Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 140 years


Pay & Donate in the MHS Online Shop

Endangered Top 10
Top 10

Young Historians 2019

Manitoba History No. 89

No. 89

War Memorials in Manitoba
in Manitoba

This Old Elevator
This Old

Abandoned Manitoba

Memorable Manitobans

Historic Sites of Manitoba
Historic Sites
of Manitoba

Memorable Manitobans: John Leslie Johnston (1898-1955)

Click to enlarge

John Leslie Johnston
Click to enlarge

Civil servant, librarian.

Born at Windsor, Ontario on 26 March 1898, he came to Winnipeg in 1902 but soon after moved with his parents to Victoria, British Columbia where he graduated in 1913 from the Victoria Business Institute, with a background in accounting and stenography. After several years of accountancy work with the Canadian Pacific Railway and an automobile dealership, he returned to Winnipeg where he served as Secretary to the Minister of Education (1920-1928), Assistant Librarian of the Legislative Library (1928-1933), Clerk of the Executive Council (1933-1937), and Provincial Librarian (1937-1955), succeeding W. J. Healy. After his death, he was succeeded as Provincial Librarian by Marjorie Morley.

The expansion of the Legislative Library and Archives of Manitoba was his greatest contribution. Through his efforts the Legislative Libraries Section of the Canadian Library Association was established and he was its first Chairman. He was also a Vice-President of the CLA. He was always active in committee work of the Manitoba Library Association, of which he had been President. In 1948, he was appointed Secretary of the Public Library Advisory Board, set up by the Manitoba government.

He was instrumental in the passage of the Historic Sites Act in 1946, he served on the Historic Sites Advisory Board of Manitoba, and he was Secretary of the Manitoba Section of the Historic Sites Advisory Board of Canada. He was involved in the revival of the Manitoba Historical Society in 1944 and he served on its Executive; at the time of his death he was Honorary President. In 1953, his contributions were recognized by an honorary doctorate from the University of Manitoba.

He was active in athletics, especially tennis and badminton. In 1947 and 1948 he won the Veterans’ Men’s Doubles. He held the posts of Secretary-Treasurer, President, and Honourary President in the Canadian Badminton Association for a number of years. He was also President and Secretary of the Manitoba Badminton Association.

His articles for the Manitoba Historical Society:

Lord Gordon Gordon
MHS Transactions, Series 3, 1950-51 Season


In Memorium: Dr. John Leslie Johnston, MHS Transactions, Series 3, Number 10, 1953-54 season

We thank Christopher Kotecki for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 3 September 2017

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 and

Back to top of page


To report an error on the above page, please contact the MHS Webmaster.

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

© 1998-2019 Manitoba Historical Society. All rights reserved.