Donald MacDonald was born January 9, 1857 to Daniel MacDonald and Isabella Marshall in Hanover, Ontario on the border of Bruce and Gray counties.
At the age of 24 he decided to move west and take up farming. In 1881 he bought a half section of land near Grenfell Saskatchewan and struggled for six years loosing crop after crop to high winds and heat before deciding to move on. ...
Donald worked at all of the three original halls, the Central Hall, 347 William Avenue, the South Hall, corner of York Avenue and Smith Street but the vast majority of his career was spent at the North Hall which is now The Firefighters Museum, 56 Maple Street.
Donald was the Firefighter responsible for the operation of the steam powered fire engines, back then these men were called Engineers. The famous Alex Logan Steam Engine, which he would have been responsible for, can be seen today at the museum. On the walls of the museum are pictures of many fires from the late 1800's and early 1900's which show the steam engines in operation, undoubtedly Donald would have been one of the men operating them.
Donald was also one of the key men responsible for making the Firefighters Benevolent Fund a viable fund, supporting the families of injured or deceased Firefighters.
The home in which Donald lived, 45 Lily Street, is now called The Daniel MacDonald House. It is standing virtually unchanged since Winnipeg's early years. Donalds uncle, John Kay MacDonald organized the Toronto based Confederation Life, (Confederation Life Building, 457 Main Street, built 1912) and his father was the Confederation Life agent responsible for the area from Winnipeg to the Pacific ocean and to the far north.
In January of 1912 Donald was sent home, too sick to work. In mid July he went to see Dr. Chown, (the Chown Building is named after him) who sent him to the hospital where he was diagnosed with cancer. On August the 8th, 1912 at 9:25 a.m. he died at his residence, 45 Lily Street at the age of 55.
In the local paper the Assistant Fire Chief, William Code stated, "He was a good Engineer and a good fellow- one of the best".
Donald MacDonald is buried at the St. James Cemetery.