- Profession: Broadcaster
- Age: 53
- Hometown: Halifax
- The Car: 2011 Volvo S60 T6 AWD sedan
- Launched his TV career in 1979, hanging lights and doing odd jobs at ATV in Halifax; started covering business news in 1988 and now anchors Headline with Howard Green on Business News Network
- Directed, wrote and co-produced The Investigation of Swissair 111, a 90-minute film about a plane crash that killed 229 people. He won a Gemini award in 2003 for it.
- Show airs at 12:30 p.m. ET on BNN , repeated at 10 p.m. ET/PT weekdays
- New book, Banking on America: How TD Bank Rose to the Top and Took on the USA (HarperCollins) available in January, 2013
Howard Green, one of Canada’s top business journalists, is a fixture at Business News Network. He’s one of the original anchors who hit the airwaves when the network launched as Report on Business Television in 1999.
Before he started grilling North America’s top CEOs, decision makers, and market players, Green dabbled in documentaries – garnering Canada’s top TV prize, a Gemini Award, for his most notable work, The Investigation of Swissair 111.
Soon, he’ll add author to his credentials with the release of his first book, Banking on America. When the book tour starts in January, he’ll likely drive his own wheels – a 2011 Volvo S60 T6 AWD sedan.
Why did you buy a Volvo?
I bought it in June, 2011, because I was driving to Nova Scotia for the month and I needed a car. I was going to rent a car, but I thought, ‘It’s going to cost me a couple thousand bucks to rent a car and I might as well buy one.’
Volvos used to be kind of square and boxy, not the most stylish cars. The styling has gotten a lot better. I think this new model of the S60 is pretty sporty for a Volvo. It drives great. It’s very comfortable and very solid. I find it elegant without being ostentatious.
You’ve only put 11,000 kilometres on your car, including the road trip to Halifax. Am I reading that right?
Yeah, 11,471 kilometres and that includes 6,000 kilometres in a month. In a year, it’s basically around town about 5,000. It’s ridiculous. It’s a total waste of money, but it’s nice to have it when you want it. It’s fun and it drives great.
What don’t you like about it?
What I don’t like about it applies to a lot of cars right now. There are way too many electronics on cars now.
The thing that actually bothers me is the blind-spot identification system. BLIS, they call it. Theoretically it’s a good idea, but the lights flick on and off and they can distract you. When I first got it, those things were going on and off. I was on the 401 and I almost drove into a pole looking at the thing. I’m old-school. I prefer to turn and glance to see if anybody is in my blind spot.
The other thing I don’t like about this car – I wish it were a hybrid or diesel. Diesel is wonderful and, in Ireland, 65-70 per cent are diesels. It’s 10 cents less a litre, you get double the mileage, and every gas station has diesel.
I don’t know why we don’t have more diesels here. They’re not like diesels of old – there’s no blue smoke and they’re not noisy. I wish there were more choice.
Are you a car nut?
I’ve always been interested in cars and I like cars, but I’m not a car nut.
I was dying to get my licence ever since I was a kid. In fact, I even drove cars before I was allowed to. I learned to drive a stick shift when I was 13 from an older guy in the neighbourhood who took pity on me and took me out in his mother’s car – a little Vauxhall Viva.
We went to the old Simpsons parking lot in Halifax on a Sunday morning and I was hopping around the lot trying to get it from first to second.
What was your first car?
The very first car I bought was a Volkswagen Passat. It was the car before this.
This is only my second car in my life. We sold it in 2006 when we moved to New York because we didn’t need a car in New York. When we came back a year later there were ZipCars all over the place and we thought we’d give ZipCar a try.
We did it for about four years. It was okay, but ZipCar became less convenient – they started moving them away from us and they became less reliable and more things went wrong with them.
What’s your best and worst driving memory?
I still get a shiver up my spine when I think of my worst memory. Years ago, I was in Regina and I had to go north to this small town, Holdfast, Saskatchewan.
I drove up a divided highway north and turned right and then I was there for an hour or two. When I came out to go back to Regina, as I approached that main divided highway, I made a left to go south. I’m driving along and all these cars are coming at me flashing their lights.
I thought, ‘What is this? Oh my gosh – I’m on the wrong side of the median on the divided highway.’
So I lurched to the right on this grassy area, tried to stay composed and got on the right side of the road.
That was my worst, but I’ve had a couple of others. I was driving with a friend in Greece who lived in Athens. He was a bit of a wild driver and we were driving back into Athens from a camping trip 30 years ago.
He had a little, old VW Beetle and he had the thing redlining on this super highway into Athens. I shudder to think how fast we were going and the engine blew up about 30 miles out of Athens. We jumped out of the car and ran away from it and then we had to hitchhike into Athens!
My best driving experience: a couple of years ago, we were in southern Italy in Naples and we rented a little Fiat, stick shift. We drove down the Amalfi coast, through Calabria on all these beautiful roads – it was so much fun.
But the drivers there are so crazy. I must have been gripping the gear shift knob very tightly because I ended up getting tennis elbow from driving a stick shift. Drove that little car 2,000 kilometres in two weeks and I came back and had to get acupuncture on my arm.
Shouldn’t you be driving a sporty, little two-seat convertible?
I have a convertible – you know what it is? It’s my bicycle. I love that, too.
The interview has been edited and condensed