OTD: Artist Tom Thomson disappears in Algonquin Park

On today’s date in 1917, renowned Canadian artist Tom Thomson disappeared while on Algonquin Park’s Canoe Lake.

To this day, his death remains a mystery.

In 1977, Canada’s Post Office Department (now Canada Post) issued a se-tenant pair of 12-cent stamps (Scott #733-4) that reproduced April in Algonquin Park and Autumn Birches by Thomson, who was one of Canada’s best-known artists at the time of his death and a close friend of the painters of the Group of Seven. The stamps were printed by Ashton-Potter.

The Thomson stamp was issued as a se-tenant pair (CS #733-4), with another 12-cent stamp featuring his painting Autumn Birches.

In 1993, Algonquin Park was featured again on a Canadian postage stamp. This time, it was a 43-cent stamp (SC #1472) issued by Canada Post as part of its “Canada Day – Provincial and Territorial Parks” issue. The stamp was printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company on Coated Papers Limited paper.


On July 8, 1917, Thomson disappeared during a canoeing trip on Canoe Lake, where his body was discovered eight days later.

Algonquin Park was also featured on a 43-cent stamp (CS #1472) issued by Canada Post in 1993.

While Thomson’s cause of death was recorded as an “accidental drowning,” some people have challenged that claim since shortly after the famed artist was found dead in 1917. Both how he died and who found his body (as well as in what condition) remain a mystery.

While some people believe Thomson’s death was accidental, others suggest suicide and more still blame foul play as a result of an owed debt, a disgruntled love interest or his controversial opinions on the First World War effort.

To add further mystery, following Thomson’s death, there were concerns about whether his body was moved from its initial resting place.

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