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Legacy of a Canadian Artist

For David Milne, (January 8, 1882 - December 26, 1953) painter, printmaker, and writer, the process of art, and not the content, was paramount. 

At the age of twenty-one, Milne left Canada to study art at the Art Student’s League in New York from 1903-05. He supported himself by doing commercial design and painted in his spare time. In 1917, he joined the Canadian army and was sent to Europe. After the war, he painted camp scenes and deserted battlefields for the Canadian War Records. He returned to New York State for another ten years. In 1929, Milne returned permanently to Canada, first settling in Temagami, then Weston, then at Palgrave, Six Mile Lake, Toronto, Uxbridge, and finally at Baptiste Lake near Bancroft, Ontario. A change in place for Milne always resulted in a change of colour, form, and theme in his work.

Milne produced many little sketches; they are worth everything else he ever did. In such works was Milne’s own personality revealed. The pursuit of plenty of time to himself, to muse upon the pattern of the forest outside his door or upon arrangements of bowls and bunches of wild flowers in his hut – time, too, for painting them again and again in compositions set down lightly and quickly, with compression of feeling and economy of means. So, partly in order to save money and partly to have all the days and hours he wanted for painting, he had taken to the woods to live, first on the shores of Lake Temagami in northern Ontario, then, after a brief period in a farming village, on Six Mile Lake a few miles from Georgian Bay, where he dwelt from 1932 to 1939, in this one-room cabin which was protected from the elements only by a few strips of tar paper. But he was content.

As a community project to celebrate Canada’s 150th Anniversary, David Milne’s cabin is being re-located to 45 Lone Pine Road, in Port Severn, for public viewing.