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From Canadian Shield to front yard centrepiece 

Mar 12, 2017

Sebastian Clovis Toyota Tacoma Boulder Lift

“My parents are hippies.”

Bohemian might not be the first word that springs to mind when describing a CFL player turned home-renovation guru, but that is exactly how Sebastian Clovis describes his background.

From the first day they met in London, England in the 70’s, Sebastian’s Mom and Dad aspired to an organic life living on a farm, growing their own vegetables and keeping chickens. Yet, work was in the city and raising a family of 5 children meant that they had to put their rural, free-spirited dreams on hold until later in life.

"My mother is a hospice nurse and father is a science teacher, and they found work in the city so that’s where we grew up.

“I think they felt it would be best for us kids to be raised in a city as far as opportunities go, so they sacrificed for us, but if they followed their hearts we would have been a bunch of free range country kids," he says.

After seeing their kids go out in the world and start making their own way, Sebastian's parents retired and decided it was time to make their dreams a reality.

“They sold their city home, bought 24 acres out in the country and now they’re living the life they always wanted to. I miss seeing them as often as I did, but I’m so proud of them for never letting go of that dream and having the courage to go and get it. It’s so inspiring to me!”

With Sebastian still based in downtown Toronto, his folks were suddenly a lot further away. Having gone from living in the same neighbourhood, a visit now meant a 3-hour drive.

This new distance between the family inspired Sebastian to search for something from his parents' idyllic new life that would represent the dream they achieved.

“I wanted to create a linking feature, I wanted to find something from their new home and bring it back to my home so that I would still feel connected to them,” he says.

On his first visit out to see his parents’ new life, Sebastian saw just what he was looking for.

“Their land is on part of the Canadian shield, so here and there you can see big pieces of granite boulders jutting out from the landscape. Running through some of these granite boulders you can see these amazing veins of quartz. They look like jewels inside the stones.”

Immediately he decided one of these boulders would be perfect for his front yard back in Toronto. His parents were more than happy for him to have it - so long as he could get it in his Tacoma.

That part would be easier said than done.

“I’m a strong dude,” he laughs.  “But the shape of the boulder was odd, it was heavy and the bed of the truck was too high for me to lift it up in to. It didn’t help that my buddy Akil, who was with me, wasn’t really interested in helping out.”

Rather than admitting defeat or chancing an injury by lifting it himself, Sebastian turned to his Tacoma.

“I needed to get the boulder into the truck and it was too heavy to lift, so I had to come up with another way to get it into the truck,” he says. “First thing I thought was, “I need to make the truck do the lifting’”

Sebastian Clovis Boulder on Toyota Tacoma Truck Bed

The cantilever rig, involving the ropes, pulleys and the strength of his Tacoma was something of a joint project for Sebastian and his father.

“I was a Boy Scout growing up, my father was the Troop leader, so we both like interesting problems like this that test our skills.  We had some pulleys and a spindle of rope, so we designed a rig that would pull the boulder up and suspend it in the air while I drove my truck under it.”

“It was a unique challenge and I wanted to figure out a smart, safe and fun way to solve the problem. There’s never been a challenge I’m not game for.”

“I probably won’t do too many things in life like that again, but if ever presented with a similar situation I’ll know what to do!”

With the boulder now safely transported back to the city on the back of his Tacoma, Sebastian couldn’t be happier with the new addition to his front yard and the story of where it came from.

Close up of Boulder Sebastian Clovis

“It’s history now. It’s unlikely that the boulder will ever move from that front yard. It may not have added any monetary value to the property, but it added emotional value, which is equally important to me," he says.

“Every time I walk past the boulder in the morning now I’m reminded of my parents who have been rocks in my life and that no matter how long it may take, all dreams can be realized if you stick to your vision. It did for them!”

Always exercise caution when moving heavy objects