West wind: the story of Tom Thomson

Canada, 1943

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Tom Thomson’s jack pine, painted against a background of lake and sky, has come to symbolize the Canadian North. This film outlines the story of Tom Thomson’s brief life (1877-1917) and career, which began in Toronto, where he worked as a commercial artist. Weekend sketching trips in the country turned into longer journeys farther north, and Thomson finally moved to Algonquin Park, in northern Ontario. When he wasn’t painting and canoeing, he was a park guide. We watch wonderful photography of his favourite landscapes, interspersed with images of the paintings they inspired. Thomson spent less than four years as an artist and was barely 40 when a canoe accident ended his life. Fellow artists Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson and Arthur Lismer pay tribute to this genius, who, in Jackson’s words, “contributed more to Canadian painting than any other artist.”



Graham McInnes

production company

National Film Board of Canada



Production places
Production dates

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ACMI Identifier




Subject categories

Anthropology, Ethnology, Exploration & Travel → Ontario

Crafts & Visual Arts → Art - History

Crafts & Visual Arts → Art - Study and teaching

Crafts & Visual Arts → Art appreciation

Crafts & Visual Arts → Artists - Biography

Crafts & Visual Arts → Artists - Canada

Crafts & Visual Arts → Group of Seven (Group of artists)

Crafts & Visual Arts → Landscape painting

Crafts & Visual Arts → Painters - Canada


Documentary → Documentary films - Canada

Education, Instruction, Teaching & Schools → Art - Study and teaching

Educational & Instructional

Educational & Instructional → Educational films

People → Artists - Biography

Places → Ontario

Short films

Short films → Short films - Canada






16mm film; Access Print (Section 1)

16mm film; Limited Access Print (Section 2)

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If you would like to cite this item, please use the following template: {{cite web |url=https://acmi.net.au/works/74593--west-wind-the-story-of-tom-thomson/ |title=West wind: the story of Tom Thomson |author=Australian Centre for the Moving Image |access-date=1 August 2021 |publisher=Australian Centre for the Moving Image}}