Born in Vrachati, Greece |
To put it simply, Fotis came to Canada for work. He arrived in the late 1970s as a professional musician. He would play the songs of the many distinguished Greek composers who have written music based on Greece’s history, rich culture and modern political landscape, like: Mikis Theodorakis, Manos Hatzidakis and Thanos Mikroutsikos. However, soon after arriving in Toronto, he met the woman who would become his wife (a South Korean immigrant who had made the city her home). Despite the massive language barrier, they fell deeply in love, starting what his daughter describes as an “incredibly romantic story”. Fotis will always feel a deep connection to Greece, but he has embraced Toronto. The city has given him immense opportunities as an entrepreneur, building his own dental business from the ground up. He always tells his children they started “at zero” and together they have built a very comfortable middle-class suburban life. Even though he works as a businessman and dental technician by day, he remains a musician at heart.
Toronto as Home
Fotis feels a special connection to Guildwood Park. Since 1932 this spot has been a haven for the arts, owned by The Clark family, and operated as a sort of rent-free commune for more than 100 artists and families. During the post-war development boom the Clarks added more than 70 architectural pieces from the city of Toronto to their park – pieces that otherwise would have been destroyed. Fotis describes it as a “somewhat unknown nook in the city” and he particularly likes the park’s Greek Theatre, which he first came across almost 20 years ago. It gives him a taste of Greece right here in Toronto, which he says is “the best of both worlds.”
Connection with the Past
Fotis is holding a small statue of his favourite from the pantheon of Greek Gods, Apollo, who is the son of Zeus and God of music, oracles, poetry, sun, medicine and knowledge. Ancient Greek history and mythology have always been of keen interest to Fotis growing up, and he continues to study them to this day. This statue was a gift from his late mother – an official replica from the Archeological Museum of Ancient Corinth – who brought it for him on one of her visits to Canada. The statue holds much significance for him on multiple levels and currently it sits on the fireplace mantle where he can admire it and reminisce.