Through our blogs, featured articles and photography we share the best of Algoma. It is our region in Ontario where members of the Group of Seven traveled together to seek out new inspiration, solitude, and tranquility.
Do you need to bring a backpack and hiking boots to experience what members of the Group saw and felt here? If you love backcountry camping and portaging a canoe, we invite you to do so. But we’ve got some easier ways to experience the Group of Seven that don’t require portaging or pitching a tent.
1. Follow in Their Path
The Group of Seven took the Algoma Central Railway to access the remote wilderness that they sought and inspired their paintings. Today, many of these painting sites still require hiking, portaging and remote transportation to access them. But there is another way to see the landscapes that did inspire them: take a road trip along the coastline of Lake Superior.
From Sault Ste. Marie to Wawa, continue northwest to White River, Pukaskwa National Park and along the top of the Superior. Located along this route are interpretive panels, each telling a different story about the artists and landscapes they painted here. On the journey you’ll discover breathtaking scenery and peaceful sandy beaches, natural and area attractions, places to eat, stay and meet friendly people who live on the Big Lake.
Travel Tips: Some signed sites are quite easy to get to, while others are generous hikes. Plan your route ahead so you know what to expect.
Planning Tools: Visit Moments of Algoma for a Google map of the sign sites. Order route maps at www.algomacountry.com/travel-information/travel-guides
2. VIEW THEIR WORKS
Located in Sault Ste. Marie, the Art Gallery of Algoma has paintings and sketches created by members of the Group of Seven in its permanent collection. You can explore the richness of Algoma by booking a Northern Art Tour. This is a guided tour of the AGA’s current exhibitions, a catered box lunch from the Gallery Café, and a hands-on activity by an arts professional; choose your media: photography, watercolour, or acrylic.
Related: Find Group of Seven themed items in the Gallery Shop; an interpretive panel on site.
Learn more: www.artgalleryofalgoma.com/gallery-tours.html or phone (705) 949-9067, x. 107
3. Learn to Create Your Moment
Surrounded by such beautiful inspiration, you'll want to pick up a camera, paintbrush, or lump of clay to create something out of what you’ve experienced. Don’t just see and hear about the Group of Seven’s moments; capture your own. During your visit to Algoma, you can learn to create by booking classes or workshops held by local artisans and photographers. Here are just a few ideas:
Gales of November Photography Workshop held at Rock Island Lodge in Wawa. November is a spectacular time of year to see the power of Lake Superior.
Superior Woods and Waters Photography Workshop June 1 - 4, 2017 with James Smedley held at Rock Island Lodge. Spring is a magical time on Lake Superior!
Art Gallery of Algoma hosts workshops throughout the year in painting, wood carving, fibre work, and more. Contact the Gallery for upcoming workshops.
Go Wild Art Escapes in the Mississagi Valley hosts annual plein air painting workshops in the fall.
Berkana Studio – artist Taimi Poldmaa hosts a number of art classes and private lessons in watercolour, abstract landscape painting and more.
Bayview Pottery – Located in Batchawana Bay, Ulrike Schneider has a passion for pottery. Her studio is open by appointment or chance; she is happy to share her knowledge. PH: (705) 882-2154
Arts and Adventure – Ellen Van Laar is an experienced art and music teacher. Personal art sessions can be booked for piano or violin or art critique; tours for geology, history, flora/fauna, hikes and water routes can be booked.
4. Capture Your Moment
Pack your painting kit, sketch tools, or camera! Algoma’s landscape inspires photographers, painters and artisans, locally and visiting. There are so many places to find inspiration across our region: provincial parks, conservation areas, beaches, hikes and nature walks, cascading waterfalls, opportunities to spot wildlife, sunrises and sunsets, the stunning coasts of Lake Huron and Lake Superior, as well as inland lakes, rivers and streams. Our cities and towns make great bases for adventure as they are close to nature. If you're looking to stay in the wilderness, there are many cottage resorts, campgrounds and remote lodges.
Plan Your Trip Now: www.algomacountry.com/where-to-stay
5. See Where They Lived and Painted
Records and letters tell us the first stop by Group of Seven artists in 1918 was at Canyon Station. They would have taken the Algoma Central Railway, as this was the only means of transportation to access the wilderness they were seeking. It also meant they could receive supplies and send letters home. Box #10557 was used for both a mobile studio and place to stay. The boxcar was stationed at the Agawa River, Hubert and Batchawana. Using a handcar, members of the Group were able to work for the day, then return to the boxcar at night.
The Agawa Canyon Tour Train is a one-day rail excursion that brings you 114 miles north into the same stunning wilderness where members of the Group lived and worked nearly 100 years ago. A stopover in the Canyon allows you to walk the nature trails leading to the waterfalls like Bridal Veil Falls, one of the waterfalls forever captured by Lawren Harris's Waterfall, Algoma and J.E.H. MacDonald's Algoma Waterfall. Take the stairs to the Lookout for a panoramic view of the Canyon. There are three interpretive signs that tell this piece of the Group of Seven story: one at the train station and two located in the Canyon.
6. Take Moments Home With You
You can love and appreciate art even if you aren’t an artist. The Algoma region is home to many talented artisans, photographers and painters who create stunning pieces inspired by the place where they live and work. You will find many shops, farmers' markets, art and studio tours where you can purchase pieces to cherish for yourself, or give as thoughtful gifts. If you are looking specifically for Group of Seven themed prints or artworks, you’ll find shops that carry these items as well. Just a couple of places to shop: