Fonds LA.SC131 - Fairlie Family Fonds

Identity area

Reference code



Fairlie Family Fonds


  • ca. 1894 – 1986 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

29.5 cm of textual records and graphic material
82 photographs
6 artefacts

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

The Fairlies were a prominent Canadian family who lived and worked throughout Ontario during the first half of the twentieth century.

Reverend John Fairlie (1844-1919) and his wife Hannah Waldrup Fraser (ca. 1847-1929) came from Scotland to Quebec in 1873, then to Kingston in 1900. They had nine children—four girls and five boys. One of their sons, Matthew Fraser Fairlie (ca. 1883-1944), attended Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. He graduated in 1902 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mining Engineering and moved to Cobalt, Ontario with his wife, Anne Louise Fitzpatrick (ca. 1881-1961) to work for Kerr-Addison Gold Mines Ltd. during the Silver Rush of 1903. They moved to Toronto in the late 1920s, purchased a house in Forest Hill, and adopted two children: Alan Fraser Fairlie (1927-2001) and Joyce Fairlie (1929-1956). Alan attended both Crescent School and Upper Canada College (ca. 1935-1948), two prestigious all-boys private schools in Toronto. Joyce attended Bishop Strachan School for girls (ca. 1935-?).

After attending the University of Toronto for Radio Broadcasting (1949-?), Alan F. Fairlie started a film company, Monarch Productions Ltd. He was commissioned to produce films for the Canadian Rugby team in Bermuda, the development of Giant’s Tomb in Penetang, Ontario, and various programs for CTV Television Network. He also shot and produced his own films documenting archaeological caves in Yucatan, his travels to Mexico, and footage in various countries throughout Europe. Alan married Snezana Susanne Popovich in 1962. They had two children: LuAnne Fairlie (1963- ) and Matthew Peter Fairlie (1966- ). Alan retired to Salt Spring Island, British Columbia where he lived until his death in 2001.

Archival history

Toronto-based artist Max Dean purchased the Fairlie materials at an antique market in Toronto. From approximately 1992 to 2012, he amassed a collection of over 600 photographic albums. After years of collecting albums from various places, Dean realized that he had more albums than he could properly care for. He allowed the Curators of Photography at the AGO to make a selection of albums, which he later donated to the AGO’s photography collection in 2012. The Fairlie collection is the largest concentration within the larger acquisition of 237 albums. The fonds was transferred from the AGO’s Prints and Drawings vault to the Archives and Special Collections in 2015; the 12 albums remain in the AGO’s photography collection.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

AGO credit line: Gift of Max Dean, 2012

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Fonds consists of materials created, received, or collected by members of the Fairlie family. This includes textual records, personal and professional correspondence, financial and legal documents, newspapers and articles, publications, posters and promotional material from Alan’s filmmaking career, as well as photographic material such as studio portraits, film stills, and a number of negatives depicting travel destinations and events.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


No further accruals are expected.

System of arrangement

The fonds has been arranged by the archivist following the original order of the creator where possible.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Open. Access to Special Collections is by appointment only. Please contact the reference desk for more information.

Conditions governing reproduction

Various copyright holders. Some material in this fonds/collection is in the public domain. Permission of the Art Gallery of Ontario is required for publication. Copyright belonging to other parties, such as that of photographs, may still rest with the creator of these items. It is the researcher’s responsibility to obtain permission to publish any part of the fonds/collection.

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Script of material

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Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

There are 12 photographic albums compiled and collected by the Fairlie family in the Art Gallery of Ontario’s permanent collection, donated by Toronto-based artist Max Dean in 2012. The administrative file also includes 7 photocopied issues of “Senior’s Scene,” a column that Alan F. Fairlie wrote for The Barnacle newspaper from 1999 to 2001; an acquisition report that was written for the collection by Associate Curator of Photograph, Sophie Hackett; and, and the Fitzpatrick/Fairlie family tree.

Related descriptions

Notes area


Source of title proper:
Title based on the contents and provenance of the fonds.

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Description control area

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Level of detail


Dates of creation revision deletion


  • English



Archivist's note

Prepared by Laura Gentili, 2015. Uploaded and adapted by Nirvana Chainani, 2019.

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