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A.Y. Jackson, ALC, CGP, G7, OSA, RCA, RSA (aka Alexander Young Jackson)

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A.Y. Jackson
Canadian, (1882–1974)
A.Y. Jackson is perhaps best known as a founding member of the Group of Seven. Although he hailed from Montreal, he possessed strong roots in Waterloo County. His mother’s father, Alexander Young, was the first Principal of Berlin Central School (now Suddaby Public School) on Frederick Street in Kitchener. His father’s father, H.F.J. (Henry Fletcher Joseph) Jackson, was a railway man who arrived in Berlin (now Kitchener) in 1853 to build the Grand Trunk Railway in Waterloo County. H.F.J. Jackson lived in Kitchener for 23 years, becoming co-founder and first President of the Economical Insurance Company. A.Y. Jackson’s parents were married in Kitchener.

The artist often came to the area to visit his relatives: the Clement family, and his two aunts, Miss Geneva Jackson and Mrs. Isobel Hayward. Geneva Jackson was one of four women who, starting in the 1920s, first worked towards founding a public art gallery in Kitchener. When that dream became a reality on 21 September 1956, her nephew officiated at the opening of the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery (KWAG) at its original location adjacent to a bicycle shed beside Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate & Vocational School (KCI). That evening, A.Y. Jackson presided over KWAG’s first-ever exhibition, a selection of works by his longtime friend and fellow painter, Tom Thomson.

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