It’s kind of weird that John and lived so close to one another for three years AND went to Renco nearly every day and only ran into each other once.

We ran into each other all over the place but it blew my mind that we didn’t meet up at the grocery store more often.

He told me during that one Renco meeting that if I found him again (at Renco), I could take his picture and write about him. But you know what… it never happened again.

So I found him at Craft Revival instead.

Look at this sharp dressed man!

John was born in Winnipeg and raised with three siblings. His family moved to Thunder Bay in 1963, joining grandparents who were already here and running an ice cream shop.

John, admittedly, had quite a wild youth. He loves regaling an audience with tales of debauchery from his younger years. And I’m not gonna lie… he has some great stories.

Would you just look at this baby punk? This was taken after a long night of partying in Toronto in 1986…

At one time, John owned and operated a little store on Park Avenue (from 1986 to 1993), selling clothing featuring his own designs, which were also sold in boutique shops across Canada. He has a great story about how The Tragically Hip once broke into his store, took some T-shirt’s and left him money and beer. Good grief!

John was featured on magazine covers too:

Here are some examples of John’s artwork:

A lot of these designs were printed one time and then never again, just one run of shirts. The T-shirt’s are hard to come by these days and are occasionally still found in the wild… like a fantastic value village find!

John lives a quieter life now, but is still making art. He has devoted most of his adult life to teaching art to others. He works with children in classrooms all over the city, with the Ontario March of Dimes, the George Jeffrey’s Children Centre, and more.

If you ever find yourself at an event with John, I guarantee you’ll want to hear a few of his stories.

Photo by Peter David Wragg

Thank you so much for bringing art and joy into the Thunder Bay Community, John. I enjoy your friendship so much!

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