Archive for the ‘What’s On’ Category


Wednesday, 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.


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.


Thursday, 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.


Thursday, 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

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.


Daniel St-Amant: Convergence

Monday, August 15th, 2016

We’re very excited to be hosting our artist, former residency-holder, and good friend Daniel St-Amant for his solo-show, Convergence!

You might remember that last October, Daniel spent a week at Algonquin Provincial Park’s Clarke Lake Cabin. He used that time to gather specimen and natural materials like mud and leaf-litter, to take in the inspiration of the park, and to plan large-scale artworks. His days were spent working on his craft, and at night he got to hear the howling Algonquin wolves.

In the past, Daniel used his signature technique—laying canvasses on the road to pick up the impression of passing cars’ tire-tread, the painting wildlife—to signify the way nature is often closed in and crowded out by human intervention. He would place animals within the confines of human encroachment. But since his time in the wild, his style has moved in a different direction…

Works in progress for the show!

Lately, rather than using human elements as structures of confinement, Daniel allows his wildlife to grow out of the mixed environment of urban and natural materials. It’s a hopeful message about the convergence between the human and animal worlds, and the ways that their interaction can be healthy. It’s an evolution and a progression, conjured up from the melding of very tangible materials from the real world, incorporated into artistic creativity. Daniel has perfectly expressed the spirit of this season’s overarching theme, Metamorphosis.

Join us from now untilSeptember 15th to see these completed pieces and reflect on Convergence in person!

Art of Glass and Stone with Peter Rice

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

We’ve got a special event coming up this Friday! Peter Rice will be stopping in to do an artist demo… it’s Art of Glass and Stone!

Peter Rice is one of our long-standing artists at the Algonquin Art Centre. He was born in Toronto but spent most of his childhood in rural areas around the Canadian Shield. It was here, playing and exploring among that unique geology, that Peter became fascinated with rocks as an artistic medium. It wasn’t until his university years at Guelph that he discovered how to perfectly incorporate them into amazing sculptural tableaus. By combining minerals with the practice of setting stained glass, he developed his characteristic mode of depicting the landscape in sculpture.

As intriguing as these pieces are, watching them come together makes them even more fascinating.  Taking raw materials of wire and stone and twisting them into life as a unified sculpture takes patience, insight, and a strong vision of what you want to accomplish. And hearing Peter talk through his work is an extra privilege! He’s great to hang out with while he works his craft, and our visitors love speaking with him. That’s why, year after year, we’re delighted to have him back.

This special event will be taking place throughout the day this Friday, between 10 am and 4 pm. There’s no charge. We’d just love for you to stop in and engage with one of our artists! You can get all the details over on our site.
Join us and spend some time with a fantastic creator in his element!

David Grieve: Warm Shore

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

As the summer progresses and this season’s theme of Metamorphosis continues, we’ve got a new solo show! We’re proud to welcome David Grieve’s Warm Shore, which showcases light and landscape in his signature impressionist style.

David Grieve has worked with oils most of his life. He started out very young, accompanying his mother to her studio, and later attended Guelph University for fine art. All throughout his long painting career, he’s been captivated by landscapes, most importantly the Southwestern Ontario fields he calls home and the rugged woodland of our wilderness.

“Resplendent 2″

David’s style is based on broad bands of colour aligned into impressionistic renderings of the landscape. His technique has some surprising results. It makes you move in, step back, engage with the image, and interrogate the way the trees and hills resolve out of his form. By revealing his brush strokes so dramatically, he adds an extra layer of interpretation onto the already beautiful landscape.

“Warm Shore”

David’s solo show, Warm Shore, specifically explores his use of light. Sunlight’s animating presence transforms a dormant landscape into a kind of radiant wonder-world, brimming with possibility. The daily change of light between sunrise and sunset is among the most fertile territories for an artist to explore. That change reveals new regions overlaid atop familiar geographies. We all know the feeling of revisiting a favourite location at an unfamiliar time of day or year. It’s almost an entirely new place. David’s use of light captures just that experience in his depictions of the familiar Algonquin landscape…

“Wagi, Jumping Rock”

You can experience Warm Shore July 21st to August 15th at the Algonquin Art Centre, located at km 20 in Algonquin Provincial Park. Get all of our details over on the website, Stop by, and let these beautiful interpretations of the landscape guide your experience of Algonquin!

Peter B. Mills’ Metamorphosis

Sunday, July 10th, 2016
We love it when art and science intertwine! One of our artists, Peter B. Mills, is both a fantastic painter and an accomplished naturalist, and he’s just published a book called Metamorphosis. It traces the double life of amphibians, depicting the amazing natural changes that occur throughout their life-cycles.
With our theme of Metamorphosis this season, we’re excited to see one of our partners engaging with a natural process like this. Featuring writing and original illustrations from Peter, this book is a great resource for the citizen scientist who loves getting out and going deep on understanding their environment.
You can see that understanding in Peter’s artistic work as well. The life and habits of his subjects animate his paintings in unique ways. Here’s a look into his thinking about one piece on display at the Algonquin Art Centre…
“Lord of the River” is the phrase that came to mind as I watched this ancient male Wood Turtle plod across a shallow riffle and out into a small brook here in Algonquin Park.  Rather than enter the brook with the flow of the water, he cut a path at a slant to the water sliding over the stony bottom.  This seemed like an act of defiance against his surroundings.  This and the stern golden ring in his eye left me to interpret this animal as one who was a master of his domain.
Algonquin Park is one of the last places in Southern Ontario where Wood Turtles remain as lords of their riverine haunts.  These turtles are crushed by vehicles and agricultural equipment, displaced by development projects, and collected by uninformed people to be kept as pets, all of which lead to population crashes.
“Wood Turtle” is done with translucent paint on an aluminium surface.  As a result, a lively light gleams through the work under natural light.  This seemed like an appropriate way to render an animal that spends so much of its life in shallow, sun-sparkled brooks and rivers.
 “Wood Turtle”
You can get all the information on Peter’s book over on his website. You definitely don’t want to miss out on seeing his pieces in person, so be sure to drop in with us at the Art Centre. You can get a preview of his work right here.
Stop in with us and explore the concept of Metamorphosis through art, while surrounded by Algonquin park’s dynamic environment!
Peter and Joel in the gallery

David Lidbetter: The Colour of Winter

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

“Late Lies the Wintry Sun”

Now that the gallery is up open and running, we’re excited to announce our first solo exhibition of the season. From now until July 20th, come experience David Lidbetter‘s The Colour of Winter. 

“Tea Lake”

David works from a simple premise. He heads into the wild to find his inspiration, but he doesn’t seek out the conventionally picturesque. He looks for scenes that evoke strong emotion, often feelings of isolation and solitude. You can sense his reflective attitude toward his work as he visually ponders distance, depth, and looks for colour in the muted landscapes of winter.

“New Year’s Day”

This winter saw David out in the bush, taking sketches and impressions of Algonquin in winter. “I love the surprising natural sense of balance and design found in landscape,” he says. “The line, the abstract space and fractured colour are what interest me most.” Anyone who’s examined the cracks in the exposed rocks along the trail or looked through the angles in bare tree branches knows what he means. There’s a disorganised symmetry to nature that David captures perfectly.

“Narrow Way”

 We can’t wait for you to experience this exhibit in person. Take in David’s work 10-5, seven days a week until July 20th!

“Northern Sky 2″

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
Ontario ParksThe Friends of Algonquin ParkWildlife Habitat Canada