Montreal Area Decorative Painters 
History of the MADP Guild

Tole and decorative painting was not well known in the Montreal area until the early 1980's when a few people started taking lessons from Janice Montreuil at her home in LaSalle, Joanna Olson who had a small shop in Hudson, or from teachers from out of town. However, Janice moved away and Joanna closed her shop leaving several budding tole painters without teachers. Flo Wilde and Lynn McMahon happened to meet and discovered others who had similar interests. They decided to get together and on March 5th, 1986, held their first meeting at 58 Eaton Road, Kirkland, at the Church of Latter Day Saints.

In attendance were: FIo Wilde, Marilyn Pinsonneault, Joyce Canfield, Francie Lange, Lynn McMahon, Linda Howe-Beck, Cheryl Martin, and Johann Law. They met once a month and shared lessons and techniques they had learned. As more painters joined the group, a more organized format (a Guild) was established on September 4th, 1986. Flo Wilde was President, Lynn McMahon Vice-President, Marilyn Pinsonneault Secy.-Treas. Johann Law offered to put out a monthly newsletter, and Joyce Canfield handled the Library. The name Montreal Area Tolers (M.A.T.) was chosen and annual fees were established. There were 20 members and Johanna Law designed special name tags.  By November it had its maximum of 25 members.

Our first show and sale was held at Joyce Shea's first tole shop "Coin Cache" (Hidden Corner) in 1986 in Pointe-Claire Village.

In 1987 our annual sale was held at the Dollard des Ormeaux Recreation Centre.  

From 1988 through 1991 (October) our sales were held at the Beaurepaire United Church in Beaconsfield, in conjunction with their Annual Antiques Show and Sale. 

Flo Wilde was our President then and a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints on Hymus Blvd. in Kirkland.  She got us the space to meet there, hold paint-ins and hold seminars.  We were not allowed to have anything with caffeine in it, such as regular tea, coffee or colas.

In 1988 we donated a Noah's Ark canvas wall hanging, painted by guild members, to the church as a thank you for allowing us to meet monthly on their premises, free of charge. 

The project began the summer of 1988.  Johann Law, Ann Robinson and Gail Perks did prelimilary designs and basecoating.  Members then came to the church each of them chose a set of animals they wanted to paint and work was under way.

The canvas was presented to Bishop Colin Gordon and Primary President Susan Cotudel on March 2, 1989.

Since 1988, we have been invited to decorate a Christmas tree at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Each year we have had a theme for the tree, from angels to teddy bears to butterflies, and each year it has been a huge success for the public. Members hand paint the decorations, which are on display at the museum from the last week in November until after New Years Day. Please click here to see our trees over the years.

Seminars are held regularly to broaden the members' knowledge and experience in decorative painting. 1989 featured Priscilla Hauser, Helen Cavin and Nancy Wekarchuk.


In 1989 the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa held a contest open to all decorative painters across Canada to paint on tin maple leaves. An exhibition was held in Ottawa in December with contest winners announced and prizes given out. Three of our members were amongst the winners: Johanna Law, Reena McBride and Sue Smith. Another winner, Barbara Rowles (Tiernay) from London, Ontario later became a member of our Guild. The maple leaves are now part the permanent collection of the Museum.

Sue Smith

Reena McBride

Johann Law

Barbara Rowles (Tiernay)

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