Memorial bench to be unveiled for downtown advocate

Malcolm Johnson died two years ago in an explosion while vacationing in Mexico.

A memorial bench will be unveiled Thursday (Jan. 26) for a prominent Nanaimo resident who was killed two years ago while vacationing in Mexico.

Malcolm Johnson, a real estate agent with Coast Realty, was 33 when he died in an explosion at a Mexican resort. A family man who left behind a wife and one-year-old daughter, Johnson was also a keen supporter of downtown revitalization.

“Malcolm was involved with the Nanaimo City Centre Association and Downtown Nanaimo Partnership Society as soon as he became a realtor at Coast Realty,” said Shari Molchan, president of the DNBIA and a friend of Johnson, in a press release. “He was passionate about the development and revitalization of downtown and was an advocate for getting stakeholder groups working together to help achieve that goal.”

The memorial bench will be unveiled at 3:30 p.m. at the Great National Land Building at 17 Church St. The public is invited to attend.

Rebecca Kirk, executive director at Literacy Central Vancouver Island and chairwoman of the DNBIA’s Planning Design and Development Committee, said the bench is a fitting memorial for Johnson because it will allow others to sit where he spent much of his time and see Nanaimo’s downtown improve.

“With his passion, but easy going manner, he inspired many of us to turn our thoughts into action and join together to create the beautiful, vibrant downtown that is developing before our eyes. We still miss him, but this bench dedicated to his memory will be a place anyone can sit for a moment to view the downtown he loved.”

Molchan said that prior to his death, Johnson was setting pre-sales records in Nanaimo by selling units at the downtown Studio NA. He sold 30 units in three days, many of them to local buyers.

“His success with Studio NA awakened many to believe in a re-energized vision of our downtown and he was proud that our downtown was well on its way to becoming the urban centre that it could be.”

The memorial bench will be permanently placed in front of the Coast Realty office at 17 Church St. Money for the bench was raised at the Greatest Streets in Canada street party last June with the remaining funds coming from the DNBIA.