Early Spring, Joe Lake


Early Spring, April 12, 1917

I spent the early part of the morning writing a letter of Jim MacDonald. I wanted to get it posted this morning so it gets on its way to Toronto. The main reason for my letter was to ask him to send up some paints. I’m not quite running low yet, but I thought I’d better ask sooner than later. I also needed some flyhooks from the shack. I only have three, and I want to make several new flies. The Brook trout will be biting in the open water soon.

I did my sketch down by Joe Lake. I stopped by the Colsons at the Algonquin Hotel. They’re the new proprietors now, and they’re busy getting the hotel ready to open in early May. It’s quite the venture for them. Ed and Molly ran a tight ship at the Highland Inn and they decided to strike out on their own. Part of their motivation to move on was the uncertainty what would happen at the hotel. With Borden talking of nationalizing the railroad, they might make a clean sweep of the staff of the hotels.

I also learned that Ed brought his older sister, Annie Colson to run the Joe Lake Outfitter’s store. Annie lived with Ed and Molly most her life. She took care of the family when their mother died. Annie is rather severe, a result of a tough upbringing, but she’s lovable with the kids. With grown men, that’s another matter.

When I came back, I dropped by Mark Robinson’s house. He was just getting off the phone with George Bartlett. Mark said he couldn’t believe he had a phone, as there were probably only three or four in the Park. Bartlett had the Ranger stations hooked up with phones, because he said he wanted to rule the Park like the Brits rule India – by telephone.

Letter to Jim MacDonald, April 12, 1917

Mowat P.O. Ontario April 12, 1917

Dear Jim,

I’ve been here at the P.O. for almost two weeks now. It’s been a pretty cold spring and there’s still lots of snow in the bush. I’ve made an arrangement with the Frasers that I’ll be able to stay here on account until July at least. I’ll be doing odd jobs to keep the expenses as low as I can.

The sketching is going well. I’ve been out every day. I don’t venture too far out, which I hope to do when the ice is out most likely in May. There’s more snow than I bargained for, so I’ve been using quite a bit of White. I’ll add a list to the end of this letter of things I’m hoping you can send up.

Mowat is getting busier each day. Shannon seems to have done a good job of convincing the consumptives to come in springtime. He’s quite the publicist – ‘Enjoy the Vista View While Recuperating In Comfort’ was his latest ad in the newspapers. As for us, Artists, we apparently enjoy the ‘Rustic Charm’, which means the rooms with the least heat.

I plan to keep the sketches here at the lodge. I am going to have a show here on Victoria day and should have about 60 or so by then. After, I’ll have them sent down, and put in the shack.

Please give my regards to Mrs. MacDonald and Thoreau.




I need a few more paints and Lawren said I could put in on his account at the store. As for shipping, please ask Dr. MacCallum, as he may have some proceeds from some sales.

– White – I’ll need several tubes. I used a lot painting the snow
– Red, Orange, Vermilion, Yellow, Alazarin
– Green – emerald, veridian
– Blue, it’s expensive so just one tube

Also, I forgot to pack my flyhooks. You’ll find about a dozen in the side shed, top drawer in the cabinet. Can you send those along too?