WALKER, Douglas Alexander passed away unexpectedly on August 14, 2023, at the age of 82 in Cobourg,
Ontario. He leaves behind his children, Kathy (Scott Prosser) and Douglas; his grandson Callum
McDonell; and the mother of his children, Sylvia Walker (nee Zeleny). Doug was predeceased by his
parents, Douglas and Isobel Walker, and his sisters, Diane Cox (Gerry), Dolores Carey (Stan), and Roberta
Mulligan (Bill). He is survived by his sisters Dawn Burnell (Doug) and Judy Murdoch (Ed), as well as many
nieces and nephews.
Doug was born in Toronto on October 12, 1940, the fifth of six children, and the only boy. As a teenager,
he attended Downsview Collegiate Institute (now Downsview Secondary), and always spoke fondly of
summers spent at the family cottage, water skiing in particular.
He started his working career with Ontario Hydro but soon after realized that his calling in life was one
of service. This led him to join the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in 1963. The family has long suspected
that Doug hoped to be deployed to a remote northern Ontario community but instead, he was stationed
in Toronto, at the Downsview detachment, just a few blocks from the family home. It was here where he
spent several years patrolling Highway 401 on motorcycle. Given that Doug grew up watching the
Toronto portion of the 401 being built, it must have been quite a thrill for him to patrol it by motorbike.
In 1968, for reasons that were personal and important to Doug, he resigned from the OPP, left home,
and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps (USMC). After graduating from recruit training at Parris
Island, South Carolina, Doug was deployed to Vietnam, where he completed two tours of duty. During
his time in Vietnam, he began corresponding with a young woman, Sylvia, from Toronto. After many
letters were exchanged, Doug and Sylvia met in December 1969 when Doug was home for a visit.
In May of 1970, they decided to meet again but this time in Hawaii during one of Doug’s rest and
recuperation breaks. It was there, on May 6, that Doug and Sylvia were married in a small chapel in
Honolulu. After a brief honeymoon, Doug returned to Vietnam, and Sylvia returned to Toronto,
surprising her family and friends with news of the elopement…and soon after, news of her pregnancy!
Later that year, Doug came home for good and joined the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force (now
Toronto Police Service) as a constable on December 21, 1970, at 22 Division in Etobicoke. He would
spend the next 31 years dedicating his life to policing. While a complete review of his career would be
far too lengthy to include here, some of the units and divisions he worked at included the Emergency
Task Force (ETF), Divisions 21, 23, 32, and 55, Duty Desk at Headquarters, and Coordinator, Emergency
Procedures. He also taught at C.O. Bick College (now Toronto Police College) and spent a few years
seconded to the Ontario Police College in Aylmer, Ontario as an instructor. Kathy and Douglas have fond
memories of roaming the vast halls of the OPC during weekend visits. Doug also worked as a crisis
negotiator and a Unit Commander. He retired in 2001 as a Staff Inspector.
When reflecting on Doug’s career, a few things stand out. First, he was recognized as Officer of the Year
in 1995. That same year, he was the Duty Inspector on the evening of the TTC subway crash on August
11. He spent the night underground with countless other emergency personnel, in temperatures over
100 degrees Fahrenheit, working to free people from the tangled wreckage of two subway cars. On a
lighter note, during one of the Blue Jays’ World Series playoff runs, Doug was working a game on the
third base line when he was suddenly hit square in the leg by a line drive. This was a small moment of
“fame” for Doug, as both the radio and TV announcers commented on the hit. Although he shook it off
at the time, the resulting massive bruise became a fun topic of conversation for a few weeks.
While it’s impossible to separate Doug from his career, it’s important to note that there were other
aspects to him. He was a very funny man (often silly) who could always make his family laugh, and his
kids have fond memories of Doug watching SCTV in its early days and laughing at Robin Williams on
Mork and Mindy. Summertime always found Doug with the outdoor radio tuned to Blue Jays’
broadcasts, and soon it became a favourite family pastime to follow the Jays both at home and on road
trips to the United States.
Doug was a talented handyman who left his workmanship all over the family home on Kennedy Avenue
in Toronto. While there was lots of painting, wiring, general repair work, and outdoor hardscaping, his
most infamous project was probably the one that required him to dig a 6-foot-deep hole in the front
lawn to clear away tree roots that were causing flooding in the basement. In all this work he did, Doug
always touted the importance of preparation for a flawless finish. Doug did not take shortcuts when it
came to his job or his work at home.
Doug brought his love of dogs into his marriage with Sylvia, and as such, the family always included a
furry friend, most notably, Ben and then later, Gunner. In his retirement years, Doug had companionship
from his Labrador, Neely, or as he liked to call him, his “forever friend.”
Doug was at the wheel for all the family road trips out west to Saskatchewan and beyond, and much of
the eastern US seaboard. In later years, he enjoyed trips to the United Kingdom where he was able to
explore his Scottish roots with help from his good friend and former ETF colleague, Ron.
Doug lived an extraordinary life, and while he was taken too suddenly, may he rest in peace, having left
an indelible mark on all those who knew him and loved him.
Visitation will take place at Turner and Porter Neweduk-Erin Mills Chapel, 1981 Dundas St W,
Mississauga on Thursday, September 7 from 2-4 PM and 7-9 PM. The funeral service will be held at the
same location on Friday, September 8 at 11:00 AM with burial immediately following at Prospect
Cemetery, 1450 St Clair Ave W, Toronto.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in memory of Doug to the Toronto Humane Society https://secure.torontohumanesociety.com/site/TR;jsessionid=00000000.app20023b?px=1079589&fr_id=1070&pg=personal&NONCE_TOKEN=C994764945D8EBA48856D7E2F5C67834)
or the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada