OCAD University mourns the passing of Daphne Odjig

Photo of artist Daphne Odjig with colourful fabric
Thursday, October 6, 2016 - 6:45pm

Legendary Indigenous artist Daphne Odjig has passed away at the age of 97 in Kelowna, B.C.

Odjig was one of Canada’s most celebrated artists, a painter and printmaker who mixed Indigenous symbols with Cubist and Surrealist images. She joined artists including Alex Janvier and Jackson Beardy to become part of what was known as “The Indian Group of Seven.” Her work drew attention to Aboriginal political issues including colonization, displacement and the status of Indigenous women and children.  

Her family, especially her stone carver grandfather, Jonas Odjig, encouraged her to explore art. In 1963 she was formally recognized as an artist when she was admitted to the British Columbia Federation of Artists.

Odjig is a member of the Order of Canada and recipient of the Governor General's Award in Visual Arts. She received a wide range of honours and recognition, including an Honorary Doctorate from OCAD U in 2008.

Ribbons & Roses: OCAD Remembers the Montreal Massacre

white ribbon campaign support
Friday, December 5, 2008 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm

On December 6, 1989, a twenty-five year-old man, armed with a semi-automatic rifle and a hunting knife, entered a classroom at École Polytechnique in Montreal , where he separated the male and female students. After claiming that he was “fighting feminism”, he shot all nine women in the room, killing six. He then moved through corridors, the cafeteria and another classroom, targeting women. In just under twenty minutes he had killed fourteen women and injured four men before turning the gun on himself:

Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student

Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student

Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student

Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student

Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student

Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student

Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique's finance department

Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student

Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student

Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student

Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student

Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student

Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student

Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student

The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women is a day commemorated in Canada each December 6, the anniversary of the massacre. Please join CAASA at OCAD, OCADSU, and Campus Life & Career Services for this special memorial and presentation on Friday.

White ribbons will be sold at this event. Proceeds will benefit the White Ribbon Campaign.

Venue & Address: 
Butterfield Park 100 McCaul Street, Toronto, Ontario

In memory of Brian Kipping, 1953 - 2007

Brian Kipping
Saturday, October 13, 2007 - 4:00am to Saturday, October 27, 2007 - 4:00am

Kipping graduated from OCA and has exhibited with Bau-xi Toronto and Vancouver since 1974. This show includes Brian's final paintings, many of which were inspired by a visit to the Louvre. The collection offers a unique insight into the late artist's method by showing the paintings in varying stages of completion.

Venue & Address: 
Bau-xi Gallery Toronto 340 Dundas Street West, Toronto, Ontario

Obituary: Alumnus Robert-Ralph Carmichael, designer of the “loonie”

Image of a monument to the "loonie" one dollar coin
Thursday, July 21, 2016 - 4:00am

OCAD University mourns the loss of Robert Carmichael who passed away at the age of 78 on Saturday, July 16 in Sault Ste. Marie, ON.

The painter and teacher is best known for his design of the one dollar coin, which he created in 1987 when the paper bill was phased out. Well over a billion loonies have been produced since it was introduced. His initials appear near the loon’s beak.  

After graduating from what was then the Ontario School of Art in the late 1950’s, Carmichael went on to Carleton University. He taught at several schools and universities throughout his career.  

The artist described the overarching them of his work as “the human condition, our relationship to the environment and our relationship to each other.)

Carmichael has exhibited throughout Canada including at the National Gallery in Ottawa, the Beaverbrook Gallery in Fredericton, the Glenbow Institute in Calgary, and the Tom Thomson Art Gallery in Owen Sound. His work is in many private and corporate collections. A monumental reproduction of the loonie is on display in his hometown of Echo Bay, Ontario.  

Carmichael is survived by his wife, artist and stage designer Gwen Keatley, who is also alumna of OCAD U.

OCAD University statement on Orlando shootings

Tuesday, June 14, 2016 - 4:00am

The OCAD University community is deeply saddened by the horrific mass shootings that took place in Orlando, Florida on Sunday, June 12. We extend our sincerest condolences to the victims, their families and friends, and all who were touched by this tragedy.

OCAD University abhors violence against individuals and groups based on religion, ethnic or cultural heritage, country of origin, skin colour, gender, sexual orientation, age, or any other identity. We recognize the profound and essential value that diversity brings to the creation, reception and circulation of creative practices and discourse. We believe that our community is enriched by a wide spectrum of knowledge and experience embodied in an inclusive variety of communities, philosophies and ways of knowing.

As always, OCAD University’s support services, are available to those who need it. Students may access support through our Health & Wellness Centre (6th floor of 230 Richmond Street West). Staff and faculty may access support through OCAD U’s Employee Assistance Program.

