Donald John Harrison

2 March, 193229 August, 2021

Passed away suddenly at his cottage on Balsam Lake, the lake where he spent his summers with family for over 50 years.

Beloved son of the late William and Charlotte Harrison. Elementary school sweetheart and devoted husband of the late Dollina Harrison for 59 years. Cherished father of Margaret, Craig, Leslie Amborski (David), Sylvia (late Doug), Donald Jr., and David. Proud and adored Poppa of Carrie (Mike), Aaron (Nicole), Tessa, Jim (Jessica), Evelyn, Ali, Lindsay, Donald (D3) and Kenny. Much loved great-Poppa of Abigail, William, Rowan and Johnathan. Brother of the late Kenneth Harrison and brother-in-law of Jean Banks and the late Donald Banks. Dear companion of Dorothy Ottaway. He will also be fondly remembered by all of his wonderful friends from East York Collegiate, Timberlane, Indian Point on Balsam Lake, and all of his stops in between.

Don’s work ethic, and athleticism were developed at a young age, working in tobacco fields, the Harrison Family farm in Leaskdale, and in Algonquin Park in the summer, and playing football and basketball at East York Collegiate and later the University of Toronto in the fall.

A once modest and shy young man, he developed an uncanny knack for sales working with his longtime partner and friend Bill Dunne to build William M. Dunne and Associates into Canada’s largest food brokerage.

The business spurred the necessity of entertaining, which his wife Dollina did effortlessly. These dinners and parties turned into traditions, including an annual Canada Day party they threw at their cottage on Balsam Lake.

Don had a great love of nature, which he shared with his children and grandchildren. There were many canoe trips and innumerable nature walks. In 1993, he hiked the challenging Chilkoot Trail in the Yukon with a group of friends – a true “bucket list” item. Dollina shared this sense of adventure and the pair travelled around the world together.

Following an entirely too quiet first week of retirement in his early 60s, Don threw himself into volunteering. CHATS, Springboard, Youth Justice Committee were just a few of the organizations that benefited from his passion, energy and dedication to the community. His volunteerism culminated with Don being awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, an award given to individuals who have made significant contributions to a community in Canada. He and his family were so proud.

Between the hard work, travel, entertaining, and volunteering, Don and Dollina raised a family of six children. Later, they spent every hour they could with their nine grandchildren, never missing a birthday, graduation, or special event. More recently, Don lived for visits with his four great-grandchildren, who were so fond of him.

Don Harrison was a man who would do anything for those who he loved, and he loved so many. His presence will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

Visitation will be held on Thursday, September 2, 2021 from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 at the Thompson Funeral Home, 530 Industrial Parkway South, Aurora, 905-727-5421. A private service and interment will follow.

In lieu of flowers or memorial trees, donations can be made to The Toronto Star Fresh Air Fund, CHATS or The Salvation Army, these causes were near and dear to Don’s heart.

Don’s family would like to thank Darlene for her loving and compassionate daily care of our father and grandfather towards the end of his life.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Harrison family.


  • Visitation

    Thursday, 2 September , 2021

  • Visitation

    Thursday, 2 September , 2021


Donald John Harrison

have a memory or condolence to add?

Sue Koch

28 September 2021

To the Harrison family. I am so sorry for the loss of your father. I remember many many years of your parents coming to the Koch Superbowl party. My father always talked highly of your Dad. May he rest in peace and they are all up there telling stories and laughing.

Wendy MacMullen

17 September 2021

He was such a sweet man and I remember him telling stories about friends and family. Him and my father would compare notes and laugh and Don loved being around people. He loved those he held dear and always had a hug and smile for us.
The world is definitely not the same without him in it.
Rest in peace Don. Gone but never ever forgotten.

Sophie Soltys-Drillis

8 September 2021

I knew his as a classmate at East York. He was always a kind man. I have always respected his talents, hard work and sense of humour. I send my condolences to his family, his companions and whoever else may be grieving for him at this time.

Bob & Barb Labbett

5 September 2021

We are deeply saddened at the loss of our great friend Don, although heartened by his joining at rest with his dear love, Dollina.

We were fortunate enough to have , what turned out to be, a 'last supper' with Don on Sunday. Our sincere condolences to all the family at this trying time.
Barb & Bob Labbett

A donation in Don's name has been sent to the Salvation Army

Dick and Pat Gorwill

4 September 2021

To the Family,

We barely know where to start to list all of Don’s extraordinary qualities. He was the kindest, most generous, most beloved and delightful man. We spent so many wonderful times together, at the cottage and on our many trips. The Gull River Yacht, Bottle & Racquet Club sure benefited from your frequent visits. We will miss your spontaneous humour, your frequent phone calls and your considerate nature.

What a life well-lived!

Pat and Dick Gorwill

Denise and Gord Salmon

3 September 2021

To the Harrison Family,
We were so sorry to hear of Don’s passing. We have so many great memories of him at Indian Point picnics, tennis tournaments and other events. My parents, Bob and Bev Lalonde were regulars at the annual Bocce tournament and thoroughly enjoyed the great hospitality and fun expertly hosted by Don and family. Don was a ‘fixture’ of our Indian Point community and his always smiling presence will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with you all,
Denise, Gord, Bev and Bob

Rose Dyson

2 September 2021

Don was one of my favorite people. Having met him through my late husband, Norman Dyson, who also thought the world of Don I know how many of us are going to miss him. He was one of the most thoughtful, considerate and generous people I have ever known. There is no doubt in my mind that he has helped to make the world a better place. So many of us have been enriched by having known him.

My sincere condolences to his children, Margaret, Leslie and David, Sylvia, Donald Jr. and David. Also to his many grandchildren, great grandchildren and close friends and companions, Dorothy Ottaway and Alfie.

Craig & Cheryl Labbett

2 September 2021

Dear Harrison Family,
Cheryl and I very sorry to hear about the loss of your father, Grandfather and Great Grandfather. I remember spending lots of time growing up with all the 'Harrison kids' both at Balsam Lake and in the city. Don was always so interested in what was going on in everyone's lives. We both felt Don's genuine interest and kindness each time we saw him over the years.
He was a wonderful person and he will be fondly remembered by our family.
with love, Craig & Cheryl Labbett

Ken & Judy Hills

2 September 2021

We were saddened to hear of Don's passing and send deepest sympathies to his family & friends.
One of Don's many contributions to the students of East York Collegiate began over 50 years ago. He was one of the founders of the Hager Hull Miller Scholarship Fund which continues to support students to-day and will be remembered and appreciated for years to come.

Bev and Bill Jackson

2 September 2021

Wonderful neighbours in Kettleby, Don was always a gentleman with a twinkle in his eye. Dollina hosted the Kettleby girls each summer at the cottage, for delicious food, swims in the lake and
Bocci on the grass. Many happy memories.❤
Sending our sincere condolences to the family.
Warm regards
Bev and Bill Jackson

From the Family