April 18th, 2018


The Algonquin Art Centre is celebrating Algonquin Park’s 125th birthday with a special art exhibit, “Landmarks: A Portrait of Algonquin”. Featuring new works from Canada’s foremost landscape and wildlife artists, “Landmarks” offers an unforgettable portrait of Algonquin Park by focusing on its distinctive landmark sites, from Turtle Island to Barron Canyon to Tea Lake Dam. Visitors are also encouraged to seek out these landmarks themselves to experience firsthand the inspiring nature of Algonquin’s wilderness.

“It’s such an exciting year for art in the Park”, says Gallery Manager, Joel Irwin. “Algonquin Park is the oldest provincial park in Canada and to be part of its 125th birthday is nothing short of inspiring. Most people know the park for its great camping and amazing research projects, but few realize how important Algonquin has been for the Canadian arts. Its beautiful landscapes have inspired some of the nation’s most famous paintings, such as Tom Thomson’s ‘The Jack Pine’ or A.Y. Jackson’s ‘Red Maple’, and it continues to attract painters, writers, filmmakers, and performance artists from all over the world.”

“Landmarks: A Portrait of Algonquin” will be on display at the Algonquin Art Centre from June 1st until Oct 21st, 2018. The gallery hours are 10 am – 5 pm. Admission is voluntary.


September 15th, 2017

The Algonquin Art Centre is pleased to announce our 2017 Fall Residency Artist, Peter B. Mills. Peter is an exciting new talent at the Art Centre, whose interests in art and science make him the perfect candidate for our program.

“Our residency program is designed to put artists in close contact with Park researchers” explains Centre manager, Joel Irwin, “as we believe dialogue between art and science can be mutually beneficial. Peter Mills, however, embodies both interests: not only is he a prolific painter, but he’s a scientist by training and has published books and articles on everything from amphibian larvae to the effects of forest fires on Ontario snakes. He already has a profound knowledge of Algonquin Park’s ecosystems and wildlife, which is why we invited him to participate.”

“Tamaracks” by Peter B. Mills

Peter’s residency will take place during the beautiful fall colours in Algonquin Park, and his works during the program will be featured in a solo exhibition in 2018, when Peter will present a number of talks detailing his time as the Centre artist in residence.

“The Shore” by Peter B. Mills

Good luck to Peter B. Mills, and a huge thank you to the great staff at Algonquin Park for making this residency program possible.

If you have any questions about our artist in residence program, please contact Joel Irwin at joel@algonquinartcentre.com. This year’s artist was invited to participate by the Art Centre, but the 2018 residency will be open to applications. We’ll be posting more info on our 2018 residency in January, 2018.


July 7th, 2017

Two Thomson paintings are joining our 2017 art exhibit “Legacy” from July 9th to July July 16th. Please join us for a special opening on Sunday, July 9th, from 11 am to 4 pm, to welcome these Thomson paintings back to the park and to launch our brand new “Legacy” path.  The event will include free coffee, tea, and cookies, and have AAC artists working on site. Don’t miss this great opportunity to see Thomson originals in the very place that inspired them, Algonquin Park.

Admission is voluntary. Valid Park permit is required.


Title: View from a Height, Algonquin Park (Fall, 1916)

Medium: Oil on composite wood-pulp board

Size: 8 1/2″ x 10 1/2″

Comments from Art Historian Joan Murray:

“View from a Height, Algonquin Park” was painted in the fall of 1916. In late May of that year, Thomson had taken a job as a fire ranger, following the Booth Lumber Company’s drives down the Petawawa River at the north end of the Park. He was stationed at Achray on Grand Lake and in August, with his friend Ed Godin, took a canoe trip down the south branch of the Petawawa (now the Barron) River and up the north branch of Lake Traverse. He probably returned to Toronto in late October or early November. The hints at fall colouring in this sketch and its view from a height suggest that he may have painted it when he was at Achray or on his canoe trip.

