Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday July 8, 2017
Tom Thomson on the 100th anniversary of his death
On a rocky, windswept point jutting into Canoe Lake, up a little trail in a sunny clearing, a modest cairn stands next to a gaudy totem pole. One hundred years ago, a troop of artists and admirers, led by the Group of Seven’s J.E.H. Macdonald, paddled to this very point to erect the memorial to their dead friend, the “artist, woodsman and guide,” Tom Thomson.
He lived humbly but passionately with the wild. It made him brother to all untamed things of nature. It drew him apart and revealed itself wonderfully to him. It sent him out from the woods only to show these revelations through his art. And it took him to itself at last. — Excerpt from the inscription on the Tom Thomson Memorial Cairn on Canoe Lake
It was here in Algonquin Provincial Park where Thomson found himself as an artist, setting out with his cedarstrip canoe and paint kit to collect inspiration for masterpieces such as “The Jack Pine <https://www.aci-iac.ca/tom-thomson/key-works/the-jack-pine>” on protracted backcountry sketching trips he began taking in 1912.
And it was here, at Hayhurst Point, where Thomson most loved to pitch his canvas tent, with the wind keeping off the bugs and the cool, murky water shimmering below; then, at night, the lights of the now-abandoned town of Mowat sparkling across the lake; a beer and warm bed and body only a short paddle away.
And it was here, too, on Canoe Lake where Thomson’s bloated corpse was found on July 17, 1917. He had set out on a solo fishing trip eight days prior on July 8 — 100 years ago today. He was only 39. (Continued: Toronto Star)