Don arrived at Ridley as a boy in 1939 and became a lifelong servant of the school—enjoying an Olympic career in-between. In Ridley: A Canadian School, historian Paul Lewis and former Headmaster Richard Bradley note that in the early 1940s, Don and his younger brother Bob were “electrifying the sports scene,” dominating Ridley running events each Sports Day and “revealing a hint of the spectacular running careers ahead of them.”
While a student at Western University, Don broke records winning collegiate and national championships. In 1999, he was inducted into Western’s Track and Field Hall of Fame. The McFarlane brothers would go on to represent Canada in the London Olympics of 1948, earning a fifth-place finish as members of the 4x100 metre men’s relay.
Years later, Dr. McFarlane served as Board Chairman for Ridley College from 1982-86, overseeing a time of great growth and development for the school—including the campaign that resulted in the Second Century Building. He always kept a close eye on the progress of Ridley’s comparatively small but mighty Track and Field team, as a 1986 letter to then Headmaster Jeremy Packard attests: “Track is an athletic activity in almost every high school in North America. Therefore, that our track team, for the first time ever, has won our local Zone championship against teams from generally much larger schools in the area, went on to do extremely well in the regional competition, and has sent seven students on to OFSAA is a source of great pride!”