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 2014

If It Wasn’t for the War

From May through October 2014 organizations, individuals and businesses will create opportunities to celebrate this event. This year’s Canadian Spirit project will consist of exhibitions, community garden projects, cooking and canning classes, performances, talks, walks, films, hands on activities and other events bringing together people to explore, celebrate and connect with Thomson and his legacy.

Canadian Spirit 2014 As well as the important anniversaries of the wars and battles, we are encouraging our partners to consider all the things that came out of  these events, particularly, The Great War, that illustrate  our “Canadian Spirit”. For example, Canada established its sense of national identity, women got the vote, and the Canadian National Railway was completed.  There is much to celebrate and a myriad of stories to tell across our great country.  Canadian Spirit encourages us to do so  We will also be creating a series of community “Victory Gardens” in recognition of the 100th Anniversary of World War One and the 75th Anniversary of World War Two. Various community groups and businesses will be engaged to plant, maintain and harvest these gardens with the intentions of the gardens providing fresh produce to festival vendors as well as benefitting local groups like OSHARE, The Salvation Army, CMHA and the United Way. As such Canadian Spirit 2014 presents a multi-layered, many-faceted opportunity to explore and discover Thomson, and his legacy, in a way never before presented.

The Canadian Spirit Festival is one of the main events of the Canadian Spirit project. This annual, multi-arts Festival will include an expanded culinary arena in 2014 called Homegrown. The ethos behind Homegrown is just as the name implies…all things homegrown. From culinary vendors, to craft beer, wine and spirits, to a farmers’ market, cooking demonstrations featuring talented local chefs, musicians and entertainers, Homegrown will to celebrate the taste of our region.

Canadian Spirit continues through to Canadian Spirit 2017: Someday they will know what I mean… marking the 100th anniversary of Thomson’s death and the 150th anniversary of Canada and which will focus on ideas and issues around Canadian identity, its past and its evolution. The Canadian Spirit series will balance the honour owed to the past with the needs of the present, while always looking forward to the future.

Works by Tom Thomson and his contemporaries will be on view during our Canadian Spirit: The Tom Thomson Experience exhibition.  Paintings, memorabilia and archival images offer an insightful look at Thomson, ranging from his early life in Owen Sound to his untimely death at Canoe Lake in 1917. Thomson is truly one of Canada’s most influential artists of the 20th century and a true Canadian hero!


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
to grow.
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.



The 2nd Annual
Canadian Spirit Festival takes place September 21 and 22, 2013 at Kelso Beach in Owen Sound, ON.
Click here to find out more about the festival.


Contact Us

For more information contact:

Matthew Standon
Canadian Spirit Project Coordinator
519-376-1932 x232


Leanne Wright
Manager of Marketing and Development
519-376-1932 x231


Virginia Eichhorn
Director and Chief Curator
519-376-1932 x223