Jesse Franklin Helmer is an eighth-generation Canadian of mixed English-Irish-German descent. Born and raised in Ontario, he is married to Adina, a beautiful, intelligent and funny lady.
I was born in Brockville, Ontario, one hundred years to the day "O Canada" was performed for the first time. My parents, Alan and Lee Helmer, are from the Ottawa region.
My father worked for TD Bank for more than twenty years, which led to many relocations within Ontario. I have lived in Brockville, Aurora, Sudbury, North Bay, Pickering, Metcalfe, Bracebridge, Waterloo, Gatineau, Ottawa, Kitchener, Kingston, Toronto and London. I attended high school in Bracebridge, but these days I am only in town to visit my parents.
My high school years were a lot of fun. My best friends were James Loftus, Mike Boyes, Andrew
Green and Matthew Lee. My only serious girlfriend was Cassie Whetter. We were dumb and irresponsible, foolish and foolhardy. Somehow we managed to survive high school.
For my 17th birthday, my parents bought me a Honda Rebel 250, my first and only motorcycle. It was often parked in front of the pool hall downtown. It turns out that it takes a fair amount of time to develop skill in billiards.
I started working when I was sixteen. At first, the local McDonald's store didn't want me, but I persisted. I also worked at Santa's Village. I've never worked so hard for such measely wages as I did as a cook. Cooking food is a great first job.
After high school, I was accepted into the applied studies co-op programme (now known as Arts & Business Co-op) at University of Waterloo. In second year, I declared my major as English language and literature. I received my degree in June 2004.
At UW, I volunteered with a few organizations. The first was Imprint Publications, the not-for-profit corporation that publishes the university's student newspaper, Imprint. I started at Imprint as a proofreader, and eventually was elected vice-president and appointed president of the corporation. The second organization was uwstudent.org, another not-for-profit media corporation. I was editorial director and one of the few volunteer editors and writers for the organization's news web site. The third organization is the university itself. In Winter 2002, I was elected to the Senate of University of Waterloo for a two-year term as the sole represenative of full-time arts students. I also served as an arts co-op councillor on the Students' Council of the Federation of Students, University of Waterloo from May 2003 till April 2004.
In 2005, I completed the Master of Public Administration program at Queen's University in Kingston. I now work as director of communications & development at The Canadian Merit Scholarship Foundation. We invest in young Canadians who demonstrate outstanding potential as future leaders. You can learn more or make a donation.
I met my wife, Adina, at the student newspaper. Our first kiss was the most awkward of my life. I asked her to marry me on 29 November 2003. We have two wonderful cats.