Robert Douglas carries the names of both his
grandfathers, the Douglas was simply a name that his parents liked,
however there may have been a slight chance that the name was in
reference to one of Murray’s working companions, named Douglas
Morrison, he was a really nice guy ( know as Doug to his family
and friends ) Doug was born at the Reddy Memorial Hospital, in Montreal
on Sept. 20 1948 apparently in the early hours of the morning. His
was driven to the hospital by Murray and the couple were accompanied by
Jessie Smith, Isabel's older sister, who had come up from
Alexandria Bay NY. Dr Lockhead was the obstetrician. Doug left the
hospital on the 27th of September to take up residence in his new home
on Curzon St. in St. Lambert Quebec, a city where Doug sent some 45
years of his life.
Growing up on
Curzon St. was the a most enjoyable part of Doug's young life, on
the street there were many families with children, some a bit older
than Doug, some of course younger. There was Linda Roy, Jane Weirs,
John and Janet Hughes, Peter and John Stelfox, Paul and Margaret Cook,
Patty, Cathy, Mary and John Sullivan, April and June Campbell, Keith,
Ralph and Nancy Howe, Ted and June Burton, and of course Doug's
sisters Beth and Dede. One neighbour living in the next street just
behind the Macfie residence, had a son named Bruce Clark born
just a bit after Doug, he became so close a friend that Doug and his
sisters always considered him a brother.
Doug attended the
Annex of the St. Lambert Elementary School, and was transferred in
grade three to the main building of the St. Lambert Elementary where he
remained until 1961 ( grade 7). From there Doug's secondary schooling
was at Chambly County High School where he graduated in 1965. By this
time the family had moved to 370
Logan St. in St. Lambert, (1963)
which actually was just down the street from the Curzon address, but
into a much bigger house. Doug had by that time joined the Royal
Canadian Air Cadets , serving in the St. Hubert 643
squadron.( Doug attained the grade of fight Sergeant and won his wings
( his small plane pilots license, paid for by the cadet association
In 1964, Doug found himself in the tenth grade at Chambly County High School he was smittened by and fell for his first real girlfriend , Joyce Fletcher . They quickly became a hot item inseparable one from the other for quite some time.
One thing that remains fixed in Doug's mind in his Latin teacher Mr. Lee, this gentleman was of English descent and could have passed for Sean Connery's double. The first James Bond movie had just previewed and Mr. Lee was with out a doubt the double for James Bond, he even had the accent.
Doug's life while very much mundane and uneventful, unfolded with trips to his grandparent's farm in Clarenceville on the summer weekends. Often he was picked up by his grandmother and grandfather, who taking , what is now the old number 9 highway through La Prarrie, and St. Jean, onto highway 333 sometimes stopping at a little restaurant to have something to eat just outside of Iberville. Once Doug had been so quiet in the back seat that his grandmother and grandfather forgot he was with them, and they were surprised when he spoke up to ask if he could order the grilled cheese sandwich which he always had when they stopped there. Then there was the time Doug was helping with the haying and jumped of the wagon, to pick up a bale of hay, he encountered a bumble bee and as he ran from the bee he got his foot caught in a prairie dog hole and twisted his ankle. Grandpa Macfie ( Robin) drove to the hospital in Bedford to have the foot looked after, and while they waited he explained to Doug that the Hospital had been named Perkins after a relative of our family. One time Doug's father's company had to make special arrangements for deliver of a rush load of product to Montreal, so Murray decided to drive out the farm with a tractor trailer unit, planning to switch trailers at the border at Philipsburg with the regular driver to save some time. Doug was in all his glory accompanying his father in the tractor trailer unit. It was that weekend that Doug had his first ever drink of coffee, early Sunday morning he was awaken by his father for the return trip, Murray had poured two cups of coffee, and Doug thinking that one was for his uncle Art, started to take the coffee to him, only to be told by his father hat the coffee had been poured for him to drink and not his uncle.
