Born in Pori, Finland, he came to Canada with his parents when he was eight years of age and they settled in Toronto. He attended Cottingham Street School, Toronto, where he showed a talent for drawing and painting and soon caught the attention of his teachers. He later attended the Ontario College of Art summer school at Port Hope under J.W. Beatty. It was his hope to spend all his time as a professional painter but in order to make a living he conducted a fur business. He spent many of his summers painting at his summer home in Muskoka, and a few years before his death bought forty acres of land near Lake Rosseau where he had planned to make a retreat for city artists.

One of his paintings was exhibited at Wembley, another at the World’s Fair in New York. He was president of the Toronto Finnish Artists’ Group and a member of the Ontario Society of Artists. Kulmala died at the young age of 44 and was survived by his wife Hulda Harkin Kulmala and one daughter Aileen. His work was noted by the Globe & Mail as follows, “Mr. Kulmala was a frequent exhibitor not only in Ontario, but also in England and in New York. A painter of colourful landscapes he chose for many of his subjects studies in Northern Ontario and numerous snow scenes.”

Source: "A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume II”, compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd, Ottawa, 1979