The Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains (CAPT) and the Group of Seven/Glenn Gould Train Event Committee deeply regret to announce that the September 2015 Group of Seven/ Glenn Gould Train Event will be postponed until 2016. This would have been the 7th year of the event which sells out every year. Frank Johnston was to have been this year’s featured artist. The postponement is due to the cancellation of the passenger train service.
While the ACR Stakeholders Working Group (of which CAPT is a member) is working furiously under the direction of Chair, Tom Dodds, SSMEDC, to find an effective third party operator to run the passenger train, we do not know whether it will be in operation by Sept 18. This is only a postponement, not a cancellation. In fact, we plan to double the number of times we offer this event in 2016. For the first time we will be having it in both May and September, 2016. Some of the Group of Seven paintings were done in the spring when the painters rode the passenger train to various locations along the line.
The need to postpone this year’s event underlines the importance of the Algoma Central passenger service for travellers who will be increasingly coming to this area to see some of the newly discovered painting sites. The research done by art historian Michael Burtch and adventurers Joanie and Gary McGuffin on their trips by rail to bush-wack into the sites is being recognized by important art institutions throughout Canada and other countries as being ground breaking. Working from the ACR passenger train was extremely significant for the actual formation and development of the Group of Seven as a group. The importance of the Burtch-McGuffin research will be shown in the documentary film Painted Land: In Search of the Group of Seven, by White Pine Pictures, to be aired on TVO this fall. The film will help demonstrate the absolute importance of the ACR rail line as a cultural heritage corridor for which the passenger train is essential as the only way for people to travel into and explore the many areas in which the Group of Seven painters produced hundreds of their most important paintings. Cultural heritage buffs are already planning to come to Algoma from far and wide to join in organized groups who will participate in trips and courses such as the 2013 Algoma University course led by Michael Burtch that included several days camping along the line.
Those who are interested in the “Following in the footsteps of Glenn Gould” aspect of these events will be happy to know that musicologist Dale Innes (event presenter) will soon be announcing the publication of her upcoming book about Gould.
For more information about the 2016 Group of Seven and Glenn Gould Train Events, please contact Heather Bot at Algoma Kinnawabi 705.253.4293 or Linda Savory Gordon at NORDIK Institute 705.949.2301 ex 4320.