The collection consists of correspondence, sketches, art supply receipts, artifacts (including an autographed Wayne Gretzky New York Rangers jersey), photographs, clippings, scrapbooks, contracts, financial documents, activism work, exhibition catalogues, insurance policy information, completed artwork, scrapbooks, design submissions, administrative documents, and memorabilia. The fonds has personal items as well as items related to the operation of Mill Studios (formerly Ken Danby Studios) and items found when he acquired the Armstrong Mill Property.
Ken Danby was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario on March 6, 1940, the second son of Gertrude and Edison Danby. Danby enrolled in the Ontario College of Art in 1958. In 1963, after working a variety of art related jobs over the previous three years, arranged to review his work with gallery owner Walter Moos of Toronto. In 1964, Gallery Moos presented Danby's first one-man show, which promptly sold out and sparked a life-long business relationship with Moos.
Danby became a well-respected and recognized realist painter and became one of Canada's best known artists. Danby was a supporter of environmental causes and became heavily involved in the N4 Landfill site in the 1990s, the restoration of the Guelph Carousel, First Nations relations, a member of the Canada Council for the Arts, and Parks Canada.
Danby became a member of The Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada in 2001.
Ken Danby passed away on September 23, 2007 while canoeing in Algonquin Park.
Notable works of Danby’s include a portrait of Pierre Elliott Trudeau (featured on Time Magazine’s cover in 1968), “At the Crease” (1972), “Lacing Up” and “Poncho” (1973), 1976 Olympic sketches and coins, portraits of Gordie Howe and Terry Fox (1981), portrait of Gordon Lightfoot (1989), partnership with the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame to create portraits of inductees in 1990, “Trail 2000” (2000), “The Great Farewell” (2001), and “Stampede” (2006)