Bartlett Blog


Finding The Artist’s Inspiration in Algonquin Park

hands of a man wearing plaid sketching a lake and autumn shoreline

Impressionist Tom Thomson died on Canoe Lake in 1917 and realist Ken Danby passed away tragically in 2007 on Tea Lake. But it’s what these famous Canadians achieved in life that inspires so many professional and amateur artists to follow in their footsteps. From Blair Fraser to Robert Bateman and Canada’s Group of Seven, the sense of cultural history embraced by natural beauty is powerful here.

Start With A Paddle

Canoe and Smoke Lakes are major lakes within the park boundaries where artists seeking inspiration from the past can find known sites that inspired Thomson and his Group of Seven peers. Easily accessed off the Highway 60 corridor, you’ll need (and want) to canoe to the famous blends of trees, rocks streams and shorelines that captured the imagination of others.

Our best advice is to seek recommendations from art historians inside the park to find the best places to start your adventure. Rock and Cache are also excellent starting points.

The ‘Artists River’

The Oxtongue River inspired Canadian artists like the Group of Seven and is lovingly referred to as ‘the artists river’. Put your canoe in the water at the Tea Lake Dam Picnic Area and explore freely – it’s a great half-day trip and you may even find the perfect spot for your next masterpiece.

The team at Bartlett Lodge can help you plan your own artist’s experience that includes Group of Seven sites and indigenous pictographs alike. Or you can check out our Tom Thomson Discovery package which includes tickets to the McMichael Gallery. We recommend getting location advice to ensure you don’t miss a thing.

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