Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Friday, 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 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.


Friday, 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.


Friday, June 9th, 2017



 ARTS R US – June 5 2017 PT1

ARTS R US – June 5 2017 PT2

AAC Manager Joel Irwin

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

Tuesday, 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.


Andrea Ross: Rough Around the Edges

Wednesday, 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.

The Golden Encore Artist’s Residency with Daniel St-Amant

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

We have some exciting news!
This October we’re partnering with Algonquin Provincial Park to provide the Golden Encore Artist’s Residency from October 14th to 21st. We’re proud to announce that we’ve chosen Daniel St-Amant to take part in this fantastic experience during one of autumn’s most beautiful times!

Daniel and his work

Daniel originally hails from Sherbrooke, Quebec, and spent time in Halifax at the esteemed Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. He eventually landed in Toronto, where he works as a visual effects artist for the film industry.

“The Noble Messenger”

Daniel’s artistic practice represents a blend of wildlife painting and a medium he describes as “modern surface.” He lays his canvasses on road-surfaces in areas of urban traffic or construction, and lets vehicles leave their impressions. Then, in the midst of those urban imprints, he paints wildlife that often seem poised in watchfulness, almost demanding that the viewer engage with them. You can see Daniel’s process here. It’s amazing to watch!


Daniel’s work explores the the way human encroachment, driven by consumption, leaves its impression on the landscape and wildlife around us. His paintings’ sombre but resolute subjects stand out and confront the human gaze, forcing us to acknowledge our place within nature, not above it, no matter what indelible marks we might leave on the landscape.

There are a lot of exciting things planned for this residency!
The “Golden Encore” takes place after the main flush of autumn colours. Once the reds and oranges of the maples have gone to sleep, the blazing yellows of the birches, the poplars, and the tamaracks flame up amid the deep greens of the pines and make for shockingly beautiful views. You can read all about it here.
During this dramatic time of year, Daniel will be staying at a lodge inside Algonquin’s boundaries, on Clark Lake near the East Gate. He’ll get the chance to take in the peaceful setting around the lake, walk in the woods, reflect on his artistic practice, and spend some time on his own projects, some of which may be hanging in the Algonquin Art Centre next season!
Our friends at the park tell us that there’s often a wolf-pack in the area. Being in such close proximity to one of our most magnificent animals can’t help but inspire a wildlife-artist…

Clark Lake
Imagine getting to look out on this view, flushed with yellow amid the howling of the wolves!

Daniel will also be taking part in art-demonstrations that’ll be free and open to the public. On Friday, October 16th, he’ll be at the Algonquin Art Centre. Then on Saturday the 17th and Sunday the 18th he’ll be at the Algonquin Visitor Centre at km 43 on Hwy 60. Each of those days you’ll be able to see Daniel at work from 11:00 AM to 3:30 PM, ask him any questions you might have, and just hang out with a compelling artist in an inspiring setting.
Again, that’s all free and open to the public. So come in, see the park at its best, and engage with the creator who’s capturing it!

Congratulations Daniel!
We can’t wait to see what you’ll be working on.

Michael Dumas: Light and Life

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

We’re proud to present a solo-show from one of our favourite artists, Michael Dumas!
Come experience “Light and Life,” an exhibition of his works on display at the Algonquin Art Centre.

Hardwood Down

Dumas’ muted tones, depicting the up-close details of everyday situations, are perfect for autumn. That moment just on the border between fall and winter is a favourite subject of his. Expressed through Dumas’ browns and rusts and luminescent greys, themes of intimacy, delight, and the simple beauty of both mundane and exotic wildlife glimmer out from his work.

Stable Mates

You can see this special exhibit of Michael’s paintings from September 15th until October 17th. Come in and spend the day amid Algonquin’s fall colours, then take a look at the show!
Admission is free as always, and we’re open from 10 to 5 daily.

The Western Uplands with Alex

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

Alex, our Social Media Manager, recently took some time to visit one of the backpacking trails near the Algonquin Art Centre. You can read all about his adventures here!

That’s me! Also, there’s a map of the trail section so you can follow along. Click to enlarge and get a closer look! 

