Art is a well established part of the fabric of Muskoka. Most notably, going back to the early 20th century when Tom Thompson, inspired by the rugged beauty of Algonquin Park, painted it in his own style. He was followed by his friends and fellow painters now well known as the Group of Seven. The legacy of the group of Seven in Muskoka has endured into present day.
On the front steps of the Huntsville Civic Centre and Algonquin Theatre, you are greeted by a life size bronze representation of Tom Thompson sitting by his canoe in Algonquin park. This sculpture was created by local artisan, Brenda Wainman Goulet, and her work can be spotted around town and around the region.
Nearly a century later, the paintings of Tom Thompson have become a part of the downtown Huntsville landscape. In 1999, Gerry Lantaigne began painting the over-sized mural replicas of Group of Seven paintings now hanging on the walls of prominent buildings. These murals became a community effort when visitors were invited to paint in and complete sections of the paintings. This Group of Seven Outdoor Gallery of public art now boasts over 80 Tom Thompson & Group of Seven Paintings.
In 2010, when Huntsville hosted the G8 Summit, this homage to the Group of Seven became part of the history of the summit in Muskoka when all the leaders took brush in hand to participate in one of Gerry’s creations. This special mural can be seen at the Canada Summit Centre in Huntsville, where it is displayed along with the brushes that each leader used.