Hailing a Hero

The legacy lives on for the History & Heroes Foundation

The late Douglas Mitchell, OC AOE QC LLD, was a man of many titles — a leading professional in law, a football player for both the BC Lions and the Hamilton Tiger- Cats, an advisor to many groups and organizations and, most of all, a dedicated community member and family man.

An inductee into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, athletics were a significant part of his passion in life. He supported young people in these pursuits as a mentor, including Olympic gold medalist Hayley Wickenheiser. His support for young people extended beyond the field and the rink into the tremendous charitable work he engaged in with his wife and best friend, the Honourable Lois Mitchell, former Alberta lieutenant-governor. They met during his time in law school at the University of British Columbia, where Douglas Mitchell now has an arena named after him, the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre.

In 2017, Lois and Douglas Mitchell worked together to create the History & Heroes Foundation with the assistance of the late Stanley Milner. The Mitchells established an endowment fund with Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF) to help support Albertan students with an academic interest in the province’s history that has grown from $50,000 to more than $1.2 million in just five years.

“You always have time if you really want to give back to what’s needed,” says Lois Mitchell. “It doesn’t have to be money. Give your time. Give your talent. He was a big one about ideas; Doug always thought outside of the box… I never heard him say ever that he didn’t have time.”

Douglas Mitchell’s impact on the sports community, the legal community and the philanthropy community was immeasurable. While his passing is a significant loss, the work he seeded continues to grow through the efforts of those left to carry on his memory. The Honourable Lois Mitchell is now Chair of the History & Heroes Foundation.

“Doug is tremendously missed,” says Alan Ross, regional managing partner of Borden Ladner Gervais, the law firm in Calgary where Douglas Mitchell spent his career. “He really, along with Her Honour Lois Mitchell, gave incredibly to the community. It’s appreciated, it’s recognized, but it is very much missed with his passing.”

ECF has committed up to $20,000 to match donations made to the History & Heroes Foundation Fund.

Those interested in supporting Albertan learners in their pursuit of history can donate to the History & Heroes Endowment Fund in memory of Douglas Mitchell at our fund page.

This story comes from our Spring 2023 Legacy in Action.