Tony was born in 1934 in Niagara Falls (Ontario). Starting in 1954, he studied at the Albright Art School, at the State University of New York, Buffalo, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in 1958. In 1955, he also attended the Yale Norfolk Summer School in New Haven. He became the first artist-in-residence at the University of Western Ontario, London, in 1960 and taught from1967. Urquhart then became full professor of Fine Art at the University of Waterloo (Ontario) in 1972, teaching drawing, painting and printmaking. He also served periodically as the head of that department until his retirement in 1999. Tony currently lives and works in Northumberland County, Ontario.
Tony Urquhart gained recognition early in his career as an abstract painter, exhibiting at the famed Isaacs Gallery in Toronto when he was only 22. He also exhibited with renowned London group that included Jack Chambers, Greg Curnoe and Murray Favro. Starting in the 1960s he also followed an independent path with his intricate 'box' sculptures. Throughout his career, however, drawing has been central to Urquharts art. Various authors including his wife Jane Urquhart, Michael Ondaatje, Matt Cohen and Louis Dudek have chosen his drawings to illustrate their books. He was one of the founders of CAR/FAC (Canadian Artists Representation), that successfully established a fee structure for public museum and gallery exhibitions of contemporary artists. Tony Urquhart was named to the Order of Canada in 1995.