Tom Thomson Centennial Swim

On July 8th 2017, Canadian artist Paul Walde commemorated artist Tom Thomson by swimming the length of Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park, on the 100th Anniversary of the death of Tom Thomson. The swim, a site specific and temporally specific event, was an opportunity for exploring and understanding the landscape and history through a performative experience. Walde was accompanied by a flotilla of canoes carrying a brass ensemble, who performed a new composition written for this commemorative event. At three points along the route, Walde was joined by a synchronized swimming squad. The event was captured by a film crew and footage captured will be the basis for a new video installation.

Paul Walde is an intermedia artist, composer, and curator. Walde’s body of work suggests unexpected interconnections between landscape, identity, and technology. Recent exhibitions of his work include: The Edge of the Earth: Climate Change in Photography and Video at the Ryerson Image Centre (2016), The View from Up Here at the Anchorage Museum (2016), and Nature’s Handmade at Museum London (2015) In 2013, he completed Requiem for a Glacier, a site-specific sound performance featuring a fifty-five-piece choir and orchestra live on the Farnham Glacier in the Purcell Mountains. Requiem for a Glacier was subsequently developed into a multichannel sound and video installation which has been the basis of solo exhibitions at L’ Université Laval Art Gallery in Quebec City, QC; Art Gallery at Evergreen, Coquitlam, BC; Oxygen Art Centre in Nelson, BC, (2014) and The Langham Cultural Centre in Kaslo, BC (2013). Paul Walde is also a former competitive swimmer who uses distance swimming, especially lake swimming, as a method of creative mediation, physical exercise, and exploring and knowing landscape/waterscape, which he uses to inform his artistic practice.

Read further about this event through Toronto Star Newspaper article written by Murray Whyte, Visual Arts

On Canoe Lake, a swim in the wake of Tom Thomson