During the summer months when Doug spent his time as other young residence of St. Lambert, wallowing in the pool at Lesperance Park, or going down to the end of Victoria St. to the swim in the St. Lawrence River.( until the swimming area was closed to make way for the St. Lambert Lock of the Seaway system 1957) He played baseball for a short while and one winter tried out for hockey, however since he could not skate backwards he did not make any team( all this to the chagrin of his mother, who's family had once owned the Ottawa Senators ) . The family tobogganed at St. Basile le Grande, and on St. Helene's Island , often three of four families Hughes, Clark, Macfie and Stelfox going together. It was a great life.
Doug was privileged that his father was at first managing director of the transport company he had founded, Speedway Express Ltd , for his was able to accompany his father to work when ever time suited. Doug in his youngest years played in the warehouse on Saguinet St., then when the company moved to Park Ave., Doug was allowed to travel with the truck drivers all over the city, eventually helping with the loading and unloading of the trailers. He was the boss's son, nothing could have been better than that. The family made frequent trips to the Maritimes in the summer while Murray visited different customers Doug tagged along learning the family business. Once the company moved to St. Amour St. in St. Laurent, Doug being somewhat older began his first of many jobs in the transport industry, his first week's pay was $75.00, which was increased by the profit he split with his father from the Coke machine. (in a week of real hot weather he could could an $25.00 extra).
For summer vacations, the family spent time at Alexandria Bay , N.Y., at the home of Doug's Aunt Jessie and Uncle Marvin. Marvin was a licensed boat captain and owned several vessels. (old mahogany type inboards), Aunt Jessie worked as the record librarian of the hospital. The family often visited with Murray's Aunt Jessie and Uncle Jimmy Anderson who owned a cottage at Lake Lousia, near Lachute Qc., the family visited Isabel's family in Ottawa, Brockville, and Merrickville, twice the family traveled to Florida, ( before Disney Land).
After graduating from high school, Doug experienced a bit of a set back, not being able to concentrate on his immediate future, and joined his father as a full time Customer Service agent at Speedway Express, Montreal. In 1969 after several differences of opinion with his father over how things should be done, Doug decided it was time to turn his attention to higher learning. An opportunity arose to travel to California, with his mother's sisters, Beatrice, and Jessie, his mother and sister ,Diane so before going off to University, Doug embarked on a wonderful trip that he will never forget.
During his years in the commerce program ( 5 years ) at Sir George Williams University ( now called Concordia), a very dark period arose. Murray, his father, decided to divorce Isabel, this gave way to a situation that led the family to loose the home they had on Logan St., and Doug never spoke to his father again.( Murray died in 1988). Doug's future was altered drastically, for he had always planned to to make his career with his father's trucking company Speedway Express Ltd. However in 1973 the trucking company was sold to Les Entreprise Bussieres, of Quebec City, Murray's divorce causing him such financial losses that he was forced to turn his share holding over to his lawyer John Ewasew, who simply sold them to obtain payment for services rendered. (John Ewasew later in his life was appointed to the Canadian Senate). Doug managed to find himself odd jobs to pay for his University, working for Demenagement Lapointe, the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority, and his mother's lawyer David Schwartz. During this somber period Doug's fascination with his longtime companion Joyce , weakened as he had met someone with a bit more drawing power, Françoise Goulet.
At graduation and with his newly earned B.Comm in hand, Doug joined with DCB Industries Ltd, a trucking company that had been formed from three old trucking firms who had been experiencing financial difficulties ( Dumont, Central and Boyd's). In the two years that Doug remained with this firm, it was decided that marriage to Françoise was an important priority and thus on October 26 1974, a union took place. It was not of course quite a fairly tale, for there were several hurdles to jump, Doug was English and Protestant, Françoise was French and Catholic, and there was the differences in ages. As always in Quebec, from the time of the Conquest in 1763, the English were just that English and the French were just that French, most of the history of this province has shown that both groups had tried their damnedest to keep the two apart and at odds with each other. The religious factor, well that conflict began at the beginning of the time of Henry the Eighth, and religious conflicts never end. However in this case persistence, accommodation and cohesion prevailed and a wonderful warm party was held to celebrate this union at Françoise's brother-in law and sister's home (Fred & Luva Feletig), St. Lambert, just across the street from the home that Doug and his family had lost during the divorce.
