01/16/2015 05:14 EST | Updated 03/18/2015 05:59 EDT

Ted Harrison, Canadian painter, dead at 88

Canadian artist Ted Harrison died peacefully in his sleep Friday morning in Victoria. He was 88.

Harrison was best known for his distinctive paintings of Yukon. He also designed the Yukon Pavilion at Expo 86.

"Today's a very important day for many Canadians to remember a great man," said Katherine Gibson, who wrote the biography Ted Harrison: Painting Paradise in 2009.

The son of a miner, Harrison grew up in Durham County, U.K.. He travelled and lived in many parts of the world, including Malaysia and New Zealand.

He began his life in Canada in northern Alberta, before moving to Yukon in 1968. He stayed there until 1993.

"During that time he discovered the Yukon Northern Lights and the wonderful people and community that he fell in love with," said Gibson.

"And of course the beautiful flashing lights of the Yukon informed the art that we love so much today."

Gibson said Harrison immortalized northern Canadian art.

"Most of all he teaches us through his art that there is joy in life, and if we want to we can just look at his paintings and see that."