Community Connections

Dave McDougall’s vast network leaves a lasting legacy in his honour.

By all accounts, there was something special about Dave McDougall.

As a pioneer in Edmonton’s land development industry, Dave was a savvy entrepreneur, a caring community member and a passionate advocate for the city. Throughout his more than 60-year career, he facilitated the growth of communities across Edmonton, touching the lives of thousands along the way.

“Dave was just the kind of guy who wanted to take care of other people. The sick or the homeless, everyone,” says Wes Alexander, a lifelong friend and eventual business partner of Dave. The two met in high school, when Dave stopped to make sure that Alexander could get home safely after a basketball game. “It was such a surprise to me that this tough guy wanted to check on me and would take the time to care like that. But that’s just who Dave was — he had a heart of gold and was just a good, honest person.”

Over the years, the two stayed in touch as they launched their respective careers. As Dave’s development company, MLC Land, saw success, he turned his attention towards philanthropic
efforts. He got involved in the University Hospital Foundation’s Brain Centre Campaign and used his love of golf as a gateway to raise funds for local causes through the annual MLC Charity Golf Tournament.

When Dave passed away in February 2021, his loss was mourned by close family and friends, as well as a vast network across Western Canada. In that moment of loss, Alexander saw an important chance to honour his friend’s legacy, deciding to create a memorial fund in his name. He spoke with Dave’s family, and contacted Chris Nicholas, a long-time employee at MLC Land, with the idea. They set an ambitious goal — raising $1 million to support innovation in lung care at the University of Alberta Hospital — and set to work calling friends and colleagues who might be interested in donating.

They didn’t expect to meet the goal just six months later.

“I’ve been involved in a lot of fundraising efforts, and this was unbelievable. It’s a testament to him, really, to how great he was,” says Nicholas. “It was effortless to raise a million dollars like this for Dave.”

“Dave McDougall was a wonderful person and an absolute pillar in the philanthropic community. His friends and family have created a lasting tribute and a beautiful legacy for a man who touched so many lives. It’s an incredible way to honour his memory,” says David Finlay, past chair of the University Hospital Foundation (UHF), who played
an instrumental role in stewarding the gift for UHF.

In addition to the donations raised by Alexander, Nicholas and all the members of Dave’s network who gave so generously to reach the $1 million fundraising goal, one of Dave’s favourite pieces of art has been donated by his wife, Arlene, to UHF. “Coney Island” by Peter Schuyff will soon be displayed in the University of Alberta Hospital’s Kaye Edmonton Clinic as a continued visual reminder of Dave’s legacy of giving.

To learn more about how you can leave a legacy by leaving a gift in your will, please reach out to

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