DROWNED IN NEW ONTARIO, The Globe, June 29, 1904

Neil McKechnie, Artist, of Toronto.

Fatal Canoe Accident Near Fort Metagami – Deceased Was Member of Graphic Arts Club – The Body May Not be Recovered.

Telegrams received in the city yesterday by Mr. Thos. Southworth, Commissioner of Colonization, announced the death by drowning on Friday last of Mr. Neil McKechnie, a well-known artist of Toronto. Mr. Southworth’s first message merely announced the fact of the drowning, but a longer message, received during the afternoon, stated that about 10 a.m. on Friday a party in two canoes were shooting the rapids about five miles from Fort Metagami, a point on the height of land along which the new Grand Trunk Pacific will cross Ontario. A small canoe was leading, in which were Mr. T. W. Maclean, a comrade of McKechnie’s, and two rangers. In the big canoe were McKechnie, in the bow; A. E. Robillard, a ranger, in the centre, and Herbert Southworth, son of Mr. thos. Southworth, in the stern. The big canoe struck something, was capsized and all three men thrown into the water. Southworth shouted to his companions to cling to the upturned canoe, which was large enough to bear all their weights. Either McKechnie did not hear or understand the call, or, as he was a splendid swimmer, he may have decided to try for the shore, towards which he struck out, but he was speedily overcome and sank. Every effort was made to recover the body, but so far without success. Two of the party started for Biscotasing, a small station on the C. P. R. line, the nearest telegraphic point, from which the messages were sent.

Even if the body is recovered it will not be possible to carry it to the city, owing to the lack of portage and the inability to secure even a plain deal coffin within 200 miles of the scene of the disaster.

Deceased, who was only 27 years of age, lived with his parents at 461 Givens street. After leaving for the trip he was appointed a fire ranger, but it is certain his appointment would not have reached him at the time of his death. He was a member of the Graphic Arts Club, and was employed by the Toronto Engraving Company. He was most popular with all of his acquaintances and a very clever artist. Last year deceased and Maclean had a prolonged canoe trip through the Abitibi district. Both were expert boatsmen.

Source: "Drowned in New Ontario," The Globe, June 29, 1904. Notes: Page 12

Return to parent page