July 18, 1917: TORONTO ARTIST DROWNS IN NORTH

Toronto Globe, July 18, 1917

Body of Tom Thomson Found in Canoe Lake, Algonquin Park

MISSING NINE DAYS
Standing as Landscape Painter Was High – To be Buried in Park

The mystery surrounding the disappearance of Mr. Tom Thomson, the Toronto artist at Canoe Lake, Algonquin Park on Sunday July 8, was solved yesterday by the finding of his body. Word which reached the city last night indicated that he had been drowned. His canoe was found adrift a few hours after Mr. Thomson was last seen and the fate of the artist was a mystery until yesterday’s gruesome discovery. His brother, Mr. George Thomson of New Haven, Conn., also a painter, who had been visiting the family at Owen Sound last week when the news first came, went to the scene and joined for a time in the search. The body, it was stated in last night’s telegrams, will be buried in Algonquin Park, which had been the artist’s happy sketching ground for years.

AN ARTIST OF CHARM

Mr. Thomson, who was about forty years of age, was a landscape artist of rare charm and promise. His work steadily grew in esteem among art lovers for it represented on who not only saw, but felt and understood nature in her varied moods. His pictures were steadily sought for the collections of the Ontario and Dominion Governments.

A CRITIC’S TRIBUTE

“Critics”, said Eric Brown in a recent article in the The London Studio, “look to him to carry forward the Canadian Landscape painting far beyond anything at present realized. Wandering alone the best part of the year in Algonquin Park, inured to hardship and reputed the best guide, fisherman and canoe man in the district, he lives with these wonderful seasons and they live by him. Here, again, is the decorative sense strongly developed and visible in every composition. There is no loss in character; the northland lies before you, whether it is a winding river fringed with gaunt black pines, or whether the green blocks of melting ice float on blue liberated waters of the lake.”

July 18, 1917 Letter from Shannon Fraser to John Thomson

Best Trout Fishing in Ontario
Several good Bass lakes
A FAMILY RESORT

Mowat P.O., Ontario July 18, 1917

Mr John Thomson
Owen Sound

Dear Sir:

We found your son floating in Canoe Lake on Monday moring about nine o clock in a most dreadful condition the flesh was coming of his hands. I sent for the undertaker and they found him in such a condition [illegible] he had to be buried at once he is buried in a little grave yard over looking Canoe Lake a beautiful spot. The Dr found a bruse over his eye and thinks he fell and and was hurt and this is how the accident happend.

Yours Truly
J. S. Fraser

Regulations Concerning the Transport of Bodies

The regulation applies to badly-decomposed bodies as well…

By order of the Provincial Minister of Health, 1916

The body of anyone who has died of bubonic plague, smallpox, asiatic cholera, typhus fever, scarlet fever or any communicable disease in respect of which the Minister of Health may declare by regulation this regulation to be applicable shall not be transported by railway, boat or other conveyance within the Province or beyond it, unless all orifices of the body have first been blocked with absorbent cotton, the body itself wrapped in a sheet saturated with a strong disinfectant fluid, and the body enclosed in metal or metal-lined coffin or casket that is permanently sealed to prevent its being opened and to prevent leakage.

These provisions shall be carried out to the satisfaction of the Medical Health Officer of the district concerned or other constituted authority, whose certificate to this effect shall appear on the outside of the coffin or casket.

July 18, 1917 Mark Robinson’s Journal

Wednesday July 18

About 1.30 am Martin Blecher Junior brought Dr Ranney and self up Joe Creek in yacht to Portage from where we walked to Joe Lake Shelter House arrived there about 2.30 am up at 6 am and Dr. Ranney took train to North Bay I met trains as usual. Later in day we S Fraser received telegram that a steel casket was being sent in and Thom Thompsons body was to be exhumed and taken out By whose Orders I am not at Present aware.

There is Considerable Adverse Comment regarding the taking of the Evidence among the Residents.