I’ve loved backpacking ever since I first hiked the Lake Superior Coastal Trail with my best friend in 2008. The mountains, tundra, and coasts that I’ve hiked since then are amazing, but the Canadian Shield holds a special place for me, so I never miss an opportunity to get out and do a trek in Ontario. This time, it was the Western Uplands trail in Algonquin Park.

I had also been meaning to try out a solo backpacking trip for a while, so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to take it to that next level in country I’m familiar with. I chose Western Uplands because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t undertaking anything too extreme for my first solo, and you can do a two-night loop, hiking around 12 to 15 km a day. With that in mind, I mustered my gear, caught a ride in with our General Manager Joel and our staffer Jenna, and set out.

Day 1
Make no mistake. I look cheerful but my flesh is being steadily consumed by insects.

This being late July, the trail’s first impression was “You are now in bug-country. Prepare to pay the blood-tax to your insect-overlords.”
And yes. I definitely did.

As soon as we snapped that trail-head picture, Joel and Jenna jumped back in the car and headed to the gallery, while I quickly coated myself in Muskol. Health-concerns aside, Deet is one of our greatest achievements as a species. Once I was sprayed down, the bugs left me pretty well alone, so I booted up and got on the trail.
My first night’s destination was West Maggie Lake, about 16 km in a winding, north-westerly direction.

This part of Algonquin maintains a pretty high elevation, which forces the clouds to drop a lot of their precipitation to the west of the park. The vegetation is much denser and more varied than where I’ve done most of my Algonquin hiking, in more easterly places like the Highland Trail and Centennial Ridges. Day one was a lot of dense bush, crossing streams and bogs, and steadily climbing to the high lake where I’d be camping.

There weren’t too many people on trail. I did, however, face a great deal of territorial posturing from some very gutsy collared grouse. They look like a greyish, mottled turkey, and they scoot around with their heads down until you get too close. Then—POOF—they shoot up, puff out their tail and collar, and rush you! It can be pretty startling to be honest, but you just keep on forging ahead and they leave you alone. After a while, it’s just funny.
I wanted to keep a fairly quick pace, so other than a stop or two when there were enough predatory damsel-flies to keep the mosquitoes at bay, the day was pretty uneventful.

After about 6 hours, I came to the eastern tip of Maggie Lake, where you peel off from the main trail to loop around West Maggie. I trekked along the lake until I found the perfect site. It was at the very western tip of the lake and looked east onto some rocky islands. One look at that view, and I made camp right away.
After getting my site in order, I had two cravings: coffee and washing off.
(Coffee first, obviously.)
After coffee, I was feeling so hot and sticky that I just needed to get refreshed, and Maggie Lake is great for a splash around.

That little island—which probably has a name, but I’m going to call it Spruce Island—was a perfect destination. It gave me the chance for a good 150-meter swim and some warm, flat, shoreline rocks to catch the westerly sun while some enormous spruce trees towered over me.

It was beautiful.
But the sun was getting lower, so I swam back to camp, made my dinner, and after reading my book for a while, secured my bear-hang and turned in for the night.

 Day 2

The woodpeckers woke me up just after the sun rose. I can’t tell you how beautiful the view from my tent was, so I’ll just show you.


Now, an experienced trekker knows that on any trip longer than two days will have one Hell-day. It’ll never be the first or final day but can otherwise occupy any place in the trip. So, by process of elimination, on a three-day trip you just know you’re going to run into trouble on day two.
Conveniently, I forgot this rule as I woke up, broke camp, and set out.

Don’t get me wrong, the day’s hike was beautiful, especially as I set out around Maggie Lake to meet back up with the main trail. But, day two constituted the top of the trek’s loop, heading east, which hikes you up onto ridges that are both stony and boggy, and inhabited by swarms of mosquitoes. My legs were sore, my pack felt heavy trudging up the largest elevation changes on the trail, and that late coming summer we were having decided to hit me with a day around 29 degrees and dense, humid wetland air.
This is also when the deer flies found me.

