Born in the heart of Toronto in 1960 to Dutch immigrant parents, Dori Vanderheyden grew up in the multicultural milieu of the city. Her parents were hard working and determined to make a living and home in Canada.From a very young age she spent countless hours drawing.
After much success in high school art classes, Vanderheyden began her formal art education at the University of Toronto and earned her Honours BFA in 1984.
With school finished she began to paint seriously, exploring the oil medium, new subjects, and personal style. She shared studio space with a co-op group of artists in the King and Dufferin area. It was a unique experience with exposure to many different personalities and artistic expressions. Living in the highly charged, neo-expressionistic world of the mid 1980ís, she was influenced by artists such as Renee Van Helm, Noel Harding, Joanne Todd, Eric Fischl, and the art groups Fast Worms and General Idea. Vanderheyden showed steadily at various Toronto galleries throughout the 80ís.
In 1989, Vanderheyden returned to the University of Toronto, completing a Bachelor of Education. In 1990 she began her teaching career, Visual Arts at the secondary level. Teaching gave her new insights into techniques and materials and she continued to push her own art in new directions. The 1990ís were a very busy and productive time. She taught full time, raised 2 children and continued to create.
In 2001, Dori decided to focus full time on painting and drawing. She has been producing new original works and exhibiting regularly.