On November 9 1975, baby Eric was born, Doug and Françoise who had taken up residence at 410 Desauliner Blvd., St. Lambert, found it necessary to move to larger quarters. A decision was made to move into a duplex owned by Fred Feletig on Boissy St. still in St. Lambert and the little group took root there. Doug at this time having made several acquaintances at university, came up with an idea to make and market a Society game which he called " Trucking Canada". Nick Flor came aboard to help out as partner in this enterprising effort and together they almost managed to sell the whole idea to International Harvester - truck division, a last minute snag however caused the deal to fall through. Never to be discouraged Doug and Nick plowed ahead and carried things on their own. Due to financial restrictions, only the first printing managed to get to market before they had to abandon things.
In 1976, Doug received a call from Les Entreprise Bussieres Lteé, asking him if he would like to work for them in Quebec City, preferably working for their division Speedway Express Ltd , his father's old company. Needless to say Doug did not hesitate with his decision. The family made arrangements to move to Quebec City. Fortunately Françoise's family lived in Quebec, a city in which she had spend much of her growing up in, and since her parents were to be absent in Florida for the winter months they had the opportunity to live there. Awhile later a house was purchased in Ancien Lorette and the family moved into their own space. They concentrated on increasing the size of the family, however this was to no avail and they settled on the fact that Eric was to be their future.
Les Entreprise Bussieres was constantly expanding and Doug was asked if he would return to the Montreal area, an offer that was not refused. The family found a small home at 320 Putney Ave., in St. Lambert that met their needs and moved back to more familiar surroundings. (1979). As the years passed on Les Entreprise Bussieres passed into other hands and Doug moved on to spend some time with Maislin Brothers Transport Ltd, and TNT Quebec, other trucking firms. Finally in 1987 the Quebec based trucking firms disappearing rapidly, Doug struck out on his own, opening a specialized warehousing operation called Flomac Warehousing and Distribution Ltd. Unfortunately he was unprepared financially and had to give this operation up, the money was just not coming in fast enough to make it pliable. A short stint at Clarke Transport, led Doug to taking a position as warehouse manager with Autruche Varieties Ltd, a wholesale gift distribution company, where he stayed until 1997.
In 1997 the political situations along with the job opportunities in Quebec deteriorating, it was decided that a change was in order. Eric had attained an age where he wanted to be on his own and the house on Putney Ave., suddenly became too much. A position of traffic co-ordinator was obtained at Omya Canada Inc. Perth Ontario, the house was sold and Doug and Françoise , moved once again.
During all this business activity, Doug found himself involved in several projects, the biggest one being the family tree which ultimately led to the creation of this web page and a smaller more modest stint as the family Santa at Christmas.
became a member of Clan Macfie, and was elected in 1999 as President of
the Clan Macfie Society in Canada, following right behind this, he
joined the Montreal Highland Games Committee doing a stint of 3 years
as Promotion and Program Director. His experience on committees having
been acquired during his years on the Montreal Council of the CITT
( Canadian Institute of Traffic and Transportation ( 5 years)). Being involved with the Clan
Macfie , led Doug , Françoise and Eric to purchasing a small
exhibit tent which they set up at the
Highland Games in Montreal, Maxville, Almonte,and Kingston .
This involvement also led them to events in Rimouski and Lac
building the family tree project and at the same time
taking an interest in Clan Macfie led Doug and Francoise to
Scotland in 1996, a three week trip that will never be