Inspiration Awaits in the Wake of Tom Thomson

On July 8, 1917 a canoe was found mysteriously abandoned on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park. The boat belonged to a avid outdoors man, fisherman, and park fire ranger. It wasn’t until days later that this man’s body was found floating ashore and by whom, we are still unsure? The unsolved mysteries surrounding this famous death still haunt the curious.

This canoe belonged to a young artist by the name of Tom Thomson (1870-1917). At the time of his passing, although he was a professional painter, he was relatively unknown. His early death catapulted his body of art work into the spotlight. In the year preceding his death Thomson explored Algonquin Park often. His love of the rugged Northern Ontario Landscape was expressed in each one of his works. He spent years on the shores of Canoe and Kawawaymog Lake in and around Algonquin Park.

And now each year we host an Art Retreat ( ) at our Nature Retreat Centre. The setting couldn’t be better, our lodge is located at the head waters of Algonquin Park, on the shores of Kawawaymog Lake, where some of Thomson most memorable works were created. This season the 4-day art retreat runs from August 7-10.

All of here at Northern Edge Algonquin look forward to this retreat each season. As Todd say “how could any Thomson admirer, not wade into discussion of the mysterious circumstances surrounding Thomson’s death in 1917?”. This is something we dig into year after year.

I think one of the things that participants love most about the weekend is sitting fireside listening to secret stories of Thomson, stories not known to others, stories of about meetings between Tom Thomson and conservationist Grey Owl, all the while enjoying fresh-baked dough nuts. As if they were here with the two back in 1916. They’ll also learn how Thomson originals were unwittingly destroyed on Kawawaymog Lake.

We love taking the group for a paddle out onto Kawawaymog Lake taking with us inspiration, fresh canvas, and paints spending the afternoons in the wake of Thomson, admiring the very landscapes that inspired him. “Sitting where Tom Thomson sat, it’s like being in a Group of Seven Painting, You don’t need much more than that” says Jen Daniels, art retreat facilitator (

For more information contact 888.383.8320 or [email protected]

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