Tom Thomson

Home | Angelika Hoerle | Tom Thomson | Angie's Projects | Norval Morrisseau | Art of Dissent | Walking with Oma |Books | Links

George Thomson ~ Q&A | Margaret Thomson Tweedale ~ Q&A | Tom Thomson Q&A | Imagining Tom in 1912 Toronto


Doctor John McRuer

I'm intrigued by the 'Getting Personal with Tom Thomson' feature on your website - i.e. Thomson's connections with John McRuer et al. I have an obituary of McRuer from the Huntsville Forester, but I'm still in the dark about how the two men originally met.
Ross King, England

Tom Thomson • 1877~1917
Tom Thomson - Answers

Getting Personal with Tom Thomson: Group of Seven Forerunner

John McRuerDoctor John McRuer

Without giving away too much of the extensive research for the as yet unpublished article “Tom Thomson’s Toronto”, there is a fascinating story about the way Tom Thomson’s and John McRuer’s lives overlap and end. As to the beginning of their connection, to which you allude in your query, they met in one of the many boarding houses that Tom frequented in his ‘lost decade’ in Toronto. John was a medical student when they first met.

I’ll go right to the end part of their lives which I didn’t put into the article because it takes place in 1917 and my focus was 1905-1912 in Toronto. John McRuer’s tuberculosis had driven he and his wife to a sanitorium in Colorado. Tom kept in touch with the McRuers because he’d been best man at their wedding.

In the summer of 1917 at Mowat Lodge when Tom found out that his friend had died, he became very withdrawn. John McRuer’s death affected him greatly. Within weeks, Tom himself had died tragically. (I don’t mean to suggest ANY connection.)

Just as Tom’s eldest brother, a lawyer, was charged with bringing home his body in a sealed metal casket, John McRuer’s older brother, a lawyer, travelled to Colorado to bring his brother’s remains home. Both George and James (later Chief Justice of Ontario) were travelling on the rails with metal caskets at about the same time to bring their brothers home. I find it a touching synchronicity.


Angie Littlefield | 416.282.0646 |