Skip to content Skip to main navigation
STORIES / Verna Johnston

Verna Johnston

Between operating a boarding home for Indigenous youth in Toronto and playing a foundational role at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto, Verna Johnston’s community leadership has shaped generations.

A portrait illustration of Verna Johnston.

Community Organizer and Author

Verna Johnson, an Ojibwe woman from Neyaashiinigmiing reserve, made a lasting impact on the urban Indigenous community in Toronto. She established a boarding house specifically for Indigenous women – offering community, culture, and care. The house’s unique structure embraced the daily routines and cultural values of the Indigenous community, fostering a sense of belonging and support. Verna’s activism and dedication were instrumental in the development of the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto, a vital institution that continues to serve and uplift the Indigenous population in the city.

Johnston’s compassionate advocacy and community-building efforts have left a legacy of positive change for countless lives.

Explore more women who transformed Toronto.

Further Resources
Learn about Johnston’s original boarding house from Heritage Toronto
Read The Toronto Star’s retrospective on Johnston’s lasting legacy

Myseum is your
Toronto museum.

Our engaging programs and experiences showcase the history, spaces, culture(s), architecture, and the people, that represent Toronto’s unique place in the world.


Sign up and be the first to hear about upcoming events and experiences presented by Myseum.