This book tells the true story of one of Canada's greatest artists, Tom Thomson, who
painted sixty-two landscapes on small wood panels during the last spring of his life -- a
daily record of the season's change from winter to spring in Ontario's magnificent
Algonquin Provincial Park in 1917. Much has since been learned since its publication in
2005 as disclosed in the Essays available on the links to the left side of this page.;
All of these panels and all of his personal property were missing upon his drowning in the
park's Canoe Lake on July 8, 1917. Thomson's body was not recovered until eight days
later. It was hastily examined by a vacationing physician and buried the next day but also
hastily exhumed a day later and his sealed-steel casket reburied on July 21, 1917, in the
family plot in Leith, Ontario. In 1956, his grave site at Canoe Lake was dug up and a
skeleton found. Medical investigation found that the body was not that of Tom Thomson
but a native Indian.
Algonquin Elegy: Tom Thomson's Last Spring is the story of Tom Thomson's last spring.
This non-fictional novel is the most thorough ever investigated, documented and reported
about the drowning of Tom Thomson, an icon of Canadian culture -- whose painting hang
in the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, McMichael Canadian Art
Collection, Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery and elsewhere and also appear
everywhere across the country on stamps, posters and calendars. Schoolchildren across
Canada are routinely offered his works as the high point of Canadian art, an historic
anchor that has tied Canada to its sense of northernness.
This book appeals to anyone interested in love and art, life and death, mystery, romance,
history, Algonquin Park, whitewater rivers or canoeing. One reviewer says that while Tom
Thomson captured Algonquin Park in his painting that Neil J. Lehto does so in his writing.
High praise, indeed!
Algonquin Elegy: Tom
Thomson's Last Spring