His father is Irish-American, his mother is French-Canadian.
He was educated in French language schools.
His original career plans were in Business Administration, which he studied at Concordia University. As the result of a fraternity joke, his name appeared on a casting call list. He tried out for the part, and won it.
After leaving the university, he and a brother (he has three) formed a company, Jazzmime Productions, to produce special events, from concerts to fashion and trade shows. They directed, choreographed, and occasionally performed in these productions.
After his marriage in 1982, he applied to the Banff School of Fine Arts, and was awarded a scholarship.