Paul Houde (1954-2024) | A man of passion

A lover of communications, but also of aviation, geography and sport: Paul Houde’s many and varied passions never ceased to surprise his friends, his collaborators, but also the public.

Born in Saint-Laurent in 1954, to a saxophonist father and a stay-at-home mother, Paul Houde grew up in Laval, where he grew up with his brother, Pierre, and his sister, Johanne.

A first-generation academic, he completed his studies at the University of Montreal by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in 1979 in another field that fascinated him: geography.

At the same time, he made his first steps on campus as a communicator, as a student spokesperson in the mid-1970s. Then president of the Alumni Association, but above all director of programs at the radio station CKAC 730, very popular at the time, Pierre Robert recognized his talent and invited him to audition.

Paul Houde hosted his first nighttime show there on May 4, 1975 before moving to morning show 10 weeks later.

He then moved on to hosting positions, such as morning man, first at CKMF, then for many years at CFGL and briefly at CKAC.

“He’s a great radio personality. A fan. He started so young,” says radio host Paul Arcand.


Paul Houde and Paul Arcand in 2007

He met Paul Houde at the time of the forced merger between the CKAC and CJMS radio stations. “We were both morning presenters on our respective stations and we found ourselves like a blended family. It could have been difficult, but on the contrary, we quickly agreed on everyone’s role. »

A career in television

From this time, he began to participate in several variety shows on Radio-Canada, TVA, Télé-Québec. He will notably co-host with Charles Lafortune the game show The circle.

In 1997, he was recruited by Stéphane Laporte, for the show The end of the world is at 7 o’clock, hosted by Marc Labrèche. He will take part in more than 400 episodes.

“Paul was the perfect blend of intelligence and humor. It was an almost universal encyclopedia. He knew everything, about everything. He was able to arrive with the best sense of humor, at the same time being a science popularizer. It’s incredible how I learned alongside him,” said radio and television host Jean-René Dufort, who knew him on this show.

He hopes that we will remember for a long time “the rigor and intelligence of his words”, while being “extremely comic and humorous”. “He always reminded us that it is possible to do things in an extremely intelligent and sophisticated way, while being fun and friendly,” he recalled, a few minutes after learning of the death of his friend whom he designated as “the chief nerd”.

Also in 1997, he will be revealed in the cinema in the film series The Boys with the character of goalkeeper Fernand “Fern” Rivest. Producer Richard Goudreau remembers that Paul Houde, excited about the idea of ​​playing in the series, assured that he had already played the goalkeeper position in his childhood.


Paul Houde and Roc Lafortune in The Boys.

However, during a practice on the ice in preparation for filming, “I discovered that several had lied to me and Paul was one of them. During the warmup, the pucks passed him from one side or the other, next to his ears,” he remembers, laughing.

A passion for space

Paul Houde also expressed this passion for sport throughout his career when he played the role of commentator during numerous Olympic Games, both on Radio-Canada and on TVA.

“Paul had a phenomenal memory for the performances of athletes,” says the former general director of the Quebec Athletics Federation, Laurent Godbout, echoing other testimonies from those close to him to the effect that the host could remember with precision of an athlete’s position at this or that edition of the Olympic Games.

“At each Olympic Games, we made a list of athletes who try hard, but who are terrible and we just want to give them a hug. We had a lot of fun. We shared a lot of passion that no one had,” says Jean-René Dufort.

Paul Houde’s interests did not stop at sport and communications, since he was particularly fond of astronomy. He also became known as a hunter of eclipses, this astronomical phenomenon during which the moon is placed perfectly between the earth and the sun, or vice versa.

Next April 8th is an eclipse. I’m going to remember Paul, because I know he would have told us about it. Paul was waiting for this.

Jean-Philippe Wauthier

This hunt has also taken him to the four corners of the globe, to experience these eclipses, notably in India, Indonesia, Mexico, Austria and the United States, he revealed in an interview with the udenouvelles media, in April 2021.

Not to mention the record round-the-world trip he set as a commercial airline passenger from October 11 to 13, 1996, in 40 hours and 17 minutes.


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