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The sought-after singer describes his home, and his homes away from home
Canadian Tenors’ Fraser Walters may live in Toronto, but he’s a BC’er at heart
Here he discusses living in Toronto, being on the road and coming home to Vancouver.
When you travel constantly, it’s a challenge to know where to call home. I’m originally from Vancouver, and my family still lives there, so B.C. truly feels like home. I was [recently] in Vancouver and Kelowna for concerts that raised $1.3 million for the Voices for Bulembu African charity, and a concert with our full band at the Orpheum.
Right now, it’s nice to come home to a condo I can call mine in Toronto’s entertainment/fashion district. I bought it in 2005 when I was in the Lord of the Rings theatre production, and stayed when the Canadian Tenors were formed – we’re all based there.
It’s there that I have my piano; I do a lot of music arranging with an M-Audio digital system. I’ve had one or two late-night knocks on the door from neighbours; the concrete building isn’t quite soundproof. I chose it because it’s a two-storey loft and corner suite. The piano is in the loft overlooking the living space, and I look out the window at the view when I’m arranging, playing and singing.
The loft is modern, with an exposed concrete ceiling and concrete support beam running through it. There is lots of natural light with 17-foot ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows. I painted the walls myself, with a rich, earthy green that reminds me of British Columbia, and orange for a funky twist. My favourite art piece is a large poster of a brewery photographed in 1908, which our family owned a generation ago in New York City. [It’s] called the David Stevenson Brewing Co. The colours on my walls complement it.
I searched modern and vintage stores on King St. East for unique furniture during time off from rehearsals. I found a beautiful refinished dark wood table with a round base that used to be in a bar, and great second-hand chairs. My contemporary couch is comfortable enough to have a nap on, not so narrow and “plastically” modern that you don’t enjoy sitting. It has a dark wood frame, chocolate leather base, and light coffee fabric.
The kitchen is easy to work in, but without typical granite counters and stainless steel appliances. I love cooking, and since months can go by that I’m not here, when I’m in Toronto I prefer to cook at home rather than going to a restaurant. Sometimes I entertain friends and we’ve even cooked here and taken it to their space. If I had a yard, I would have a garden with herbs and vegetables. I prefer cooking with organics and shop at organic grocers and Kensington Market.
How do I de-stress? I do sing in the shower. Who doesn’t? I have a workout space in the living room with exercise bands and a chin-up bar, which comes apart to take to hotels. I love outdoor exercise, and my condo’s contents reflect that. It stores golf clubs, tennis rackets, a mountain bike, and well-used running shoes … my best companion on the road. Running to explore a new environment becomes the highlight during time off.
Home is also wherever we’re staying. I leave for Boston tomorrow, was in Halifax a couple of days ago, Los Angeles on the weekend, and in Portland. We’ll be in Asia (Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore) with David Foster to release our album.
We’ve recently been to Swaziland, Africa, to check the progress of the work done since we began our charity involvement in 2008. It was fulfilling to see children who are now very proud of their new homes and their first beds. That is life-changing work.
Originally published in BC Home magazine. For monthly updates, subscribe to the free BC Home e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the bi-monthly magazine.