OCAD U extends an open invitation to all to drop in at any time tomorrow at Onsite Gallery’s Pride Month celebrations for an opportunity for safe community engagement. A vigil in support of the LGTBQ community is being organized by several campus groups and information will be shared when it is available.

OCAD University mourns the loss of Edward A. Charpentier

Monday, March 28, 2016 - 4:00am

The OCAD University community was saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Eddie Charpentier on Sunday March 20 at Toronto East General Hospital. 

Eddie was a valuable member of the Facilities, Planning & Management office and had been an employee for almost 25 years. He quite literally held the keys to OCAD U and was involved in everything from campus access to wayfinding and mapping. For many years, his was the first voice callers heard when they dialed in to our automated switchboard system. He was also a staff donor to the university.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to the Canadian Diabetes Association.


University community mourns the passing of developer Al Green

Monday, February 22, 2016 - 7:15pm

The passing on January 21 of businessman, philanthropist and artist Al Green was met with sadness by the OCAD U community, made bittersweet recently with news of increased support for this year’s Al and Malka Green Award. The award was established in 2000 to fund a top graduating student in OCAD U’s Sculpture/Installation program. Mr. Green was himself a sculptor, opening the Al Green Sculpture Studio School (also in 2000) and donating studio space over the years to struggling artists. That the award will increase in amount for Spring 2016 is incredibly meaningful, and allows the university to celebrate the legacy of a man described by Rabbi Michael Dolgin as “a force of nature.” For more on the remarkable life of Al Green, read the Toronto Star obituary.


OCAD University mourns the loss of friend and philanthropist Ernie Herzig

Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - 3:15pm

OCAD University friend and philanthropist Ernie Herzig recently passed away in Collingwood, Ontario. Mr. Herzig is remembered as a devoted supporter of OCAD University, where he studied sculpture in 1995.

With his wife Rivette, Mr. Herzig made several generous donations to OCAD U. These include gifts to the annual Whodunit? fundraiser and the Dorothy H. Hoover Library. The Herzigs also established the Ernie & Rivette Herzig Bursary to support OCAD U students who need financial assistance. In 2013/14, 18 students received aid from this endowed fund. One of those students, Cody Pope, said, “I am so grateful to receive this support. I am so incredibly thankful. The support has allowed me to concentrate more on developing my skills as an artist at OCAD U. Thank you for helping me realize my dreams!”

Mr. Herzig was a well-known Toronto printer and publisher. In 1965, he and Bill Somerville founded Herzig Somerville, a prepress company that supplied colour separations to the printing industry. An offshoot of that business, Mintmark Press, focused on printing fine-art books. Outside his business interests, Mr. Herzig had a long-standing passion for the arts. For many years, he was involved with the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, serving as chairman in 1980. For 40 years, Mr. Herzig was also a sculptor, showing his work at several galleries as well as outdoors, and in a one-man show at the Canadian Sculpture Society in April 2002.

The OCAD University community extends sincere condolences to Mr. Herzig’s family members and friends.

OCAD University mourns the loss of Associate Professor Wendy Coburn: Inspiring artist, compassionate teacher, fierce advocate for social change

Wendy Coburn
Friday, June 19, 2015 - 1:00pm

The OCAD University community, colleagues and friends, mourns the death of Wendy Coburn, tireless champion of students and faculty and a fierce advocate for social change and thoughtful action. Wendy was an accomplished and celebrated artist and devoted arts educator.

Her multi-disciplinary work in photography, sculpture, installation and video engages a range of concerns such as popular culture, mental health, gender, whiteness, nationhood and the role of images in mediating cultural difference. This extensive body of work has exhibited at international and national galleries and festivals.

As a professor at OCAD University Wendy mentored faculty and students alike and was deeply loved and respected. Wendy supported and taught all of us how to navigate the world of teaching and administration with beauty, grace, humour, integrity and intelligence. She left the office every day thanking her colleagues for their good work.

Wendy knew OCAD U inside out; her history with the institution has been a long one.

She entered OCA in 1984 as a third year advanced standing student with a foundation diploma from the Dundas Valley School of Art. Her nascent ability to merge hand, heart and mind were already evident and won her fans. At OCA she entered a cohort of peers who would go on to found the art collective Spontaneous Combustion. She embraced the mentorship and life long friendships of key faculty such Liz Magor, Colette Whiten and Ian Carr Harris. The qualities that led to Wendy’s student success and subsequent recognition through the Governor General’s Medal at graduation were deeply embedded in her character. She was inquisitive, fearless and believed deeply in an art practice that equally engaged materials, process, research, ideas and social values.