I had an exciting moment after climbing out of the Mink Creek ravine when I met a black bear grazing in one of the bogs I trudged through. It’s an interesting feeling, encountering a bear on your own. All the going wisdom and bear-training tells you that in the overwhelming majority of bear sightings, the animal flees as soon as it sees you. But in the back of your mind, there’s that inescapable knowledge in your brain that says “Wow. If it decided to, this animal could really mess me up.”
But I stopped and, as expected, after a few moments the bear noticed me and took off like a shot. No worries!

Not long after that, at about mid-day, I turned onto a side-trail up to Norah Lake. It was a bit more of a climb than I’d like in the middle of a gruelling day, but it’s pretty much the highest point on the trail and I wanted a nice spot to break for a while.
I wasn’t disappointed.

Norah has a beautiful platform of rocks overlooking the water, and I spent a long lunch watching a family of loons fish on the lake. It was exactly what I needed to get some wind back in my sails.

At that point, it was only a couple of hours to my day two destination, Panther Lake. I was a little nervous about this spot, since it only has one campsite and—I’ll admit it—I’m kind of afraid of the dark. That’s multiplied when you haven’t seen a single person all day and you get to thinking about marauding bears and Wendigos. Another fun fact: my reading for this trip was The Fellowship of the Ring, and on this night I just happened to be reading about the Black Riders.
So that definitely added to the “alone in the woods” jitters.

Fortunately, Panther Lake had a beautiful site waiting for me, with some of the most enormous spruce trees I’ve ever seen in Ontario. I honestly didn’t know we had them that huge out here. Even though the water-access was a little rough, it made for a great looking spot…

I was way too bushed to think about anything except getting some food in me and getting to bed, so other than a few nervous glances into the trees, I fell asleep pretty quickly.

 Day 3

There’s always a mixed bag of emotions on the final day of a trek. You’re sore and tired, but it’s sad to leave the trail behind. Fortunately, this was my shortest day, clocking in at around 11 or 12 km. This leg closes the hike’s loop by coming down out of the highlands and heading south towards the highway, so the trail is also mostly downhill, which was a treat for the legs.

With all that in mind, I took my time and enjoyed the walk. I saw my first human being for about 36 hours around Dace Lake, and from there to the highway there was a steady stream of people just starting out on the trail. They were all friendly and asked questions, mostly about the bugs, and I tried not to have a grizzled, thousand-meter stare as I responded that they weren’t too bad.
Nobody needs that when they’re just starting out…

I only made one substantial stop, at Guskewau Lake, which has to be the most picturesque lake of the whole hike, with rolling hills and good, wide water that makes for a stiff breeze. From there, it was just a straight shot down Guskewau Creek, all the way to the marshy flats around the trailhead. And there I heard the best sound for any trekker at the end of a trip: cars on the highway.

I hitched a ride from a super-nice young couple from New York, and met up with my friends at the Algonquin Art Centre.


Final Thoughts

I was pretty pleased with how this trek came together. I ate most of my food, with the exception of my emergency extras. I wore every piece of clothing I carried as well, so it was nice to know I have my garment-packing locked down. Both clothes and food were in the right quantities. I didn’t touch my extra bottle of fuel though, so I’ll learn from that and pack a little less next time.
But all in all, I managed well!

On a personal level, I learned a little about myself. Although I’ve backpacked a lot with close friends and I love that experience, I also took a lot away from this trip. I felt at peace and ease, and found myself really taking the time just to look at the world around me without feeling the need to comment on it. That’s a pretty special feeling for an extrovert like me, and I’ll carry the lesson forward.

My conclusion is this: trekking with a friend is more fun, but by yourself is more beautiful.
I can’t wait for my next trip, whichever kind it is.

Algonquin Art Centre’s 2015 Creative Residencies!

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

We’re so excited to announce that applications for this season’s Creative Residencies are now open!

These residencies give one writer and one visual artist the chance to spend Sept. 2nd to Sept 6th at one of the Algonquin Wildlife Research Station’s lodges in the midst of the provincial park, surrounded by working naturalists. We’ll take care of the living-expenses and transport to and from Huntsville. We just want to give two creators the chance to benefit from the Algonquin landscape and work on whatever project they feel would benefit from that environment. Apply solo or as a member of a partnership between a writer and visual artist. A quick note: if you apply in partnership, both applicants must complete forms and submit them individually.

