[ Autumn Foliage ]

Autumn Foliage, Tom Thomson, Art Gallery of Alberta, 54.1, Oil on panel, 21.4 x 26.8 cm. Gift of Mr. R.A. Laidlaw, Toronto, 1954

Between 1912 and 1917, Tom Thomson visited portions of the vast, thinly-populated region known as ‘New Ontario’ — the part of the province lying between Georgian Bay and Ottawa — a number of times. Within this area is located Algonquin Park, created by the Province of Ontario in 1893. Thomson spent a considerable amount of time there during the last five years of his life. The material reproduced here should help you understand the environment Thomson was living and working within. You might find many of the activities that were going on in the Park are quite different than you expect.

The differences between your expectations of a park and what life in Algonquin Park was actually like in the first decades of the twentieth-century might be important to understanding what motivated Thomson to visit the area, as well as help you answer the question of how he died.