Graduate studies at Concordia University in Montreal and her evolving art practice in Toronto led to work at OCA, first in 1997 as a temporary office worker and the following year as a contractually limited teacher.  It was quickly evident that her organizational abilities, keen intelligence and dedicated work ethic gave her the skills to contribute uniquely and consistently as an administrator.  From 1998- 2007 Wendy fulfilled duties as the Assistant Dean in the Faculty of Art, first in an acting capacity and then in consecutive contracts. Throughout those years she combined complex administrative duties with teaching at all levels while maintaining an active studio practice.

Wendy’s early years as Assistant Dean are linked to a period of transition from the era of diploma to university degree granting. She worked on initial documents for degree granting status and went on to fine tune curriculum through program reviews and course development. She helped lead the Faculty of Art through the campus redevelopment SuperBuild and the impact of a double cohort during a period of dwindling resources and administrative restructure. Throughout her steady belief in the compatibility of theory, ethics, history and social justice alongside intuition, experimentation and creative voice set the bar and inspired her colleagues. Wendy’s deep commitment to her role as an Assistant Dean was also evident in her engagement with the development and oversight of much-needed student policies and support structures as well as a deep understanding of the management of human resources and its impact on the long-term health of the institution. In other words, Wendy cared deeply about people. She realized that people were OCAD U’s greatest resource as well as its legacy.

In 2007 she was appointed Associate Professor and awarded tenure. Even though Wendy stepped away from administration to give teaching and her practice her full attention, the school continued to tap Wendy’s expertise, leadership and vision to lead program reviews and participate in curriculum planning.

Working with Partners in Art, Wendy played a role in the early development of the Faculty of Art’s Nomadic Residency. Launched in 2007, the residency and lecture series brought innovative and diverse artists to work directly with students.

As a key participant in the creation of OCAD U’s Art and Social Change minor, Wendy developed the groundbreaking course “Making Gender: LBGTQ Studio” which seeks to foster a greater awareness and understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer cultures and subcultures. Visitors to OCAD U can witness her impact upon students by visiting the “Yellow Staircase Project” at 100 McCaul.

In 2013, Wendy was named the first recipient of the BLG Faculty Equity Award for her outstanding contribution to promoting an inclusive work and learning environment at OCAD U. In addition, she was recently appointed as a Fellow of the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto.

Wendy will be greatly missed. A scholarship has been created to honour her life as an artist, activist, teacher, mentor and friend.

— b.h. Yael, Simone Jones and Katherine Knight, with contributions from Michèle White and Caroline Seck Langill


Services will take place on Tuesday, June 23, 2015 at the Turner and Porter Funeral Home

2180 Hurontario St., Mississauga (QEW & Highway 10)

Visitation - 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  

Memorial - 7:30 p.m.









Wendy Coburn

Submitted by Andrew James Pa... on June 19, 2015 - 12:05pm

Wendy Coburn was a rare combination of compassionate and analytical. She was an activist with a wicked sense of constructive humour. She will be missed as she has passed far too early.

This came to me as a shock! I

Submitted by Charlotte Lung on June 19, 2015 - 12:52pm

This came to me as a shock! I admired her as an artist, and a professor. She taught me in second year and gave a lot of advice that really helped guide me. Even when I didn't have classes with her, I managed to see her around the school and catch up with the work that I am producing. She will be greatly missed -- Rest in peace.

She is missed

Submitted by Brent Everett James on June 19, 2015 - 1:09pm

Decidedly a veil of mourning over the OCAD U campus this week as we learned of the sudden passing of a dear colleague over the weekend. I was not the only one who had to stop and catch my breath after reading the news.

Professor Wendy Coburn was one of the first people I met when I came to work at Ontario College of Art & Design in 1997. Over the years, she always went out of her way to stop and say hello and ask how I was doing--with a smile and sparkling wink.

When I moved over into the new Campus Life department in 2006, and as the OCAD campus grew, we would run into each other less and less, but when we did, she never ceased to amaze me with the knowledge, inquiries, acknowledgement and incredible support of the programming we were working to create. In my experience, Wendy WAS the the epitome of charm and respect. She is missed.

Brent Everett James, Campus Life Coordinator

What we can take away from the best of a bitter truth

Submitted by Michele White on June 19, 2015 - 3:04pm

Referencing the thoughtful and caring tribute above:

"Wendy cared deeply about people. She realized that people were OCAD U’s greatest resource as well as its legacy." May we all strive to achieve this and be remembered in this way. What greater legacy?

May we all be led by Wendy's wisdom and beauty and this guiding principal.

I have shared with some of you words from the poet Adrienne Rich I'd also like to post here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4lFSddTaj8

Poetry can provide wisdom and solace. Wendy loved words. And we loved Wendy and her words. Her art and her heart.

