Leeds and the Thousand Islands mourns loss of former councillor

Douglas Mackintosh – Submitted

The Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands is mourning the loss of a former councillor.

Douglas Mackintosh passed away on Jan. 14 at the age of 92, surrounded by his family, township officials related in a statement. Ever determined and with increasing disability and pain, he had decided this would be at a time of his own choosing.

Among his many accomplishments, he served as a municipal councillor from 1997 to 2006.

Mackintosh emigrated to Canada from the U.K. He ran his own business in the Thousand Islands and, later in life, pursued a career in law and served as a Crown attorney in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville until his retirement in 1993.

Mackintosh and his wife, Anne, founded the Thousand Islands Area Residents’ Association (TIARA) in 1975.

“His passion for protection of the environment was a lifelong calling and has made a difference in our community,” read a statement from the township. “Douglas’s volunteerism in the community with various activities and his desire to find a fix or a way to make things happen are very much admired. The Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands extends heartfelt condolences to the Mackintosh family, and their many friends.”

According to his obituary, Mackintosh was born in the U.K. in 1931. He came to Canada as a wartime evacuee from 1940-43 and returned to the U.K. during the war to attend Eton. He was proud to have served with the Scots Guards (1949-50), and fought in the jungles of Malaysia during the Malayan Emergency, events which had a profound effect on him throughout his life.

His education continued at Oxford, after which he emigrated to Montreal. There, he met the love of his life and soon-to-be wife, Anne McKin (Blu), while they played together in a Scottish reel band.

Taking a non-traditional approach to life and work, and armed with an innate understanding of engineering, though with no formal training, Mackintosh started and ran a sand dredging business, followed by a marine contracting business, in the Thousand Islands. He had to teach himself how to be a mechanic, diver, welder, crane operator, master of dynamite, designer and boat builder.

In 1969, at the age of 38, he switched gears and entered Law school at Queen’s University, after which he served as Crown attorney in Leeds and Grenville County until his retirement in 1993.

In 1975, Mackintosh and Blu founded TIARA, the Thousand Islands Area Residents’ Association, which over time became a voice for environmental protection in the Thousand Islands.

Mackintosh, with Blu, was an active promoter of arts in his community, supporting and volunteering for the Thousand Islands Playhouse, the Gananoque Concert Association and the Kingston Portrait Prize.

“He was a man of courage, independence and integrity, researching facts and working out his own opinions and defending his principles,” reads Mackintosh’s obituary.

“He was untiring in his defence of what he believed in. Intensely curious, he was adept in figuring out how things worked and how to fix them when they didn’t. He was as happy researching a problem of riparian rights or exploring a question of ethics as he was designing and welding steel docks or building a protective cover for a nest of turtles’ eggs.”

Mackintosh was also known for his athletic endeavours, skiing for Great Britain in the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina, but also playing tennis, windsurfing, cross country skiing and water-skiing with his family and friends.

As his sons were growing up, he spent countless hours building and maintaining a shinny hockey rink on the property, providing an unforgettable experience for the whole neighbourhood.

“Douglas will forever be known for his hard work and also for his consistent willingness to take the road less travelled,” adds his obituary. “His energetic touch is everywhere. He will also be remembered for his mischievousness and sense of humour, which showed up on his constant search for fun and adventure. With a twinkle in his eye, he would tell his grandchildren an extra scary ghost story, or lead them down a difficult ski hill or bring out his bagpipes to mark an occasion. He found his greatest happiness with his family and good friends, telling his famous stories (which got better over time) while imparting his theories and observations.”

A celebration of Mackintosh’s life will be held on Feb. 3 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Firehall Theatre at 185 South Street in Gananoque. The family is asking for donations in his memory to the Thousand Islands Playhouse or the Thousand Islands Watershed Land Trust.

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