This 94-year-old has helped people find the perfect Christmas tree for decades
TORONTO -- For decades, hundreds of families have flocked to this Ontario farm to find their holiday centerpiece and Eugene "Pud" Johnston has been there to greet them.
Nestled in the community of Oxford Station, just 70 kilometres outside of Ottawa, the Johnston Brothers Tree Farm has been a holiday stop for the likes of the Governor General, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the mayor of Ottawa. The 94-year-old and his family have been tending to the rows of balsam and fir trees since 1952.
“After 67 years we know how to grow trees,” Johnston told CTV News.
After earning a forestry degree and a stint in the army, Johnston started the business with brother Eric.
And even though Johnton’s son Kerry took over the business more than 15 years ago, the patriarch of the family is almost always on-site.
Kerry jokes that “[Johnston] really should be contributing more. He's only working now [for] about four to five hours a day -- bankers’ hours.”
But Johnston involvement is an inspiring example for his grandchildren. Johnston’s granddaughter Madeline Mulkins said, “I don't think he's ever going to stop. Like no one else can do what he does.”
Throughout it all, Johnston has had his wife Sheila by his side, who helps cultivate his passion. On the verge of tearing up, she told CTV News how “this place is very special to Pud.”
Johnston’s true joy is helping others find their holiday cheer. And despite his age, he has no plans of slowing down.