The 2020 Brampton business person of the year has just been announced


Published January 20, 2020 at 10:34 pm

The Brampton Board of Trade is excited to announce that William E.

The Brampton Board of Trade is excited to announce that William E. Johnston, Founder and President of Bramgate Automotive Inc., has been named 2020 Brampton Business Person of the Year. 

The Business Person of the Year is awarded to someone that has demonstrated business leadership and excellence in Brampton and has contributed to the city in both professional and personal endeavours. 

William Johnston’s career in the auto industry began in 1953, after joining Ford Motor Company in their Ontario District Sales Office as a trainee in their District Manager training program.

This training program included retail marketing, business management and customer relations. 

In 1959, Johnston then joined Volkswagen Canada Inc. in their Toronto head office’s Retail Sales Division after transferring to their Marketing Department two years later to head a new Pre-Owned Vehicle Sales Division and then acquiring the VW Brampton dealership franchise in March 1967.

Bramgate Volkswagen opened for business in a small temporary facility at Main Street and Vodden Street in central Brampton with only two employees.

During the first year, there were cramped quarters and limited staff but after a search for larger facilities, they acquired a former auto dealership on Brampton’s Queen Street East “Auto Row” which became their new home. 

In 1972, Volkswagen Canada brought the upscale Audi lineup of luxury vehicles to Canada and Bramgate was awarded the Audi franchise for Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon.

Both brands were later sold from Bramgate VW’s Queen Street East location until 2005 when Bramgate Automotive opened Audi Mississauga, an exclusive Audi dealership in the high traffic area of Hwy. 401 and Mavis Road in Mississauga. 

Within the next five years, Volkswagen and Audi sales flourished in Brampton and Mississauga, resulting in VW and Audi facility developments in both markets.

By 2015, Bramgate Volkswagen moved from their longtime Queen Street East location to the new 410-Mayfield Auto Mall and more than doubled their Sales and Service capacity, with their Queen Street facility now operating as Bramgate Pre-Owned Centre and Collision Centre.

In 2017, Bramgate Automotive opened their second Audi dealership, Audi Brampton and this fall, Bramgate Automotive will open a new Audi Mississauga dealership in the recently developed Pearson Auto Mall located at Hwy. 401 and Dixie Road.

Led by Johnston, his family and his employees, the expansion of Bramgate Automotive Inc. has only been possible through the community’s support.

In 2018, Bramgate Automotive partnered with the William Osler Health System Foundation in Brampton, and the Trillium Health Partners Foundation in Mississauga to help raise funds to address the highest priority needs of their community hospitals.

To date, Bramgate has raised over $200,000 of their $750,000 commitment for these critically needed programs and services.

In the last two years, Automotive News Canada, the automotive industry’s largest trade publication, has awarded Bramgate’s dealerships with their annual “Best Dealership To Work For” award.

In 2018, Bramgate Volkswagen was the first to receive this honour and shared the distinction with Audi Brampton in 2019.

Only 25 out of Canada’s 3,500 auto dealers receive this award each year and Bramgate Automotive Inc. is proud of this recognition. 

Johnston will be awarded the 2020 Business Person of The Year honour at the Brampton Board of Trade Business Excellence Awards Gala on May 7, 2020, at Pearson Convention Centre in Brampton.

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