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(2015 - Fall Issue)


Comedian Ron James is proud of his Maritime roots.

Both parents, James says, are “still hilarious” and they have had a tremendous influence on his career. Born in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, in 1958, James is a veteran of the comedy circuit. With his wry and astute comments, he pulls no punches with his poetic delivery. Like most comics James went to Los Angeles but felt it was littered with “the fallen, failed and forgotten.” James happily returned to Canada and has never looked back.

He developed some of his comedy chops on the Mainstage at Second City in Toronto. When he was younger James admired the talents of George Carlin and Richard Pryor and, later, Steve Martin and Robin Williams. James has appeared in numerous television programs, his own TV comedy specials and recently finished the fifth season of The Ron James Show broadcast on CBC TV.

James still performs at dozens of venues across Canada and abroad. Besides a comedic streak James enjoys adventure as well and shows no reluctance to push both his physical and comedic sides to the limits. Besides spending time with daughters, Cayley and Gracie, James feels at home whether performing on a big stage or sitting around a family kitchen table at his parents delivering bang-on observations on society, politics, peoples’ foibles and more. So what is James’s ultimate goal as a comedian? “For Russians to think I’m funny!”


What’s your favourite Canadian city or town?

All are pretty cool but Dawson City in the Yukon is outstanding!

Favourite international destination?

I really dig the jungles of Belize and the Mayan ruins.  

What would be your dream destination?

I’ve always wanted to go to Zanzibar—even the name is cool. 

What do you like to do when travelling?

Active adventure. A great vacation consists of a full day hiking, cycling or snowshoeing followed by a great meal with a shared bottle of wine back at the cabin in front of a crackling fire.

What do you do to relax? Have you ever visited a spa?

Exercise. Read. Cook. I have visited a spa—they bore me. Spa music is what I imagine I’ll hear on my way to heaven and I’m far from ready to take that trip!

Favourite trip?

That had to be a mountain-climbing trip in B.C.’s Purcell Range with Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH). I did the “via ferrata,” Italian for “Iron Way.” Italian soldiers in WW I carried supplies on their backs at night over the Alps to fellow troops fighting on the Austro-Hungarian front. CMH mimics this experience (sans the nocturnal climb and live sniper rounds!) with metal rungs drilled into a cliff face and a metal rope running to a height of 2,743 metres. Novice climbers carabiner their way to the summit, crossing 60-centimetre-long bridges over bottomless gorges, straddling a mountain peak and finally rappelling down 2,286 metres to a waiting helicopter. My lifetime fear of heights was tested to the max. I fuelled my courage by singing hymns forgotten and embracing a Tourette’s driven level of profanity with relish. 

Most treasured souvenir?

I have a varnished walking stick made of mesquite wood with turquoise inlay up the shaft and a compass on the top, which I purchased in Sedona years ago.

Favourite hotel?

The Hyatt in Calgary and the Fairmont in Los Angeles.

Favourite restaurant?

The Bison in Banff is by far my favourite.

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