“I’m not going to give you anything fancy here—no special diet, no special workout. I’m not flogging a book, although I’ve been told I should be.” The crowd of 100 titters. Dr. Mike Evans, Canada’s most recognizable family physician, is a master of the one-liner. Dressed in a blue shirt, jeans, red sneakers and thick-rimmed glasses, the 50-year-old is at the University of Toronto, where he’s giving a healthy-living pep talk to alumni on a Friday afternoon in late May. Also a master of charm, he’s ramping up the aw-shucks quotient. He admits he’s guilty of texting his kids while they’re all in the house: laughter. An anecdote about keeping a patient who overdosed on Viagra away from a gorgeous resident: howls. “Instead of driving around the parking lot looking for a better spot, why not park farther away, in the spot reserved for people who want to live longer?” Hahahaha. Evans ums and ahs his way through the speech, tics that position him as a hockey dad next door with a knack for tips that may just, you know, save your life. Sleep better. Move often. Have a good attitude. Make wiser food choices. The prescriptions sound like common sense, but convincing people to tweak their behaviour is a gift. And Evans has it.
“That was great, Mike!” one silver-haired senior says as he walks by, flashing a thumbs-up. “Best talk I’ve ever heard,” a burly man gruffly proclaims before striding out the door. Doris Kalamut, an exuberant alumna and lecturer in the faculty of pharmacy, is the last superfan standing. “It’s so great to finally meet you!” she exclaims, shaking his hand and leaning in. “I’ve seen you…” she pauses—stage whisper—“on YouTube.” The object of her affection flashes an impish, gap-toothed grin. Welcome to the Dr. Mike Evans Show.