In 1976 Doug bought his first guitar for $20 from his friend, a much-esteemed member of the Ottawa Valley country music community, Fred Brown. Doug wasted little time in putting that guitar to good use and by the late 1970’s he was hooked, playing his first professional gig at the Sports Palace on Merivale Road in 1980.
Soon after that, Doug found himself hosting a regular Sunday event at Ottawa’s Kingsway Tavern, advertised, appropriately enough, as Doug Champagne and Friends. The great Steve Piticco was Doug’s regular guitarist (this was Steve’s first house gig), with Marc Campeau on bass. Doug kept this show going for 2 years and frequent guests included Joe Teevens, Reggie Young, Jack Samon, Rick King, Luke Harris, Hank Rivers, Ross McRae, Hugh Desmond, Ronnie Prophet, Rick Thompson and Ron McMunn, just to name a few.
Doug’s popularity was growing, leading to his first big show with Terry Carrise at the Silver Dollar on Merivale Road. Terry had just been named CCMA Male Vocalist of the Year and his star was rising. "I still remember the marquee outside the club", Doug recalls. "As I pulled into the parking lot, there I saw it: ’Male Vocalist of the year, Terry Carrise and Tracks, with Special Guest Doug Champagne’. I felt very proud - but I was nervous. Terry told me ’Just relax, do your show, have fun and we’ll follow you’. With those words forever emblazoned on my mind, I have been doing my show and having fun for almost 40 years."
In more recent times, Doug, ably assisted by wife Pam on keyboard, frequently accompanied by Marc Senecal on guitar, formed a new band called the Doug and Pam Champagne Show. One of the more popular bands in the Ottawa Valley area, performing up to 200 shows a year, they have also performed all over eastern Canada, with shows in Cape Breton, Halifax, Moncton, St. John, PEI, Ontario, and the USA (inter alia). They are always rewarded with requests for repeat appearances. They have performed in several upstate New York venues as well as in New York City and Boston. A career highlight has been a special appearance and presentation aboard the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, USS Intrepid, flowing from the impact of Doug’s composition, "'The Legacy", his much praised Canadian expression of support for the United States in the wake of 9/11.
Doug has been a long-time, committed supporter of the Royal Canadian Legion and has worked tirelessly in Officer roles to ensure the continued viability of the Legion. Doug’s volunteer work was recognized at the highest level when he was awarded the Sovereign’s Medal For Volunteers. In addition, Doug and Pam have received official recognition from the Prime Minister of Canada, the Premier of New Brunswick, and the Nova Scotia Legislature. Awards include the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award and the Murial Davies Kindness Award, the Ottawa Humane Society’s highest award. They have has also received recognition from the Montel Williams Show and the Office of the President of the United States for "The Legacy".
Doug proudly recalls having Gordon Lightfoot attend a show he and Pam were doing in Toronto in 2006 where Gordon, surprisingly joined them on stage. Ronnie Prophet, Orval Prophet, Wayne Rostad, Neville Wells, Charlie Major, are just a few entertainers he has proudly shared the stage with.