Arthur Dafoe (1872-1952) Aultsville, Ontario
Arthur Dafoe operated a general store in Aultsville, a small community in Southeastern Ontario near the St. Lawrence River. Dafoe's father, Stanley together with his brothers worked as river rafts man. Life along the river probably prompted Dafoe's interest in the migratory wildfowl which were found in the region. Dafoe made model boats and hardwood decoys which he displayed for sale in the window of his store. His decoys were made of hardwood and required a good deal of carving to achieve the outline of wings and feathering. He is known to have carved black duck and whistler decoys. A number of his birds have the initials "A.M.D" carved on the bottom.
Aultsville, described as "one of the most important riverside towns" remained unchanged until the years following World War II when Canada and the United States cooperated in the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway. In 1958, six years after Dafoe died, most of Aultsville was flooded. The residents relocated to nearby, Ingleside. Portions of the town which were not flooded are part of a Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Arthur Dafoe's business continued on in Ingleside for a few years as a hardware store operated by his daughter and son-in-law. His decoys are considered fine examples of decorative art.
For additional information
Decoy Magazine, Spring 1983 Decoy Magazine, Winter 1982.
Ontario Decoys 11 - Some Carvers and Regional Styles, 1986, Bernie Gates.