Famous Canadian Artists & Painters

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Todd McFarlane

Todd McFarlane
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Famous As: Comic book artist best known as the creator of the popular Spawn comics.
Birthdate: March 16, 1961
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Calgary, Canada

Todd McFarlane is a Canadian writer, artist, comic book creator, filmmaker, and entrepreneur. Renowned for his artistic work on The Amazing Spider-Man, Todd became a comic book superstar during the 1980s and 1990s for his work on the Spider-Man franchise. As an entrepreneur, Todd McFarlane is credited with founding Todd McFarlane Productions and its subsidiary McFarlane Toys.

 2 Joe Shuster

Joe Shuster
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Famous As: Comic Book Artist
Birthdate: July 10, 1914
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died: July 30, 1992

Joe Shuster was a comic book artist best remembered for co-creating one of the most popular comic book characters, Superman. Throughout his life, Shuster was involved in several legal battles over the ownership of the character. He was inducted into Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1992 and 1993 respectively.

 3 Tom Thomson

Tom Thomson
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: August 5, 1877
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Claremont, Pickering, Canada
Died: July 8, 1917

Tom Thomson was a Canadian artist best remembered for producing some of Canada's most iconic works, namely The West Wind and The Jack Pine. Thomson's work has had a profound influence on Canadian art and he is often regarded as an unofficial member of the famous Group of Seven as he died shortly before the establishment of the iconic group.

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 4 Emily Carr

Emily Carr
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Famous As: Painter, Autobiographer
Birthdate: December 13, 1871
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Victoria
Died: March 2, 1945

Emily Carr was a Canadian writer and artist remembered for painting landscapes and authoring one of the earliest chronicles of life in British Columbia. Considered a Canadian icon, Carr was one of the first modernist painters to portray the spirit of Canada. In 2013, one of her paintings The Crazy Stair sold at a Toronto art auction for $3.39 million.

 5 Geneviève Castrée

Geneviève Castrée
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Famous As: Canadian Cartoonist
Birthdate: April 9, 1981
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Loretteville, Quebec
Died: July 9, 2016

Geneviève Castrée was a Canadian illustrator, cartoonist, and musician. She is best remembered for her book Susceptible, which earned her international success. A self-taught musician, Castrée went on to found her own music label in 2009 after releasing a couple of EPs. Geneviève Castrée died at the age of 35 due to pancreatic cancer.

 6 Bryan Lee O'Malley

Bryan Lee O'Malley
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Famous As: Cartoonist
Birthdate: February 21, 1979
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London, Ontario, Canada

Bryan Lee O'Malley is a Canadian cartoonist and musician. He is best known for his work in the Scott Pilgrim series. One of the most celebrated cartoonists of his generation, O'Malley has won several prestigious awards, such as the Doug Wright Award and Joe Shuster Award.

 7 Winsor McCay

Winsor McCay
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Famous As: Cartoonist, Animator, Screenwriter, Science fiction writer
Birthdate: September 26, 1869
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Canada
Died: July 26, 1934

Winsor McCay was an American animator and cartoonist. McCay is best remembered for creating the popular fictional character Little Nemo, who originated in a comic strip titled Dream of the Rarebit Fiend. Winsor McCay is credited with pioneering several animation techniques, such as inbetweening and cycling. An early animation pioneer, Winsor McCay’s work has influenced generations of illustrators and cartoonists. 

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 8 Agnes Martin

Agnes Martin
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: March 22, 1912
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Macklin
Died: December 16, 2004

Agnes Martin was an American painter whose style was often considered minimalism although she considered herself an abstract expressionist. Martin's work served as an inspiration to several younger artists like Ellen Gallagher and Eva Hesse. In 1998, Agnes Martin was honored with the prestigious National Medal of Arts. Her life and career inspired documentaries like Agnes Martin: Between the Lines.

 9 Rick Genest

Rick Genest
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: August 7, 1985
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Châteauguay, Quebec, Canada
Died: August 1, 2018

Rick Genest was a Canadian artist, fashion model, actor, and musician. Best remembered for his tattoos, Genest held the Guinness World Record for having 139 human bones tattooed all over his body. He even took part in various freak shows and sideshows across Canada and was nicknamed Zombie Boy. He died after suffering an accidental fall from his apartment's balcony.

