4 Group of Seven-Inspired Road Trips

by | May 15, 2023 | Big Blog, Other | 0 comments

Discover the treasures of Northeastern Ontario, a region steeped in the legacy of the Group of Seven, a world-renowned group of seven Canadian artists.  These painters left an indelible mark on the artistic landscape of Canada, and their influence can still be felt. Today, you can embrace the spirit of the Group of Seven while embarking on a 21st-century road trip into the heart of Northeastern Ontario and don’t forget to pack your camera!  

Manitoulin Island

Photo by Rob Stimpson

Begin your journey on the Chi-Cheeman Ferry, landing on the shores of the beautiful Manitoulin Island.  A.J. Casson, a distinguished member of the Group of Seven, captured the timeless beauty of his masterpieces, such as “Nellie Lake” (1933) and “White Pine” (1957). To reach this artistic haven, ride on the captivating Chi-Cheemaun Ferry, gliding across the sparkling waters before venturing northward across the island. Along the way, be sure to pause at the remarkable 10 Mile Lookout, where nature’s grandeur unfolds before your eyes.

Travel the captivating Manitoulin Route along the heart of the La Cloche Mountains. Here you can immerse yourself in the enchanting North Shore and picturesque Manitoulin Island while discovering it from the perspective of the Group of Seven. This scenic route includes the La Cloche mountains; a landscape that has inspired many of their masterpieces. As you travel this breathtaking region, indulge in the local crafts and foods with authentic flavours that truly reflect the uniqueness of this island.  

For painting enthusiasts, this area offers an abundance of opportunities to capture the beauty of the North Channel and Shore. With an array of vantage points to choose from, both landscape and plein-air painters will find themselves immersed in a world of inspiration. Art enthusiasts must not miss the chance to visit the Perivale Gallery, home to one of Ontario’s most exquisite contemporary art collections, where you can view the works of local talents.   


AY Jackson LookoutPhoto by Rob Stimpson

Just a short trip from downtown Sudbury, the A.Y. Jackson Lookout route awaits. Named in honour of this founding member of the Group of Seven, you’ll stand atop the rim of an eroded meteor impact crater, overlooking the beautiful Onaping High Falls—a cascading waterfall that plunges over 55 meters. This natural wonder is among Ontario’s most awe-inspiring waterfalls. Jackson’s artistic legacy comes alive through works such as “Red Maple” (1914) and “Spring on the Onaping River” (1953).

As you explore, allow your imagination to wander, envisioning how Jackson interpreted the beauty of “Spring on the Onaping River.” Although the original painting was stolen in 1974, you can still immerse yourself in the essence of his artistry. Stretch your legs along the three interconnected hiking trails that meander through a vibrant red pine plantation, offering a rejuvenating experience for nature enthusiasts. For those eager to delve into Sudbury’s history, embark on the self-guided Geological Walking Tour, which is accessible to all, and discover the impact that shaped the city’s captivating narrative. Don’t forget to pack a delicious lunch, as the trailhead offers convenient picnic areas and washroom facilities.

After a fulfilling hike, make sure you enjoy some of Sudbury’s attractions, including Science North, Ramsey Lake, and of course, the Art Gallery of Sudbury.

Temiskaming Shores

Photo by Rob Stimpson

Next, we venture along the northern silver mines, where history and art intertwine in the town of Cobalt. Step back in time to a period when silver was discovered in 1903, shaping the town’s development and making it the world’s largest producer of silver and cobalt by 1908. Explore non-operating silver mines, gaining insight into the experiences of the miners who once toiled there.

Cobalt offers a unique perspective on a traditional Northern Ontario mining town. Franklin Carmichael, a prominent member of the Group of Seven, captured the essence of this historic town in his iconic work, “A Northern Silver Mine” (1930). To embark on this route, access Cobalt and the Temiskaming Shores area via Highway 11 through North Bay. With a camera in hand, explore Cobalt and take a guided tour of a non-operating silver mine. Enhance your visit by embarking on a self-guided driving tour along the Heritage Silver Trail, where you will discover even more hidden gems. Afterward, make your way to Haileybury and enjoy northern-inspired art at the local gallery.


Photo by Rob Stimpson

Possibly one of the most renowned experiences related to the Group of Seven in the region is none other than Killarney Provincial Park. This natural haven owes its existence, in part, to the efforts of the Group in preserving its wilderness. Killarney is an ideal destination that promises stunning hiking, exhilarating paddling experiences, or simply enjoying the serene beauty of the area. 

Killarney Provincial Park holds a special place in the hearts of artists, including distinguished members of the Group of Seven such as A.J. Casson and Franklin Carmichael. These visionary painters found themselves captivated by the park’s breathtaking landscapes which influenced some of their greatest works, which include Casson’s “Mirror Lake” (1929).  Embark on a journey through the trails and traverse dense forests that reveal panoramic views of majestic mountains and shimmering lakes.

You can venture onto Killarney’s waterways by kayak or canoe. Paddle along shorelines, and pass towering cliffs, hidden coves, and pristine beaches that epitomize the untouched wilderness.  Afterward, indulge in delicious fish and chips and ice cream in the Village of Killarney. For a luxurious getaway, stay at Killarney Mountain Lodge or rent a cozy yurt within the park. Widgawa Lodge can offer you the unique experience of staying in one of the same cottages as A.J. Casson. Nearby, you will find Dreamer’s Rock, the spot where he painted “White Pine.”   

Connect with nature, immerse yourself in artistic inspiration, and let the Group of Seven guide your exploration in Northeastern Ontario. 


About Northeastern Ontario Tourism

Northeastern Ontario Tourism (NeONT) is a not-for profit organization dedicated to promoting the region as a premier travel destination with the goal of increasing tourism revenue for our Partners, and the region as a whole.