WALKER John Henry
Born in 1831 in Ireland he immigrated with his family to Montréal in 1842. On January 1, 1849 he published the first edition of Punch in Canada, the nation’s first humour publication. He was only eighteen years old when he went into business as the magazine’s publisher and illustrator.
Walker drew a full page cartoon for each biweekly issue. He usually took his ideas from Canadian politics and his treatment was lively and imaginative. The subject of many of his cartoons was the popular movement to annex Canada to the United States, a movement he strenuously opposed. Brother Jonathon represented the United States in most of his cartoons but in October 1849 he drew a group of Canadian politicians as a group of naughty children attempting to pawn the British flag to a pawn-shop keeper entitled Uncle Sam. This was one of the first appearances of this figure in a Canadian cartoon following its debut in an 1834 cartoon in the United States.
Walker drew cartoons for many publications of the time including The Dart, The Jester, Diogenes, and Grinchuckle, both of which he published, The Canadian Illustrated News and l’Opinion Publique. Rather than signing his cartoons he drew a small walking figure.
He was a landscape artist and portrait painter and a master designer and engraver, designing many book and magazines. He died in Montréal in 1899.
The Hecklers. Writ. & Ed.., Peter Desbarates & Terry Mosher. McClelland and Stewart Ltd.,1979: 40- 41, 43, 253.