 10 Domee Shi

Domee Shi
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Famous As: Director, StoryBoard Artist
Birthdate: September 8, 1989
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chongqing, China

Born in China, Domee Shi moved to Canada with her parents at age 2. Inspired by her painter father and, later, by her interest in anime, she made animation her career. Now a well-known storyboard artist and director for Pixar, she is known for projects such as the Academy Award-winning short Bao.

 11 Ernest Thompson Seton

Ernest Thompson Seton
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: August 14, 1860
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: South Shields, United Kingdom
Died: October 23, 1946

Ernest Thompson Seton was a wildlife artist and author. He is credited with founding a youth program called the Woodcraft Indians in 1902. A pioneer of the Boy Scouts of America, Seton also had a huge influence on the founder of the Scout Movement, Lord Baden-Powell. His life and career inspired several works of art like TV series and literature.

 12 Lawren Harris

Lawren Harris
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: October 23, 1885
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brantford
Died: January 29, 1970

Lawren Harris was a Canadian painter best remembered as one of the most important members of the influential group of Canadian landscape painters, Group of Seven. Harris played an important and influential role in shaping early modernism in Canadian art. He is also credited with inspiring and mentoring several modernist painters like Emily Carr.

 13 Norval Morrisseau

Norval Morrisseau
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Famous As: painter
Birthdate: March 14, 1931
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Greenstone
Died: December 4, 2007

Norval Morrisseau was a Canadian artist best remembered for creating works that portrayed the legends of his Indigenous people, the tensions between native European and Canadian traditions, and his deep mysticism and spirituality. Nicknamed the Picasso of the North, Norval Morrisseau is credited with founding the Woodlands School of Art and was part of the Indian Group of Seven.

 14 Barbara Parkins

Barbara Parkins
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Famous As: Actress, Singer
Birthdate: May 22, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Canadian-American actor Barbara Parkins was a 60s’ icon and is best remembered as Betty Anderson from the series Peyton Place and Anne Welles from the film Valley of the Dolls. The Emmy-nominated actor is now a wildlife activist and a photographer. She has also appeared in Playboy magazine.

 15 Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall
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Famous As: Art historian, Photographer, Painter
Birthdate: September 29, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Vancouver

Jeff Wall is a Canadian artist renowned for his art history writing and large-scale Cibachrome photographs. His large-scale images and other works have influenced the Düsseldorf School of Photography and photographers like Andreas Gursky. In 2002, Jeff Wall was honored with the Hasselblad Award. In 2008, he received the prestigious Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement.

 16 Rajiv Surendra

Rajiv Surendra
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Famous As: Artist, Television actor
Birthdate: 1989 AD
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Born to Sri Lankan Tamil immigrants in Canada, actor Rajiv Surendra initially studied art such as painting and sculpture. He is now best known as Kevin Gnapoor from the film Mean Girls. His book The Elephants in My Backyard highlights his failure to bag the lead role in Life of Pi.

 17 Brion Gysin

Brion Gysin
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Famous As: Painter, Writer
Birthdate: January 19, 1916
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Taplow, England
Died: July 13, 1986

Brion Gysin was a Canadian painter, sound poet, writer, and performance artist. Gysin was also known as an inventor of experimental devices; he is credited with inventing the Dreamachine, a stroboscopic flicker device. Brion Gysin's ideas went on to inspire the artists of the Beat Generation and other prominent personalities like Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Laurie Anderson, and Keith Haring. 

 18 Jean-Paul Riopelle

Jean-Paul Riopelle
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Famous As: Painter, Sculptor, Printmaker
Birthdate: October 7, 1923
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Montreal
Died: March 12, 2002

Jean-Paul Riopelle was a Canadian sculptor and painter best remembered for his abstract painting style. During the 1950s, Riopelle famously abandoned the paintbrush and switched to a palette knife to create paintings with a distinctive sculptural quality. Jean-Paul Riopelle went on to become the first Canadian painter to achieve international recognition since James Wilson Morrice.

