A Brief Biography of Lewis Parker
Lewis Edgar Hyde Parker was born in Toronto in 1926, the eldest of 4 children. From an early age, he showed both a remarkable ability to draw and a high degree of self-direction in creating and completing drawing projects. By the age of 12, Lewis had amassed dozens of sketch books filled with people and storybook characters.

In 1939, Lewis enrolled in Toronto's Central Technical School. He then worked for 2 years as an apprentice illustrator for Toronto's Rabjohn Illustrators.

At age 18, Parker enlisted in the Canadian Army to serve in World War II, remaining overseas with the occupying army. He served as illustrator for the Maple Leaf, Canada's overseas newspaper.

Returning to Toronto in 1946, he formed a commercial art firm with Gord Laws and Bill Sherman called Sherman, Laws and Parker, a business focusing on visual arts in advertising. During this 10 year partnership, Parker developed a keen interest in past cultures. In 1950, Lewis Parker married Eleanor Derry, and they had 4 children, Craig, Christine, Leslie and Matthew.

While Lewis' interest in historical themes deepened, there was as yet no market in Canada for historical art. He began free-lancing, channelling his energies into editorial cartoons for the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, the Telegram, and Macleans and Chatelaine Magazines.

Once established in key venues of the Toronto art scene, Parker increasingly took work of an historic nature. In 1966, he was awarded 2 Canada Council Grants to paint the vanishing Mayan and Aztec cultures. He moved to Mexico for a year with his wife Eleanor and their 4 children, completing several historical works.
In 1968, Parker travelled with photographer Eugene Aliman to western Canada to paint the Plains Indians. The Huronia Council in Ontario then commissioned Lewis to devise historical paintings for Sainte-Marie- Among-the-Hurons. This inspired a collaboration with acclaimed painter Gerald Lazare to create the Huron Collection, 36 paintings depicting the life and culture of Canada's Huron Indians. This Collection can be viewed in the 'Selected Artwork' section of this site.

The National Film Board of Canada then sought Parker, in partnership with Lazare, for filmwork involving both the Beluga Whale and Plains Indians. Lazare and Parker joined forces again in 1972 to render a massive project for Ottawa's Museum of Man, representing the history of mankind inside 3 domes within the Museum, each measuring 16 by 75 feet.

Built on his now well-established reputation as an historical artist, Lewis continued adding substantially to the Canadian historic art scene. Projects included several murals of Maritme history for Parks Canada, stamps for Canada Post, and a memorial coin for the Canadian Mint. He illustrated innumerable books and educational texts, magazines, pictoral dictionaries and encyclopedias, and created several artworks for TVO. Parker also taught illustration at Humber College.

Lewis' final venture into historical art was a film project for the Cinera Series, depicting key figures in the revolutionary war. Researched with his daughter Leslie, this project was completed in 2003.

Living at the family cottage with his wife Eleanor, Lewis spent his final artistic years creating numerous watercolor and mixed media paintings. Lewis continued to sketch and paint into his late 70's.