Don McFarlane and his family moved to Burlington in 1939 when Don was only eight years of age. He attended school here and became an outstanding multi-sport athlete. While at Burlington Central High School Don played half-back on both the Junior and Senior Football teams and was a member of the 1948 Championship Senior Team. However, his ﬁrst love was track and ﬁeld. He was a highly acclaimed high school runner and excelled in both the 100 and 220-yard sprints. He won many races at both distances and during his time at Burlington Central, he was undefeated in both distances. In fact, he established a local record of 10.0 seconds in the 100-yard dash that stood for many years. Don is a member of the Burlington Central High School Sports Hall of Fame.
Don went on to star at McMaster University. In his four years at Mac, he went undefeated in the 100 and 220-yard sprints at all intercollegiate competitions. In 1951 he established a Senior Intercollegiate record of 9.9 seconds in the 100 and was awarded the prestigious Hec Phillips Memorial Trophy for establishing himself as the most outstanding athlete in the Senior Intercollegiate Track and Field Championships. In turn, Don was awarded the Chancellor’s Gold Medal at McMaster and in 1991 inducted into the McMaster University Sports Hall of Fame.
Even before his years at McMaster, at the age of 15, Don joined the Hamilton Olympic Track Club competing both nationally and internationally. Nationally he won numerous sprint events in both Junior and Senior competitions and was at one point ranked #1 in Canada.
On the International scene, Don was selected to represent Canada in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki running the 100, 200, and the 4 x 100 relay. It is worth noting that the Town of Burlington held a parade in his honour and also presented him with a beautiful set of luggage. Don was also a member of the Canadian team in the 1954 British Empire Games in Vancouver where he won a Silver medal in the 100 in a remarkable time of 9.7 seconds. He also anchored the 4 x 110 relay team which set a new Empire Games record time of 41.3 seconds ‘resulting in Canada’s only Gold Medal in Track and Field at these Games.
In 1974 Don was recognized by the Province of Ontario, receiving a ‘Provincial Sport Citation’ in recognition of his “Gold Medal Performance in the ﬁeld of amateur sport”. It noted that “achievements of this caliber in competition at the International level, set an outstanding example for the people of Ontario”. The Burlington Sports Hall of Fame totally agrees and is honoured to add the name of Don McFarlane to its’ list of prestigious Burlington athletes.