 19 Suzanne Mallouk

Suzanne Mallouk
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Famous As: Psychiatrist, Psychoanalyst and Painter
Birthdate: September 10, 1960
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Orangeville, Ontario, Canada

Suzanne Mallouk ran away from her Canada home and moved to New York, where she took up odd jobs to finance her art career. She supported a penniless Jean-Michel Basquiat grow into a wealthy artist and became a muse for his paintings. She later became a practicing psychiatrist.

 20 A. Y. Jackson

A. Y. Jackson
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: October 3, 1882
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Montreal, Canada
Died: April 5, 1974

A. Y. Jackson was a Canadian painter who made an immense contribution to the progression of Canadian art. A founding member of the Group of Seven, Jackson was also known for his work as a war artist during the First World War. In 1970, A. Y. Jackson was honored by the Royal Canadian Academy with its medal for lifetime achievement.

 21 Bill Reid

Bill Reid
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Famous As: Artist who combined European and native styles in his jewelry, paintings, and sculptures
Birthdate: January 12, 1920
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Victoria, Canada
Died: March 13, 1998

 22 Sinn Bodhi

Sinn Bodhi
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Famous As: Professional wrestler, Actor
Birthdate: August 29, 1973
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Serbo-Croatian wrestler Nicholas Cvjetkovic, better known by her ring name Sinn Bodhi, gained fame with her appearances on WWE Smackdown! and WWE Superstars. He is an author, too, having penned books such as the Fred the Possessed Flower comic series. A skilled tattooist, he also owns a tattoo parlor.

 23 Toller Cranston

Toller Cranston
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Famous As: Figure Skater
Birthdate: April 20, 1949
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hamilton, Canada
Died: January 24, 2015

Apart from being a popular figure skater who won an Olympic bronze, a World bronze, and 6 Canadian championships, Toller Cranston was also a talented painter. He once supported his skating career by painting. Following his death, his twin brothers and sister fought a bitter legal battle over his estate.

 24 Rob Gonsalves

Rob Gonsalves
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Famous As: painter, illustrator
Birthdate: 1959 AD
Birthplace: Toronto

Rob Gonsalves was a Canadian painter whose magic realism style of painting enabled him to create works that sent out subtle messages. Apart from painting, he also produced limited edition prints and even created illustrations for his own books. Rob Gonsalves, who suffered from mental illness, took his own life in 2017. 

 25 Robert Bateman

Robert Bateman
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Famous As: painter
Birthdate: May 24, 1930
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Toronto

Robert Bateman is a Canadian painter and naturalist renowned for his realistic painting style that reflects his appreciation for nature. He is credited with establishing the Bateman Foundation, which aims at educating people on the prominence of human-nature connection. Over the course of his career, Bateman has been honored with several awards like Society of Animal Artists Award of Excellence.

 26 Franklin Carmichael

Franklin Carmichael
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: May 4, 1890
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Orillia
Died: October 24, 1945

Franklin Carmichael was a Canadian artist and one of the most important members of the famous Group of Seven. Carmichael also worked as an illustrator and designer, creating advertisements in magazines and newspapers, promotional brochures, and designing books. A multi-talented person, Franklin Carmichael also taught at the Ontario College of Art. His work influenced younger artists like Emily Carr.

 27 Kate Beaton

Kate Beaton
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Famous As: Comics artist and the creator of the comic strip Hark! A Vagrant.
Birthdate: September 8, 1983
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Nova Scotia, Canada

 28 Alex Colville

Alex Colville
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: August 24, 1920
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Toronto
Died: July 16, 2013

Alex Colville was a Canadian printmaker and painter best remembered as the pioneering founder of Maritime Realism. A war artist, Colville went on to wok as a teacher at prestigious institutions like Mount Allison University. He then focused solely on his painting career and exhibited at several art institutions like the Beijing Exhibition Centre and Tate Gallery.

 29 Hal Foster

Hal Foster
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 16, 1892
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Halifax Regional Municipality, Canada
Died: July 25, 1982

Hal Foster was a Canadian-American writer and comic strip artist. He is best remembered for creating the popular comic strip Prince Valiant, which is a fine example of Foster's dexterous, detailed artwork. His work had a major influence on the younger generation of artists like Joe Kubert. In 1996, Foster was inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame.

