The Blackett Law LLP Team
Donald Blackett, KC
I am a born and raised Calgarian. I attended public school in Calgary and enjoyed much sport and recreation, including hockey, football, soccer, track, and extensive biking, hiking and skiing in the nearby Rocky Mountains. Following two years of undergraduate studies at the University of Alberta, in 1976, I was fortunate to be admitted into the first class of the University of Calgary Faculty of Law, graduating with an LLB in 1979. I then embarked on a legal career based in Calgary, working for Code Hunter, McCarthy Tetrault, Baker & McKenzie and SNC-Lavalin Inc. Over those years, my practice involved a wide variety of disciplines, experiences and international travels.
But the Rockies kept calling, and in January 2014, I realized a long-time dream of living and working in my beloved mountains. Having moved to Canmore full time a few years earlier with my wife, Sandy, I was proud to establish Blackett Law, initially as a sole practitioner. Since then, I’ve had the privilege of having lawyers Sarah Phillips and Karen Wiwchar, and paralegals Jennifer Prince, Alannah Kowalewski, and Mandy Utton join me, and together we have built a busy general corporate/commercial/real estate practice, serving Canmore, Banff, and points beyond. We are confident in our ability to provide very experienced, timely and cost effective legal services to the local community.
I was born and raised in Calgary. Growing up, I had the good fortune to participate in various recreational activities, including equine pursuits (three-day eventing, and later focusing on dressage), and downhill skiing. When it was time for me to select a career path, as for many people who grew up in the city, the oil and gas sector beckoned. I pursued my undergraduate studies at the University of Calgary Haskayne School of Business, obtaining a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Petroleum Land Management. From 2006 until my admission as a law student in 2013, I worked as a negotiator at a major Canadian oil and gas company. My tenure in the energy sector gave me valuable experience drafting contracts and working with stakeholders to negotiate agreements across a spectrum of transactions in terms of size, complexity and asset value. During my time in the oilpatch, I worked on deals ranging from single-wellbore agreements to dispositions with transaction values up to $0.5BN.
Sometime after I became responsible for financing my own recreation, I came to the conclusion that I ought to pursue activities that would not cost me money while I was sleeping. I bid the horses farewell and discovered mountain biking. Recreating in the mountains became a major part of my life, and like so many before me, I made what was supposed to be a six-month move to the Bow Valley in 2009. Following a stint commuting to the city for work, I decided to leave the city lights behind, personally and professionally. I was accepted to the University of Calgary Faculty of Law and graduated in 2016. Upon graduation, I articled with Blackett Law, and was called to the Alberta Bar in 2017. Though I originally came here for the recreation, the allure of small town living and the warmth of this community (and meeting a certain charming Frenchman) solidified my decision to put down roots in Canmore.
I am pleased to serve the local community’s legal needs and consider myself very fortunate to live and work in such a vibrant and picturesque setting. Together with my husband Sylvain, I enjoy mountain biking and backcountry skiing in the Bow Valley and beyond.
I am a native Calgarian with deep family roots in Saskatchewan. Following two years of studies at what was then called the College of Commerce at the University of Saskatchewan, I entered the U of S College of Law and obtained my LL.B. (with Distinction) in 1985. I returned to Calgary and articled at a predecessor firm to McCarthy Tétrault LLP (Black & Company), one of whose partners was a fellow named Don Blackett. I stayed on after articles and enjoyed a dynamic corporate/commercial/securities practice there over nearly two decades. With the arrival of my son, however, I transitioned to in-house practice. I worked first at the Alberta Securities Commission and then moved on to legal and executive leadership roles at a publicly-traded national sporting goods retailer, a start-up technology firm and finally the Canadian division of a global retail tax preparation provider. Those roles provided a breadth of experience in business law generally, and along the way I held leadership roles with the Association of Corporate Counsel (Alberta chapter), Alberta General Counsel Association and several not-for-profit organizations.
Private practice beckoned to me, however, and the allure of Canmore is no secret. In September 2021 I joined the team at Blackett Law LLP and am thrilled to be here. It has been great fun setting up our new family headquarters for not only my husband and myself, but to be able to welcome our three adult sons and their friends. Meanwhile, I have dived into the business of working with the delightful team here to serve the Bow Valley’s legal needs, and am looking forward to getting to know the community even better.
