December 16, 2022
By: Aubrianna Snow // Photos supplied
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 countless 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 the Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF) to help support Albertan students with an academic interest in the province’s history that has grown from $50000 to over $1.2 million in just five years.
“You always have time if you really want to give back to what’s needed,” says Her Honour. “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 and Heroes Foundation Fund.
“This is our way of honouring Mr. Mitchell’s legacy of giving back to the community,” Noel Xavier, ECF’s Director of Donor Services says.
Those interested in supporting Albertan learners in their pursuit of history can donate the History and Heroes Endowment Fund in memory of Douglas Mitchell here.
Episode 137 of The Well-Endowed Podcast is all about Douglas Mitchell and the legacy he leaves behind.