“One day, Dr. MacCallum brought to Harris’s studio a shy young fellow by the name of Tom Thomson, who had just returned from Algonquin Park with a number of sketches, meticulous but faithful records of rough bush country. Thomson like Lismer, Varley and MacDonald was an employee of The Grip Company, and Dr. MacCallum was trying to persuade him to drop commercial art and devote himself to painting. Thomson was dubious about his ability to make a living out of his painting, doubtful also of his own talents. MacCallum made him the same offer he had made to me: to guarantee his expenses if he would devote a year to painting. At first Thomson would not entertain the idea. He wanted to paint for his own pleasure and to earn his living at commercial art. He enjoyed going off with his canoe and a tent for three or four months of the year to paint but to make painting his life work he felt was to take his abilities too seriously. However in his boarding house on Isabella Street, we talked it over on several occasions and finally he decided to try it for a year."
- A.Y. Jackson