The Man: His Life


Drawing on a Soldier's Training


Thomas Burrowes enlisted as a young man in the Royal Sappers and Miners, a remarkable corps of military tradesmen that offered what, for its time, was an unusual program of technical education. Most of Burrowes’s military service took place in Canada from 1815 to 1824 and, in Canada, he married and founded a family.

After returning to the colony as a civilian in 1826, he was among the first to settle in the young community of Bytown (later Ottawa). He was later posted to Kingston Mills, at the south end of the canal, where he spent the rest of his life. Burrowes continued to serve as Clerk of the Works for the Rideau Canal until his retirement in 1846. He died in 1866.

Watercolour: A Picnic, at Sloats’s Lake; near Sydenham,  Township of Loughborough, 1861

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A Picnic, at Sloats’s Lake; near Sydenham, Township of Loughborough, 1861
Watercolour
Thomas Burrowes fonds
Reference Code: C 1-0-0-0-94
Archives of Ontario, I0002213

Only a handful of Thomas Burrowes’s paintings offer glimpses of his personal life, including this one of a family picnic at Sloat’s Lake, not far from Kingston. It was painted when the artist was 65 years old and had long since retired from service on the Rideau Canal.

Education
In Canada
As a Civilian
Family Life
On the Ottawa
Afterwards