Tom Thomson
Artist, Drowned

Tom Thomson Drowns
While Canoeing on
Canoe Lake  

Tom Thomson, who was drowned in Canoe
Lake, Algonquin Park, July 8th, 1917, was the
son of Mr. and Mrs. John Thomson, 428
Fourth avenue east, Owen Sound.   He was
born in the village of Claremont, Ontario
county, and spent twenty years of the early
part of his life at Leith. He afterwards
attended college and then lived for five years
in Seattle, Washington. After returning from
Seattle, he lived the remainder of his time in
Toronto, and for some years worked at
artistic designing for some of the engraving
companies of Toronto. While engaged in this
line of work, he endeavored to develop his
artistic tastes along a high line and
commenced the study of landscape painting.
His love for nature, which was developed
through his early associations with nature,
caused him to choose this line of art. After a
time he devoted his whole time to the pursuit
of this wonderful and uplifting study. Every
year he went to Algonquin Park for six
months. Here he went far into the wilds,
traveling at times by way of canoe and at
other times on foot and often entirely alone,
so that he could study nature in its different
aspects. He was with nature so much that he
became a part of it and this enabled him to
paint just what he felt. In the winter months
he enlarged his sketches and he had a
wonderful collection in his studio in
Rosedale, Toronto. His work was steadily
growing in esteem and he had a very bright
future before him. His pictures were steadily
sought for, for the collections of the Ontario
and Dominion governments. He had a bright
a cheerful disposition and was filled with
kindness for all. He was loved by all who
knew him. Those who are left to mourn his
loss are his father and mother, George of
New Haven, Mrs. T. J. Harkness of Annan,
Henry and Ralph of Seattle, Mrs. W. H. Henry
and Mrs. James Henry of Gurnsey,
Saskatchewan, Fraser of Prince Albert and
Margaret of Timmins. The body,
accompanied by Mr. George Thomson, is
expected in Owen Sound at noon on Friday,
and in this case, the funeral, which is to be
private, will leave his father's residence
Friday afternoon. The remains will be interred
in Leith cemetery.


1. The Thomson home was actually located
at 528 Fourth Avenue East.

2. The obituary's mention of the funeral as  
private casts serious doubt on some later
biographers who said that many family and
friends attended a  funeral service at the
Knox United Church in Owen Sound on July
21, with a procession stretching for several
blocks from there to Leith.
See, e.g., Chapter
11 of William T. Little's
The Tom Thomson

3. A reviewer of
Algonquin Elegy has noted
that the Knox congregation in Sound Owen
was Presbyterian in 1917. It did not join the
United Church of Canada until 1925.  This
verifiable fact suggests that Judge Little
fabricated parts of Chapter 11 because, for
example,  he says the Rev. A. D. Cornett,
M.A., B.D., Minister, made a note regarding
Thomson's death in records of the Knox
United Church on July 21, 1917. I have more
to say about this in another essay here, "A
Few More Little Falsehoods."
Thomson's Owen Sound Times
Obituary of July 20, 1917