In the Land of the Great Canadian Painters

Two weeks ago, I visited Oxtongue Lake and Algonquin Provincial Park. Being a fan of A.J. Casson and the Group of Seven, it was fun to visit their old stomping ground.

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ABOVE: A.J. Casson, The Bay, Oxtongue Lake, July 1982, oil on board, 12 x 15 inches

BELOW: The location from which the above was painted (marked with a plaque at the Blue Spruce Resort)

From coast to coast, Canada is a nature lovers dream, and of all it has to offer, the areas in and around Algonquin Provincial Park are some of the finest. It was here that a few of this nation’s greatest artists traveled and worked, and it was here that I humbly visited in their footsteps.

My vacation started at the Blue Spruce Resort where one of my biggest artistic influences, A.J. Casson stayed on multiple occasions. He loved to sketch and paint around Oxtongue lake, and the cottage he rented with his wife still stands on the resort today. I can see why they visited so often; there’s plenty to do on site, and it’s perfectly situated to explore all the area has to offer.

From the Blue Spruce, it’s a short drive to Algonquin Provincial Park which covers almost 3,000 square miles, and contains over 2,400 lakes. The park is a vast wilderness virtually untouched by man, and it was a favorite of another Group of Seven painter, Tom Thomson. He traveled and painted extensively in the park, and on July 8, 1917, his short life came to an end when his body was found floating on Canoe Lake. To this day, nobody knows what happened.

For the adventurous – and those skilled with a canoe – there are a ton of things to see and do in the park. For the less adventurous, there are plenty of well marked trails along highway 60. Whatever you choose, this place is spectacularly beautiful. I didn’t paint while there, but I went bonkers with my camera.

If you’re a fan of the Group of Seven and/or a lover of nature, then Algonquin Provincial Park is the place for you. And, if you’d rather cottage then camp, so too is the Blue Spruce Resort.

A bucket list adventure, if ever there was one.

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