Ghost Canoe

Near Wapomeo Island on Canoe Lake.

After a night of holding our breath while bears tramped around the camp site, we awoke at dawn and headed to Canoe Lake for a photo shoot. Perfect morning of mixed clouds, and the sun was just emerging as we hit the water.

Kevin abandoned me on a rock so I could get this towing shot.

After several attempts to decipher the maps and instructions we had printed from the web (including some very unreliable navigational concoctions), we managed to paddle our way to the area between Wapomeo Island and Little Wapomeo Island, which is where Thomson’s canoe was found overturned before his body was discovered. This is where we decided to do the shooting.

Approaching Little Wapomeo Island.

This shooting session can only be described as “eerie.” Our task, after all, was to attempt a recreation of the discovery of Tom’s overturned canoe. We seemed to be alone on a deserted lake, and we found ourselves whispering, in spite of the fact that the we weren’t planning to record audio.

I have left the sound in the video below to give a better sense of what we experienced. As if it wasn’t bad enough to recreate this scene once, I had Kevin paddle in circles around the overturned canoe at least a dozen times before we got the right shot. With each time around, we seemed to spin deeper and deeper into mystery of Tom’s death. Of course, we did not get any closer to the truth.

We cappped off the morning with a trip to Thomson’s cairn at Hayhurst Point. We were impressed by the short, rocky climb from the dock to the memorial place, which made getting to the cairn a small adventure in itself. It’s easy to see why Tom used to enjoy camping out here.

The dock at Hayhurst Point, leading to Tom Thomson's Cairn.

Tom Thomson's cairn

The cairn.

But somehow, the trip to the cairn seemed anti-climactic after the ghost canoe experience. This pile of rocks, as hallowed as it is, doesn’t seem to capture the spirit of Tom like a cedar and canvas canoe, skimming across Canoe Lake at sunrise.

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2 Responses to Ghost Canoe

  1. Sharon says:

    Wow.. what memories your blog/pictures bring back. We went to Taylor Statten Camps on Canoe Lake as children, and the ghost stories of Tom Thompson still give me the shivers!
    What a wonderful project you’re bringing to life.

  2. Larkyn Statten says:

    My name is Larkyn Statten and my family has cottages on Little Wapomeo Island.. my great grandfather Taylor Statten the 1st (the chief) used to hire Tom Thompson to do odd jobs around the camp and he even helped carry rocks up to build our fireplace on Little Wap. It’s funny that I came across tour blog because last fall my father and I were up at the cottage and we saw you filming! I think I even have a few snapshots from my phone from that day. Anyways, I have heard a few stories about how he actually died.. but I guess we’ll never really know. Good luck with your investigation!

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