This sketch, likely painted at Twilight, explores the theme of trees against water and distant hills, one which recalls in essence Tom’s sketches for “The West Wind” and “The Jack Pine”, though here the view is taken from a height. The work is unusual since he painted on a wood-pulp board by contrast to most of the season’s sketches which were on wood panel. Here, as in other sketches of 1916, he used subtly contrasting colours, low in tone, and handled the paint with great fluidity. This compact painting with its strong design and sense of mystery exudes a powerful and compelling visual poetry.

Title: Northern Lake  (Spring or fall 1912)
Medium: Oil on paperboard (Birchmore board)
Size: 7″ x 10″
Comments from Private Collector:

This sketch was acquired by the present owner in 1991. At the time of acquisition, the sketch was said to have been painted in the summer of 1912 while Tom Thomson and H.B. Jackson were on a 3 week canoe trip in the Mississaugi area north of Lake Huron. The present owner, having canoed and camped extensively in Algonquin Park, was certain that Thomson was seated on the south side of Molly’s Island in Smoke Lake looking south when the sketch was created. Correspondence was exchanged between the owner and both Charles Hill, the then Director of Canadian Art at the National Gallery of Canada and Joan Murray, author and leading expert on the work of Tom Thomson.  Based on the submissions of the current owner, it was agreed that in fact, the work was created in either the spring or fall of 1912 in Algonquin Park. Subsequently, well known authors, paddlers and researchers, Joanie & Gary McGuffin began locating, visiting and photographing painting sites used by both Tom Thomson and other members of the Group of Seven in both Algonquin Park and the Algoma/Lake Superior areas. As part of the project, the McGuffin’s visited Molly’s Island and photographed the exact view of Smoke Lake looking south that Tom Thomson had when he painted this sketch, Northern Lake. There were four sketches of Northern Lake done by Thomson in preparation for the painting of the larger canvas painting “Northern Lake” which would have been completed in the late fall or early winter of 1912.  The large painting was the first Algonquin Park painting sold by Thomson.  The painting was purchased by the Province of Ontario and is now in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario.


June 22nd, 2017

Original Tom Thomson Paintings Return to Algonquin Park For Centennial Celebration

To mark the centenary year of painter Tom Thomson’s last spring in Algonquin Park, the Algonquin Art Centre will be displaying original Tom Thomson paintings as part of their 2017 art exhibit, “Legacy”.  The paintings, “Northern Lake” and “View from a Height, Algonquin Park” will be on exhibit from July 9th until July 16th

“It’s a dream come true” says show organizer, Matt Coles. “Thomson loved Algonquin and spent his most prolific years here painting the Park’s beautiful lakes and forests. Algonquin was his muse, and so it only seems fitting to bring his paintings back here for the centennial celebration.”

Thomson died in Algonquin Park on July 8th, 1917, bringing to a close one of Canada’s most iconic and tragic stories of an artist and his muse.  But Tom’s life and work would form the cornerstone of a unique legacy in the Canadian arts.  “Thomson’s influence is immeasurable,” says Art Centre manager, Joel Irwin. “Since his death, artists from all over the world have travelled to Algonquin Park to discover its inspiring qualities for themselves, and their combined works make up a tradition that is unique to Canada and its wilderness parks.  This lasting legacy is at the heart of our 2017 exhibit.”

The Algonquin Art Centre is located in the heart of Algonquin Provincial Park, just minutes away from where Thomson spent his most prolific years painting, and where he met his tragic end on Canoe Lake.

  “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see Thomson paintings in the very place that inspired them,” says Irwin.  “Visitors can learn more about Tom’s special connection to Algonquin, and see how the tradition of art in the Park has changed over time.  We encourage everyone to come out to celebrate the life and work of this extraordinary painter in the place he loved so much.”

The Art Centre will be holding a public opening for the Thomson paintings on July 9th, from 11 am to 4 pm. The event will also include the unveiling of the new Thomson Legacy Path, artists painting on site, and free coffee, tea, and cookies, courtesy of the Art Centre and The Friends of Algonquin Park. The event is open to the public, and admission is voluntary, although a valid Park Permit is required.


