Howard Douglas

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Howard Douglas was born in Halton District, Ontario in 1850. He was the son of Thomas Douglas, a farmer, and the oldest of four boys.

Howard Douglas spent his boyhood and youth in the east. He married Alice Maud Johnston, the daughter of a ship captain, in Port Nelson, Ontario on October 11, 1872. Around 1883 Douglas moved west to Manitoba and worked as a construction bridge foreman for the Canadian Pacific Railway. His wife Alice and their three children, Katie, Thomas and Roy joined him in 1885. In 1890, Alice and Howard’s fourth child, Ralph Howard, was born in Calgary, Alberta.

In 1896 Howard Douglas was appointed superintendent of Banff National Park. He was promoted to Commissioner of National Parks in the West in 1911. During his term of office Jasper, Elk Island, Wainwright and Waterton Lake Parks were opened. Mount Douglas, west of Banff, was named in his honour. Douglas also arranged for the purchase and transfer of the Michael Pablo herd of buffalo from Montana, United States of America.

When he retired from the Parks position in 1921 he was appointed the first moving picture censor for the Province of Alberta.

He died in Edmonton on January 6, 1929.

Ralph Douglas
Howard Douglas’ youngest son, Ralph attended public school in Banff, Alberta and was sent to St. John’s College in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1903. In the fall of 1905 he attended the University of Toronto, School of Practical Science where he studied Civil and Mining Engineering. He graduated in 1909.

In 1912 he married Brenda Newton and together they had two sons, C.H. and Arnold, and one daughter, Mary. For many years Ralph Douglas worked as an Assistant Structural Engineer for the Department of Public Works. He resigned in 1921 to pursue private business but returned to government construction in 1937.

In 1940 he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and worked with the Works and Buildings Branch. When the war ended he was discharged with the rank of Flight Lieutenant. Douglas then joined Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation in 1945 and worked as the Edmonton Branch Manager.

In 1955 he became the manager of a low rental housing project called Town House Development and remained in this position until his retirement in January 1965.

Ralph Douglas died on December 25, 1966.


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Sources for this article include:

•  Alberta Government

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Last modified: Saturday, 18 March 2017