by Gilles Brisebois,
Last week the world lost a championed architect and dear friend, Douglas Hardie. Doug’s passing leaves me with a heavy heart, and, as I sit and reflect on our time together, I’m left with three qualities I valued most of Doug. He was a visionary, a good and kind man, and one of the most humble people I have known.
I often tried to convince Doug, with no success, that he should flaunt his accomplishments more. After all, this is a man who designed thousands of homes in both Ottawa and Kemptville, including Oxford Landing, Forests of South Gower, and was the champion who convinced council to build its first cluster of townhomes in Kemptville, (a community now known as South Branch Cove). I can’t say that I have many projects in my portfolio that Doug didn’t touch – to name a few Melrose Schoolhouse Lofts, Brownstones on the Canal, Montmartre on the Market, and our heritage restoration at 222 Prescott in downtown Kemptville, which are all award-winning projects.
Our last collaboration was Kemptville Landing, designed to be Kemptville’s premiere address. When I think back, I realize that we have worked together since 1985 – 32 years of collaboration, design, development and, most importantly, friendship. One of my fondest memories came early in our friendship, when Doug and I went to the Laurentian club for a night of cigars and scotch. It was there I learned not to try out-drinking a Scotsman. A painful lesson that left me unable to touch scotch for over 20 years, while Doug was back at work the next day working on his next brilliant idea.
His impact on me, on Kemptville and Ottawa families, is indescribable. I wish the sincerest of condolences to his family, friends, and the community. Doug’s influence, vision, and friendship will be honoured always. I want to give my sincerest condolences to Doug’s wife Phyllis, his sons Ewan and Neal, and his grandchildren.
And to my dear friend Doug, tonight I will pick up a glass and drink a scotch in your honour.
Cheers my friend.