Thomson’s a true man of the Island

Born in Scotland in 1922, Doug Thomson immigrated to Canada with his parents in 1927.

Doug Thomson enjoys living at Heritage Place after a full life of natural resources work and travelling.

Born in Scotland in 1922, Doug Thomson immigrated to Canada with his parents in 1927.

“I spent all my life on Vancouver Island, mostly in Ladysmith, until I moved to Port Alberni in 2006,” says Thomson, a tenant of Heritage Place in Port Alberni.

“My father was a coal miner and so was I for a while, and my mother was a housewife. My younger brother was born in Ladysmith in 1927.”

Thomson, who did all his schooling in Ladysmith, worked as a winch man in the underground coal mine in South Wellington for more than four years. He then went on to work in the forest industry for the Comox Logging Railway Company, when he was 24 years old.

While there, the company changed hands, “but I decided to stay, despite the change, so I worked in the Nanaimo area for the next 41 years with them,” he says.

His career with the company consisted of several types of jobs, including the one as a choker man. Unfortunately, his work with the company came to a stall when he suffered a severe injury, which kept him off his duties for two years.

Followed his long convalescent period, the company offered him a “grease monkey”. He started on his apprenticeship and began attending night school, and from there on, he gradually made his way up to a heavy duty mechanic. He was in charge of maintaining the company’s trucks until his retirement in 1987.

In 1949, he married Betty Melluish. The couple had two children: a girl, born in 1951, and a boy, in 1955.

The Thomsons travelled to various well-known world tourist places, including four trips to Hawaii, the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, a cruise to Alaska, etc. Unfortunately, Betty Thomson passed away at the age of 65.

In younger days,  Doug Thomson enjoyed making model planes, ships and trains, which he gave away to the family and friends. Another pastime he truly enjoyed was salmon fishing, which he did in a 14-foot fishing boat he owned several years ago.

“Also, in my teens, I played softball and soccer,” he recalls.

In 2006, he decided to move to Port Alberni, where members of his family lived. “For a year I lived on Victoria Quay before renting an apartment on 11th Avenue, which I kept until I moved to Heritage Place in February 2014,”, says the grandfather of six great-grandchildren.

“Two of them live in New Westminster,” he said.

Being an avid reader, Thomson has read many books in his life, but lately, due to his poor eyesight, he spends time listening to audio books he borrows from the local library.

“Fortunately, Heritage Place is an ideal place for me. Here I attend several events they schedule for us, such as singing programs and other interesting entertaining activities. I take part in many of those activities.”