Experience the Group of Seven in Algoma

To understand the powerful beauty of Algoma's landscapes, you need to see it for yourself.

Through blogs, featured articles and photography we share the best of Algoma. It is this region in Ontario where members of the Group of Seven travelled together to seek out new inspiration, solitude, and tranquillity. 

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. There are some easier ways to experience the Group of Seven that don’t require portaging or pitching a tent.

1. Follow Their Path

The Spirit of Algoma Panel is located at Katherine Cove, Lake Superior.

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, and 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:

2. View Their Works

(Photo credit: Art Gallery of Algoma)

Located in Sault Ste. Marie, the Art Gallery of Algoma has a collection of 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.

  • An interpretive panel on-site in the sculpture park.

Learn more: www.artgalleryofalgoma.com/gallery-tours.html or (705) 949-9067

3. 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. 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.
  • Art Gallery of Algoma hosts workshops throughout the year in painting, wood carving, fibre work, and more. Contact the Gallery for upcoming workshops.
  • Lake Superior Provincial Park - summer programming may have art workshops with a local artist and interpretive programming. Contact the park staff for more information.
  • Thinking Rock Community Arts - a non-profit social enterprise based in Sault Ste. Marie practicing the art of building community across the Algoma District.

4. Capture Your Moment

Chippewa Falls is easy to access and enjoy. (Photo credit: Algoma Country)

Pack your painting kit, sketch tools, or camera! Algoma’s landscape inspires photographers, painters and artisans, local 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. The region's 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: www.algomacountry.com/where-to-stay

5. See Where They Lived and Painted

View from the Lookout. (Photo credit: Rob LaRue)

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 a 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 experienced by members of the Group over 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 stories: 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, and 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.

A few places to shop:

About Heather Bot

I'm a staff writer for Algoma Country and I hope my articles entice you to plan your next vacation in Algoma. Our beautiful area has everything you need for a true outdoor adventure: fishing and hunting, epic touring routes and breathtaking outdoors. We are home to many awesome places to eat, cool places to shop, museums and galleries, festivals and events. 

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