Gary P. Doran


Gary Patrick Doran, 60, died peacefully at home on Thursday May 23, 2019 in James Bay, Victoria, British Columbia, after a two-year struggle with cancer. From his birth in Ottawa on July 23, 1958, to his death on Thursday, Gary was a gallant soul whose kindness, generosity, and authenticity were apparent to everyone he came in contact with.

Gary grew up in Mississauga and was the youngest of three children. He spent his childhood adventuring outdoors, fostering a love and respect for the natural world that he carried throughout his life.

After graduating from high school, Gary earned a BSc. in Biology and Environmental Science from Trent University. While there, Gary’s love and talent for music led him to create and perform in bands, including his punk band Scratch—acquiring some notoriety and popularity touring the college performance circuit. He then earned a teaching degree from Laurentian University College and a Certificate in Courseware Design and Production from Sheridan College. Gary enjoyed a short successful career in instructional design before his passion for the outdoors brought him to British Columbia.

In 1996 Gary landed in Victoria where he became an exceptionally skilled professional sea kayak instructor and guide trainer, a career he’s enjoyed for more than 20 years. Held in high regard by colleagues and students across the country, Gary was honoured in 2019 by the Sea Kayak Guide Alliance of BC with a Lifetime Membership Award for his outstanding service and commitment to the professional sea kayaking industry. He also had the distinction of receiving the inaugural Paddle Canada Sea Kayak Lifetime Contribution Award, which recognized his long-standing efforts to enrich and strengthen sea kayaking. Gary’s committed approach to sea kayaking also helped shape the Pacific Paddling Symposium, now in its 7th year, into one of Canada’s showcase sea kayaking events, drawing students and instructors from around the world.

Physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle were an integral part of Gary’s life and he was often seen around town with his “green drinks.” He had a natural athletic grace and enjoyed playing many sports throughout his life including hockey, tennis, and badminton. His dedication to sport led him to be an active member in his community, volunteering at the Downtown Victoria YMCA. For over 15 years, he coordinated Monday night badminton, where he helped create a welcoming place for all players while embodying the very best of sportsmanship.

Left to remember Gary is his loving partner of 16 years, Janette Galan, parents Fred and Maureen (Hardy) Doran, his brothers Ken and Wayne (Terri) Doran, nieces Ashley Kamberbeek and Danna Doran, and grandnieces Reese and Cassidy, many friends and kayaking community.

Details on a celebration of life for Gary will be shared at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Gary’s name for Kidney Cancer Canada

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  1. So sorry to hear about Gary’s passing just yesterday, belatedly. I went to Trent with Gary and was the lead singer in the band “Scratch” in which he played his gold Les Paul with great dexterity and heart. Gary and I also wrote and performed music together for a couple of plays at Trent in the early 80’s. Other fond memories include riding on the back of his motorcycle out to Nova Scotia one summer and how Gary would make an onion poultice and tie it around his neck when he had a sore throat. Very sad to hear – I wish his family well and hope they are healing from such a great loss.

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