Illustration in Canada began slowly, recording the geography and population of a fledgling country. As technologies improved, and as literacy grew, illustration flourished to meet a wide range of goals.

Illustration can be defined as imagery created to be reproduced, often with accompanying text, and can be more challenging to create than artwork produced exclusively from the artist’s imagination. Rather illustration comprises specific assignments, bound by deadlines, client demands, and the constraints of materials.

This exhibition focuses on imagery produced for consumption by the Canadian public from the late nineteenth century to the 1950s. During this period, illustration work supported many artists. Often derided as a lesser or "applied" field of expression, this exhibition celebrates illustration as an equally fruitful creative endeavour. It is a tremendous resource highlighting the talent and versatility of artists, the ways in which communities view themselves, and how society and culture changes.

The exhibition includes drawings and prints by Canadian artists such as Franklin Carmichael, J.E.H. MacDonald, Thoreau MacDonald, A.Y. Jackson, C.W. Jefferys, Clarence Gagnon, Clare Bice, and many others.