From our earliest years, Gary and I have spent our lives in the outdoors, the wild outdoors. For both of us, we’ll claim the most influential part of our education and upbringing was the contrast provided by a school year city life and a summertime northern life. We each grew up on the outskirts of a city where our wild space was defined by a path of a river cradled in a valley of Carolinian forest and wildflower fields. Fall, winter and spring, this was the place where we searched for secret caves, climbed trees and made forts, and skied down forest trails. We waded the creeks upturning stones, had stick boat races, and started bird watching. When summer arrived, our parents took us north to cottages they had built. We swam, fished, canoed, camped, explored and learned the ways of the animals. We enjoyed a kind of freedom that combined with encouragement and courage from our parents, has been our deepest source of motivation to pursue our dreams.
“Inspiring people to re-connect with the natural world.”
For over 30 years, we have been a voice for the landscapes we know and love, particularly Canada’s North, northern Ontario and the Lake Superior watershed. Human beings are a part of this landscape as they have been for thousands of years. We often depict human participants in our images, and our journey stories aim to inspire people to want to go on their own self-propelled adventures whether for a few hours, a few days or a few weeks. Humans are both problem and solution, and in our efforts to be part of the latter, we helped found the international land trust, the Lake Superior Watershed Conservancy. The broad mission of the Conservancy enables the organization to build a foundation for the future long-term health of the lake, its ecosystems and its people.
Group of Seven Heritage Landscapes
The tangled wilderness of Algoma and Lake Superior’s expansive North Shore inspired Canada’s most famous artists – The Group of Seven. One hundred years later, their paintings retain a powerful hold on Canada’s visual imagination. But where exactly were these iconic masterpieces created? The passage of time has erased the memory of where Lawren Harris, J.E.H. MacDonald, Arthur Lismer, Franklin Carmichael, A.Y. Jackson, A.J. Casson, and Franz Johnston captured these rugged landscapes. Joanie McGuffin, Gary McGuffin and art historian Michael Burtch have spent years researching, canoeing, portaging and bushwhacking up cliffs to find the vistas that inspired The Group of Seven.