Algonquin Park and Canadian Artists

Algonquin Park and Canadian Artists

TSC beautiful evening view
An inspiring evening view of TSC



Algonquin Park is a popular location for Canadian artists. It’s beautiful scenery and colourful landscape epitomize the Canadian Wilderness. The connection that Canoe Lake and TSC have with art is one that is very unique. The following is an excerpt from The Fires of Friendship, a book compiled from contributions from Alumni in support of the Taylor Statten Camping Bursary Fund.

Early on, Canoe Lake and Algonquin Park attracted artists – both amateur and professional, including Tom Thomson. After the camps were founded, Taylor Statten joined the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto, a mecca for artists and musicians in the area. There he met C.A.G. Matthews, of the Sampson-Matthews printing company. Matthews was to become a close friend and fellow-cottager on Canoe Lake. Doubtless, this was the connection that led to Ernest Sampson’s well known portrait of our founder that hangs today at the south end of the Dining Hall. It also led to many camp visits in later years by musicians and artists of note, including Lawren Harris, A.Y Jackson, and A.J Casson. These were just two manifestations of the great appreciation Taylor Statten and his successors held for the arts and their place in camp life.

Arthur Nelles was an artist at camp in early years and he did several paintings and hangings for the Ahmek dining hall. Several of his paintings depicting wildlife hang there today.

Beginning in 1935, John Hall, art instructor at Upper Canada College at that time, created many painted artifacts for both the Wap and Ahmek dining halls. John also took an active role in other camp activities – especially canoe tripping. Instrumental in the development of the Ahmek District, he produced the map of that area that still hangs in the dining hall. He also designed and made the elaborate hangings depicting key events in camp life for its first 20 or so years. These artistic representations first appeared on paper hangings which were on the posts of the new Ahmek dining hall – posters designed to relieve some of the bareness of the new building. E.B. Cox, now a renowned Canadian sculptor, was crafts instructor at Ahmek at the same time, so he crafted the birch pole frames for the hall hangings. More importantly, Cox created several elaborate masks still on display to this day.