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David Blackwood was born in Wesleyville, Bonavista Bay, November 7, 1941. His father was Captain Edward Blackwood, and his mother was Molly Blackwood. Blackwood grew up in an out port populated with schooner and sealing captains. He spent his summers aboard his father’s schooner, the Flora S. Nickerson, fishing off the Labrador coast. He also spent some time on Bragg’s Island with his grandparents. When he was fifteen, he fished out of Wesleyville with his own boat and lobster traps.
in opened up his own art studio in 1956, where he painted during the winter months and then he sold his work to visitors during the summer. A naturally talented artist, Blackwood’s artwork won him several awards. As a result, he received a scholarship to attend the Ontario College of Art in 1959, and had work purchased by the National Gallery of Canada by the time he was twenty-three.
Blackwood taught art at Trinity College School in Port Hope Ontario where he still lives. He held the position of first Artist-in-Residence at Erindale College, University of Toronto, Mississauga where a gallery was opened in his honour in 1992. He has been awarded two honorary degrees, a Doctor of Laws from the University of Calgary and a Doctor of Letters from Memorial University in St John’s. In 1993, Blackwood was awarded the Order of Canada.