In May 1912, iconic Canadian artist Tom Thomson made his first trip to Algonquin Park. A trip that not only would change his life, but which would provide the source and inspiration for the creation of imagery that would resonate through the century and become the epitome of the Canadian spirit: the images of what Canada is in both the hearts and minds of people nationally and internationally. Art historian and writer David Silcox once said of Thomson’s work, “Thomson’s paintings are the visual equivalent of a national anthem.”
Canadian Spirit – one of our most ambitious projects to date was launched last year to mark the 100th Anniversary of Tom Thomson’s first trip to Algonquin Park. In honour of this momentous occasion the Tom Thomson Art Gallery created a unique partnership opportunity amongst the arts, culture and business communities of Owen Sound (Thomson’s home town) and Huntsville (gateway to Algonquin Park) to present activities inspired by and reflective of the impact of Thomson’s voyage to Algonquin. From April through October 2012 organizations, individuals and businesses created opportunities to celebrate this event. The Canadian Spirit 2012 project consisted of exhibitions, performances, readings, film series, hands on activities, the Canadian Spirit Festival and other events bringing together people to explore, celebrate and connect with Thomson and his legacy. These events will elevate our existing programming and our profile.
Canadian Spirit is a platform to fulfill the Gallery’s goal of becoming “all things Tom” and generating awareness about the Gallery, our outstanding permanent collection and continued educational programming. As a national icon and identifiable Canadian Arts figurehead, his association will attract visitors who may not necessarily normally visit Arts events. The Tom Thomson Art Gallery has the third largest collection of his works/artefacts but more than this, he was raised locally and his spirit is alive here. Building on the overwhelming success of Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven’s first solo show in Europe recently, Canadian art is poised to take a place on the world stage.
Canadian Spirit 2013: One with the North is the second year of an ongoing annual series that will culminate in Canadian Spirit 2017: Someday they will know what I mean… marking the 100th anniversary of Thomson’s death, the 50th anniversary of the Tom Thomson Art Gallery and the 150th anniversary of Canada and which will focus on ideas and issues around Canadian identity, its past and its evolution.
There are many ways to support Canadian Spirit including volunteering, sponsorship and artist’s calls. Click here to find out how you can become involved in Canadian Spirit.
The number of partners, sponsors and presenting organizations continues
Click here to find out who is already supporting Canadian Spirit.
Find out our various partner organizations and galleries have planned for Canadian Spirit 2013. There are events and activities planned for all ages locally, regionally, provincially and beyond.
Show Your Canadian Spirit
For more information contact:
Canadian Spirit Project Coordinator
Manager of Marketing and Development
Director and Chief Curator