Take a self-guided tour of Huntsville, Lake of Bays and Algonquin Provincial Park’s inspiring and dramatic mural collection – the Group of Seven Outdoor Gallery!
The Group of Seven Outdoor Gallery is a stunning collection of over 90 world-class murals celebrating the unique artwork of Tom Thomson and The Group of Seven.
The Gallery is a free public art experience designed to engage residents and visitors alike. The murals are hand painted by artists from across Canada, and are displayed on the walls of many businesses and buildings throughout the Huntsville, Lake of Bays, and Algonquin Park region.
See the sites and take a relaxing tour of the murals in the Muskoka region that includes Huntsville, Deerhurst Resort, Algonquin Park, Dorset, Dwight, Port Cunnington Lodge and Baysville. This year round attraction makes for an educational, fun and fascinating adventure for the whole family.
The Group of Seven Outdoor Galleries main collection in focused around the Historic Downtown Huntsville Main Street District. The tour begins in front of the Algonquin Theatre with the Tom Thomson Bronze Statue. This statue of Tom Thomson is a depiction of him painting an outdoor sketch in Algonquin Park. You can see the paint box on his lap, with a panel inserted in the slots of the lid. After finishing his sketch, he would close the box which would protect the painting from smudging until he was able to return to camp and take it out to dry. This was the way most of the Group of Seven created their outdoor sketches.
During the summer of 2010 Deerhurst Resort became the focus of the world as host of the G8 Summit; and also as a major contributor in the success of the Group of Seven Outdoor Gallery as world leaders completed the Huntville Community Mural onsite. The community mural was created by over 450 participants and left unfinished in hopes that the leaders would finish the last brush strokes. As luck would have it, the G8 World Leaders did take the time to paint. They all mixed and added their own colours to the mural and completed the remaining parts of the skyline that were unpainted. The mural can now be seen in its permanent home at the Canada Summit Centre, along with the brushes that each leader used. As if that wasn’t enough, Deerhurst Resort is also a supporting participant in the overall Gallery collection and a welcome, must-see addition on the tour.
Algonquin Park and specifically Canoe Lake is likely the most significant influence of Tom Thomson and The Group of Seven. It is without a doubt the subject of their most valued and revered body of work. It is through this unique and dominant natural setting that the majority of their story is told. In 2009, two important murals were added to The Group of Seven Outdoor Gallery as part of the permanent collection and tour that is definitely worth the trip.
The Town of Dorset on Lake of Bays lays claim to the fact that: original Group of Seven member Frank Johnston’s family made this town their home after Mr. Johnston passed away. His son was an art teacher, and prominent member of the community. Because of this, the Dorset Heritage Museum has chosen to concentrate on the works of Frank (Franz) Johnston.
The town of Dwight is a resort destination and is considered a hub to Lake of Bays and the Algonquin Park area destinations. Dwight is the second last town proceeding west toward Algonquin Provincial Park and an essential stop on the Gallery tour.
Established in 1890, Port Cunnington Lodge & Resort is located on 22 scenic acres in a sheltered bay across from historic Bigwin Island on Lake of Bays. The lakes 585 kilometers of shoreline and the resort’s sloping sandy beach and two boathouses provide excellent opportunities for all water enthusiasts, and is another must-stop on the Gallery tour.
With the addition of eight murals, the town of Baysville now completes the Gallery circuit around Huntsville and the Lake of Bays. Baysville is located at the southern end of Lake of Bays, where the Muskoka River winds its way through town. Enjoy a walk through town. You can start anywhere you like.
This outdoor gallery is a fun take on a driving tour. While most of the murals are in downtown Huntsville and can be explored on foot, you will definitely want to carry on by hopping in your in your vehicle to explore the rest of the murals in surrounding communities and in Algonquin Provincial Park. You may not be able to see all the murals in one day, so why not make the most of your visit to Huntsville and Lake of Bays and check out these great accommodations nearby? Happy exploring!