It’s been 100 years since a group of artists, famously known as Canada’s Group of Seven, took their first trip to Algoma. It was here that they turned their sketches into beautiful works of art, showcasing Canada’s landscape in modern forms.
Algoma Country is where it all began, from their starting point at the Allendale Train Station heading north into the rugged, wild Canadian Shield of Ontario. The group used a converted boxcar as a base for their trips, employing a handcar to venture up and down the rail line, and camping in many remote locations. Our landscape inspired them, rejuvenated and healed them. They captured many moments on canvas; now it’s time to capture yours.
Group of Seven Touring Route
A few years ago, 16 interpretive panels were installed beginning with the panel at the McMichael Gallery at Tom Thomson’s shack. Traveling along Hwy 17 north, the most remote panel along the route is located at Aubrey Falls on Ontario Hwy 129. Continuing west on Hwy 17, panels are situated along one of the Top Ten Drives in Canada; Sault Ste. Marie to Wawa and continue northwest on the top of Lake Superior.
Each panel shares a unique story about the Group of Seven along with images that are both inspirational, historical, or painted by a member of the Group. Locations of panels should also be noted; each site was either painted by a member of the Group or is a place that would have stirred their creativity.
The Story Behind the New Panels
In 2018, five new panels were installed; that’s 21 panels for you to see and explore on your next driving tour in Algoma.
Why a panel in Barrie? It’s simple. Because Allendale was the base camp for Lawren Harris’ trips north to Algoma. This was a vital link between Southern Ontario and Northern Ontario. This is where the journey began.
In 1912, friend and mentor of the Group of Seven Tom Thomson and fellow artist William Broadhead took a two-month canoe trip down the Mississagi River. Unfortunately, the canoe tipped, stranding Thomson and Broadhead. Recently, it was discovered that Thomson painted the town's waterfront.
Have you seen the film, Painted Land: In Search of the Group of Seven? If so, you may remember the boxcar used to illustrate the group’s trips along the rail line. Replica Boxcar #10557 now resides outside The Machine Shop in Sault Ste. Marie.
The construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway dramatically changed the landscape north of Lake Superior. A Group of Seven panel is located at the 40-foot lookout tower, where you will experience an exhilarating 360-degree breathtaking view of the Nipigon River bridge and the entire river valley.
In 1921, Lawren Harris and A.Y. Jackson headed further north along Lake Superior. The harbour and islands of Rossport, Ontario provided inspiration for Lawren Harris and many members of the Group of Seven. This panel is located at the start of the Rossport Coastal Trail which follows along Lake Superior.
Get the Driving Tour Map
Visit MomentsofAlgoma.ca and order a free driving tour map, which includes must-sees and dos along the route, including each location of the panels.
Get the App
Don’t forget to download the free Group of Seven Driving Tour App to your mobile device. This app contains location information for each panel and includes brand new never before heard stories about the Group of Seven.
You can download the app by clicking here.