Colin Graham was born in Vancouver in 1915. During a trip to Europe he became intrigued by the world of arts. Shortly after he began studies and received a Bachelor of Arts in 1939 from Cambridge. He continued his education at the University of California, in Berkeley and obtained his Masters in Art in 1949.
Graham took a position as a lecturer at the California School of Fine Arts. He then became Educational Director of the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, in San Francisco.
In 1951 he became the first Director/Curator of the Art Centre of Greater Victoria. He advocated for the growth and authenticity of the galleries collection contributing to the overall success of the institution.
In 1972 Graham retired from the gallery and pursued painting. His chosen subject matter was the agrarian landscape, especially the Saanich peninsula.
Among other distinctions Graham has received, an honorary LLD from the University of Victoria. In 1987 the Limners voted him president of their Group of Artists. He is also an elected member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.