Gary Johnston

Breeder of the Yukon Gold potato

Born: 1916 in Alma, Ontario
Died: 9 October 2000 in Guelph, Ontario

In 1953, Gary Johnston, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, was assigned to the University of Guelph. During the 1960s, he headed a research team there which developed the Yukon Gold potato by combining a North American white potato (Norgleam) with a South American yellow (W5279-4). Prized by chefs, the Yukon Gold was introduced to the US market in 1980 and has been gaining in popularity ever since.

Johnston was a teacher and served in the Royal Canadian Air Force before receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) in 1947 and a Masters degree in crop science and winter wheat in 1951. He retired in 1980 but continued his research in his home greenhouse.

Johnston was given an honourary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Guelph on 16 June 2000 and died of complications from diabetes four months later.

Additional trivia:

Yukon Gold was the first Canadian potato to be marketed by name.

More information:

Gary Johnston's obituary from the University of Guelph
Yukon Gold potato


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Added 08 September 2002.