CW Jeffreys

C.W. Jeffreys 1869-1951

I came across this historical building just outside my new office near the intersection of York Mills and Yonge in Toronto. It’s the former residence of one of Canada’s most well-respected artists: C.W. Jeffreys.

CW Jeffreys

Born in Rochester, England, Jefferys arrived in Toronto, Ontario (after living in Philadelphia and Hamilton, Ontario) with his family around 1880. After attending school, he apprenticed with the york, Lithography Company from 1885 to 1890. From 1889 to 1892 he worked for the Toronto Globe as an illustrator and artist. From 1893 to 1901, he worked for the New York Herald. Returning to Toronto, he became a magazine and book illustrator. Along with Ivor Lewis and other artists, Jefferys co-founded the Graphic Arts Club (later named the Canadian Society of Graphic Art), which by the 1940s became the primary artists’ group in Canada. As well, from 1912 to 1939 he taught painting and drawing in the Department of Architecture at the University of Toronto.

During World War I he was commissioned by the Canadian War Records department to paint soldiers training at Camp Petawawa and Niagara. [1]

Jefferys had an intense interest in history and his reputation rests principally on his accurate and meticulous portrayal of early Canadian life. The best known collection of his historical sketches is “The Picture Gallery of Canadian History”.

He was made a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.[1]