He began his journalism career with newspapers in Belleville and Trenton, the Belleville Intelligencer and Trentonian, respectively. In 1951, he began his broadcasting career in radio in the city of Belleville, Ontario, working at CJBQ. From this start he moved to CKTB radio in Saint Catharines, Ontario in 1953. After 12 years at CKTB he left in 1964 to try for a job at a different station.
He failed to obtain this job, so Bonisteel moved into religious broadcasting.
(Canadian broadcasting regulation at the time required radio stations to broadcast religious shows) His efforts led this show to be syndicated across Canada. This then led to a position as director of broadcast for the United Church in Vancouver in 1965.
He received an appointment as head of ecumenical radio operations for the Anglican, Roman Catholic and United churches, in Vancouver, the first person to have such an assignment. Bonisteel started a religious open-line radio program titled God Talk on CKWX, with a panel consisting of Review
Walter Donald, French John Shields and Review
Jack Shaver with the occasional guest. In 1967, Bonisteel met Leo Rampen, an executive producer at Canadian Broadcasting Company Television. Rampen was looking for a host for Manitoba Alive, a new series that would explore man"s religious dimensions, and chose Bonisteel for the job.
In the next 22 years, Bonisteel would go on to interview Malcolm Muggeridge, Elie Wiesel, Mother Teresa, 14th Dalai Lama, Hans Küng and many others
Memorable shows include broadcasts from Belfast (1974), Africa (1975), and (the story of May, Joe and Leslie Lemke). He summed up his philosophy in a speech at the 80th anniversary celebration of Grace United Church in Weyburn, Saskatchewan: "We are moulded into a materialist world where we do a lot of eating, drinking and making merry until we ask the basic questions "Who am I? Where am I going? What is our purpose in life?"".
After retiring from journalism, Bonisteel served as a citizenship judge for seven years. In 1999 and 2000, Bonisteel served as director of journalism and communication at the University of Regina.
Bonisteel died the morning of 16 August 2013 from cancer at his home in Johnstown, Quinte West Ontario.
He was 83.