The Group of Seven Outdoor Gallery is a unique public exhibit in Huntsville, Ontario, Canada that features mural reproductions of masterpiece paintings by Canada's renowned Group of Seven artists. The gallery was created in 1997 by Artistic Director Gerry Lantaigne.
The inspiration for the gallery came from Paul Myers, a local business owner, who requested a mural of Tom Thomson's renowned work, “The Jack Pine,” for the outside wall of his store in Huntsville. The mural was completed by Paul and Gerry later that summer.
Since this inauspicious beginning, The Group of Seven Outdoor Gallery has grown with the help and sponsorship of the Downtown Huntsville Business Improvement Association (BIA). Starting in the year 2000, murals began to appear on the back and side walls of businesses throughout the historic downtown area.
By the end of the summer of 2006, the small collection of murals started to get noticed, and the following year a number of business owners came forward and requested Group of Seven murals for their locations as well. This prompted our first Mural Festival in the summer of 2007. Ten of the most talented mural artists in the country were selected from a Canada-wide selection process to create incredible replica works.
During the Mural Festival, we also created our first Community mural, which has now become an annual tradition. This is an event in which the visitors to, and members of, the local community are invited to add their own brushstrokes to one of our murals. The participants are given a brush to use and a colour to choose, and are then directed where and how to apply their own brushstroke to the mural, following in the steps (or strokes0 of one of the famous original Group of Seven members and Tom Thomson. All this is done under the watchful eye and encouraging help of one of our many professional muralists. A second festival was held in the summer of 2009, and enthusiasm for the project has increased exponentially since then.
In the past few years the Group of Seven Outdoor Gallery has expanded to other communities in the Huntsville/Lake of Bays region. The Gallery now encompasses a tour around Lake of Bays that includes the main collection of murals in historic Huntsville, stops at Deerhurst Resort, the town of Dwight, Port Cunnington Lodge, The Dorset Heritage Museum, the town of Baysville, and back up to Huntsville to see the murals around The Canada Summit Centre, Muskoka Heritage Place and the Huntsville High School. These murals are all in the same area, and include our now famous G8 World Leaders' Community Mural 2010, which can be seen in the lobby of the Canada Summit Centre. There are also two murals located at The Portage Store, on Canoe Lake, in Algonquin Park. So when you are going to, or through, the park, be sure to stop in and see them.
The Group of Seven Outdoor Gallery will hopefully introduce you to the works of these Canadian artists. The original paintings can be seen in many collections and galleries across the country, including some very important collections located near by in Ontario. These include The McMichael Canadian Collection, in Kleinburg Ontario, The National Gallery of Canada, in Ottawa, The Art Gallery Of Ontario, in Toronto, and The Tom Thomson Art Gallery in Owen Sound. All of these collections make for a great stop on your way to or home from visiting us in Ontario's cottage country just north of Toronto.