 30 Kenojuak Ashevak

Kenojuak Ashevak
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: October 3, 1927
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ikerrasak camp, Nunavut, Canada
Died: January 8, 2013

Kenojuak Ashevak is a Canadian artist best known as an important exponent of modern Inuit art. Ashevak, who is credited with inspiring several Inuit people to take up art, has been honored with several prestigious awards including an induction into Canada's Walk of Fame.

 31 Jon Rafman

Jon Rafman
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Famous As: Digital artist widely known for exhibiting found images from Google Street View in his online artwork 9-Eyes (2009-ongoing)
Birthdate: 1981 AD
Birthplace: Montreal, Canada

 32 A. J. Casson

A. J. Casson
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: May 17, 1898
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada
Died: February 20, 1992

A. J. Casson was a Canadian painter best remembered as one of the members of a popular group of artists called the Group of Seven. The youngest member of the group, Casson is renowned for his depiction of southern Ontario. He is also credited for developing a painting style with a limited palette and clear colors. 

 33 Michael Snow

Michael Snow
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Famous As: Film director, Painter
Birthdate: December 10, 1928
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Canadian avant-garde artist Michael Snow has also been associated with the development of the artistic scene in the US. Part of the structural film movement, he is best remembered for his experimental film Wavelength, which was a 45-minute movie on the events taking place in a room.

 34 Frederick Varley

Frederick Varley
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: January 2, 1881
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Sheffield
Died: September 8, 1969

Canadian painter Frederick Varley is best remembered as a founding member of the Group of Seven, a collective of Canadian landscape painters. Varley specialized in war painting and had accompanied Canadian troops as an official war artist during World War I. He later also visited the Arctic and the Soviet Union.

 35 Paul Kane

Paul Kane
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: September 3, 1810
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mallow, Ireland
Died: February 20, 1871

Irish-Canadian painter Paul Kane was known for his paintings of subjects ranging from Native Americans, missionaries, and landscapes, and his attention to detail, especially the jewelry and attire of his subjects. Specializing in portraits, he also later released Wanderings of an Artist, which was a collection of his travel experiences.

 36 Joan Erikson

Joan Erikson
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Famous As: American psychologist
Birthdate: June 27, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Gananoque, Canada
Died: August 3, 1997

Apart from being an educator and an author, Joan Erikson was also a dance ethnographer and believed that art therapy could heal a lot of psychological ailments. She also established a theater and art program to help patients develop psychologically. She also spoke about the importance of “play” in adult life.

 37 Miriam Schapiro

Miriam Schapiro
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: November 15, 1923
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada
Died: June 20, 2015

American-Canadian artist Miriam Schapiro experimented with minimalism, abstraction, and geometry and often expressed her own feminist thoughts though her art. Her best-known works include Anatomy of a Kimono, the sculpture Dollhouse, and her art inspired by Jewish heritage, such as Mother Russia. She was also skilled in creating femmage art.

 38 Matthew Wong

Matthew Wong
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Famous As: Landscape Painter
Birthdate: March 8, 1984
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada
Died: October 2, 2019

Known for his bold colors and mesmerizing landscapes, Canadian artist Matthew Wong was a self-taught painter. After making Facebook a medium to showcase his paintings, he bagged gallery exhibitions in Hong Kong and New York. Struggling with depression, he killed himself at 35 and failed to witness a hit 2019 posthumous show.

 39 Cornelius Krieghoff

Cornelius Krieghoff
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: June 19, 1815
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died: March 5, 1872

Dutch-Canadian painter Cornelius Krieghoff is best known for his depictions of the natural beauty of Canadian landscapes. His romanticized versions of American Indian and Canadian life were later imitated by many. His paintings of winter scenes, such as The Toll Gate and The Blizzard, are appreciated to this day.

