It’s the kind of thing folks do on a dare or a whim.  For some, it’s an impulsive decision made after a night on the town.  For others, a lifelong process that approaches an obsession.  As for me, I looked down at my right arm, through eyes unclouded by whisky, and compared the black marker ink there to a print of FH Varley’s Stormy Weather laying on a nearby table.  Three hours later, I walked out of the Toronto tattoo parlour marked by an image that had been on my heart for as long as I can remember; one that would serve as a reminder of where I’ve been and where I’d always return.

Stormy Weather by FH Varley

Stormy Weather – FH Varley

In 2005 I was preparing to graduate from my university course in Hamilton, and after directing my curiosity almost exclusively towards books and lectures for half a decade, I stood at a fork in the road.  I was a fierce student and strove for excellence which didn’t always come easily pouring over population genetics, or Wittgenstein.  Forays into Coote’s Paradise or around the waterfalls of Dundas balanced my library sessions, but it was pretty clear that my body was principally a vehicle for my mind during this time.

One path led to grad school and a promising career in academia, and another opened out onto the high meadows of the Rocky Mountains, and the Pacific Coast beyond.  I decided to point my being down a completely new and different path, knowing that the windswept eastern white pine on my arm would carry the coals of my home-fire until I returned.

For The Land to be able to share these elements of Canadian cultural and natural heritage through the work and life of the members of the Group of Seven is a dream come true.  We’re so proud to have partnered with our gifted instructor Paul Teleki.  Paul is a consummate artist and teacher who keeps the plein air tradition alive with his sunrise sessions on Rice Lake and backcountry expeditions on the Nahanni River in NWT and right here in Algonquin Park.  Together, we’ve shared the principles of light, colour and composition with over sixty painters and paddlers of varying levels of experience, and the results always delight.

Along the way, we’ll hear stories of AJ Casson’s paddles along the Trent Severn Waterway, and take in the same scenes that inspired JEH MacDonald, on his canoe trips with his son almost a century ago.

Blue Heron - AJ Casson

Blue Heron – AJ Casson

We connect this experience to the land even more closely by designing a unique menu inspired by the traditional and wild edibles in season.  Some of our favourites are wood sorrel pesto on wild rice and fresh greens, or three-sisters stew with frybread bannock.

Join us this season for Path of the Masters Plein Air Painting & Paddling from 10:00am-3:00pm on the following dates:

  • Sunday January 21st, 2018
  • Sunday February 25, 2018
  • Sunday, March 25, 2018

Path of the Masters is one of four unique experiential education opportunities available through our recently launched School of the Wild Arts program, which also includes F Stops and J Strokes for paddling photographers, Bushcraft Skills workshops, and our popular Wild Foodies Pick Paddle and Party.


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