Born in Montreal, Quebec, at the age of nine, he began working with his father as a marble stonecutter. His interest in painting was heightened by his travels and after becoming a member of the Plymouth Brethren religious sect, his devotion to Christianity was sometimes reflected in his art.
Hammond traveled by steamboat to China and Japan, but these influences are minimal in his art. Some of Hammond's best-known works are those of the Bay of Fundy and scenes from the harbor of Saint John, New Brunswick, with its omnipresent fog. The “Hammond Gate” at Mount Allison University was his project and bears his name. His home in Sackville was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1990
John Hammond died in 1939 at the age of 96.