100 years ago today, legendary Canadian artist Tom Thomson embarked on his last trip from Toronto to Algonquin Park.
Now art enthusiasts and history buffs can follow along in real time, thanks to an Ottawa man who has recreated Thomson’s final months on Twitter.
Tim Bouma runs the account @TTLastSpring and the blog Tom Thomson’s Last Spring. He first began documenting Thomson’s final spring in Algonquin Park in 2011, and he’s revamped the account this year for the 100th anniversary of the artist’s death.
“The story of [Thomson’s] last spring is such a great story,” Bouma told host Hallie Cotnam on CBC’s Ottawa Morning. “There’s lots of work out there, but nothing has been brought together from Tom Thomson’s point of view.”
Leaving the Shack for good. Going to Union Station. The last I`ll ever see of Toronto. pic.twitter.com/Lh82u0DeAi
Bouma grew up in the same village as Thomson near Owen Sound, Ont. As a lifelong fan, he was inspired to create the Twitter account by another that posts historical moments from the Second World War in real time.
The tweets are automated, based on a schedule Bouma created when he first undertook the project.
“I knew that he had painted about 60 to 62 sketches that spring, one a day,” he said. “So I found about 45 of them, through references and that, then I looked at them and tried to figure out exactly what point in time he would have painted them. And then from that I generated a series of tweets.”
Bouma tweaks the content from year to year. He has special plans this year to commemorate Thomson’s mysterious death on July 8, 1917, including a camping trip in the park and a fireside reading.
“My hope is that we’ll be canoeing … recreating the sequence of events exactly as they played out 100 years ago in a canoe,” he said.
‘The man behind the curtain’