June 9th, 2017



 ARTS R US – June 5 2017 PT1

ARTS R US – June 5 2017 PT2

AAC Manager Joel Irwin


April 27th, 2017

Artist Gene Canning paddling in Algonquin Park.


SHOW DESCRIPTION:  The Algonquin Art Centre is proud to present the first featured exhibit of the season, Gene Canning’s “On the Trail of Tom Thomson”.  In recognition of the 100th anniversary of Tom Thomson’s time in Algonquin Park, artist Gene Canning paddled and painted the same rivers and lakes as Thomson, completing 150 paintings along the way. This exhibit shares with us Gene’s adventures and experiences in art and travel in historic Algonquin Park.

DETAILS: This exhibit will be on display at the Algonquin Art Centre from June 1st until July 31st, 10 am – 5 pm. Voluntary admission.

PREVIEW: For a preview of the works in this exhibit, please click HERE.


Gene Canning on the trail of Tom Thomson in Algonquin Park.

Retracing the Steps of Tom Thomson:

Canadian Artist Gene Canning paddled and painted his way into history. He followed the same canoe routes that Canada’s most famous artist, Tom Thomson, followed 100 years ago. This three year project took Gene over hundreds of miles of rivers and lakes, as well as many miles of portages. Gene completed 150 field paintings during this time, many of them at the exact same locations where Tom created his paintings all those years ago. If an exact location couldn’t be determined, Gene based his painting locations on his and others historical research.
















Gene, an avid outdoorsman himself, always traveled alone on this journey, his companions being his canoe, his fly fishing rod, and his paints. Gene described it this way; “I felt like I took a step into history. I wanted to see how my paintings evolved over this time period, much as Thomson’s evolved. I wanted to explore how the Park, that influenced Tom Thomson so deeply, influenced me as well.  I’ve always canoed in the park but never at this extensive or with this type of focus. I wanted to see nature through his eyes, try to get into his head, to achieve a better understanding of his thought process, to discover what I believe, only another artist can. What motivated him, what drove him to have to stop and paint the subjects he did, and with such passion. I became so consumed by this idea that I even purchased an antique paint box similar to his, as well as an antique Chestnut canoe, the same make of canoe that Tom purchased in 1915 ”.  Gene went on to clarify though; “there is one part of Tom Thomson’s Park experience I thankfully did not follow, his mysterious death that clear summer day on Canoe Lake”.









The idea for this adventure came about while Gene was teaching art at Camp Tanamakoon in Algonquin Park this fall. The camp’s owner, Kim Smith, was giving a talk on the Tom Thomson mystery at the time of Gene’s revelation regarding the historical significance the period 1912 to 1917.  The realization that 1912 was the 100 year anniversary of Thomson’s first trip into the Park. Gene has always been a lover of art and history,  and had even painted at the site of Tom Thomson’s famous painting Jack Pine a few years ago. He was struck by the connection he felt to history when sitting and painting at the exact spot that this famous Canadian artwork was created almost a century earlier.  That single painting sprouted an idea, one Gene would end up dedicating 3 years of his life and art career to.

Kim Smith, art collector and the owner of two well known Algonquin Park landmarks, Camp Tanamakoon and Bartlett Lodge, immediately saw the value of this project and therefore agreed to sponsor Gene on this historic journey into the world of art. The irony of their partnership was not lost on the pair, as Tom Thomson was sponsored in a similar manner, 100 years previous by art collector, Dr. MacCallum.


 For a full PREVIEW of the works in this featured exhibit, please click HERE.


