Four passions keep James Morton outdoors all year round: cycling, fly fishing, golf, and skiing. Staying healthy is key for him. He regularly cycles 100 km and next summer will bike the 400 km from Jasper to Canmore in support of a friend’s charity. The rest of his time is shared equally among his other passions according to the season.
There is one passion, though, that keeps him indoors: the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. In the past 10 years, James has been on the Board of the Calgary Philharmonic Society and served on its Finance Committee. He has also served as chair of the Calgary Phil’s annual Cork and Canvas Gala committee – and enthralled as the Master of Ceremonies at the Gala event many times.
“I have really enjoyed myself throughout my time on the Board,” says James. “I learned a lot, I met some interesting people, and it was great to have an involvement with the Orchestra. I love music, obviously, but I mostly enjoyed the ability to give back to the community through such an important piece of the ‘arts pie,’ if you will. As I have said to many people, I have always felt that a vibrant and successful orchestra is one of the keys for Calgary to become a world-class city.”
James Morton is a Senior Director and Portfolio Manager, Private Wealth Management, at Jarislowsky Fraser, one of Canada’s leading investment firms with offices in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and New York. James has been with the firm since 1998, first in Toronto, and then since 2006 in Calgary, and manages high-net-worth client relationships across Canada and internationally. His good friend and colleague Don Herman, Jarislowsky Fraser’s Director and Portfolio Manager, Institutional Management (Indigenous, institutional corporate and foundation accounts), shares James’s passion for the Calgary Philharmonic. Thanks to Don and James, Jarislowsky Fraser has been supporting the orchestra since 2006, funding projects like the Beethoven Festival in 2008, and the popular Amadeus and Wolfgang Patron Programs.
An easy camaraderie is at the core of their professional relationship and friendship. In 2018 James stepped down from the Calgary Phil’s Board and joined the Board of Arts Commons as a member at large. Don replaced him on the Calgary Phil’s Board, which made their – and Jarislowsky Fraser’s – bond with the Orchestra even stronger. Since 2018, Don has also served as the Chair of the Calgary Phil’s Cork and Canvas Gala Committee.
“When I stepped down from the Board and Don took over, we both felt it was a beautiful thing for Jarislowsky Fraser to continue to be involved with the Orchestra,” James says. “And the demographic of our clients is the same as many patrons of the Orchestra, so it seemed just the perfect fit.
“Being the Master of Ceremonies at the Gala is something I really enjoy doing. I have great fun being part of the show and raising funds for something that I care about. Don and I have definitely different personalities and a very healthy, fun and competitive relationship,” he adds. “And I am happy to be beaten all the time by him when it comes to raising money for beloved causes. That’s easy. One of the other interests we share is wine, which turned out to be very helpful for the Gala. We’re both very much into French wine, but he’s more of a Bordeaux guy while I’m definitely a Burgundy guy. And that’s the main reason why we were involved with the Gala in the first place — we have very good contacts with people who know wine or have excellent collections. We’re pleased to have helped get donations of some beautiful wines in past years.”
Besides wine, one of the most sought-after auction items at the Gala is a fly-fishing trip with James and Paul Dornian, CEO and President of the Orchestra. Bidders have a chance to win a day trip on the Bow River with an experienced and charming ‘team’ and join in the fishing, the wine, and the laughter.
‘Paul Dornian and I ended up doing a couple of fly-fishing trips together, and when I started being involved in the Gala, Paul asked me whether I was willing to offer a trip for the silent auction,” James says. “I immediately said yes. We ended up having a fantastic day of fly-fishing. I would bring a couple of bottles of very good wine, and Kathy Dornian would prepare a great picnic for everybody and that way we’ve been able to involve longtime donors or first-time bidders. They could be beginners or experienced fishers, but we always have tremendous fun together, surrounded by beautiful, peaceful scenery. The Bow River just south of Calgary is one of the best trout rivers in North America. Lovely adventure to have. The fishing and the music communities overlap quite easily — both are so enjoyable, and I hope we’ll continue offering it when Gala time comes.”
Jarislowsky Fraser has been a leading Canadian investment counseling firm for several decades, managing portfolios on behalf of individuals, foundations, and institutional clients in Canada and internationally. The firm is trusted for its quality, sustainable investing approach that comes from its promise to be responsible stewards of its clients’ capital. For more than half a century, Jarislowsky Fraser is honoured to have provided investment services to affluent individuals and families, fostering relationships that span generations, in order to help clients to reach their financial goals.
When you meet James, make sure you have him tell you the legendary story of the bear who broke into his sportscar. Which, as it happens, is Don’s sportscar now. Jarislowsky Fraser colleagues share all their best experiences!
For any further information on Jarislowsky Fraser please visit www.jflglobal.com.