I attended the opening of the exhibit of Frédéric Back at the Alliance Française de Toronto last night. I highly recommend it to anyone who can attend. Back's artwork is exquisite and I was surprised at how small and delicate much of it is. Many scenes were animated with characters fitting into a 5 field or 6 field. It takes great control (and courage) to work that small knowing that the art will eventually fill a theatre screen. You can find details here on the various Back exhibits currently in Toronto.
It also got me to thinking about the nature of animation in Canada. Are there many animators born and educated in Canada who did their most successful work here? During the glory years of the NFB (the 1940s-'70s), a great many NFB artists were immigrants to Canada: Norman McLaren, Kaj Pindal, Caroline Leaf, Ishu Patel, Lotte Reiniger, etc. During those decades, there was no animation education available that I'm aware of.
Since the '70s, there has been animation training available and certainly there has been a thriving commercial business. However, there has yet to be a break-out hit animated feature or TV series to originate in Canada. Dozens, and probably hundreds, of Canadian artists have worked on successful and award winning films made in the U.S.
So my question (and it's not rhetorical) is whether there are any Canadian animators who have done their most successful work while in Canada. Grant Munro of the NFB is one possible answer. I'd be curious to know if there are others.