I have been blessed enough to call Canmore “home” for over 20 years - when I moved to Canmore in 1994, there was only 1 traffic light!
I grew up on a farm in North Buxton, Ontario where my family still lives. After graduating from college in Toronto, I heard the mountains call and moved to Banff with the intention of staying for a (one) summer while I enjoyed the natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies. I ended up staying a lot longer and worked in the hospitality industry for 15 years in various roles and locations – all of which taught me how to pursue my passion of helping people. I decided to make a career change and chose to work with a few other local lawyers before finding my true fit at Blackett Law. My speciality lies in real estate – both in Alberta and BC. I understand that buying or selling a home can be one of life’s biggest decisions, and sometimes stressful! I enjoy helping people navigate the hurdles and facilitate the process to ensure a smooth journey.
In addition to working for Blackett Law, I enjoy volunteering for several Canmore organizations and helping the community I love flourish. I can often be found in the back country on winter weekends snowshoeing. During the summer months, my leisure time can find me camping, boating, fishing or hiking some of the amazing trails in the area.
Presently on maternity leave
I grew up in the small town of King City, Ontario. While I always considered a future in law, I was never quite sure that I wanted to pursue law school. After University, I explored a couple of different career options before deciding that my interest remained in the field of law. I returned to school to complete a Paralegal course and became an accredited Paralegal in Ontario. Shortly after I began working in a Personal Injury law firm in Toronto.
I never pictured myself living long term in a big city like Toronto, which is why it came as no surprise that during a short trip to visit my sister in Canmore, I was drawn to the small town charm and beautiful mountain setting. Within a couple of months after returning home, I made the decision to make the move to Canmore and have been happy to call it home since 2015. I spent four years working for a law office in Banff before starting with Blackett Law in the fall of 2019. My areas of expertise are in real estate and estate administration.
I had the pleasure of growing up in the Ottawa Valley, which fostered my love of small town communities and exposed me to many cultures living in the National Capital region. In my young adulthood, I moved to Toronto and worked in the retail and hospitality sector where I gained substantial knowledge working within a corporate setting. This experience gave me the opportunity to hone my leadership and management skills. From the hustle and bustle of the city, I moved to the Cayman Islands to experience living abroad where I learned to enjoy a better work-life balance. I returned to Canada in the summer of 2019, when I was able to return to school to study Human Resources and gain experience in the finance sector to broaden my knowledge of real estate transactions and estate processes. I am now pleased to put my corporate and financial experience to work in the legal sector and work alongside some of Canmore's finest!
I was fortunate enough to move to Canmore in March 2020. I can't imagine a better place to finally put down some roots, as it is the perfect blend of small town meets adventure. In my down time I can be found running, hiking, snowboarding, and trying to keep up with my energetic rescue dog!
After enjoying the beauty and serenity of the mountains as a weekender for the past 10 years, I was lucky enough to make Canmore my full-time home in the summer of 2021. Having grown up in a small town in East Central Alberta, it was great to return to a town with that small town feel and a great sense of community. Upon leaving the small town I was born and raised in, I spent time in both of Alberta’s big cities, receiving my degree in Education from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, and then moving to Calgary where I taught kindergarten for 6 years before becoming a mom to two beautiful boys!
After 10 years in Calgary, my husband and I relocated to Red Deer with a desire to raise our two sons in a smaller city, and I returned to the workforce; first as a substitute teacher, and later as the Athletics Coordinator at Hunting Hills High School with Red Deer Public Schools. Coordinating the Athletics Program at a school of 1500 students, and managing the school’s 28 sports teams, gave me the realization that I have a passion for keeping things organized, and that I really love administrative work. While it was difficult to leave a job I loved and the friends we had made over the 18 years of living in Red Deer, with both of our sons off to university in Calgary in the fall of 2021, it was the perfect time to make the move to Canmore.
I had the pleasure of joining the team at Blackett Law LLP in October of 2021 after a chance meeting at a community event. Meeting and working with the amazing people at Blackett Law LLP has made the move to Canmore even more rewarding, and I am grateful every day to live and work in the postcard that is Canmore!