Douglas Fitzsimmons was born July 22, 1924 in Toronto. He grew up in a large family in the city’s east end, in the Gerrard and Woodbine neighbourhood and attended the local Catholic school. Doug’s father was a Great War veteran who went on to a successful career as a salesman, so the family was sheltered from the worst impacts of the Great Depression. Doug remembers well playing in Glenmount Park and going to Kew Beach, and working as a movie theatre usher at the Prince of Wales on the Danforth. Douglas was given a deferment and was able to complete high school at De La Salle in Toronto, but after that he joined the RCAF, and he began to go through the steps, including Manning Depot and BCATP training. As it turned out Douglas’s time in the RCAF would be brief; the war was getting into its last stages, and the RCAF had more than enough potential recruits, so the men were honourably discharged and transferred to the army. Training took place in Alberta and Ontario, and Douglas was on his way overseas, on the New Amsterdam. The men were stationed near London, and were soon on their way to the continent, landing in Belgium. Now a replacement in the 48th Highlanders, Doug did a loop through through the Netherlands and Germany and was on his way back to the Hague when he learned the war was over. On the advice of an officer, Doug volunteered for the fight against Japan. He was able to get back to Canada earlier and go on leave, and when he was reporting for additional training he learned of VJ Day. Demobilization took place quickly, so Doug began to search for work, and he landed at Grand and Toy in downtown Toronto, where he began to find his way into the rhythms of postwar Canada. Doug was interviewed by Scott Masters at his home in Brooklin, Ontario in June 2022.
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