By Don Smith Jr
In 1986 Donald Smith came to St Lucia to visit his daughter Lynne Cram and her husband for a short vacation. They introduced him to a property at Labrelotte Bay which they believed would be a great site for a condo hotel development. He was immediately taken by the beauty of the land and the kindness of the people in St Lucia and decided that he wanted to invest personally as a co-owner. As the project grew to be several times larger than originally planned Donald Smith decided to turn it over to his company EllisDon Corp. During the construction which took place while he was in his late sixties, Donald would walk the whole project from the beach right to the water tank twice, once in the morning and again in the afternoon, which would be considered quite a feat for someone much younger.
Donald Smith always considered St Lucia to be his second home and would spend several months a year in St Lucia with his wife Joan. In the most recent years it enabled them to spend time with their St Lucian granddaughter, Anya Devaux, her husband Ian DuBoulay and great-granddaughter Leila.
During the construction of Windjammer Landing, Donald Snr asked his son Donald Jr to assist with the project. Following the completion of the main construction phase Donald Jr was instructed by his father to start a new company, EllisDon West Indies, which got its first project when they were awarded the NIS Building on the Castries waterfront. They would go on to build many other projects in St Lucia including the new headquarters for SLASPA, second phases of both the Lucelec Power Station and the Pointe Seraphine Duty Free Shopping Mall, 110 houses in Carellie, as well as renovations of both the Rex St Lucian and Royal St Lucian and several other projects.
Donald Smith was also known for his generosity both in Canada and in St Lucia. Following both Tropical Storm Debbie and Hurricane Tomas he made substantial donations to the people of St Lucia who were affected by these storms. Until his death he donated annually to the John Compton Education Fund and encouraged his children to carry on this legacy following his death.
Around Windjammer, Don Snr was affectionately known as Papa Don by the staff and he would strive to know every staff members name. During the memorial held at the resort on July 23, the staff told their personal stories of the ways Don affected their lives.
During his 27 years in St Lucia, Don Smith Snr made many good friends which included the late Prime Minister Sir John Compton, Lady Janice Compton, the late Chief Justice for the Eastern Caribbean Sir Vincent Floissac and his wife Lady Marilyn Floissac to name a few.