Alfred Pellan was born in Quebec on May 16, 1906. At school, Pellan filled the margins of his sketchbooks and excelled in his art classes, with little interest in other subjects. In 1920, Pellan enrolled in the École des beaux-arts du Québec. He won first prizes in advanced courses and medals in painting, drawing, sculpture, sketching, anatomy, and advertising. He sold his first painting at the age of 17 to the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.
In 1957 he worked as a teacher at the Center d'art de Sainte-Adèle while living in his home in Auteuil, Laval, where he settled in 1950. His reputation continued to grow with Canadians. He became known through various exhibitions, solo or in groups, and he received commissions for murals, which helped to establish his fame throughout the country.
Several monographs and documentaries were devoted to him during his lifetime. He has received several awards and honors, including Companion of the Order of Canada. He was made a fellow of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.