Profession: Actor, writer, producer
Hometown: Mississauga, Ont.
Won an Emmy Award and a Gemini nomination for his performance in Looking for Miracles (Disney/CBC)
Theatre credits include Shaw Festival, Manitoba Theatre Centre, and the National Arts Centre/Citadel
Executive Producer and writer of King, which airs on Showcase
He’s an Emmy Award-winning actor whose credits include Flashpoint, This is Wonderland, Ice Men, and The Snow Walker. But nowadays Greg Spottiswood has traded in the centre spotlight for a behind-the-scenes role; he’s the creator and executive producer of the drama series, King.
And he just bought his first car to drive to set for the filming of the second season. His new car is a 2011 Volkswagen Golf.
Why did you buy a Golf?
I wanted something a bit smaller for getting around the city that was comfortable.
I like the simplicity of the design – the clean lines on the outside and the simplicity of the console and dash – it has everything I need. It’s not too bulbous or curvy.
Because it’s a hatchback there’s room for a couple of dogs. We’ve got one and we’re often walking our friends’ dog as well so we can pop them in the back.
I love vehicles. It’s a joke in my family. I probably know more about cars than a lot of my friends and family even though I was probably the only one who didn’t own one.
Did you cross shop it against the competition?
I looked at the Mazda3 and a Civic. For a long time I was thinking of getting a RAV4, which occasionally when I hit a pothole in Toronto I might regret a little bit not buying it.
But I decided a smaller car was better for me at this point. I have a lot of running around the city from location to location and out to the studio.
It’s very comfortable on the highway. It beetles around and is very easy to park. It’s probably not the best gas mileage in its class, but it’s okay.
Do you know what’s under the hood?
I’m not much of a gear head. I know it’s got a 2.5-litre engine.
When I was looking around I did a bunch of research. But once I bought the car six months ago, all the research went out of my head.
This model started in 2010 – I assumed they worked out some of the kinks from the first year. It was well reviewed in the comparison reviews that I read so I feel like I walked in with my eyes wide open in terms of the strength of the brand and the strength of the model.
What does a Golf say about you?
I appreciate a certain quality of fit and finish and simplicity in design.
It delivers what it promises. It has enough horsepower and pep for the highway, but it can take those sharp corners in the city pretty well, too.
It’s fun to drive. I’d never thought I’d hear myself saying that.
If I can bring you the keys to any car what would it be?
Immediately, my personality splits – one part goes into the green zone.
I felt a bit guilty buying a new car so I bought one that was pretty good on gas, but really that was a rationalization. So I think I would get a new Prius V.
But if I took the green hat off and thought about cars I find appealing, the new Audis are pretty nice – the 6 is a sweet-looking vehicle.
What’s your driving style like – do you like to drive fast?
The more I drive, the faster I get. So far, I’m not breaking any laws, but talk to me in six months and I may be in a different situation.
Did you get your license later in life, too?
I did. I got it when I was around 22.
My girlfriend when I was a teenager had her driver’s license and a car so there was no necessity.
Did she teach you how to drive?
No. My dad taught me to drive.
My first driver’s test, I failed. I was at the testing facility near the airport and there weren’t a lot of cars there that morning. I had an overactive imagination because every time I got to a stoplight or a stop sign I imagined traffic and then went for it. So I failed because I stopped too long at stop signs.
So I had my test done again in Milton in real traffic and then I got my licence.
What’s your best and worst driving memory?
My family took a motor home across Canada and we were driving through the mountains – that was extraordinary.
I had never seen the Rockies. I was 10-11. I remember going to sleep in the foothills one night and waking up in the middle of the Rockies. It was breathtaking.
There was six of us and a dog in a motor home for over a month. We had two flat tires along the way. At one point, we were driving back through Jasper and somewhere in the middle of the Prairies we had a blow-out. It had dual tires in the back – it was the outside tire so we just inched along.
There was nothing around and it was a Sunday morning. I remember seeing 12 miles per hour on the speedometer. We pulled into this sleepy town. There was one garage and it was closed so we found out from somebody where the guy who owned it was.
There had been a bachelor party the night before so my dad and I had to go into the house and wake this guy up who was essentially still drunk. He had only gone to bed about 45 minutes before. We were trying to get him to change our tire, but he was so drunk we decided it wasn’t a good idea. We let him go back to sleep and we drove for two hours to the next Husky station.
Again, we had to wait three hours at the Husky because it was where truckers go. A family of six in a Winnebago wasn’t really a high priority for this Husky station that had 18-wheelers all along it waiting to get back on the road and get to work.
So my best memory is waking up in the mountains; my worst is creeping along the Prairies.
The interview has been edited and condensed.