Howard Douglas

Click here to 
Print this page

Biography finder





























Index of first names

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, Katherine Clothilde (Katie) (1873-1967); Tom Clifford and Roy Alfred (born 1885). In 1890, Alice and Howard’s fourth child, Ralph Howard, was born in Calgary, Alberta.

Howard Douglas supervised the laying of the C.P.R. track across the Prairies in 1882-3, the family accompanying him in a house car in the summer of '83. They settled in Calgary where Howard built the first house on the recently-surveyed C.P.R. townsite.

He was instrumental in bringing the last great buffalo herd to Alberta. These animals lived in Banff for many years, then were moved to Wood Buffalo National Park, where they remain to this day. The idea of preserving an endangered species was very unusual in his day, so he did quite a fine thing in this way.

In 1896 Howard Douglas was appointed as the second 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, as was Howard Douglas Creek, a stream in Alberta. 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.

Alice Maud Johnston
Alice Maud Johnson, (9 June 1854 - 1 June 1924), born in Chelsea, London, England, emigrated to Canada with her family in 1856. Her father had been organist for Westminster Abbey and she herself possessed a fine singing voice. She married Howard Douglas (1850-1929) in Bronte, Ontario (now Hamilton) in 1871.  Mrs. Alice Douglas died in either 1924 or 25.

Katie Clothilde Douglas
Howard and Alice's eldest child, Katherine (Katie) Clothilde, married George Smith McCarter in 1891 and died in 1942. [Sallie's cousin Shelagh says] we know very little about George McCarter, “I always understood he was of Irish extraction, that his people had been United Empire Loyalists and that he had cousins in California whom he and Katie once visited. There was a cousin, there, Pansy, who gave Katie a bracelet.”

It is possible that there is a Pennsylvania McCarter connection; there was a story of McCarters coming over to the United States from Ireland and settling in Pennsylvania, before the American Revolution. This hasn't been verified, but there could be a connection here, to George Smith McCarter. Douglas McCarter, his grandson, Sallie's younger brother, who, with his family, was living in New York, eventually became an American citizen thus completing the circle.

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.



Sources for this article include:

•  Alberta Government
•  Our corner of the clan; David Fraser (pre-publication)

Any contributions will be gratefully accepted


Back to top


The content of this website is a collection of materials gathered from a variety of sources, some of it unedited.

The webmaster does not intend to claim authorship, but gives credit to the originators for their work.

As work progresses, some of the content may be re-written and presented in a unique format, to which we would then be able to claim ownership.

Discussion and contributions from those more knowledgeable is welcome.

Contact Us

Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024