Bonnie Leyton

Occupation: Owner of the the Leyton Gallery of Fine Arts. Artist. Mother of two.

Bio: This lively lady was born in Ontario, but raised in Vancouver, where she met her husband, the renowned serial killer expert Elliot Leyton. After having two kids, they went off to Ireland and England for five years, where Mrs. Leyton raised her kids and attended the London School of Art. After completing his graduate studies abroad, Elliot came to St. John’s to investigate a job offer from MUN. They decided that it might be quite romantic to spend a couple of years living here, so they packed up and moved. 40 years later, their kids are all grown up—one is now a professor of Neuropsychology at McGill, the other a musician in Ontario—but Bonnie and Elliott are both still here.

Since arriving, Mrs. Leyton became a potter and, in the seventies, opened up the very first craft gallery in town along with three other artists, called The Salt Box. After 10 years The Salt Box was sold and Mrs. Leyton spontaneously opened up the Leyton Gallery of Fine Arts. As a member of the Jewish community, she was also involved with the synagogue while her children were growing up.

Newfoundland seems to have an enormous amount of artists and musicians compared to the rest of the country. Is there something in the water?: “One of the most basic values on this island is creativity… and that has really been nurtured. This has always been a place where a sense of creativity and of who we are have allowed for a very distinctive sense of place and development.”

This past year was Come Home Year for the Jewish Community of Newfoundland. How did that go?: “[it] was very successful…the Jews came here at the turn of the century and started a very small synagogue. Newfoundland, historically, was also very generous after the second World War to people trying to flee terrible conditions in Europe…and it was amazing to meet these people who started the community and kept it strong.”

Words of wisdom: “Always keep an open mind. You never know what is around the corner.”

­— Sarah Smellie

2 comments

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