At home on a mild December afternoon, with Dax Dasilva

Illustration — Florence Rivest

Dax Dasilva is a man of many passions. A prominent LGBTQ rights activist, a fervent supporter of the arts, and a committed outdoor enthusiast, he also happens to be one of Canada’s most successful entrepreneurs. He founded the fast-growing Montréal-based tech company Lightspeed, which now employs more than 1,000 people, and was named Innovator of the Year by Report on Business magazine in 2019. That same year, he published his first book, Age of Union: Igniting the Changemaker, a guide to supporting the movement for unity between all people, cultures, and living things.

Your most cherished childhood memory of being in nature.
Walking the dikes and beholding the rich marshland that surrounded my hometown of Richmond, BC.

Your “Green Gap”Ex: I compost, but I take 20-minute showers.
I drive my Tesla 98 per cent of the time, but hang onto my 12-year-old Challenger SRT8 muscle car for that occasional country drive.

Your best story about the woods, or your most uncomfortable outdoor experience.
Lost after dark in the woods of Glen Sutton, QC, and not being able to find our trail back to our campsite for several heart-stopping hours.

The place where you are happiest.
Once a summer, kayaking the Missisquoi River.

Your greatest paradox.
I‘m the CEO of tech company Lightspeed but was a computer science dropout, opting to study art history and religious studies at the University of British Columbia instead.

Something you think should disappear from the planet.

An issue you are concerned about in your neighbourhood, your city, or your country.
Support of local businesses. We should all be doing our part to shop local and dine local. These businesses bring our cities and communities to life.

A documentary everyone should see.
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey with Neil deGrasse Tyson.

A photographer or a visual artist who inspires you.
David Altmejd.

Someone who gives you hope.
Paul Rosolie, a young American conservationist that works in the western Amazon in Peru. His on-the-ground work with the local community over the past decade has protected over 30,000+ acres of rainforest.

A project you are currently working on.
Taking the next step with my book, Age of Union, to support conservation changemakers locally and around the world.

What do you weirdly know a lot about? 
Jewish mystical thought.

Wild forest or ocean coastline?
The West Coast Trail that runs through Clayoquot Sound, on the spectacular west coast of Vancouver Island, gives you both.

Favourite place to walk?
From Westmount to Beaver Lake on Mont-Royal.

How much optimism do you permit yourself in the climate crisis?
If we had eight billion humans thinking for the greater good instead of as individuals, we could change our trajectory overnight. We have to work toward that awakening.

What was your last encounter with the sublime?
Every full moon from my rooftop.

In which little corner of the natural world are you most invested?
I’m investing in a yet-to-be-announced project to re-wild and restore ecosystems along the St. Lawrence River.

What non-digital activity can you happily do all day and never get bored?

What experience in nature reminded you of your mortality?
Near-drowning in a river in Val David, QC, trying to swim upstream back from an island in the middle of the water.

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