She will be missed

Submitted by Sarah Mulholland on June 19, 2015 - 3:46pm

I was so shocked and saddened to hear of Wendy's passing. She is a treasure to the OCAD community and she will be deeply missed. My heart goes out to all those she impacted with her compassion and commitment. There is another star in the night sky.

I can't believe it

Submitted by Christina Halliday on June 19, 2015 - 4:36pm

I'm so sorry this has happened. What a wonderful, inspiring, strong woman. I feel grateful to have met and worked with her. Christina

Wendy's spirit lives on in so many of us.

Submitted by Lauretta Webb on June 19, 2015 - 5:21pm

As a womyn going back to school in my 50's it was such a challenge to fit in and not feel it was late in my life to do something with art. Wendy took the time to help me see what OCAD U was about as far as no age lines, that many artists came later to learn from OCAD U..etc. I loved her energy, very inclusive, inviting and empowering. Wow, I am sorry to hear that she is no longer here physically, but by these posts, her spirit will live on as those she touched will pass on a bit of her teaching, her fierceness in her art to be honest, and her positive energy

She was unforgetable

Submitted by Lori Clermont on June 19, 2015 - 5:47pm

She was so kind.

Gone Too Soon

Submitted by Pam Carriere on June 19, 2015 - 11:39pm

Wendy was my Form and Structure professor in first year. My scariest year (besides thesis)
She always pushed all of her students to make work that meant something, and taught always with a smile. Seeing her around the school and having her always smile and to see her say hello to almost everyone she saw, was such a powerful and positive experience.

Gone too soon.

Rest in Peace Wendy.
You will be greatly missed.

-Pam Carriere-

There are those of us who did

Submitted by Lois Andison on June 21, 2015 - 4:12pm

There are those of us who did not know Wendy as well as many others, and who never had to opportunity to teach with her, but are nevertheless inconsolable. She was a true gem.

so sad

Submitted by Francine Périnet on June 21, 2015 - 8:33pm

how sad to hear of the passing of such a strong and giving person. Wendy will be deeply missed by all who have had contact with her. I am thinking of all her friends and pass on my deepest condolences

so sad

Submitted by Francine Périnet on June 21, 2015 - 8:33pm

how sad to hear of the passing of such a strong and giving person. Wendy will be deeply missed by all who have had contact with her. I am thinking of all her friends and pass on my deepest condolences

I am shocked and saddened to hear this news...

Submitted by Annika (Sandy) ... on June 22, 2015 - 7:49am

I am just reading this this morning... and can't find any information on what happened to Wendy. She was definitely too young to leave this world. I am in shock. Annika

Wendy's Funeral location - Visitation - 6:00 & Memorial 7:30 pm

Submitted by Leslie Aston Hurst on June 23, 2015 - 9:53am

2180 Hurontario Street
Mississauga ON, L5B 1M8
Telephone 905-279-7663
There will be Visitation - 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm and a Memorial - 7:30 pm


Submitted by Blake Fitzpatrick on June 23, 2015 - 12:54pm

What a sad shock, to look back to OCAD and not see Wendy there. Always true to her true self, ethically in touch, a more trusted colleague could not be found.

Wendy's dynamism will be missed well beyond Toronto

Submitted by Carol Williams on June 23, 2015 - 1:35pm

Greatly saddened to hear of the loss of Wendy, a dynamic artist, vibrant intellect and activist. Wendy was a visitor here at UofL in Art Now not too long ago, she gave a great talk and her work including video Anatomy of a Protest was shown in the smaller gallery on campus, engaging all those who took time to view her work. She was a great colleague and clearly, an innovator as a mentor and teacher.

OCAD University mourns the passing of Joshua Peltier

Joshua Peltier
Friday, May 22, 2015 - 1:15pm

A former OCAD University student and a leader in the indigenous arts community, Joshua (Josh) Peltier passed away on April 20, 2015, in Sudbury, Ontario. Peltier was enrolled in the Faculty of Art from 1998 to 2003. Not long after completing his studies, he returned home to the Wikwemikong First Nation on Manitoulin Island, where he swiftly became a highly regarded painter, sculptor, educator, theatre director, actor and storyteller.

Since 2008, Peltier served as the head of the Visual Arts department at the Debajehmujig Creation Centre in Manitowaning, a community across the bay from Wikwemikong. The facility, opened by the Debajehmujig Storytellers in 2009, is a multidisciplinary creation, production and training centre. Peltier’s responsibilities included curating the centre’s gallery, as well as writing and directing theatre productions.

In addition to his work with the Debajehmujig Creation Centre, Peltier was also a member of The Global Savages. As part of this five-person group, Peltier helped to spread awareness in Canada and internationally of traditional Anishnaabe history, culture and traditions.

The OCAD University community extends sincere condolences to Peltier’s family, friends and community.