I feel that I really must point out a glaring omission here. It seems that almost everyone recognizes the name of Yosuf Karsh but nobody remembers his brother. Malak Karsh was every bit as important a figure in Canadian photography but never got the recognition that his brother did. If you visit Canada's capitol city, Ottawa, when you get off the aircraft and walk up the hallway to get your bags, the walls are lined with a large collection of Malak's work - pictures of many different Canadian cities and people doing lots of Canadian things like hockey, ice sculpture, festivals, farmingetc.. It is a wonderful glance of Canadian life in general and totally appropriate for the capitol. It has been a part of the airport for at least 20 years now - when they built the new terminal they moved that collection so that it would still serve the same funtion to arriving passengers ( I was very happy to see that) If you look closely at any one of those pictures you will notice that the signature is simply "Malak". I think that this was because he got so sick and tired of people saying to him things like: "Malak Karsh, hey... your not related to Yosuf Karsh are you ??" as I did once myself to my eternal regret.
The picture of Ottawa that used to be on the back of the One dollar bill was taken by Malak as well, and to this day the coffee table books and collections of Canadiana type tourist books that are sold at all Canadian ports are mostly all his work. He illustrated what was great about this country and got very little recognition for it and his brother took pictures of famous people from every where else.
Malak was also quite the gentleman - I had an enjoyable afternoon once showing him around Yellowknife
One photographer not mentioned so far is Nicholas Morant. For 40 years he photographed for the CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) except for the war years when he was attached to the Canadian Government. Being based in Western Canada (Banff, ALberta) alot of his photographs are of the mountains and trains. Attached are links to his war time photos as well as other Canadian photographers as well as a photo of the famous Morant's Curve by Les McLean outside of Lake Louise in the Banff National Park. In 2003 after he had passed away, 23,000 photographs were donated to the Whyte Museum in Banff.
There are lots of great Canadian photographers other than the mostly dead ones mentioned here. I'm surprised only one person mentioned the "Vancouver School" (Jeff Wall, Ken Lum, Stan Douglas, Rodney Graham, etc). These people did a lot in terms of putting the medium photography on the map in the art world back in the 80s. For more recent stuff, I'd recommend checking out Janieta Eyre, Carlos and Jason Sanchez, Ed Burtynsky, Jakub Dolejs, Kevin Schmidt.
A lot of galleries around Toronto show contemporary art photography. Unfortunately if you want to see the work of more established people like Jeff Wall, your best bet is to travel to Europe or the USA.
I'd be hard pressed to name 2o "famous" Canadian photographers myself. Many of the better "Canadian" photographers are, in fact, not Canadian at all. i.e Karsh, like you say, was Armenian. Geoffrey James is British, Clara Gutsche, David Miller and Lynne Cohen are American, Gabor Szilasi is from Budapest etc...
Canadians? I can think of Jeff Wall, Robert Bourdeau, Edward Burtynsky, Gregory Colbert may not be the most famous of them (yet) but he is certainly the richest Canadian photrographer selling is work for up to $350,000 a print!
Attached are links to his war time photos as well as other Canadian photographers as well as a photo of the famous Morant's Curve by Les McLean outside of Lake Louise in the Banff National Park. In 2003 after he had passed away, 23,000 photographs were donated to the Whyte Museum in Banff.
Thanks for the link to Les's picture. When Les came to Canda in 2003 and gave a workshop each of us took him out for a day to our favourite places, and I took him to Morants curve and we made that photo.
I knew Nick before he passed away, and he was a great person to know, very modest about his work.