Ted Harrison (1926-2015)

It is with deep sadness that we announce that Canadian painter and children’s author/illustrator Ted Harrison passed away on January 15, 2015. Born in Wingate, County Durham, England, Ted was only two when his father first gave him a pencil and paper and told him to draw. In 1943, he enrolled in the Hartlepool College of Art where he studied art and design. However, his studies were interrupted by World War II. When Ted turned 18 he left school and joined the army.

When he was discharged from the army, Ted became an art teacher. He taught abroad in Malaysia (where he met his wife Nicky) and New Zealand (where they adopted their son Charles). After the death of his mother in 1965, Ted and his family moved back to England. A couple years after their return to England, Ted, Nicky and Charles immigrated to Canada where Ted would teach in Wabasca, Alberta. As a child he read books by Robert Service, where he learned about Canada’s far north and the gold rush. Shortly after moving to northern Alberta, Ted applied for a teaching job in Carcross, Yukon and got it. Ted and his family moved to the Yukon, and this is where Ted fell in love with the beauty of Canada’s far north. Ted was known for his brightly coloured paintings of the Yukon. Tundra Books published Ted ‘s Children of the Yukon and A Northern Alphabet, introducing young readers to Canada’s far north. Ted also illustrated The Cremation of Sam MCGee and The Shooting of Dan McGrew by Robert Service (both published by Kids Can Press). In 1993, Ted and his family left the Yukon for Victoria, BC, but he continued to paint the beauty of the Yukon.

Ted Harrison

You can learn more about Ted Harrison in A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison by Margriet Ruurs and Katherine Gibson, published by Pajama Press.