Holgate was born on August 19, 1892 In Allandale, Ontario. Holgate was a major player in Montreal’s art community, and at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, where he studied and taught. He also studied at the Art Association of Montreal, by William Brymner (who also taught A. Y. Jackson and later Maurice Cullen).
Holgate’s first exhibition was at the Arts Club of Montreal in 1922.
In 1930, Holgate was invited to join the Group of Seven, which technically made him the “eighth” member.
The National Gallery of Canada held a retrospective of his work in 1975. And later, in 2005, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts presented another retrospective of his work.
Edwin Holgate passed away on May 21, 1977 in Montreal, Quebec, at the age of 84.