Douglas LaFreniere – County Kinesiologist

WRITTEN BY JANET DAVIES.

Douglas LaFreniere, a retired professor from Wiles College, lately of the fitness and health promotion program, is a registered kinesiologist, a certified exercise physiologist and a clinical physiologist. He explained what all that means.

“I can help individuals with a chronic disease or condition or injuries that impede their movement. I also help people improve their performance, so, in practice, I deal with everything from childhood obesity to elite athletes and groups like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Redwings. This summer I worked with Huron Hockey School testing and programming for NHL players.”

That doesn’t sound very retired. “I retired from the college,” he smiles. “Now I have my own business. I consult and do workshops with doctors and healthcare professionals and work with individual clients, too.” It’s not all about injuries. “A lot of my work is post-injury, but it’s more than just remedial. Physiotherapists will work with an injured person to get them back to what’s considered normative range of movement. They do rehab treatments using modalities like ultrasound and ice to bring them back to “normal.” I take them from that point and raise them to their level of performance, or to beyond what they were capable of before. My work is more about enhancement.”

Douglas and his wife moved to Prince Edward County from Toronto, and it’s clear he is very active in his field, but he does not work from home, as many other talented people here do. This kinesiologist stays on the move. “I go wherever my clients are,” he said. “To their home, maybe to a gym where they are members, and I work with them there – set them up with what they need –  bring them to the point where they don’t need me any more. I have been travelling a lot, to Toronto and all across Canada. I’ve been down to Halifax working with Dalhousie, I go out west and down to the U.S.” He worked with the College of Kinesioligists and was first chair of its Quality Assurance Committee, now, in his not exacctly retirement, he is a Peer and Practice Assessor at the college.

WHAT BROUGHT DOUGLAS TO PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY?

“My wife grew up here, on Massassauga Road, right on the bay. She brought me here to show me what it’s like, and that was all it took. I was very taken with Ameliasburgh, its peace and its history. My wife was actually  a curator at the Ameliasburgh Heritage Museum when she was in her twenties. Moving here was a big change from living in Toronto. We had a huge house on Dundas Street West, ridiculous really, 7,000 square feet, and we certainly downsized when we moved to Hickory Lane in Ameliasburgh! But we have gained all this,” and he spreads his arms to encompass the glorious scenery outside his window. “I was drawn to the beauty and eclectic nature of The County. I still am. We took friends on a car trip the other day through Wellington and along the Parkway. They were amazed at all the wineries, the artisans and craftspeople here. I make art myself, and I am inspired by the whole place.”

Currently, Douglas is working on turning County gourds into Canada geese. “We have about 50 indigenous geese who hang out  here on the lake, and I got the idea of creating geese from long necked gourds. I’m working on the colours and shading, trying to get it exactly right.” We admired the shapely gourds awaiting transformation. “I work in several mediums,” he said. “Acrylic, oil, pencil, ink, watercolour. When I’m not busy working or travelling, this is my other life.”

Moving to Ameliasburgh

Moving to Ameliasburgh was coming home for Douglas’s wife and a new chapter for him. “I was happy to come to this area because it felt nice and open, quiet, not bustling like Wellington and Picton, but we have the lake, and easy access to everything we need. I’d say this area is a hidden gem. We get to Belleville real quick and hop onto the highway without much trouble. It was a good move. I think a lot of people get smitten when they come to Prince Edward County for a visit. A lot of them end up never leaving!”

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