Doris McCarthy was a great painter and a distinguished Canadian. McCarthy's contributions to Canadian art are impressive. She produced an unparalleled body of work, was the first woman President of the Ontario Society of Artists, taught some of Canada's most distinguished creative people, and was a mentor for many artists. A key figure in this country's art scene since the 1920s, McCarthy experimented with, and contributed to, major art developments throughout the 20th century.
As an art history teacher in mid-1900, McCarthy traveled the world to photograph and sketch; as an art teacher she explored the major new "isms" that emerged through the 50s and 60s; as a landscape painter she painted every province and territory in Canada and far beyond; as a sculptor and liturgical artist she created one of this country's most magnificent nativity scenes; as an author she enchanted her readers with candid tales of a young artist growing up in Toronto; as a practising artist she traveled extensively in search of new stimuli and mounted a major exhibition of current works each year. As a philanthropist she donated her home, and an endowment for its maintenance, to be used as an artist studio/sanctuary after her death.
For her continuing contribution to Canada's artistic community, Doris McCarthy received The Order of Canada; The Order of Ontario; 5 Honorary Doctorates and an Honorary Fellowship to The Ontario College of Art and Design. In November 1999, McCarthy was named the first Artist of Honour at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. On March 11, 2004 the University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus opened the Doris McCarthy Gallery.