2014 Group of Seven & Glenn Gould Train Event


The 2014 Group of Seven and Glenn Gould Train Event on September 19-21 once again link iconic Canadian artists with the Algoma landscape.

Tour guides Michael Burtch and Dale Innes will be sharing their research about the connection to Sault Ste. Marie and the Algoma district of this year’s featured Group of Seven artist, A. Y. Jackson, and musician, Glenn Gould.

According to art historian, Michael Burtch, in 1919 Jackson joined Lawren Harris, J.E.H. MacDonald and Frank Johnston on a box car trip on the Algoma Central Railway. This was the trip that resulted in one of his most memorable paintings, ‘First Snow Algoma’, which is in the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. Jackson returned to Algoma in 1920, 1921, 1922 and 1924.

Burtch comments: “In the 1950s he returned to Algoma, sometimes staying in cabins along the ACR on trips that had been arranged by Stewart MacDougall and often in Michipicoten, at Sandy Beach on Lake Superior near Wawa. He was co-owner of a cabin at Sandy Beach with Mrs. Harry Ross. A familiar figure in the area, he was often seen painting along the beach and the coastline. On other occasions he would accompany Harry Ross in Harry’s motorboat or would charter a boat from Buck Lyman and travel along the coast as far as Michipicoten Island and Pukaskwa. Some of the voyages turned into hair raising experiences as Superior’s moods flared, according to Ken Ross who had joined his father and Jackson in their adventure. When Jackson was going inland by train, he revisited many of the locations that he got to know during the Group of Seven days, especially around Agawa Canyon and Eton. He also used his time in the area to paint closer to Sault Ste. Marie. He painted scenes from the Anglican graveyard at Garden River, the Goulais River, Chippewa Falls and Coppermine Point.

Jackson gave his time freely to groups like the Algoma Art Society. He was a gregarious man and thought nothing of taking time to talk to passers-by or giving painting tips to those that were keen to learn. He used his connections to bring other artists to Sault Ste. Marie to give workshops and was well known for exchanging a sketch or two as a thank you to people that extended their hospitality to him.”

According to musicologist, Dale Innes, in addition to Gould’s better known connection with the Wawa area, there is also a connection between his family and Sault Ste. Marie.

Innes states: “According to Dr. Peter Ostwald, psychiatrist, violinist and Glenn Gould’s long-time friend, Gould’s maternal grandfather, John Charles Holmann Greig (1855 – 1927), was a schoolteacher and his mother, Florence (Flora) Emma Greig (1891 – 1975), was musically gifted and studied both piano and voice in Sault Ste. Marie. Ostwald does not specify that the grandfather taught in Sault Ste. Marie, but since his daughter studied here, one can assume that he taught here.”

Participants in the 2014 Group of Seven and Glenn Gould Train Event will be treated to copious opportunities to learn more about Jackson’s and Gould’s experiences in the Algoma District. On Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday they will hear about these artists, as well as other Group of Seven painters and their relationships with the magnificent landscapes along the Algoma Central Railway and the Lake Superior coast. In addition to presentations by Burtch and Innes, they will have the opportunity to participate in a lecture-demonstration art session-Art and Landscape- with Taimi Poldmaa and Joanie McGuffin; commentary by Joanie McGuffin about the Lake Superior shore, a tour of Wawa by Joanna Rowe and be serenaded by violinist, Sheila Gruner. This is a trip full of cultural exposure against the backdrop of the Algoma wilderness.

Narrators Michael Burtch and Joanie McGuffin, along with Gary McGuffin, are part of a film entitled Spirit Land, currently being produced by White Pine Pictures, Inc. about the Group of Seven’s time primarily in Algoma. For a preview of the film, here is a link to the trailer:


This year’s event-the 7th Annual Group of Seven and Glenn Gould Train Event-is taking place during the 100th Anniversary of the Algoma Central Passenger Train.
Ticket prices are as follows:

$395.00 for double occupancy (Tax incl.)
$430.00 for single occupancy (Tax incl.)

To avoid disappointment, purchase tickets at the Community Theatre Centre Box Office by calling the Station Mall at 705-945-7299 or visiting their website at www.kctc.ca.

For more information about the event please call Linda Savory Gordon at 705-949-2301 ext. 4320 or visit our website at www.groupofseventrainevent.ca.