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We Met a Real, French Canadian Knight

It obviously takes a very specific type of person to put on a knight's costume and ride a horse across Canada on a mission of chivalry and posi-vibes. We found that person.

Hannah Murphy

Vincent Gabriel Kirouac is a 22 year old man from Quebec who has very clearly given up on fitting into modern society. Instead of going to college or fucking off to backpack through Europe, Vincent decided to give knighthood a shot. This guy does not merely pretend that he’s a knight, he absolutely is one. Vincent was knighted by a bishop, wears custom made leather chaps, and dons a personalized helmet and sword. Most of you have probably never even met a bishop.

If you’ve ever been inspired by Kingdom of Heaven or Braveheart and thought that you would go and take up fencing lessons, until you got distracted again by porn and/or weed then forgot about the whole idea, the difference between Vincent and yourself should now be very clear. Vincent spent the summer of 2012 walking and riding across Canada, from Quebec City to Calgary, with his horse named Coeur de Lion, which is Quebec-speak that means “Lionheart.”

Vincent’s lengthy journey was all about spreading posi-vibes and teaching the egotistical, porn-loving inhabitants of 21st century Canada what chivalry is all about. We sat Vincent down and got to talking about why he’s decided to give the 9-5 lifestyle a big F-U, his custom knight’s costume, and his cross-country quest with Coeur de Lion.

We’re going to assume you don’t get a salary for being a knight, so how do you pay for your armour and horse feed?
I’m a driver for carriage tours down in old Quebec City. I just enjoy working with horses.

What made you decide to cross Canada, dressed as a knight, on horseback?
I decided to be a knight about eight years ago. I was just wondering about so many things, like Lord of the Rings. I was like: “People in these movies are fighting against the same thing to save their lives, and apparently in our society, there are things that are dangerous to us that nobody is fighting against.” I thought: “Somebody has to try to do something. Even if that person is not famous. Somebody needs to do something.” I wanted to be the person to do it and I directed all my patience toward knights, vigilance, and Christianity. I decided to go and try to make a difference as a knight.

So you watched LOTR on DVD, and then what happened? What was the goal of your knightly mission?
The goal was to be a knight. To be a symbol of something that was incorruptible and, as far as my horse would allow me to go, to meet as many people as possible. I tried to sensitize them to integrity and an incorruptible thing, so they could say: “Oh my goodness, that is so possible. I can just speak the truth and stop being afraid.”

Do you view the rest of society as a bunch of scared, immoral, scum-sucking waste-cases?
No. During four months of crossing the country, I never slept outside, never missed a meal, and my mare always had a good place to rest. People managed to give her a good piece of land so she could graze. We always had chivalrous people around us.

How did you make sure to pass the love back to these generous people?
Mostly, I was trying to be helpful to these people who were also trying to be hospitable, so they were also telling me: “Oh no, don’t do that, don’t do that!” They were all so honored to have a knight around who wanted to take care of them so much.

So did you bring any supplies at all? Or were you just kinda winging it?
I was just relying on others—on God and others. In the beginning I had a little bit of food, like a lunch that people would prepare for me in the morning, but I was all by myself with my horse. I had to take care of her, she had to carry me wherever I needed to go, and I walked next to her when she was tired. We had to manage all of that together.

Sounds like you two are quite the tag-team. Did you run into any trouble while you were prancing around the country?
In the beginning it was the saddle. I made it through three days, and on the fourth one, my mare got really sore and I couldn’t walk her anymore. I stopped at a friend’s place outside of Quebec City. I stayed there for four days. The vet came and changed the saddle and, from there, I walked 500 kilometres next to her, making sure she would be able to keep on going. After that it was mostly alright.

Rough start, homie. How long did the trip take overall?
If my mare didn’t have all the luggage on her back she could have been trotting, which is very easy for them to do for a long period of time, but with all the luggage on her back, I was just obliged to walk with her at about five kilometres an hour. I walked at least two thousand kilometers.

Maybe you should have packed lighter. How far did you get?
To Spruce Meadow, and then I went to Rocky Mountain Show Jumping, which is five kilometers south of Calgary. It took four months to get over there. After that, I went back to Saskatchewan because I was looking for a place to retire my mare. In Quebec City, I don’t have anywhere to put her and look after her properly. I didn’t want to put her in a boring place, so I found a really nice, hospitable family in the middle of Saskatchewan to look after her. The family amounts to something like 50 people in that town, so the nieces and nephews and cousins all come to the farm and play with the horse. We call her “our” horse now.

Share the love man, that’s what it’s all about. So, was your fancy knight suit expensive?
It was pretty expensive. I’ve been working hard for it while trying to get involved as much as possible in my parish. Before I left, the bishop saw that I was responsible and really acting like a knight. So he knighted me.

Are you still being knightly, now that the trip is over?
I get to meet so many people from all around the world who want a carriage tour of Quebec City. I hope I can make a difference in their life, help them enjoy their trip, and understand that it is all about considering people. Being polite. Being devoted to each other. That makes a huge difference.

People who I met on my journey have been calling me and emailing me saying that I changed their life. They gave me and my horse everything we needed. I was changing their lives and they were giving me meals. They say: “Wow, I want to do that every single day and change people’s lives.” It’s possible, by crossing the country, and by being there for my people.

You really are a living and breathing archetype of chivalry. How can someone become as wonderful as you?
Listen to your heart and really, really look into yourself. Say what you’re going to do and then do it. Make sure everything comes true. That makes you responsible and it gives you integrity. That is going to change the world.