The Legacy of Lorne Almack


Lorne Almack, P. Eng. graduated as a Pilot Officer RCAF in 1944 and in Engineering from the University of Toronto in1949. Lorne and his wife Rhoda raised their four children on their Claremont farm. Lorne had a career in industrial management and consulting; he commuted to work in downtown Toronto on a train which at that time operated daily service to and from Havelock to Union Station.


In 1972, Lorne and thousands of other residents of the 7530 hectare area of farms and villages near his home received a letter from the federal government advising them that their properties were to be expropriated to build a second major airport for Toronto. As Lorne said in a 2012 interview for Ontario Nature magazine, he was “already an ardent naturalist” and because of the expropriation “became a self-described radical environmentalist”. Lorne was a founding member of People or Planes; as chair of their technical committee he was responsible for studying aviation forecasts and technical developments, land use alternatives and making presentations to municipal, provincial and federal officials, airport commissions and the media. These efforts played a major role in the organization’s successful fight to stop the building of an airport on the expropriated lands.


Lorne continued to be heavily involved on many environmental fronts, usually assuming a leadership role. Lorne was a director and president of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists (now called Ontario Nature). Lorne founded the Green Door Alliance, and was a catalyst in the formation of the Durham Conservation Association. He served as director of both these organizations, and when they merged, of Green Durham Association. He was a student and proponent of sustainable agriculture and believed the preservation of farmlands east of Toronto should be part of the vision to protect the natural heritage of the area.  Throughout his life Lorne prepared countless briefs, reports and presentations and gave generously of his time, money and expertise to the causes he supported. He was a passionate and skilled fly fisherman, and a multiple winner of his little fly fishing club’s trophy for “most fish caught” in any given season. He planted over 80,000 trees and shrubs on his Claremont property and protected it with a conservation easement to create a nature preserve along the creek valley passing through his property.


Lorne received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the City of Pickering, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal in 2012 as an acknowledgement of his many contributions to environmental causes. 


Lorne passed away on December 8, 2013.