Seeking Solitude

Glenn Gould and His Connection to the North

Editor's Note: This article is dedicated to Dale Innes, author of Seeking Solitude: Glenn Gould and the Goldberg Variations.

Glenn Gould is one of the best-known classical pianists of the 20th century. He was known as many things: a concert pianist, a writer and a CBC broadcaster. And he spent time on the shores of Lake Superior

A published book about Glenn Gould by local author Dale Innes discusses his work and his time spent in the North. Below is what Dale shared, in her own words, about her book and personal interest in Glenn Gould:

As a student at the Royal Conservatory of Music in the 1960s, I had become familiar with the recordings and notoriety of legendary Canadian pianist, Glenn Gould. In the 1980s, for my Master's thesis at York University, I decided to try to put Gould and all his interpretive controversy into some kind of meaningful context. I focused on comparing six different Gould recordings of J.S. Bach's famed Goldberg Variations, and tried to put this study into the historical context of Baroque performance practice, and into the psychological context of Gould's life journey.
In 1990, I moved up to Sault Ste. Marie to become the Coordinator of Music for Algoma University and to teach for the Algoma Conservatory of Music. At that time, I began to realize that I wasn't the first person to discover the immense beauty and grandeur of this area! I learned that Glenn Gould had been coming up to this area and further on to Wawa and the north shore of Lake Superior fairly regularly in the 60s and 70s.
He used to stay at the Wawa Motor Inn and often could be seen wandering around the Magpie High Falls area and along the shores of Lake Superior. Here, Gould found the freedom to be able to think and write clearly, and to get in touch with his creative imagination. Here, he found inspiration and quiet solitude.
In my book, "Seeking Solitude: Glenn Gould and the Goldberg Variations", I explore Gould's Bach interpretations and his relationship with the north. In doing so, I address the effect of music in our lives and its meaning, with specific reference to Bach, the north and Gould's artistry.

Media Releases

Here are some links to media releases about the launch of Seeking Solitude: Glenn Gould and the Goldberg Variations

Where to Buy THE Book

Art Gallery of Algoma (10 East Street, Sault Ste. Marie)
Online at Penumbra Press

A portrait of Glenn Gould by Adam Robert Martin of Wawa, Ontario. (Photo credit: Algoma Country)

Explore Some of Glenn Gould's Favourite Spots in Wawa

Magpie High Falls

wawa scenic highfalls
(Photo credit: Algoma Country)

Located just south of Wawa off of Trans Canada Hwy 17, the impressive Magpie High Falls is well signed as "Scenic High Falls". One of the many waterfalls you can drive to in Algoma, there is a viewing area from the parking lot.
Point of Interest: Glenn Gould Heritage Door
Nearby: Silver Falls (a series of three waterfalls)

Sandy Beach Eco-Interpretive Park

sandybeach wawa rlarue
(Photo credit: Algoma Country)

This beautiful beach is popular amongst artists -- Group of Seven painter A.Y. Jackson also frequented this beach in Wawa. Now an Eco-interpretive park, Sandy Beach is about 10 minutes from the Wawa Goose Monument. It also has a rich cultural history; First Nations people were the first to settle the area.
Point of Interest: The storytelling pavilion
Nearby: Wawa Goose Monument, Wawa Lake at Lion's Waterfront Park

sandybeach interpretivesign
(Photo credit: Algoma Country)

Michipicoten Harbour

The area was first settled by Indigenous People. Later developed for fur trading, Fort Michipicoten was built at the mouth of the Michipicoten River. By the late 1700s, both the Northwest Trading Company and the Hudson's Bay Company had rival posts in the area. Michipicoten became a centre for fishing, boat-building, and later shipping of iron ore and coal. Today, the sheltered coves and beaches are a playground for water activities: kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddling.
Plan a Visit:

paddling michipicotenbay
(Photo credit: Rob Stimpson)

About Dale

Dale Innes (December 14, 1951 - June 23, 2022) is remembered as a dedicated piano teacher and examiner who established close ties with her students. She received a diploma in piano pedagogy as an Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music (ARCT), and a degree of Bachelor of Music in piano performance from McGill University. After travelling throughout India in 1979, she began teaching piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Subsequently, she pursued a Master of Arts (Music) Degree in Ethnomusicology at York University. In 1991 she became Coordinator of the Music Program and in 1996, an Adjunct Professor at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. From 2001 to 2003, she taught English in China and travelled throughout Asia. She taught at Algoma University and the Algoma Conservatory of Music.

In 1983, Innes joined the Royal Conservatory of Music Board of Examiners and became a Senior Examiner in 1996. She was a Research Associate with the Northern Ontario Research, Development, Ideas, and Knowledge Institute (NORDIK), a community-based research institute affiliated with Algoma University and was a member of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association (ORMTA).

Her interest in Glenn Gould began when she was a student at the Royal Conservatory, and her examination of the various styles in which J.S. Bach's keyboard music is played has been an ongoing pursuit. In 1999 Innes coordinated the Glenn Gould Northern Tour, a tour of Gould's favourite spots along the shore of eastern Lake Superior. Since 2008, as an organizer for the annual Group of Seven/Glenn Gould Train Tour, Innes has continued to share her passion for Gould, Bach, and the North with visitors not only from Canada but from all over the world. 

Click Here for an article in the Sault Start written about Dale in June 2022.

About Algoma Staff Writer

Algoma Country is a spectacular 4-season vacation destination for outdoor and urban adventures. The region borders Lake Superior and Lake Huron and is rich in old-growth forests, and countless waterways.