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WHO AM I?


Doug Sullivan

I was born and raised in Brantford, close to the Grand River.  As kids we were river rats – hiking, canoeing, swimming and building bonfires.  Back in those days things were less organized.  You went out for the day and made your own fun.  You just stayed close enough to home to hear your Mum call you for supper.  We made up our own games of tackle football and baseball.  I did play organized hockey and lacrosse.  Bar none lacrosse is the most physically demanding sport I ever played.  Growing up in Brantford in the ‘60’s, you knew someone who worked either at Massey, Ferguson or Cockshutt Farm Equipment.

I attended MacMaster University from 1967 – 1971 where I obtained and Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree majoring in Accounting and Marketing .  I commuted with a friend from Brantford to MacMaster.   One day the windshield wiper motor conked out as I was picked up in the pouring rain.  We attached a wire to the wipers and each had an end of the wire and pulled it back and forth to make the wipers work.

After I graduated from MacMaster, I accepted a job with Peat Marwick Mitchell, Chartered Accountants in Hamilton.  After a few months I realized I was not cut out for the hours of sitting behind a desk ferreting

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out bookkeeping details.  The senior partner felt the same way as one day he called me into his office and said “Doug, I think this would be a wonderful time to explore other career opportunities”.

In the fall of ’72 I headed off to teachers college at Althouse in London.  The highlight of that year was all of the students  and profs huddled in the cafeteria to watch Paul Henderson score the winning goal in the ‘72 Soviet series.   In the summer of ’73 I received 3 high school teaching offers over the phone but I turned them all down to stay with a great summer job that turned into a full time one at White Farm Equipment doing market research.

At about this time I met my lovely wife, Diane.  She’s from Kitchener, I’m from Brantford, we met in London, got moved to Waterloo in Dec. ’74 and immediately moved to Ottawa in ’75.  I‘d been offered a job with Statistics Canada as an Economic Statistician.  My job was to contact businesses across Canada to determine how much they planned to spend on buildings, machinery and equipment for the following year.  Diane was working as a Pharmacy Tech at the Ottawa General.Working for the Federal Government was not the most exciting job in the world.  About this time I saw an ad for a Liaison Officer with the Canada – UK Freight Conference in Montreal.   The job was to liaise between the conference and Stats Canada to develop more meaningful cargo statistics for the conference.  After a series of interviews I was offered the job so we moved to Pointe Claire, Que. and I commuted to downtown Montreal.  To me, being in Montreal was like being a kid in a candy store.  The Olympic Stadium was completed and the Expos were rich in talent with young outfielders by the names of Cromartie, Dawson and Raines and a new young catcher by the name of Gary Carter.  The Canadians were a dynasty and I enjoyed many a night at the Montreal Forum with friends who had corporate tickets.  Many a meal was enjoyed in Old Montreal or at Schwartze’s or Ben’s.  Most noon hours, I would walk to the downtown Y on Drummond St. and play racquetball or jog with my running buddies.  This was usually followed by lunch and beer at the Stanley Tavern.  Needless to say I was in the best shape of my life at that time.



We enjoyed Ottawa immensely - the fine dining in Hull and also the best cross country skiing in Canada in the Gatineau Hills.  A friend and I entered the Canadian Ski Marathon in 1976.  The challenge was to ski 100km between La Chute and Ottawa over 2 days.  We skied the first 30km before my friend broke a ski tip on a tree trunk.  That was the end of our brief marathon experience.

In 1984, I was president of the Montreal Toastmasters Club which met at the Mount Stephen Club in downtown Montreal.  This building, rich in oak and plush carpet was built by the founder of the Canadian Pacific Railway.  Our club attracted engineers, accountants, salesmen and corporate executives who met over a meal to polish their communication and leadership skills.

Over this period of time, our two children, Greg and Barbara, were born.  Although Montreal was a joy for me, Diane and I felt we would like to raise our kids in Ontario, closer to family so in 1984 we moved back to Kitchener.  Shortly after arriving, I was driving down Charles St. and on a whim I dropped into Cameron Heights Collegiate to see if my teaching certificate from 1973 was still valid.  It was and after a period of supply teaching to get my feet wet, I found a full time job teaching business and math at Mitchell High School.  So there I was in Sept. 1987, standing on the school auditorium stage on the first day of school while O Canada was being played, looking out at a sea of young teenagers and thinking “What have I done!?”  I took it one day at time through my first year.  The next year I transferred to Central Secondary School in Stratford, a beautiful school set right beside the Avon River and Shakespearian Gardens in downtown Stratford.  There I spent a successful 20 year teaching career while coaching the school golf team for many years.

Our son Greg works in tech support for a home security firm in St. Catherines while Barbara is involved in the social non-profit sector in Waterloo.  Diane is winding down a successful pharmacy career at St. Mary’s Hospital.

I’m happily retired now, enjoying golf, building model railroads and my new friendships and support at our Probus Club.

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