The House that fostered David Foster

Russell Holmes, David Foster and Dougy Holmes at Ascot Drive

EveryPlace_VAN-600

The photograph of the three little boys in their cowboy suits that appears on the cover of Sensational Victoria is one of my favourite pictures in the book.

It’s not just because the little boy in the middle grew up to be David Foster, record producer, composer, songwriter and arranger—but because it’s such a great story of his childhood home on the outskirts of Victoria.

David and his six sisters grew up at 3915 Ascot Drive, the house their father Morry, a superintendent at the Saanich Municipal Yard, started building in 1949—the year David was born. The current owner found out about her house’s celebrity resident when she found David standing on her front doorstep one afternoon a few years after moving in.

“David comes to check it out every so often. He likes to come back to the house just to see if the place is still standing,” she told me. “His sisters Ruth, Jeanie and Maureen live in Victoria and pop over as well. They seem to be happy with the way we look after the house, so that’s the main thing.”

When I first talked to Ruth last year, she was planning an Ascot Drive reunion on behalf of her brother. She says all seven Foster siblings remain good friends with most of the people who once lived on their street.

“My house that I grew up in on Ascot Drive and the old neighbourhood mean so much to me,” David told me. “It was a very important part of my life that always stuck with me.”

David’s music career launched at age four when his mother was dusting the piano in the living room. Eleanor hit one of the notes and young David called out, “That’s an E.” Eleanor called Morry, a piano player who loved music and who quickly realized that his son had perfect pitch.

David retains a strong connection to his hometown. The David Foster Foundation is headquartered in Victoria and holds various celebrity concert galas, which David hosts and directs, as well as tennis and baseball events to raise money and provide emotional support for the families of children needing organ transplants.

“The truth is my sisters are so incredible that I would definitely attribute a lot of my success to their great character and their support over the years,” said David. “Our mother sewed all of our clothes and ran a great household on minimum money. She was very proud of all seven of her kids, not just me.”

Morry, who died in 1968 from a heart attack at 54,  was the filmmaker of the family, proudly showcasing his large family.

“His home movies are so professional,” says David. “He took 50 feet of film every week and we have every one of us growing up on film from year to year. What a gift.”

Eve Lazarus is a writer with a passion for history and heritage houses. She is the author of Sensational Victoria: bright lights, red lights, murders, ghosts & gardens; and At Home with History: the secrets of Greater Vancouver’s Heritage Houses. Eve blogs obsessively about buildings and their genealogies at www.blog.evelazarus.com.