Friends, family, dignitaries and invited guests got a chance to pay homage to Doug Husband last Friday as the City of Delta hosted a small, socially-distanced gathering at a soft opening of Delta’s new cultural centre.
Named the Douglas J. Husband Discovery Centre after the former mayor, a lifelong Delta resident, the city hopes to have a much larger public opening once COVID-19 pandemic protocols allow.
“When you look at the history of former mayor Doug Husband, it is pretty outstanding what he has done for this community over these many years,” Mayor George Harvie told the Optimist earlier this month when council approved the name of the centre. “Doug has played a huge role in the heritage and the museum development, so I thought it was very fitting that we honour Doug for his lifetime contribution to the community of Delta.”
Harvie and Judi Stene, deputy director of parks, recreation and culture, visited with Husband at his home earlier this month and gave him the news.
“I thought maybe he [George Harvie] was dropping off a picture, or maybe we hadn’t paid for our dog tag,” Husband quipped during his address to those gathered Friday. “To know that my family name is attached to this discovery centre, I will be forever indebted to the City of Delta, and in particular George Harvie, city council, members of staff – everyone who had something to do with this – that makes such a difference in my families’ life now and into the future. We will always have a museum, always have a discovery centre. There is a lot of history that will take place here where students and young people can come into this facility and obtain information for their studies and personal information.”
He said history is so important to the livelihood of the community.
“Heartfelt thanks for the recognition – never to be expected,” he said. “It’s hard for me to appreciate as we sit here today in this current pandemic environment sitting six feet apart, each and every one of you have affected our lives in some fashion and I can only thank-you for me to be a part of your environment and a part of this wonderful community.”
Husband, who is a fourth generation Ladnerite and a descendent of the pioneering Pybus family, was elected to council five times, including serving as mayor from 1987 to 1990.
Husband was named Delta’s Citizen of the Year by the Delta Chamber of Commerce in 2019 for a lifetime of citizenship.
After leaving local politics, he was appointed to the National Parole Board in 1992 and his ongoing service to the community of Delta and the country has been relentless.
Volunteer organizations he has given countless hours to include: Delta Hospital, Little House Society, Delta Sport Development Centre, Delta Museum and Archives, Delta Police Board, Delta Hospice Foundation, BC Arbitration and Mediation Institute, and the National Parole Board of Canada. He is presently a member of the Delta Heritage Society and was a member of the Rotary Club of Ladner as a director.
In 2002, he was the recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for Community Service.
In 2012, Husband started writing the Community Comment column in the Delta Optimist and recently turned those columns that he wrote for five years into a book called Community Comments.
In the past two years, he has also spearheaded a fundraising campaign to secure an original oil canvas of Port Guichon, circa 1903 painted by world-renowned marine artist John Horton, which was donated to the Delta Museum and Heritage Society last November.
CORRECTION: The John Horton painting was donated to the City of Delta and not the Delta Heritage Society.