 40 Ken Danby

Ken Danby
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: March 6, 1940
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada
Died: September 23, 2007

Best known for his realist visual images of everyday life, photorealist artist Ken Danby initially quit art college because of their focus on abstract art. He later mostly worked from his rural retreat near Guelph, which included a stone mill by the river. He died while vacationing in Algonquin Park.

 41 Bill Mason

Bill Mason
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Famous As: Naturalist, Artist
Birthdate: 1929 AD
Birthplace: Winnipeg, Canada
Died: October 29, 1988

Apart from being an award-winning naturalist, Bill Mason was also a filmmaker and an author. A canoeing expert, he penned several books on the topic, apart from creating the popular Path of the Paddle series of canoeing films. He also specialized in wolf documentaries, such as Death of a Legend.

 42 Paul-Émile Borduas

Paul-Émile Borduas
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: November 1, 1905
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Canada
Died: February 22, 1960

Canadian painter Paul-Émile Borduas is best remembered as a founder-member of the radical abstract group Les Automatistes, which focused on automatism, influenced by surrealism. Initially a church decorator in Montreal, he later studied art in Paris. He was later ostracized for releasing the social critique Refus Global.

 43 Joyce Wieland

Joyce Wieland
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Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: June 30, 1930
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada
Died: June 27, 1998

Initially a painter, Joyce Wieland later experimented with mixed media art and also ventured into filmmaking. Her themes were predominantly feminist. She also often used the Canadian national flag colors in her art, expressing her nationalist identity. She later became a cultural icon of sorts in Canada.

 44 Ernest Lawson

Ernest Lawson
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: March 22, 1873
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Halifax Regional Municipality, Canada
Died: December 18, 1939

The only member of The Eight who specialized in landscape painting, Ernest Lawson loved depicting winter and scenes from around Harlem and Hudson. Initially a draftsman at an engineering firm, he later studied art in Paris. He died after suffering a heart attack while on a morning walk on a Miami beach.

 45 James Archibald Houston

James Archibald Houston
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: June 12, 1921
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada
Died: April 17, 2005

Best known for introducing Eskimo art and life to the world, James Archibald Houston spent much of life among the Inuit community of Canada's eastern Arctic, teaching them skills such as printmaking and helping them sell their crafts. He has also authored several books, both for adults and children.

 46 James Reaney

James Reaney
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: September 1, 1926
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Stratford, Canada
Died: June 11, 2008

James Reaney was a Canadian poet, playwright, and professor. He developed an early love for literature and theater and studied English at University College, University of Toronto. He pursued an academic career while also focusing on his writing. He was the recipient of Canada's highest literary award, the Governor General's Award, thrice. He also enjoyed drawing and painting. 

 47 Claude Lafortune

Claude Lafortune
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: July 5, 1936
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Died: April 19, 2020

Apart from being a popular radio and TV host, Claude Lafortune was also a talented paper artist who inspired the documentary The Paper Man. Though known for his children’s shows, he also hosted many prominently Christian shows. The Canadian artist died of COVID-19 at age 83.

 48 Gilles Carle

Gilles Carle
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Famous As: Screenwriter, Director
Birthdate: July 31, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Maniwaki, Quebec, Canada
Died: November 28, 2009

French Canadian filmmaker Gilles Carle was initially a graphic designer at Radio-Canada and an author for various newspaper reviews. He also penned movie and literature reviews with poet Gaston Miron. Known for iconic productions such as 50 ans, he is remembered as a leading figure of Quebec’s cinema.

 49 Kazuo Nakamura

Kazuo Nakamura
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: October 13, 1926
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada
Died: April 9, 2002

A pioneer of abstract art in Canada, Japanese-Canadian painter Kazuo Nakamura is best known as a founder-member of the artists’ collective Painters Eleven. Fond of simplicity and monochrome, he also experimented with science and symmetry. He had survived a British Columbia internment camp as a teenager during World War II.

 50 William Ronald

William Ronald
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: August 13, 1926
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Stratford, Canada
Died: February 9, 1998

The man who established the abstract artists’ group Painters Eleven, Canadian painter William Ronald is largely credited with introducing abstract expressionism to Canada. He had also been a journalist, a TV host, and a columnist. He suffered a heart attack while painting and passed away shortly.