Group of Seven Experience Route: Ontario Collection

Trees on a rocky peninsula

The Group of Seven’s depictions of Canada’s rugged forest came to symbolize Canadian strength and resilience. Their expressionist works were often simple landscapes but stood apart from the rest for their use of bright hues and unique painting style, ultimately inspiring the modern art movement in Canada.

For thirteen years, the hearty artists rode the rails, hitched boat rides, scaled rock faces, hiked back-country and paddled wild waters to reach the views that inspired their art.

They camped in the forest, stayed in vacant cabins and lived off the land, often in less than ideal conditions. Their artistic journeys took them wide and far, not only in Ontario but across Canada.

The Group of Seven’s iconic paintings and sketches, located inside the Ontario galleries’ walls, is nothing short of spectacular. Explore the Group of Seven Experience Route: Ontario Collection below to see how these paintings impacted the way we view the art of landscape painting.

1.  Art Gallery of Windsor

With over 150 works by members from the Group in their collection, plus activities, educational programs, guided tours and the Sunday studio program, the Art Gallery of Windsor is the perfect forum to learn more about the Group of Seven.

Location: 401 Riverside Drive West, Windsor

2.  Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery

This public gallery received a donation of art from the Sarnia Women’s Conservation Art Association in 1956 that included works by A.Y. Jackson, Tom Thomson, and other Group of Seven members, which would help form the basis and expansion of the permanent collection.

Location: 147 Lochiel Street, Sarnia

3.  Museum London

The Group of Seven’s paintings and drawings are included in this multidisciplinary arts institution’s full collection.

Location: 421 Rideout Street North, London

4.  Art Gallery of Hamilton

Founded in 1914, the AGH embraces Canadian historical, international and contemporary art with a collection of over 10,000 pieces, including works by A.Y. Jackson and Lawren Harris.

Location: 123 King Street West, Hamilton

5.  Art Gallery of Guelph

Teaching, while continuously learning, was critical to the Group of Seven members. The Art Gallery of Guelph embraces this philosophy blending artistic practice with education.

Location: 358 Gordon Street, Guelph 

6.  Art Gallery of Ontario

This Gallery has a special connection to the Group of Seven, dating back to their inaugural exhibit in 1920 when the group shared their collection of landscape paintings, drawings, sketches and studies with the public for the first time.

Location: 317 Dundas Street West, Toronto

7.  The Art Museum at the University of Toronto

This collection numbers over 700 works of art, including 59 artworks deemed “National Treasures.” Book a guided tour to get the full experience.

Location: 7 Hart House Circle, Toronto

Connect to the canvas: contrast the urban landscape with water, wind and wave details in Varley’s On the Rideau (undated) or  Lismer’s Isles of Spruce c. 1922, displayed in The Hart House Collection.

Large sign outside of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection

8.  McMichael Canadian Art Collection

Home to a significant collection of works by Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven, their contemporaries and Indigenous Peoples, this gallery is an integral page in the Group of Seven narrative. Learn about the artists, their inspirations and the profound mark they’ve left on the landscape of Canadian art. This summer is your last chance to see the fabulous exhibition “A Like Vision: The Group of Seven at 100” that runs until August 14, 2022.

An interpretive installation leads to the Group of Seven Artist Cemetery. This cemetery is the final resting place for six of the seven members and their spouses. Slabs of granite blasted from northern road construction were transported to the cemetery so that the Group of Seven members would always have a piece of the north with them on their journey.

Location: 10365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg

9.  Varley Art Gallery

Named after Group of Seven member Frederick Horseman Varley, the gallery encompasses the historic Kathleen McKay house dating from the 1840s, the home of Varley for the last 12 years of his life. Stop by the gallery to participate in studio art classes, workshops, family art activities and group tours.

Location: 216 Main Street, Unionville, Markham

10.  Robert McLaughlin Gallery

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery tells the continuing story of Canadian art.

Location: 72 Queen Street, Oshawa

Connect to the canvas: view Harris’ Chestnut Street c. 1919 or Carmichaels, Grace Lake c. 1940 and try to figure out where in Ontario the inspiration was found. Hint: you’ll find answers in two other Experience Routes.

11.  National Gallery of Canada

2,500 works by Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven are prominently displayed at the National Gallery of Canada (NGC.) One of the most recognizable works is Tom Thomson’s The Jack Pine c. 1916-1917. For the full experience, book a guided tour that features the National Collection’s commentary and highlights and enjoy lunch at the on-site café, ‘7’.

Location: 380 Sussex Drive, Ottawa

12.  Ottawa Art Gallery

Head to the Firestone Reverb Exhibition for contemporary works displayed along with historical heavyweights including Franklin Carmichael, J.E.H. MacDonald and Lawren Harris, creating a dynamic and exciting conversation.

Location: 50 Mackenzie King Bridge, Ottawa

13.  Art Gallery of Sudbury

Within the Gallery’s permanent collection, you’ll find works by  Tom Thomson and the original Group of Seven members find works, including Franklin Carmichael, Arthur Lismer, A.Y. Jackson, and Frederick Varley.

Location: 251 John Street, Sudbury

A viewing wall of art at the Algoma Art Gallery

14.  Art Gallery of Algoma

The Art Gallery of Algoma highlights a variety of Northern Ontario artists in their programming and collections. It has sketches, paintings and studies created by members of the Group of Seven during their time in the region as part of their permanent collection.

After your visit, head over to the waterfront, where you’ll find a Moments of Algoma permanent artist easel and stool highlighting more exciting details related to the Group of Seven and their connection to Algoma.

Location: 10 East Street, Sault Ste. Marie

Paintings handing on a gallery wall

15.  Tom Thomson Art Gallery

Dedicated to the innovative and artistic spirit of Tom Thomson, the gallery (known as the TOM) features some of his work as well as contemporary art, including a beautiful Indigenous collection.

Location: 840 1st Avenue West, Owen Sound

Relieve artistic history on your terms like a true artist: experience all or some of this extensive leg of the Group of Seven Experience Route in Ontario. Plan your trip today!

Last updated: May 19, 2022

Looking for Ontario travel advice?

Our experts are here to help you plan your perfect trip. Call or book today.