Robert Burniston

Robert Matthew Burniston

Friday, April 5th, 1940 - Sunday, March 1st, 2020
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BURNISTON, Robert “Bob” Matthew -

Passed away peacefully at Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington on Sunday, March 1, 2020 at the age of 79. Loving and devoted husband of 54 years to Sheila Burniston (nee Petley). Cherished father of Tracey Stewart (Ron) and proud grandfather “Da” of Abbey Stewart. Dear brother of Norma Burniston and the late Harold Burniston (Diane), and brother-in-law of Barbara Dobson (Edward) and Jeanette Scripps. Robert will also be missed by nephews and extended family and friends in England, Scotland, as well as here in Ontario. Robert served for 22 years in the British Army, finishing his military career with the rank of Sergeant Major before moving to Canada to work 16 years as a physical education instructor with the Metro Toronto Police. Special thank you to the doctors, nurses and staff at Joseph Brant Hospital for their kindness, compassion and the care provided.

As per his wishes, Private Cremation has taken place. Due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, the family of the late Robert Burniston have postponed the Memorial Gathering which was scheduled for Sunday, April 5, 2020. Please contact the funeral home for further information.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in memory of Robert to The Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation.
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  • Visitation

    Smith's Funeral Home - Brant Street
    485 Brant Street
    Burlington, ON L7R 2G5
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, the family of the late Robert Burniston have postponed the Memorial Gathering which was scheduled for Sunday, April 5, 2020. Please contact the funeral home for further information.


Donations are being accepted for: Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation.


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Private Condolence

AJ Bird

Posted at 12:16pm
My deepest condolences to the family and close friends of Mr. Burniston.

I also must share a police experience. Having joined the Toronto Police at the young age of 18 fresh “off the boat” from the East Coast recruiting blitz in 1988, young cadets were off to CO Bick for training. I first wondered if he was a relative of Sean Connery with his accent. We quickly learned not to even consider wearing pink in his gym! And to run! Having played soccer, basketball and many other sports I was an athlete, but I was not much of a pure runner having been encouraged to weight lift by my Mountie father because of my short stature. Mr. Burniston had a special nickname for me which he would yell down from the top of the final leg of our run at Bick.

A few years later I was off to Alymer for 10 weeks and he was teasing me about not eating too much free food. So once I arrived in the flat farm land of southwestern Ontario I started to seriously run in the ever so fragrant summer air laden with pig manure from the surrounding farmland. Upon our return from Alymer, we had to re-test and I was never so proud of my youngself as to watch Mr. Burniston be left speechless by my time that was in the top part of our class. Having made a comment that he teased me too much is when another recruit looked in shock and said “You are his favourite” :)

And a few years after that, I ran into him at Bick coming back from my maternity leave - having lost 30 pounds he was utterly confused that I just had a baby as he said most return quite a bit bigger. We laughed and the twinkle in his eye is never to be forgotten. I even got a hug that day.

I think of Mr. Burniston each time I go for a jog to this day (about 32 years later) and especially when I wear pink. He has been one of my heroes since I was 18 and I know there will never be another like him. Must admit I have tears rolling down my face, but shall be smiling when I lace up the ASICS and put on a pink shirt in honour of one of the most incredible people to walk this earth.

Robert Mann

Posted at 09:56am
I had known Bob for several years, but I got to know him really well while on the supervisors course in 1990. The next year during the promotional competition the Service added ten points to their point system for any candidate who had a current fitness pin. Ten points were a huge advantage and could make or break a candidate's chances. Bob went out of his way to test a constable on my platoon at the last minute, as a favor to me, and issued him a fitness pin. That constable got promoted and was a credit to the service as a Sergeant. Bob was a truly outstanding human being, and sadly missed. Bob Mann Detective 2759 (ret)

Graham Bentley

Posted at 11:07am
I will always have fond memories of Bob at the pool at C.O BIck where I swam. He would bet young cadets they couldn't beat me and probably won a quid or two.. He was a good man and will always be remembered. P.C Graham Bentley (retired) TPS - Traffic Services.

Gail Rapos

Posted at 08:17am
My family and I had the honour of having Robert, Sheila and Tracey as neighbours when they first came to Canada.
Robert was always available when we needed him to offer advice or help fix things around our home. I have many, many
wonderful memories of early morning breakfast and Christmas celebrations our families spent together. I will always be grateful for his support and encouragement. He was a wonderful friend and neighbour and will always be loved and missed.
Sheila and Tracey you were extremely fortunate to have had him as your husband and father. He will always be with you reminding you to stay strong.

Robert, rest in peace. luv Gail and family.

Thank you Robert for everything you did for us.

Lionel. Trinidad

Posted at 11:43am
I had the pleasure of working at the C.O. Buck College with Bob. Who certainly put us through many a vigorous session over the years
My deepest sympathies to the family on your sad loss.
Just the mention of Bob’s name would start your heart pumping. Bob was a dedicated Physical Fitness Instructor who did so much to get Members of the Toronto Police realize the importance of staying fit.
He volunteered to hold Fitness Classes after work for any member wishing to participate and get rid of those extra pounds.
My many thanks to Bob for all his efforts and encouragement which certainly helped many of us make healthier choices .
May he forever Rest In Peace.
Lionel. TRINIDAD (Retired 1996).

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