Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 142 years

Memorable Manitobans: Gordon Ellwood Johnston (1920-2005)

Click to enlarge

Gordon Ellwood Johnston
Click to enlarge

Businessman, MLA (1963-1966), MLA (1966-1969), MLA (1969-1973), MLA (1973-1977).

Born at Portage la Prairie on 15 October 1920, son of Scottish immigrants James Johnston and Selena Amanda Johnston, he attended the Portage Collegiate Institute. During the Second World War, he was a pilot with the Royal Air Force and, from 1943 to 1945, was a prisoner of war in Germany. On his return to civilian life, he worked as an insurance underwriter for the Manufacturers Life Insurance Company before working at the post office at Portage la Prairie from 1948 to 1952. He later operated “Johnston’s Solo Store,” a grocery.

He served on the Portage la Prairie city council from 1959 to 1962 and in 1962 was elected to the Manitoba Legislature for the Portage constituency. Re-elected in 1966, 1969, and 1973, replaced by Lloyd Hyde in 1977. From 1966 to 1968 he served as Executive Director of the Liberal Party of Manitoba and from 1969 to 1977 was House Leader. In 1978 he was appointed Manitoba’s Citizenship Court judge serving two three-year terms and retiring in 1984. From 1984 to 1998 he was Marriage Commissioner for Manitoba.

He was married twice, first to Myra Campbell Brown (1921-1971) with whom he had four daughters and two sons. His second wife was Maria ? and they had three children. He was a member of the Elks Club, Portage Rotary Club, Portage Golf Club, Portage Flying Club, and Royal Canadian Legion. In recognition of his community service, he received the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977.

He died on 7 November 2005.


Birth registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Obituary [Myra Campbell Johnston], Winnipeg Free Press, 5 April 1971, page 57.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 9 November 2005, page 37.

Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Oliver Bernuetz.

Page revised: 19 March 2021

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

Search the collection by word or phrase, name, place, occupation or other text:

Custom Search

Browse surnames beginning with:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z | 2017

Send corrections and additions to the Memorable Manitobans Administrator at

Criteria for Memorable Manitobans | Suggest a Memorable Manitoban  | Our Inspiration | Acknowledgements

Support the MHS

MHS YouTube Channel

Back to top of page

For queries on the above page, please contact the MHS Webmaster.

Home  |  Terms & Conditions  |  FAQ  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy  |  Donations Policy

© 1998-2021 Manitoba Historical Society. All rights reserved.