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Algoma - an Earthly Paradise

Moments Of Algoma
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Algoma - an Earthly Paradise
Algoma - an Earthly Paradise

Following a recuperative trip in 1918, Harris invited MacDonald, Johnston and Dr. J. MacCallum to join him on a return autumn painting excursion to Algoma. The men were immediately captivated by what MacDonald poetically referred to as “a land after Dante's heart”; an earthly paradise.

The panoramic vistas, towering bluffs, raging cascades, idyllic streams and blazing lush coloured forests were pure inspiration for their landscape painting practices. The beauty of the land proved to be a powerful regenerative force on these men, especially on their war-weary and embattled souls. They repaid the debt they owed this land by memorializing it through their iconic paintings.

From the fall of 1918 until the mid-1920’s, group members, (who had formally become the Group of Seven in May 1920), returned to Algoma repeatedly. In 1918 and 1919, a re-fitted Algoma Central Railway (ACR) boxcar served as their home on rails and was moved from Agawa Canyon to Hubert, Montreal River Falls, and on to Batchawana Station.

In subsequent years, cabins built by the ACR along the rail line served the same purpose at Mongoose Lake and Sand Lake. From 1921 to 1928, group members annually visited the north shore of Lake Superior. Later, after the dissolution of the Group in 1933, Johnston made several visits to the Nipigon area and Jackson to the eastern shores of Lake Superior, both relying on rail transportation to get them to these remote destinations.