Besides serving the community as a member of Courtenay council, Doug Hillian works for the Ministry of Children and Family Development. He is the director of practice for North Central Vancouver Island and is also the youth justice director for the entire Island.
“It sort of follows on from my earlier career as a probation officer,” he said. “I worked as a provincial consultant, and I’ve been a senior manager for about eight years.”
He is also a volunteer facilitator and a board member at the Comox Valley Community Justice Centre.
And he plays soccer, and sings in a local jazz choir.
“I love the activity in both of them,” said Hillian, noting the connections he has made in the community. “You’re kicking a ball with somebody, or singing next to them in a choir. You have no idea, until you get to know them, who they are, what they do for a living. You get people from every walk of life.”
Born in Scotland, Hillian’s family emigrated to Canada “in the great wave of teachers that came out from the old country, back when B.C. was recruiting teachers in the ’50s and ’60s.”
He grew up in Kelowna, and came to the Valley in 1979.
Back when there was a North Island soccer league, he played for the Waverley which became the Cumberland Auction Athletics.
He temporarily hung up the cleats when he started a family, then laced them back up in the ’90s.
A team trip to San Diego in 1992 was a memorable occasion.
“I’ve pretty much played my whole adult life, and I always enjoyed it. And I got the opportunity to coach my kids.”
These days, Hillian plays either defence or midfield with the Comox Valley Masters soccer club.
Joining forces with rival players from Campbell River, Qualicum Beach, Port Alberni and Nanaimo, he and other locals have also competed in the annual BC Seniors Games for athletes on the far side of 55.
“I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about being considered a senior,” Hillian said, recalling his first year at the Games. “Then I thought, ‘I’ll be a rookie on this squad’.
“It’s been great,” he added. “You get to play with guys that you’ve been on the opposite side of the field with for many years…I think as long as you try to play within yourself there’s no reason why you can’t keep it going. That’s probably a good metaphor for a lot of things in life.”
An avid outdoorsman, for many years Hillian was also a member of the now defunct Bigfoot Hiking and Debating Society — which is a three-time champion at trivia nights in Cumberland.