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Honourable Senators,

I rise today to speak about the late Senator Archibald Johnstone who was a hero of the Second World War and true pioneer of Prince Edward Island’s tourism industry.

On June 12th, 1924 in Burlington, PEI, Senator Johnstone was born to Jane Montgomery and Lt-Colonel Ernest Johnstone who had served with the Prince Edward Island Light Horse during the First World War. Following in his father’s footsteps, Sen. Johnstone enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and served as a tail gunner in the Wellington and Halifax bombing squadron during World War Two in England. 

Sen. Johnstone attended the Prince of Wales College in PEI, the Ontario Technical College, and the Nova Scotia Agricultural College. He also earned a scholarship to study agriculture in England, but was said to have fallen in love with the British Isles and developed an interest in tourism. At home, he met the love of his life, Phelicia Clark, and convinced his father, who built tiny, castles out of concrete and stone for fun on his farm to start a father and son business. This was the beginning of Woodleigh Replicas, a park of miniature castles and landmarks of England and Scotland, which became a leading tourist attraction. He served as president of the PEI Federation of Agriculture and director of the Island Tourism Attraction.

As an entrepreneur to the core, Sen. Johnstone was also the creator of Rainbow Valley, the first amusement park in PEI in 1969. In the early 1990s, Sen. Johnstone and his son Ronald also started the Kensington Towers and Water Gardens, adding to the many beautiful attractions we now enjoy in PEI.

Senator Johnstone was appointed to the Senate by former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in 1998 where he then dedicated to serve Canadians. During his tenure, he served as Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs and served on nine committees. Although his time as a Senator was short, it was influential.

Sen. Johnstone worked with Senator Orville Phillips and visited more than 70 percent of the facilities set up for the care of Veterans, which led to a report entitled, “Raising the Bar: Creating a New Standard in Veterans’ Health Care.”

68 recommendations later, 95 percent of them were adopted and eventually implemented to touch the lives of veterans across the country.

Following his retirement, Sen. Johnstone published several books, including memoirs and the Second World War.

Mr. Johnstone was a true pioneer, always being described by many as a visionary. He loved his country and most importantly, his friends and family.

So, on behalf of the Conservative caucus in the Senate, we would like to thank Mr. Johnstone for all his work and his contributions to help build a stronger nation for all.

Thank you.

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