Toni Onley was born in 1928 on the Isle of Man, where he received his early training and was influenced by the work of the great British watercolourists. He came to Canada in 1948. After moving to British Columbia in 1955, he studied in Mexico, at the Instituto Allende, and in London, England, where he studied etching and reestablished his landscape roots with the Norwich School of Watercolour painting.
Public collections of Onley�s work include the Tate Gallery, London, England; The National Gallery of Canada; Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; Vancouver Art Gallery; Royal Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England; and the Seattle Art Museum, Washington.
George Woodcock observed that what the artist �offers us are natural forms, transformed into images that commemorate their originals yet live in their own light. It is the art of a lyrical awareness transmitted by a hand that wields the broad oriental brush with swift and superb sureness.�
He was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.