Dan Johnstone, also known as “Can Man Dan”, is a Canadian Anti-Poverty activist, philanthropist, community organizer and motivational speaker. His fundraising group, also called Can Man Dan, works to alleviate poverty, hunger and homelessness throughout Alberta, Canada. Johnstone is perhaps best known for his activism/philanthropy work around Alberta, and his political bids for Edmonton’s City Council in 2013 and 2016. Johnstone was born in Edmonton on July 31, 1987 during the notorious Edmonton tornado (also known as “Black Friday”) that claimed 27 lives and he is the eldest son of Pamela Johnstone. Dan spent the beginning years of his life growing up in Edmonton’s Capilano area and later moved to Edmonton’s Blue Quill area during his teenage and young adult years. He currently resides in Edmonton’s Windermere area, where he’s lived since 2014.
Dan, along with his younger brother were raised in a single-parent household and for years they struggled to make ends meet. To help support his struggling family with rising bills and rent, Dan began working at the age of 13 and would deliver newspapers around his neighbourhood before school would start and work for a local fast food outlet after the school day would end. For years, Johnstone and his family depended on various social services for help and to keep their family afloat. Johnstone graduated High School in 2006 and attended Grant MacEwan University for one year before entering into the labor market – working mainly commercial and residential construction jobs. After rising through the ranks in his career and ensuring that his mother (who had fallen ill) was provided for, Johnstone started his philanthropy work by creating Can Man Dan in 2011 and Localive in 2015. Johnstone has since become one of western Canada’s most well known, and respected philanthropists and has been bringing attention to several different social issues and has raised countless resources for many charities/non-profits around the province. Johnstone currently resides in Edmonton where he keeps busy with his Can Man Dan endeavours, supporting local entrepreneurs with his Localive initiative, coaching community sports, volunteering at several local events and acting as an ambassador to many different organizations.
Dan has been praised for his work in the community and has earned a renowned reputation for his hard working spirit, big heart and unique events.