2017 Art Show, “Legacy”: Celebrating 100 years of Art in Algonquin Park

April 18th, 2017

To mark the centennial year of Tom Thomson’s last spring in Algonquin Park, we’re pleased to present “Legacy”, a new art exhibit celebrating 100 years of art in Algonquin Park. This show will feature new works from Canada’s leading landscape and wildlife artists exploring the legacy of art in Algonquin Park over the past 100 years. Visitors can enjoy the artworks, learn about the history of art in Algonquin Park, and experience the wilderness that has inspired generations of artists since it took Tom Thomson’s life back on July 8th, 1917. “Legacy” will be on display from June 1st – Oct. 22nd, 2017. Voluntary admission.


“Phases” Residency: Meet Christine Fitzgerald

October 12th, 2016

We’re so excited to announce that we’ve chosen Ottawa photographer Christine Fitzgerald for our “Phases” residency, starting this weekend. Her work is a unique type of photography that’s perfectly suited to work around Algonquin Park!

From Christine’s bio…
Christine Fitzgerald is an award-winning fine art photographer from Ottawa, Canada. Christine has always been captivated by nature.  Her fascination began in her childhood growing up in a small town in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada, and has never abated. Much of her work deals with the fragile relationship between humans and nature, and the tension that this relationship inevitably creates. Her images are produced intuitively using digital and vintage cameras, often integrating historical and modern photographic tools and processes.

You can see more of Christine’s work here. She’ll spend next week at the Algonquin staff cabin at Found lake, right next to the Algonquin Art Centre. During that time, she’ll work on site-specific photography in the park, hailing back to photographic techniques used in the days of the Group of Seven.
She’ll also be conducting two artist-demos, one at the Art Centre and one at the Algonquin Visitor Centre. She’ll be with us at the gallery on Sunday the 16th and at the Visitor Centre on Saturday the 22nd, both days from 11–3. It’ll be a great chance to take a look at her process, her vintage cameras, and to see her at work, so if you’re in the park to take in the fall colours next week, stop in!

We can’t wait to see Christine at work!

Andrea Ross: Rough Around the Edges

September 14th, 2016

As September rolls on and the leaves start to change, we’re  heading into our last solo-show of the season: Andrea Ross’ Rough Around the Edges.

Andrea and her piece, “Shake it Down to Earth”

Andrea has always had a profound connection with Ontario’s natural places. As a child, her family had a cottage on Skeleton Lake in Muskoka. As she grew older, she ventured farther and farther into the seclusion of the outdoors, canoeing extensively in Georgian Bay and Algonquin Park. She feels very at home among the rocks, trees, and waters Ontario, and they dominate her paintings.

“Above Hogan Lake”

Andrea often depicts the places where trees cling to rocks and stone merges with water, the boundaries between elements of the landscape as we identify them. Often, she poises these tenuous landscapes on the cusp of day and night, or at the delicate balance between one season and the next. If you’ve ever rounded out a day of paddling in Algonquin by watching the evening light play across the rocks and trees, you’ll feel right at home with Andrea’s paintings…

“Hornbeam Lake Portage”

The fuzzy edges between day and night, summer and fall, water and forest make up the raw material for Rough Around the Edges. It’s a fitting end to this season’s exhibition, Metamorphosis. We’ve explored natural processes, environmental change, and cycles of growth and decay throughout the summer, so finishing the season with Andrea’s liminal landscapes feels like a perfect end to the exhibition. We can’t wait for you to see her work in person!

“Rugged Island”

You can take in “Rough Around the Edges” at the Algonquin Art Centre from September 15th to October 22nd. You can find us at Km. 20 along the Highway 60 corridor, and we’re open every day from 9—5.

Call for Submissions: “Phases”

August 24th, 2016

Our Fall residency call for submissions is here!
This year, our theme is “Phases,” and runs from October 15th to the 23rd. We invite artists to explore progress and metamorphosis in nature, and how we understand it.

Applications are due September 23rd. You can find the link to the form right here.
We can’t wait to hear about your projects!

Algonquin Art Centre - Gallery in the Heart of Algonquin Park

open June 1 - October 19

10 am to 5:30 pm daily


located at km 20 on Hwy #60

in the Heart of Algonquin Park


(705) 633-5555 / 1-800-863-0066

Algonquin Art Gallery
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