’s hospital. Mike Holmes is also a past grand marshal for the Megaspeed Car Show, where he likes to show off his pair of rebuilt 1932-style Ford roadsters. Built from new components to resemble their classic counterparts, Mike spoke of his “deuces” to a Canadian hotrod magazine,
“What I love is that I didn’t take an old car and fix it up. When someone said he could build a brand-new one, I wanted it. I like new building technology and how it relates to the car. It’s like driving a brand-new car built in 1932.” Mike Holmes also enjoys riding motorcycles, especially his Can Am Spyder 3-wheel motorcycle. For the past several years, Mike Holmes has been an avid participant in the Ontario Spyder Roadster Rally, an event for Spyder enthusiasts to raise money for the Hospital for Sick Children Foundation. Along with classic rods, Mustangs, and motorcycles, Mike Holmes loves to go ATV riding, and his annual ATV Ride for the Holmes Foundation has been a successful fundraiser since it started back in 2006.
Mike Holmes is a divorced father of three. His three children, Amanda, Sherry, and Mike Jr. (nicknamed “MJ” by crew and fans of the show alike) work at his side in different capacities. Both Sherry and MJ work in front of the camera as members of Mike’s crew
Mike is currently not married, but is in a relationship with his long-time girlfriend Anna Zapia, whom he often refers to as his wife. He has said that his two favorite places in the world to be are at home and on his boat, which he described in a Reader’s Digest article as a “41-foot apartment: two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room and a kitchen.” He keeps his boat docked on Lake Ontario.
Miscellaneous Mike Facts
Mike is 6’1” tall and has very, very blonde hair.
Mike has green/hazel eyes – NOT blue!
Mike’s favorite ice cream is strawberry.
Mike has three kids and two grandchildren.
Mike likes Crown Royal A LOT! It’s his favorite drink.
Mike likes to dance – he gets his dancing ability from his mother’s side of the family.
Mike use to be a D.J. in his teenage years, and even built his own stereo stand.
Mike loves reggae music, and his favorite artists are Beres Hammond and Freddie McGregor.
Mike has a large collection of watches. When it comes to watches, the bigger the better!
Mike’s favorite author is Dean Koontz.
Mike admits to owning at least 40 pairs of overalls.
Mike’s “Holmes” logo has been sported on Nascar’s Greg Biffel’s #16 3M-sponsored car.
Mike’s greatest regret is not spending enough time with his kids while they were growing up.
Mike likes to play the drums and has since he was a teenager.