Born in Bowmanville, Doug, one of three children, was the son of a civil engineer and a high school teacher. At the early age of fourteen, his father put him to work in his land surveying business. “I would deliver documents to law offices and later assist on survey crews,” Doug stated. He also did a stint renovating a century home, for a friend’s father.
“I was a music geek,” Doug explained, when I asked him what his interests were during his high school years. “I was quite small, only five feet tall, until I was 16.” Although Doug was interested in sports, his love for music was greater and he played a pretty mean trumpet. “I played in a band and we were pretty good,” Doug beamed. “We were booked three out of four Saturdays a month. Watching people dance to the big band sounds until two in the morning, was a great way to spend my weekends,” Doug continued. “My father liked it because it kept me out of trouble,” he smiled.
Once University started, Doug shelved his trumpet and became engaged in team sports. He had now grown to six feet in height, and was the perfect size for the Varsity rowing team. Doug decided to enter the pharmaceutical field, while still in high school. “At first I wanted to become an airline pilot,” Doug explained. The recession of the early eighties however, changed his mind, as airlines were cutting back dramatically.
Upon graduation from the University of Toronto, Doug completed a nine month internship at Sunnybrook Medical Centre. “I was the pharmacist for the trauma step-down unit", which he enjoyed, but he longed for more patient interaction.
When the opportunity arose, Doug took a position in Chelmsford, just outside of Sudbury. “I loved the job, but I would commute to Bowmanville/Toronto every other week, and a severe car accident made me re-think the distance from home.” Fortunately Doug was not injured in the automobile mishap, but he did decide to make a change in the location of his career.
Doug took a position in London, Ontario at, Big V Pharmacies, a large chain with more than 130 stores.
In 1994, Big V purchased the pharmacy from Jim Lawrence, in Port Perry. They built a new store, the largest in the company’s history, and asked Doug to move here and run it. “Most of our pharmacists were from the London area and Port Perry was like Siberia. For me it was a great opportunity, as it was much closer to home,” Doug explained. Two years later, the entire Big V chain was purchased by Shoppers Drug Mart, and Doug was offered a chance to purchase the franchise. “The times were exciting and I loved Port Perry,” Doug said.
In 1999 Doug met his, soon to be, wife, Kristy. In 2003 the couple was married, and was blessed with three daughters in the next six years. Life was good for the Browns, and Doug was now fully integrated in Port Perry. "My commute from the Island is four minutes", Doug explained. “It gives me lots of time to be with my family.”
Being part of a large corporate organization offered tremendous opportunities, but, at the same time, the retail operations were becoming more and more of a demand on Doug’s time as a pharmacist and impacting the time he could spend with his patients. He left the organization in 2015 to work independently, and started to practice at Pharmacy Associates of Port Perry, which opened in October of 2015 in the Monte Carlo plaza. It has thrived from the outset and continues to allow Doug to focus on his passion: caring for his patients and the community.
The Browns have embraced the community. Doug is a member of the ‘100 Men Who Care’, and was so taken with the project that he and Kristy, along with a few friends, launched ‘Couples Who Care.’ The group is now up to 15 couples, and the group provides financial support and mentorship to teenagers under the care of the Durham Children's Aid Society. “Our goal is to help kids finish high school,” Doug explained.
In 2003 Doug joined the Port Perry Hospital Foundation Board, and in 2007 became its President. Together, with Dr. Bill Cohoon, they co-chaired the ‘Lighting the Way’ campaign, to raise funds for a new endoscopy centre. “The generosity of the people of Port Perry is second to none,” Doug said. “We reached our goal of $4.5 million dollars in a short, eighteen months.”
Recently, Doug was honoured with the most prestigious award in his profession. Out of nearly 16,000 pharmacists, Doug was chosen to receive the coveted ‘Pharmacist of the Year Award for Ontario’. The award was presented by the Ontario Pharmacists' Association, at a gala last week in London.
We are very grateful for all that Doug Brown has, and continues to contribute to Port Perry. We wish him well in his new venture and his continued dedication to our town.
Drop by the pharmacy at 11 Water Street or send Doug a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jonathan van Bilsen is a photographer, author, columnist and keynote speaker. Follow his adventures at photosNtravel.com