Come Wander

One hundred years ago a group of seven intrepid artists travelled through dense forests and across harsh Canadian shield to capture the essence of the rugged and mysterious Canadian wilderness on their canvasses. From wind-swept panoramas to snow covered vistas, these artists created something that was unlike anything ever seen before in the art world – a purely Canadian style of art.

Using a patchwork of bright colours and varying textures, the Group of Seven eloquently captured the scenes that are so common in Canada; the muted shape of an evergreen laden with snow, the unique colouring of a weathered cliffside. These paintings evoked an inevitable comparison between the rugged nature of their art and the indomitable Canadian spirit.

The Group of Seven artists were the ultimate wanderers, drifting through the endless Canadian forests to capture its essence on canvas.

It’s been 100 years since the Group of Seven formed, and the impact of their work continues today. Ontario’s Highlands is among the many Canadian landscapes the Group of Seven wandered: From the towering cliffs of Mazinaw Rock to the endless forests in the Ottawa Valley, the Group of Seven captured it all. Walk in the footsteps of these creative wanderers and be inspired by these seven experiences across Ontario’s Highlands.

Tour the A.Y. Jackson Trail

Where: Throughout Renfrew County
When: Self-guided, can be toured anytime.

As a founding member of the Group of Seven, A.Y. Jackson’s work is well known for its distinctive composition and form. In his later years, Jackson spent time in the Ottawa Valley, travelling the winding roads of Arnprior, Burnstown, Barry’s Bay, Quadeville, Lake Clear, and beyond. Wander the A.Y. Jackson Trail and stand on the sites that inspired this great artist, close your eyes, and imagine what the experience was like for Jackson.

Bask in the Beauty of Bon Echo Provincial Park

When: May to October
Where: Bon Echo Provincial Park, Lennox & Addington

The brilliance of Bon Echo Provincial Park was well known to members of the Group of Seven, and the park was a frequent vacation spot for artists like Arthur Lismer, A.Y. Jackson, Franklin Carmichael, and more. Bring your camera or paint brush and easel and discover the scenes and vistas that so inspired these, and many other, artists.

Cruise to Mazinaw Rock

When: May to October
Where: Bon Echo Provincial Park, Lennox & Addington

The simple majesty of this escarpment will take your breath away, and has inspired more artists than the Group of Seven – the more than 260 pictographs have been found dotting the rugged cliff are a testament to its importance for thousands of years. Take an interpretive boat ride to get a closer look at the famous rock that inspired the Group of Seven, or bring a canoe or kayak and bob in the dark waters of Mazinaw Lake while you breathe in the beauty of the moment. Spend the night steeped in artistic beauty at the campground.

Plein Air Painting with Yours Outdoors

When: Spring, Summer, Autumn
Where: Minden White Water Preserve, Haliburton Highlands

“En plein air” or open-air painting was new to the art world during the days of the Group of Seven, but the concept of creating in the midst of a natural landscape makes sense. What better way to experience this first hand than by wandering in the outdoors yourself? During an all-inclusive course with Yours Outdoors, local artist Harvey Walker leads aspiring artists on a short walk along the beautiful Gull River, and offer creative guidance on creating your own work of art. Walk away with your own masterpiece to remember the experience.

Tour Oxtongue Lake

When: Year-round
Where: Oxtongue Lake, Haliburton Highlands

Moose Pond

Wander to Oxtongue Lake and see for yourself the images that have inspired artists across the nation, and the same landscapes that can be found in galleries across Canada. Stop by the large-scale mural of A.J. Casson’s Oxtongue River and learn more about the illustrations made of the area by the Group of Seven. See if you can find the same inspirational spots along the rugged shoreline.

Bonus:

Dorset Heritage Museum Murals

When: Year-round
Where: Dorset, Haliburton Highlands

Stop by the small museum in Dorset for a glimpse of two outdoor murals based on the works of art by Frank Johnston. Pick up a brochure with more information about the site and the paintings found there.