You can find more details in the application-forms we’ve attached. Submit soon, and we’ll see you in Algonquin!

Submission Deadline: August 12th, 2015

Writer’s Residency, 2015

Visual Artist’s Residency, 2015

Note: our current platform has difficulty interacting with Firefox. If at all possible, please download these files using Chrome, Safari, or Internet Explorer. Otherwise, you can email directly for digital copies of the application-forms. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience!

Meet The Team!

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Now that the summer’s well under way, we thought it’d be a good idea to let you get to know the team members you’ll be meeting and hearing from over the season. So here’s a run-down of our centre-staff, a little bit about them, and (just for fun!) the Algonquin animal they resemble most.

Joel Irwin

Joel’s been connected with the Algonquin Art Centre for a long time, but just this year he took on the role of General Manager. Joel loves getting out, running Algonquin’s trails, and encountering its wildlife. One of his greatest passions is the Centre’s commitment to fostering new artists through residencies and partnerships with other organizations, and he’s got big plans for the upcoming seasons…
Joel’s an industrious guy with a cheerful look about him, so he pretty much has to be the North American beaver!

Matt Coles

Matt is our Artistic Director at the AAC. He’s always loved camping and fishing in Ontario’s north, and some of his best memories are of trips with his dad. Like so many Canadian artists before him, his experience in the outdoors contributes directly to his own landscape-paintings. Matt is also excited about being at the centre of the burgeoning scene of young painters connected with Algonquin Park.
Matt’s Algonquin animal is the majestic, grey-flecked Algonquin wolf!

Joanne Maroney
(That’s not Joanne. It’s a Northern pearly-eyed butterfly, her Algonquin animal!)

Joanne, our boutique manager, just loves being around art and craftsmanship. She’s our go-to pro at arranging and displaying the craft-items on offer and greeting people from all over the world when they come through the park. She describes meeting the creators, adventurers, tourists, and art-lovers as the best part of her role.

Alex Fleck

Hi there! I’m the Centre’s brand new Social Media Manager!
(also the person writing this post)
I’m all about new media and the way it affects language, communication, and interaction between people. Off the internet, my real passion is hiking and backpacking. I’ve adventured to places all over Canada, from Newfoundland’s East Coast Trail, to Strathcona on Vancouver Island, to the Yukon’s Mt. Haldane and—of course!—Algonquin Park.
I’m gregarious and really chatty, so I most resemble the North American river otter.

Josee Trahan

Josee, one of our gallery staffers, describes herself as a creative, silly, and optimistic spirit that is constantly inspired by the works at the AAC. As a former Algonquin Park naturalist, her love for the region’s wildlife informs her own practice as an artist. One day, she hopes to have her own work hanging in galleries like the AAC!
Josee is most drawn to the cleverness and curiosity of the Eastern American black bear.

Jenna Forde

Jenna is also a staffer at the Centre. She’s originally from Huntsville, and for the summer season, she divides her time between the Muskokas and Toronto, where she goes to grad-school at York. She’s also at the helm of a Toronto zine, where she curates and publishes ideas about critical theory, art, and feminism.
Jenna is resourceful and tenacious, and that actually makes her another great human candidate for black bearhood! We honestly couldn’t have just one…

Aubrey Creasor

Aubrey is our part-time staffer and gazebo-attendant. She lives in Huntsville, where she’s between grades 11 and 12. She loves skiing, playing guitar, and painting, especially the complicated patterns found on butterfly wings. Apart from working at the Centre, this summer she’s getting the chance to feed the travel-bug and visit Southern France and Italy.
If you meet Aubrey, you know right away that she’s the cheerful and energetic Eastern chipmunk!

Any given day at the Algonquin Art Centre you can meet one of us. We’ll also be putting out frequent updates on the blog so you can get to know our people and what goes on at the gallery and in the park a little better. So look in on us here or in person and we’ll have lots to share.
We look forward to seeing you!

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
by donation - thank you for your support
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