A man who made Kamloops more beautiful

THURSDAY MORNING EDITORIAL — It would be fair to say that every soul who ever breathed deserves to be remembered in some way when death has called.

Everyone does something important, good or bad. Some deserve extra attention for the good they did.

Douglas Daws.

Douglas Daws. (Screenshot from KDN documentary)

Doug Daws died last week. He was 93.

For a lot of years, he was the City’s parks manager. Before that, he served in the Second World War. Always interested in writing, he was able to devote a lot more time to it after he retired.

Daws was involved in sports, too, but it was his passion for making outdoor spaces more beautiful that is his lasting legacy in Kamloops. He was involved in the Beautify Kamloops committee for many years. His special assignment with that group was to get a few fellow members of the Kiwanis Club to judge the Best Street Award.

What needs to be understood about the Best Street Award is that it wasn’t done by nomination like the other awards. Every street in the city was automatically entered.

Which meant that every single street in Kamloops had to be judged each and every year. Doug Daws walked and drove down a lot of streets, many times over, during his lifetime.

He spent a lot of time in his own garden, of course. When he and his wife lived in North Kamloops he created a spectacular yard. He knew the name of every plant in it, and built a beautiful fish pond.

You know, no doubt, that Kenna Cartwright Park is one of the prettiest, biggest natural urban parks in B.C., maybe in Canada. But did you know that Doug Daws was a driving force in getting that park established? That’s why a trail in the park is named after him.

He and the late Dr. Ian Findlay worked together on it. Maybe they got along because they were a lot alike — both mild, gentle, kindly people who cared deeply about their community.

That’s easy to say. A lot of people care about their community. But whenever there was a committee where work needed to be done, you could be sure that Doug Daws or Ian Findlay or both would be at the table.

Such as the committee that worked to design and get funding for the Rivers Trail.

That one took countless hours of planning, co-ordinating, cajoling.

Daws remained active throughout his long life. Into his 90s, he continued to attend Remembrance Day ceremonies, and was a member of the 886 Overlander Wing that hosted the 419 Squadron — they’re the guys who come from Cold Lake each year to perform that phenomenal, inspiring fly-past at the exact moment the clock hits 11 a.m. on Nov. 11.

He was also a prolific writer of letters to the editor, mainly on environmental and beautification issues, and he didn’t pull any punches when he thought something was being done that detracted from the appearance of the city.

Any community minded person hopes to leave a legacy of some kind, something that makes the place better than it would have been if he or she had never walked the earth.

Doug Daws’ legacy is visible all around us, anywhere we go in Kamloops — he made our community more beautiful.

About Mel Rothenburger (6810 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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