Cover photo for Max Burns's Obituary
Max Burns Profile Photo

Max Burns

Max Burns

Max Burns was born outside Kingston, Ontario in 1948 to Ida & Albert Burns and his three brothers: Greg, Wayne, and Lin. The Burns family moved regularly and Max lived in several towns in Southern Ontario, a stint in Montréal, and then to Mississauga. In his youth, Max got interested in cars, car culture, and racing, having dalliances with motorcycles along the way. He grew up entrenched in the 60s hippie culture in Yorkville, and with several of his friends played in a band they dubbed “The Original Dirt Banned”. Max moved in with Jackie and Justin in 1974 and while they lived in Rockwood, Ontario he attempted work in the corporate world as an accountant. As anyone who knew him would be shocked to hear, it wasn’t a good fit.

In 1979, Max, Jackie, and Justin moved to North Bay Ontario where Max rekindled his love for motorcycles. He took up writing about them for reputable and disreputable rags, such as Iron Horse and Cycle Canada. Eventually, Max grew to become an award winning writer, and he expanded to various other technical topics which required significant, precise research such as cottage plumbing, docks and butter tarts. Whenever possible, the research for these books and articles occurred via long winding motorcycle road trips, the windier and longer the better.

His writing covered a diverse set of topics such as riding a motorcycle with a VW engine through Brazil, and assisting the Egyptian government in writing their specifications for piers on the Red Sea. Max created Word Dust Press to publish his books, and there he wrote new books such as the best, twistiest roads to use when driving across Canada, short stories, and collections of his favourite columns that he’d written for Cycle Canada.

Outside North Bay, Max and Jackie built a house from scratch together, starting in 1989. It was finished in record time, only taking 30 years to be fully complete. In 2017, Max and Jackie finally bought a new, reliable campervan, giving Max something new to tinker with and a community of road trippers to connect with online.

He was a tinkerer, a maker, a curmudgeon, a racer, and a storyteller. He was a great many things to a great many people. He had the mind of an engineer, the spirit of an adventurer, and an acerbic wit. He loved, among so many other things, humour and chocolate and Jackie.

In the fall of 2023, Max and Jackie moved to Ottawa to be closer to Justin, Kym, and Ariel. Not long after celebrating his 75th birthday, Max became ill and wasn’t able to recover. He died peacefully at home with family, happy that the new doors and windows got installed.

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