The Group of Seven were a hearty bunch—riding the rails, hitching boat rides, scaling rock faces, hiking and paddling long and hard to reach inspiring vistas. They camped in the wilderness, stayed in vacant cabins, and lived off the land, often in less than ideal conditions.
Their artistic journeys took them all over Canada, but some of their most memorable paintings were created in Ontario’s Algoma Country and along the shore of Lake Superior—which they first visited a century ago this year.
It's a place where inspiration flows freely, and where the surreal beauty of these famous paintings is part of the very real landscape. And just like the paintings, these landscapes demand to be seen in person.
Following the path of the Group is rewarding and inspiring. We've detailed here the five areas known to have inspired these artists, with a list of the most accessible sites, how to reach them, and how to deepen your understanding with some side trips on your way North. The Moments of Algoma project has placed interpretive installations at key points along the way to guide the journey.
“This is the land that resonated so deeply in the hearts of the Group of Seven 100 years ago and that inspired their most iconic works for over a decade," explains Michael Burtch—a Sault Ste. Marie-based artist, art historian, and one of the principals behind the award-winning film Painted Land: In Search of the Group of Seven. “Although at the time the members of the Group could only access those areas by rail, they were not painting merely in cul-de-sacs of beauty, but captured the essence of the entire area.”
- Malcolm Fraser