This web exhibit features a selection of article published by the Burford Times from 1985 to 2017. These articles were originally selected for an event celebrating The Burford Times, as published by Bill and Betty Johnston under Bill’s tenure as editor. This event was hosted at the Burford Public Library on 4 November 2018.
Bill Johnston began his career in newspaper as a reporter for the Grand River Sachem in his hometown of Caledonia, Ontario in 1983. Prior to this, he acquired a degree in Mathematics from the University of Toronto and worked as a trust officer in a financial institution. In 1984, Johnston became the manager editor of the Burford Advance and the Norwich Gazette under the Otter, a parent company. In September of 1985, the Otter wanted to merge the Burford Advance with a local newspaper in Paris, and so Johnston quit the manager editor position in order to publish The Burford Times independently. Johnston then served as editor of The Burford Times for over thirty years until 2017, when operations were taken over by his daughter-in-law and current editor, Emma Johnston.
In his time as editor, Johnston created a local newspaper that reflected the interests and values of the Burford community. There was a heavy emphasis on agriculture and farm life, as many of the Times’ readers were farmers. He also took the time to include feature articles on the accomplishments of local residents, including children’s school activities, the work of local charitable organizations, and even noted residents who left Burford to pursue higher education and influential careers. Johnston also published an editorial each week, which ultimately gained the title “Off the Cuff.” In this column, Johnston wrote about whatever was on his mind, from current events, to politics, to family life.