Friday, December 16, 2016

New Tom Thomson Canoe Photo: Pre Fire Chestnut Cruiser

2017 will mark the 100th anniversary of the death of Canadian Artist, Tom Thomson. Probably every Canadian in the art & canoeing world knows of Thomson's mysterious death on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park. Many books have been written, documentary films have been made, statues adorn town halls and local artists have added their own touch to Thomson's artistic legacy. 

Wood Canvas canoe enthusiasts have often wondered about Thomson's personal canoe, said to be purchased in 1915 from Chestnut Canoe Co. It has assumed to be a Chestnut Cruiser dating from before the 1921 Chestnut Factory fire and was distinctive in its colour - a slate grey colour mixed with one tube of the artists cobalt blue paint. Up until now, the only photo showing the canoe's graceful lines has been this one below, mistakenly dated to 1912 by some books.

However, a new website ( has put up a few newly discovered photos which includes a clear view of this canoe resting on a dock. The provided caption is below.

Thomson painted his canoe a distinctive dove grey, so it is easy to spot on the dock in front of Mowat Lodge. Proprietor of the lodge, Shannon Fraser is in suit. Across Canoe Lake, on the left, is Hayhurst Point, a favourite campsite of Thomson. The canoe disappeared after Thomson died. What happened to it is another mystery.

For another writeup of a pre-fire Chestnut Cruiser find, be sure to check out Andre Cloutier's post here.

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