Canada’s internationally acclaimed Group of Seven artists were a hearty bunch; to reach inspiring vistas they rode the rails, hitched boat rides, scaled rock faces, hiked back-country and paddled wilderness waters. They camped in the forest, stayed in vacant cabins and lived off the land, often in less than ideal conditions. Their artistic journeys took them wide and far, not only in Ontario, but across Canada.
The sheer breadth of paintings and sketches by the Group of Seven, located inside the walls of Ontario galleries is nothing short of spectacular.
Permanent collections or travelling exhibitions, public and private art galleries give you the opportunity to experience history in real time. Explore the Group of Seven Discovery Route Ontario Collection Edition to see how these paintings impacted the way we consider Canadian landscape painting.
KEY GALLERIES, ATTRACTIONS AND LANDSCAPES
- Art Gallery of Windsor, 401 Riverside Drive West, Windsor
With over 150 works by members from the Group in their collection, plus activities, educational programs, guided tours and the Sunday studio program, the Art Gallery of Windsor is the perfect forum to inspire your own creativity.
- Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery, 147 Lochiel Street, Sarnia
This public gallery received a donation of art from the Sarnia Women’s Conservation Art Association in 1956 that included works by A.Y. Jackson, Tom Thomson and other members of the Group of Seven which would help form the basis and expansion of the permanent collection.
The Group of Seven: Their Visions Revisited – 100 Years Later exhibit runs to November 8. Group tours available by appointment.
Connect to the canvas: View Lawren Harris’ Spring on the Oxtongue River, c.1924 in this exhibit, then follow the Huntsville and Algonquin Provincial Park route that stop at painting sites along the Oxtongue River.
- Museum London, 421 Rideout Street North, London
Paintings and drawings by the Group of Seven are including in the full collection at this multidisciplinary arts institution. Taking the Long View: The Museum London Art Collection, from its Beginning to Today will be on display until December 31, and will feature Arthur Lismer’s Pine Tree and Rocks, 1921, Lawren S. Harris’ Northern Autumn, 1922, J.E.H. MacDonald’s The Little Fall, 1919, A.Y. Jackson’s Sun, Snow, Barn, c. 1930, and Franklin Carmichael’s Untitled Landscape, c. 1920-30.
- Art Gallery of Hamilton, 123 King Street West, Hamilton
Founded in 1914, the AGH embraces Canadian historical, international and contemporary art with a collection of over 10,000 pieces, including works by A.Y. Jackson and Lawren Harris.
- McMaster Museum of Art, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton
Though situated in a bustling urban centre, the McMaster Museum of Art celebrates rugged Canadian landscapes within its walls. Group of Seven painting and sketches connect to three discover routes with Ton Thomson’s Algonquin Park, c. 1916, J.E.H. MacDonald’s Mitchell Lake, Algoma, c. 1920 and Carmichael’s The Jack Pines, La Cloche, c.1935.
Gain understanding on how visual art and shape your perception in their Art of Seeing Visual Literacy Program.
- Art Gallery of Guelph, 358 Gordon Street, Guelph
Teaching, while continuously learning was key to the Group of Seven members. The Art Gallery of Guelph embraces this philosophy blending artistic practice with education.
Connect to the canvas: view MacDonald’s Agawa Canyon and Waterfall, c. 1919 then journey by train into the Algoma Canyon to see this natural attraction in person.
- Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West, Toronto
This Gallery has special connection to the Group of Seven, dating back to their inaugural exhibit in 1920, when the group shared their collection of landscape paintings, drawings, sketches and studies with the public for the first time. The Group of Seven exhibited eight more times at the AGO between 1920-1931. Multiple works of art by the Group of Seven and other artists (such as Tom Thomson) are on display.
- The Art Museum at the University of Toronto, 7 Hart House Circle, Toronto
This collection numbers over 700 works of art, including 59 artworks deemed “National Treasures”. Book a guided tour to get the full experience.
Connect to the canvas: contrast the urban landscape with water, wind and wave details in A.Y. Jackson’s Pic Island, Lake Superior c. 1926 or Lismer’s, Isles of Spruce c. 1922, displayed in The Hart House Collection.
- McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 10365 Islington Ave, Kleinburg
Home to a significant collection of works by Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven, their contemporaries and Indigenous Peoples, this gallery is an integral page in the Group of Seven narrative. Learn about the artists, their inspirations and the profound mark they’ve left on the landscape of Canadian art.
The current display, “A Like Vision” The Group of Seven at 100, January 25, 2020 – Spring 2021 commemorates the centenary of their first exhibition.
An interpretive installation leads to the Group of Seven Artist Cemetery. Initially conceptualized by Jackson and Casson in 1967, this cemetery is the final resting place for six of the seven members and their spouses. Slabs of granite blasted from northern road construction were transported to the cemetery so that the Group of Seven members would always have a piece of the north with them on their journey. A cairn and tombstone memorializing Tom Thomson can be found in Leith, Ontario and within Algonquin Park.
- Varley Art Gallery, 216 Main Street, Unionville, Markham
Named after Group of Seven member Frederick Horseman Varley, the gallery encompasses the historic Kathleen McKay house dating from the 1840’s, which was the home of Varley for the last 12 years of his life. Stop by the gallery to participate in studio art classes, workshops, family art activities and group tours.
- Robert McLaughlin Gallery, 72 Queen Street, Oshawa
The Robert McLaughlin Gallery tells the continuing story of Canadian art.
Connect to the canvas: view Harris’ Chestnut Street c. 1919 or Carmichaels, Grace Lake c. 1940 and try to figure out where in Ontario the inspiration was found. Hint: you’ll find answers in two other Discover Routes.
- National Gallery of Canada, 380 Sussex Drive, Ottawa
Works by Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven are prominently displayed at the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) and at 2500 in number, are pivotal elements of the National Collection. One of the most recognizable images is Tom Thomson’s The Jack Pine c. 1916-1917 an icon in Canadian art. Get the behind-the-scenes-scoop on a guided tour which features commentary and highlights of the National Collection.
Enjoy lunch at the on-site café ‘7’ named after the group, its nestled in the Scotiabank Great Hall overlooking spectacular views of the Ottawa River and Parliament.
- Ottawa Art Gallery, 50 Mackenzie King Bridge, Ottawa
Head to the Firestone Reverb Exhibition for contemporary works displayed along with historical heavy weights including Franklin Carmichael, J.E.H. MacDonald and Lawren Harris creating a dynamic and interesting conversation.
The (Re) Collecting the Group of Seven: Celebrating 100 Years exhibit will run January 18, 2020 to January 10, 2021) commemorating the 100 year anniversary of the group.
Connect to the canvas: Carmichael’s, The Nickle Belt c. 1928 on display as part of this exhibit, demonstrates its own internal contract between industry and wilderness.
- Art Gallery of Sudbury, 251 John St, Sudbury
Within the Gallery’s permanent collection, find works by Tom Thomson and the original Group of Seven members including Franklin Carmichael, Arthur Lismer, A.Y. Jackson, and Frederick Varley. Sign up for an outdoor art workshop, such as the Grace Lake plein air excursion. You’ll hike, portage and travel by water to experience the landscapes which inspired Franklin Carmichael’s watercolour painting Grace Lake, c. 1932-1934, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.
- Art Gallery of Algoma, 10 East Street, Sault Ste. Marie
The Art Gallery of Algoma highlights a variety of Northern Ontario artists in their programming and collections and has sketches, paintings and studies created by members of the Group of Seven during their time in the region as part of their permanent collection.
After your visit, head over to the waterfront where you’ll find a Moments of Algoma permanent artist easel and stool highlighting more interesting details related to the Group of Seven and their connection to Algoma.
- Tom Thomson Art Gallery, 840 1st Ave W, Owen Sound
Dedicated to the innovative and artistic spirit of Tom Thomson, the gallery (known as the TOM) features some of his work as well as contemporary art, including a wonderful Indigenous collection.
Connect to the canvas: view Tom Thomson’s painting sketch of Algonquin Park c. 1915, part of Trailblazers: Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven in Provincial Parks exhibit before exploring Algonquin Park or Harris’ detailed sketch Toronto Houses before setting out on the GTA Discovery Route.