These paintings now form the
body of the Eva Brook Donly
Museum�s large and unique collection of art pertaining to the county�s
Cantelon was born
in 1866 near Streetsville, Ontario, and started
painting at an early age. He studied art in Chicago and came to Simcoe
from Georgetown as a young man. He lived in Woodhouse Township, then
maintained an art studio in Simcoe in later years.
He became curator of the Norfolk Historical
Society in the late 1920s, a volunteer position he held for two decades. In
no small measure, it was
Cantelon that kept the Norfolk Historical Society alive during those
He and Henry
Smith Johnson assembled the Society's first collections of historical relics,
storing them first in the basement of the Simccoe Reformer and later in
the basement of the Simcoe Public Library.
For many years,
Cantelon rode his bicycle up and down the
concessions of Norfolk County, gathering historical relics and
painstakingly painting scenes which he felt should be preserved.
Depression, Mr. Cantelon began painting pioneer buildings, historical landmarks, and
and daughters of Norfolk County, such as Egerton Ryerson and Abigail Becker.
The Ottawa Public
Archives was anxious to purchase these historically valuable paintings,
but Cantelon refused to let them to leave the community.
Simcoe native Guthrie Y. Barber of New York
purchased some 40 of these paintings and presented them to the Norfolk
local artist, Eva Brook Donly, left her home to the Town of Simcoe to be
used as a museum of art and antiques, NHS president Dr. Ralph Smith began a
fund-raising campaign in the late 1940s to purchase the remaining Cantelon paintings.
Aided by a grant from the
Norfolk County Council, this
campaign raised $3,500 to partially compensate Cantelon for a
magnificent collection of over 300 paintings.
William Edgar Cantelon,
83, died on 3 Mar 1950, leaving a priceless legacy of historical paintings
at the Eva Brook Donly Museum.