Bernadette’s Take #23

Swiss-Canadian Grouse Grinder

Philipp Postrehovsky from Vancouver

PhilippPostrehovsky4 - CopyI just wish to know if his watch is Swiss… It is! I asked him. A Tag Heuer. You just can’t deny your roots. (Photo Philipp Postrehovsky)

If you knew what Swiss chocolate is good for.
Philipp Postrehovsky uses it to show off.
I mean in the very sense of the word.

He takes a bar of Swiss Lindt chocolate and shows off what is written on the back.

No, I don’t mean the calories (forget the calories, chocolate is good for you!). He shows for instance the Lindt Swiss Classic milk chocolate and on the back, it says “Manufactured by Lindt & Sprüngli (Schweiz) AG, CH-8802 Kilchberg”.

Schoggi - CopySorry, I could not help but eat part of this chocolate bar while I was writing the text. The paper in the back is torn so you cannot see Kilchberg written on it. But I swear, it is there! (Photo B. Calonego)

And then, Philipp (30) triumphantly points to Kilchberg and declares: “That is the town where I was born, near the Lindt factory!”

His twin brother was born there, too, which makes it a double whammy.

PhilippPostrehovski6 - CopyPhilipp and his twin brother (don’t ask me who is who) near the Swiss Lindt chocolate factory (I think they have a bike to get there faster).
(Photo Philipp Postrehovsky)

This is Philipp’s claim to fame. And to top it off, he knows the Sprüngli family, too! The patriarch is now 96, his wife who originally is Czech like the Postrehovskys, is in her eighties. Sometimes Philipp’s parents and the twins have coffee with the Sprünglis.

They are something like Swiss royalty (although the democratic Swiss would not call it that way).

Philipp’s parents moved from Kilchberg/Switzerland to Canada when he was 6 years old. He grew up in West Vancouver. “But we still have roots in Switzerland”, says Philipp.

He has dual citizenship and is proud to have a Swiss passport. He travels to Switzerland every second year, and his parents still have an apartment there.

Philipp visited Switzerland in January with his fiancée. His favourite place is the picturesque town of Vico Morcote in the Swiss canton Ticino.
“When you drive through the Gotthard tunnel, you go from 4 degrees Celsius in Zurich to palm trees and 15 degrees in Lugano”, says Philipp. “It happened to me in January.”

PhilippPostrehovsky3 - CopyPhilipp and his fiancée on Lake Lugano in January (Photo Philipp Postrehovsky)

This guy loves Swiss tunnels, by the way! He loves to drive through them. And do you know why? “Because they are so clean!”

For Philipp, Switzerland and Canada are not so far apart. When he travels on the highway from Adliswil to the big city of Zurich, he feels that “this looks a bit like Vancouver”.

But Philipp is also a true Vancouverite. How do I know? Well, a true Vancouverite climbs the Grouse Grind as often as he/she can. The Grouse Grind is a 2.9-kilometre trail up the face of Grouse Mountain, the elevation gain is 853 metres and there are 2830 stairs to climb! On average it takes up to an hour and a half to complete the hike. For novice hikers, two hours.

PhilippPostrehovsky5 - CopyNo, this flag is not on Grouse Grind near Vancouver. Absolutely not. Philipp went to Switzerland and brought this photo home. No, it is not the Red Cross either. Positive. (Photo Philipp Postrehovsky)

Philipp says of himself: “I am an avid Grouse Grinder.” In the past year, he did the Grouse Grind 75 times, he says. And he does not stop there.

He has a charity called “Grind For Kids” that raised almost half a million dollars in 3 years.
If you want to contribute, it is simple: You are getting paid to do the Grouse Grind for a good cause. Got it?

Here is the website for more information:

Philipp who calls himself a “Disruptive Marketer, Creative Think Tank, Social Media Leader, Passionate Philanthropist”, is generally into elevations.

Artificial ski hills for instance. He saw one at the Swiss House at the World Expo in Shanghai four years ago.

PhilippPostrehovsky8 - CopyThe girls in Shanghai could not get enough of this Swiss built ski lift in their city! Ski on the green hills at your own risk! … (Photo Philipp Postrehovsky)

The Swiss had built a ski lift on an artificial ski hill, and Philipp could not wait to get up there. But in front of him, the line was 4 hours long. Because Swiss citizens could skip the line, he showed his Swiss passport and wooosh! he went through. (Remember, this is a Swiss thing, Canadians would have waited in line!)

This was not the only time, when his Swiss passport came in handy. Philipp recently left his Canadian passport on the plane. “So I used my Swiss passport!”

PhilippPostrehovsky7 - CopyVertigo!!! Swiss ski lift at the World Expo in Shanghai 2010. Philipp`s foot is dangling, maybe he dropped his Swiss passport? (Photo Philipp Postrehovsky)

Don’t you think the guy is exploiting his Swiss ties a little? For his new technology startup company that he and his brother are launching this month, his father found him some Swiss investors.
If you are Swiss and have a lot of money and would like to be exploited, too, here is the website:

It is about time that I pull some strings here.

The Can-Swiss Quiz with Philipp Postrehovsky:

–   What gift do you bring home from Switzerland?

Lindt & Sprüngli chocolate

–   What Swiss products do you miss most in Canada?

Ramseier sparkling apple juice, Toni Yogurt and Sprüngli Bircher Muesli

PhilippPostrehovsky1 - CopyThis is the ultimate proof that the Swiss are not superstitious (for Canadians: dreizehn means thirteen). Philipp and his fiancée in Rapperswil on Lake Zurich (Photo Philipp Postrehovsky)

–   Which are the 3 qualities you cherish most in Swiss men or women?

Punctual like a Swiss train, clean like a Swiss tunnel and organized like Swiss road construction.

–   Which are the 3 qualities you cherish most in Canadian men or women?

Friendly, hockey crazy and multicultural.

–   What triggered a culture shock for you in Switzerland?

How expensive McDonald’s is in Switzerland! A basic chicken sandwich is about 12 dollars, that is double what you pay in Vancouver.

–   Which Swiss personality fascinates you?

François-Louis Cailler who invented the chocolate bar in 1849!

–   Which Canadian personality fascinates you?

Terry Fox who had cancer and ran across Canada to raise awareness for cancer research.

P.S. If you would like to fill in a Can-Swiss Quiz, you are very welcome! Send it to

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