Welcome to Meet the Agent, an ongoing series profiling real estate agents from across Canada. With more than 150,000 agents, brokers, and salespeople working in 75 different boards and associations across the country, we thought it was about time they had a place to properly introduce themselves. If you or someone you know deserves the same chance, email agents@storeys.com to apply.


Name: Paul Johnston
Brokerage:Right at Home Realty
Personal: pauljohnston.com
Instagram | LinkedIn
Years of agent experience: 18
Areas of focus: Unique urban homes throughout Toronto


Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Toronto's York Mills neighbourhood, on a quiet street that backed onto EP Taylor’s farm. But I’d say I matured in a third floor loft on St. Laurent Blvd in Montreal, overtop a women’s fashion store, wedged between an independent cinema and a rock bar with a very mediocre sound system.

What neighbourhood do you live in now?

I recently left Toronto's Trinity Bellwoods neighbourhood and settled in Summerhill. It feels quite grown up.

What made you want to become a real estate agent?

“Place” and “design” have always fascinated me – and the opportunity to be actively involved in the promotion and sale of unique and compelling housing has been a terrific fit. Having promoted and presented homes and developments throughout the city that aim for a higher caliber of design has been exceptionally rewarding, and enormously fulfilling.

READ: Meet The Agent: David Elliott, Harvey Kalles Real Estate Ltd

What’s the biggest challenge you see facing the market today?

The struggle to provide compelling and durable homes within an established city, that meet the needs of buyers’ at a wide range of price points. We need sensible tools to enable the gentle densification of our neighbourhoods to invite and house more people in ways that promote community, healthy living and walkable and safe streets. We need to fill the city with exciting, courageous, and beautiful places to live for everyone.

What’s the single best advice you have for sellers?

To have faith. Faith in the person you trust to take care of you, and faith that the market will – and sometimes it takes time – reveal the perfect buyer.

What’s the single best advice you have for buyers?

Be kind to yourself. It’s hard work to find a great home, and if you understand what really matters to you (I often talk about Space, Style, and Sunlight) you’ll keep pushing until you find the fit!

Who do you look up to in the industry and why?

I admire people who have done it on their own terms, and built a business that meets their needs. I’m profoundly suspicious of guidebooks, so I admire the agents who have built their own team of 50 – because I assume that’s what they always wanted – as much as I admire those agents who have a more modest but durable business working with people who they genuinely like and admire. I’ve had the remarkable privilege of working with some exceptional people that my business has put me in front of and I'm glad that I carved my own path.

READ: Meet The Agent: Carolyn Scime, Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd. Brokerage

Is there anything you wish people knew or understood about realtors that you think they’re constantly getting wrong?

Like so many professions, real estate has been turned into a compelling reality television exploit – and have led some agents to think it’s all style over substance. Nothing – absolutely nothing – can replace hard work, integrity, common sense, and care for others. This job isn’t a TV show, it’s much more complex than that. I’ve been approached enough times for parts in reality TV about real estate, but I really don’t want to be part of the misperception of the job.

Tell us about your favourite (or most memorable) sale.

It was the sale of 109 Ossington – a six storey condo building. This was a very early mid-rise development in the city that had raised the ire of locals – it was variously going to ruin the neighbourhood, create child-killing traffic, be an eyesore, cut off natural light… and there were ample protests to try and stop it. Signs went up! Petitions went out! People gathered to protest! Today, I look at “109 OZ” as a seminal building that sits proudly and perfectly in a neighbourhood that has benefited from the building, filled with owners who benefit from the neighbourhood. It’s perfect.

What are the three words you hope your clients use to describe you?

Curious. Sincere. Humorous.

What’s your favourite thing to do outside of selling houses?

While cliché, I adore travelling. We take trips to predominantly urban centres, to hopefully sit and find a place to drink a coffee and sneak a peek at people living their lives. Cities can be beautiful – especially when you get lost – but it’s the people who inhabit them as they go about their daily chores that make cities sparkle. I love nothing more than having a faint glimpse into someone else’s pattern of living in a city.

This interview may have been edited for both length and clarity. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of STOREYS.

Meet The Agent