Dan Johnstone, also known as “Can Man Dan”, is an award-winning activist, philanthropist, community organizer, and motivational speaker. Alongside his non-profit organization, the Can Man Dan Foundation, Dan works to alleviate poverty, assist vulnerable populations, and strengthen communities in Alberta, Canada. Johnstone was born in Edmonton on July 31, 1987 during the notorious Edmonton tornado (also known as “Black Friday”) and is the eldest son of Pamela Johnstone.
Dan, along with his younger brother, was raised in a single-parent, low-income household, and for years the family struggled to make ends meet. To help support his struggling mother with overdue bills and rent, Dan began working at the age of 13 and would deliver newspapers around his neighbourhood in the morning, while also working for a local fast food outlet after school. For years, Dan, his mother, and brother relied on various social services and programs to keep the family afloat. Dan graduated high school in 2006 and attended Grant MacEwan University for one year, after which he left to care for his mother who had fallen ill. He entered the labour market, working mainly commercial and residential construction jobs, embracing the blue-collar lifestyle of hard work and determination. After rising through the ranks in his career and ensuring his mother’s well-being, Johnstone started his philanthropy work by creating the Can Man Dan initiative in 2011, Localive in 2015, and the Can Man Dan Foundation in 2019.
Johnstone has since become one of western Canada’s most well-known and respected philanthropists, bringing attention to several different social issues and raising millions of dollars for those who need it most. Johnstone currently resides in south Edmonton where he keeps busy with his Can Man Dan endeavours, supporting local entrepreneurs with his Localive initiative, coaching community sports, volunteering at various local events, and is the acting chairman and president of the Can Man Dan Foundation. Dan has been praised for his work in the community and has earned a powerful reputation for his hard-working spirit, big heart, and unique events.