August 18, 2022

Chris Johnson, 1960-2022

Chris Johnson with the North American Pipe Band Champion trophy, which he won with Toronto & District in 1992.

Chris Johnson, the well-known piper with more than four decades of constant participation on the Ontario scene, passed away on August 16th from complications from Undifferentiated Pleomorphic Sarcoma. He had previously overcome Follicular Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, a different cancer.

Born in Woodstock, Ontario, July 19, 1960, Johnson rose quickly to be a stalwart member of the Grade 1 Toronto & District under Pipe-Major John Elliott in the 1980s and ’90s. He later was a member of the Grade 1 Toronto Police and Peel Regional Police bands, before joining the 78th Fraser Highlanders, where he was a member for more than a decade until his untimely passing.

He was affectionately known in the 78th Frasers as “C.J.” In support of their friend and bandmate, the band had special lapel badges made with those letters, which each member wore throughout the season and, most recently, at the World Pipe Band Championships.

In 2014, Johnson took a break from pipe band competition as he was undergoing chemotherapy. As a testament to his fortitude, he returned in 2015 to win the North American Championship with the 78th Frasers, and again in 2016 and 2018.

Chris Johnson was not a world famous name in piping and drumming, but he was famously committed to improving as a player, to the bands he played with and to his friends and family – everything that a band could ask for from a member.

We extend our condolences to Chris Johnson’s many friends and family at this sad time.


  1. I played with Chris in the “last hurrah” edition of the Erskine Pipe Band in 1980. I’d usually have a fun reunion in the beer tent each time I’d return to Maxville or run into him at The Worlds. He was a great guy, a super-solid bandsman, always had a good word and a smile.

    So sorry to hear this news … RIP CJ!


  2. Remember Chris from Burlington Legion Br 60 a great up and coming young Piper and his years with Toronto and District. A great loss to the piping family.
    Hugh Goldie



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