Known for its breathtaking lake views and fascinating vast woodland, Ontario’s wilderness is considered to be one of the most stunning parts of Canada.
Yet, long ago, you could only see these landscapes in real life – there were no pictures or paintings to gaze at each day. As a result, people considered these scenes unpaintable, plus nobody had expressed a desire to have one such piece adorn their home.
That all changed in 1920 when seven people, known as the Group of Seven, decided to create a new Canadian form of art that would depict Ontario’s beautiful scenery.
What places did they choose to paint? Keep reading to see which Ontario landscapes were painted by the famous Group of Seven.
Ontario Landscapes Painted by the Group of Seven
A few years before World War I (although officially created in 1920), seven people decided to group and sketch the landscapes of Ontario, developing distinct painting techniques unknown for the time.
More than one hundred years after its creation, the Group of Seven’s art is still one of the most significant pieces in Canadian history.
After endless hours of canoeing through the rugged scenery and camping for weeks and months to get the perfect sketch, the Group of Seven slowly came to create a new school of art in Canada.
Below are the most famous Ontario landscapes painted by these artists.
The area around Algonquin Park was a frequent destination for one artist from the Group of Seven – Tom Thomson. According to locals, he would stay around, capturing the beauty of the surrounding nature.
Unfortunately, Thomson never made the official group. The circumstances of his death while canoeing in this area are still a mystery.
Nonetheless, he provided several pieces that portray the incredible serenity of the park. You can find some paintings like View from a Height and Algonquin Park in lodges in this area.
Another one is Spring in Algonquin Park – a simple oil-on-wood panel showing the simple yet charming view of one of the lakes.
One of the places featured in the evocative paintings of these artists is Killarney Park. Situated in Northeastern Ontario, this area is ample in picturesque hike areas, understandably capturing the eye of these artists.
Frank Carmichael has some of the most realistic paintings of this park. His piece titled Mirror Lake shows a seemingly naive portrayal of the lake, although, upon closer look, it reveals riveting details such as the granite stones on each side of the shore.
Another famous painting by the Group of Seven’s Tom Thomson is The Jack Pine. This exact image of a windswept pine tree awaits on the Chikanishing Trail.
Following the trail of Killarney Park, you can emerge in Georgian Bay, as the rocky territory is encapsulated by white pine forests and sandy beaches on both sides. Although Tompson spent his childhood in the area, his inspiration never came from here.
On the other hand, Frederick H. Varley’s paintings flourished, creating some of the most famous pieces of the Group of Seven.
Together with A.Y. Jackson, they used the inspiration from the harsh autumn weather and created paintings that would stump people to this day. Examples are Stormy Weather Georgian Bay by Varley and Night Pine Island by A.Y. Jackson.
The paintings of the Group of Seven in this part of Canada are some of the first ones. Some have described the area as a “glimpse of God himself.” This is due to the mix of the shimmering waters and the sky above, creating a mirage of an infinite lake.
Lawren S. Harris has created an ostensibly abstract representation of the area in his piece North Shore, Lake Superior.
However, those that have seen the real deal can confirm that the painting does reality justice.
Where Can You View the Masterpieces?
Today, artworks from the Group of Seven are displayed in various galleries around Ontario.
But these are not the only places, as some towns take enormous pride in these artists and their depictions of the surroundings. Some cabins even have these works displayed in their lounges.
Here are a few places where you can find pieces by the Group of Seven:
Toronto Art Gallery
Known as the Art Gallery of Ontario, this is one of the largest museums in Northern America, attracting tourists from many sides.
The gallery has several pieces in its permanent collection from the Group of Seven, holding art exhibitions for the public to see.
For example, here, you can look at Harris’ Lake and Mountains piece – a simple oil on canvas with merging shades of white and blue.
National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada features some of the best paintings from over 2,500 pieces by this famous artist group.
Alongside works from current painters, visitors can find some of Tompson’s art, like The Jack Pine or Harris’ North Shore, Lake Superior. There is also A.Y. Jackson’s Terre Sauvage and 100 more on display.
The Town of Huntsville
Some towns, like the town of Huntsville, pay great tribute to the work of the Group of Seven.
Here you can find an outdoor gallery with over 90 murals from the group displayed around its charming downtown and the surrounding localities like Baysville and the Algonquin Provincial Park.
The Muskoka Cottage
If near the town of Huntsville, then a trip to the Muskoka Cottage is a must. This rental is deal worthy, as it’s a place filled with art tours of the beautiful murals of the Group of Seven’s works,
It’s located near downtown Huntsville, so you can easily drive and carry on your art tour, seeing all the 90+ murals of this famous group.
Today, the Group of Seven is one of Canada’s most significant artists, greatly influencing how the world perceives Ontario’s nature.
The simplicity in their sketches is marked by a revolutionizing idea to forgo the simple outward form and dive deeper, painting the soul of the terrain.
So if you are in Ontario, don’t miss out on these marvelous depictions of Canada’s landscape!