Robert Wiener of Westmount is the oldest man in Canada, but he doesn’t see what all the fuss is about being 110 years old.
“If I won a Nobel Prize, I would understand. I’m just an old man. If people take care of themselves and they have the right genes, they grow old,” he said.
Wiener is one of just five supercentenarians in the country – that’s the word for people who are one 110 or older. Four of the five are women.
The youngest of seven children, Wiener grew up playing hockey on the streets of Outremont. It was before there were cars when people use horse-drawn carriages to get around.
“When the horse-drawn carriage started coming along, it had bells to get out of the way. It would drive by and we would get back on,” he said.
Wiener graduated from McGill’s dentistry program, first in his class.
He went on to teach at McGill for 25 years and helped found the first dentistry clinic at the Jewish General Hospital.
Wiener is proud of his professional accomplishments, but what he’s most proud of, he said, is his family – including his late wife of 72 years, Ella.
He remembers meeting her as a teen on the beach in Val-Morin.
“She was in grade 11. I was at McGill. I introduced myself,” he said. “I wore my McGill hockey sweater, my red sweater, so she would know that I wasn’t just off the street.”
Today, two pictures of her hang above his desk, surrounded by more photos of his family in his bedroom.
Wiener said he eats well and exercises every day.
“A half hour on the bicycle every day. When I was young, I played all the sports,” he said.
Wiener is adamant, though, that his genes are to thank for his making it this far in life – his brother lived to be 109.