Tom Sutherland, Edmonton architect, killed in Fernie snowboarding accident

A prominent Edmonton architect who died in a skiing accident in British Columbia is being remembered as a loving father who made a lasting impact on the city.

“[He was] just one of the finest human beings you could ever have met,” said Doug McConnell, principal of DIALOG, where Tom Sutherland worked as the firm’s managing principal.

“Tom’s ability to touch people and make a profound difference was truly unique.”

Sutherland, 53, was injured this week following an accident while skiing with his family in Fernie, BC. He was airlifted to a nearby hospital, where he later died.

He leaves behind a wife and three teenaged triplets as well as a university-aged daughter.

“He loved them very, very dearly,” McConnell said.

He called Sutherland a “passionate and brilliant architect” who was behind the push to move the firm downtown. As the project manager of Edmonton’s downtown plan, McConnell said the architect has left a “tremendous legacy,” both at his firm and central Edmonton.

Sutherland left his mark on projects across the province, including the Edmonton Clinic, the HP center at NAIT and Grande Prairie Regional Hospital.

McConnell said Sutherland was dedicated to using his work to bring people together and attempt to improve his community.

“He cared so much and he touched the people he worked with in a very, very fundamental and personal way.”

McConnell said Sutherland’s coworkers are still coming to grips with his death and are considering how best to pay tribute to him.

Members of Edmonton’s architecture community are mourning Sutherland’s death. Gene Dub, who worked with Sutherland on several projects, says the architect’s devotion to his children often showed through in his work.

“He was very keen on the family being brought into the downtown warehouse district, because he felt that family was the most important unit that we had,” Dub said.

He said Sutherland’s death is a sharp loss for both the community and Edmonton as a whole.

“This is a great loss to Edmonton because there are not that many people of Tom’s caliber that we have in the city,” he said.

“That’s a talent that can’t be replaced.”

Sutherland is survived by his wife and four children.

His funeral will be held at St. Joseph’s Basilica at 10044-113 Street on Friday, April 10 at 1:30 pm

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