Stories

The Artist’s Way

Who says art can only be found in big galleries or urban showrooms? To find fantastic local and Canadian art you need to head to the places that inspire artists to create, and Ontario’s Highlands is among the most beautiful places in Ontario (in our humble opinion). Beyond the inspiration found in the rugged hills […]

Big Attractions in Ontario

Are you the type to pull over when you see a comically large roadside attraction, or a picture-perfect spot to snap a few shots? Amateur photographers and Instagrammers alike can agree that a giant ice cream cone, a massive mural adorning the side of a building, or a full-size replica of a jet plane are […]

Ground to Glass

Discover how four craft drink makers harness Mother Nature’s flavours to elevate their beverages in Ontario’s Highlands.

With Love, to the Ottawa Valley

From the rushing waters of the Petawawa, Madawaska and Ottawa rivers to the unspoiled woodlands of Algonquin Park, the Ottawa Valley is a sultry enchantress, enticing us with adventure. Renowned as a world-class whitewater destination and for the challenges found in its rugged hills and lush dales, the Valley pushes us to do more, live […]

With Love, to Lennox & Addington

Known for its pristine wilderness, incredible views and rugged natural spaces, the majestic beauty of Lennox & Addington speaks to the wanderer inside us all. From the craggy peak of Mazinaw Rock at Bon Echo Provincial Park to the starry skies overhead, there is wonder waiting to be discovered here, a vivid reminder of how our […]

Hello Summer! Your Guide to COVID-19 Safe Travel in Ontario’s Highlands

We are happy to see that summer is in full swing here in Ontario’s Highlands, and even happier now that we have seen the lifting of many restrictions here in Ontario. After months of staying home we are eager to get out and stretch out legs and imaginations in a region made for discovery. This […]

Dark Skies, Starry Nights

Have you ever wondered about the mysterious realm outside our planet? Maybe you’ve wanted to roam the galaxy, travel among the stars, and get a new perspective on the universe. For now, stargazing is as close to it as us ‘average humans’ can get! Luckily there are still places to getaway, where the view of […]

Get in Step

April Verch, fiddler, singer-songwriter and step dancer extraordinaire teaches the basics of stepdancing.

Exhale and Unwind

Experience a slice of farm life at Dwyer’s Farmhouse in the Ottawa Valley.

Discover Hidden Gems

Feed your curiosity and explore the diverse geology of Ontario’s Highlands at these Recreational Geology locations.

Shine at Giving this Holiday Season

Today’s craft markets are full of fresh, hip products made by creative and talented makers. This holiday season, go above and beyond by picking up handmade items with a story to tell at one of these Ontario holiday markets.

Art in the Summer

Celebrate creativity at art festivals across Ontario’s Highlands this summer.

3 Cheers for Mom

Discover ways to give a mom a Mother’s Day to remember, with gift ideas that go above and beyond.

Batter up!

Get a behind the scenes look into the world of baseball at Sam Bat.

Get Your Hands Dirty

Find out where to appease your creative side on this Creative Cruiser road trip.

The Creative Cruiser

I’m a Creative Cruiser. I wander with a desire to feed my curiosity, to follow my passions, and to grow from my discoveries.

Where Am I

Explore the sweet moments and ageless beauty of Perth, Ontario.

Hidden Gems

Seven charming museums in Ontario’s Highlands.

Where Am I?

Visit the Petawawa Heritage Village, where you can step back in time and explore the lives of those who wandered long ago.

Where Am I?

Discover a rich history and an even richer geology at the Beryl Pit in the Ottawa Valley.

Where Am I?

Discover breathtaking beauty blasted from the Earth at Marmora Mine in Ontario’s Highlands.

Where Am I?

Discover the story of the earth at the Bonnechere Caves in Eganville, Ontario.

Locals Know Best: Art & Culture

Discover the best spots to learn about the vibrant culture and hidden gems in Ontario’s Highlands through the locals themselves.