Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Kenneth John Johnston (1859-1953)

Fruit importer, athlete, community activist.

Born at St. Catharines, Ontario on 9 September 1859, he came to Winnipeg where he entered the wholesale grocery business in 1882. First associated with the Sutherland and Campbell Company, in 1896 he became junior partner, with Albert Bright, in the wholesale fruit firm of Bright and Johnston. Past secretary of the Whytewold Holding Company, he was considered a dean of the Winnipeg fruit importing industry.

On 22 December 1885, he married Rosina Margaretha Buethner (1855-1934) at Winnipeg and they had two daughters, Helen Margaretha Johnston (1888-1963, wife of William Davidson Thomson) and Eva Marie Johnston (1890-1971). A keen athlete and churchman, he was an old-time high bicycle champion from 1883 to 1888 and founded the Men’s Missionary Society at Knox Church. In his later years, he enjoyed lawn bowling at his home club, Greenwood. He was an usher at Knox Church for more than 60 years and secretary of the Whytewold Beach Club for many years. He had one of the first cottages built at Whytewold.

He died at his Winnipeg home, 158 Spence Street, on 5 January 1953 and was buried in the Old Kildonan Cemetery.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Swiss Building (137 Bannatyne Avenue, Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Bright and Johnston Building / MacKenzie Block (141 Bannatyne Avenue, Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Buena Vista Cottage (189 Gimli Road, Ponemah, Dunnottar)


Birth, marriage, and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

 “Cycles, bows at 89,” Winnipeg Free Press, 9 September 1948. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B10, page 49]

“K. J. Johnston funeral service Wednesday,” Winnipeg Free Press, 6 January 1953, page 24.

Obituary [David Johnston], Winnipeg Free Press, 3 May 1965, page 28.

Obituary [Eva Johnston], Winnipeg Free Press, 1 March 1971, page 26.

Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

This page was prepared by Sarah Ramsden and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 8 November 2021

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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