BEAVER HARBOUR N.B. -- It’s remarkable what a Maritime diet of fish and potatoes will do for you.

New Brunswick's Arnold Hawkins swears by those East Coast staples, and who’s going to argue with Canada’s oldest man?

Hawkins displays dexterity well below his years. He likes putting a triple bow in his laces, just to make sure they stay tied.

As of Thursday, he was 109 years old -- the oldest known man in the country.

Nicholas Mascitelli of Ontario is a few months younger, and another Maritimer, Donald MacDonald of Prince Edward Island, is the third oldest man in Canada, at just over 107 years old.

Hawkins grew up in the fishing village of Beaver Harbour, N.B. and worked on the water all his life.

It wasn't an easy living.

"When they hauled their traps, they hauled them by hand," said Violet McKinley, Hawkins' daughter. "They didn't have a pulley system they could bring them up on. It was hard work."

Hawkins built his family home in Beaver Harbour way back in the 1930s. He still lives there to this day, though with a lot of help from family, friends and caregivers.

Family members attribute his longevity to a steady diet of fish and potatoes, but they also say it runs in the family.

"I think he inherited it from his grandmother. She lived to be 107," said Arnold's son, Wayne Hawkins.

Arnold can be forgiven if he's a little fuzzy on what year he was born; in fact, it was 1911.

If the birthday boy has one weakness, it's sugar.

"His cookies, his donuts, chocolate, anything with sugar," said his granddaughter Cheryl McKinley. "He loves it."

On his birthday, there was a lot to satisfy his sweet tooth.

Every year is another blessing for Arnold Hawkins and for the entire Hawkins family.