History Mysteries: Franklin Carmichael's Orillia Part Three
Friday December 13, 2019 at 3:14pm
Although Group of Seven artist Franklin Carmichael was born and buried in Orillia, we actually know very little about the time he spent here. That’s why OMAH is producing this three-part series of posts on his life in our city titled History Mystery: Franklin Carmichael. This exploration runs in tandem with The Carmichael Canadian Landscape Exhibition: Tradition Transformed, which is now on display at OMAH and is celebrating its 18th year. This is the final part of History Mysteries: Franklin Carmichael.
In 1915, Franklin Carmichael married Ada Lillian Went in Toronto. Ada and Franklin were both 25 years old and had attended school and church together in Orillia. Family and friends would draw them both back to Orillia and friends from here visited them in Toronto. Ruth Frances Thomson of Orillia wrote of her visit to Franklin and Tom Thomson’s studio in Rosedale Valley in the 1930s.
In 1920, the Group of Seven was formed. The original members were Lawren Harris, A.Y Jackson, F.H Varley, Franz Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H MacDonald, and Franklin Carmichael. In 1932, he accepted the position of head of the graphic design and commercial art department at the Ontario College of Art (OCA). In the 1940s, the Rev. Richard Greene’s grandson, John Richard Greene from British Columbia, was accepted to study at OCA. Upon his arrival at the college, he was greeted by his grandfather’s former student, Franklin Carmichael.
In 1942, the Carmichaels vacationed at cottage at Big Chute on the Severn River where their only child, Mary, was teaching school. Three years later, Franklin Carmichael died in Toronto and was buried in Orillia. Ada was later buried with him.
Very little is known about his wife Ada. Did she share Franklin’s interest in painting? Are there any photos of Ada and the family?
Thank you for reading this three part series. If you have any suggestions for Orillia based History Mystery ideas, please email firstname.lastname@example.org