Doreen Lawson’s Beautiful Legacy

Nature was always part of Doreen Lawson. Her legacy ensures that she will forever be part of nature.

Doreen Anne Lawson (1928-2003) was a Burnaby councilor for over 23 years, an environmentalist, an artist, and a mother of three daughters. When she passed away in 2003, her family set up the Doreen Lawson Burnaby Lake Memorial Fund to continue to preserve and protect the park that was so close to her heart.

Photo courtesy of A Gysin

Her family said in her obituary, “For us, her imprint is all over Burnaby. We see her in the creeks and streams she was instrumental in saving; in the rhododendrons she had declared as Burnaby’s official flower; in the trees she fought to save; and, especially, in the birds and wildlife she protected and so loved in Burnaby Lake.”



A later memorial in 2009 added, “We feel your spirit in the birds and animals you taught us to love… No doubt the painted turtles of Burnaby Lake sure wish you were still on City Council!”

The Pacific Parklands Foundation is honoured and moved to be part of keeping Doreen Lawson’s exemplary legacy and love of Burnaby Lake Regional Park alive and strong.

In November 2016 we received a generous gift from the Doreen Lawson Burnaby Lake Memorial Fund via the Vancouver Foundation that we have designated to the Burnaby Lake Park Association. It will be used for the “preservation or improvement of the wildlife habitat within Burnaby Lake Regional Park,” as per her family’s wishes.

Ducks feeding on seed at Burnaby Lake Regional Park

Burnaby Lake, Photo courtesy of Kyla Duhamel

Doreen Lawson is just one of many donors who have thought of leaving a gift for their regional parks. In 2014 Pacific Parklands Foundation received a share of the estate of another donor who loved her regional park – Bessie Luteyn. Ms. Luteyn left over $250,000 to Pacific Parklands Foundation in trust for stewardship projects in Pacific Spirit Regional Park. Bessie was a supporter of the Pacific Spirit Park Society and directed part of her estate to help fund the society’s projects.

We appreciate the trust that donors have in Pacific Parklands Foundation to manage and distribute their gifts. Doreen and Bessie were able to take care of their favourite regional park as their legacy and Pacific Parklands Foundation as a registered charity was able to help them do that.

A legacy gift, whether in the form of a memorial fund or a bequest in your will to the Pacific Parklands Foundation, is perhaps the most powerful and enduring way to express your love of nature and our regional parks. The Pacific Parklands Foundation can take bequests in trust for stewardship projects or for the benefit of particular regional parks. So if you want to create an endowment or fund in your name for a specific park or project, then Pacific Parklands Foundation has all the mechanisms in place to do that.

Canoers in the water at Burnaby Lake Regional Park

Photo courtesy of jurgen.proschinger

Are you interested in leaving a legacy for our regional parks? Call Joe Hargitt at 604-451-6168 or email to talk about your ideas or to get our legacy booklet.

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