Arthur Philemon Coleman, Canadian geologist, mountaineer and artist, obtained the degree Master of Arts (MA) in classics at Victoria University (then in Cobourg, Ontario) in 1879. He then proceeded to the University of Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland), to study geology and was awarded the degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in 1881. After travelling in Scandinavia and Switzerland he returned to Canada and taught geology at Victoria University from 1883 to 1891. In the latter year the university moved to Toronto, where he became professor of metallurgy and assaying. In 1901 he was appointed as professor of geology at Toronto, a position he held until 1922. He also served as geologist to the Bureau of Mines, Ontario, from 1893 to 1909.
Coleman published many geological papers, dealing among others with petrology, the Sudbury basin nickel ores, and the history of Pleistocene glaciation in Canada. He travelled widely, visiting Mexico (1906), Spitzbergen (1910), Australia (1914), South America (1915 and 1935), and other regions. He was an accomplished artist and some 300 of his watercolours are housed in the Royal Ontario Museum. He was also an enthusiastic mountaineer who played an important role in opening up the eastern Rockies to mountaineering and wrote a book on Canadian Rocky Mountains: Old and new trails (1911). His other books and monographs included Elementary geology with special reference to Canada (1922), Glacial and post-glacial lakes in Ontario (1922), Ice ages, recent and ancient (1926), and The last million years; a history of the Pleistocene in North America (1941). He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1910, and served as the society's president in 1921. He also served as president of the Geological Society of America in 1915.
Coleman became a member of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1897 and in 1905 visited South Africa to attend the joint meeting of that association and the South African Association for the Advancement of Science. He delivered a paper in Johannesburg on 29 August, "Magmatic segregation of sulphide ores", describing how recent mapping of the eruptive sheet with which the extensive nickel ores near Sudbury, Canada, are associated, has proved that the ore bodies are all segregated from the eruptive rock, of which they form an integral part. The same mechanism had long been admitted in the formation of magnetite and titaniferous iron ores. The next year he presented a paper on "South African iron ore formations", which was published in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada (1906, Vol. 12, pp. 49-54).