Saturday, January 17, 2009

My Canada

The MacDonald-Stewart Art Gallery is showing some of its Canadian Masterworks as well as the L.M. Montogery stuff. Among them are some Group of Seven and a wonderful Tom Thompson (bad repro, but it is the one on the left) . These are pictures after my own heart.

Tom Thompson (and the G of 7) did alot of work in Algonquin Park, which is likely where The Drive was painted. My grandfather grew up right on the edge of Algonquin Park, in Dwight, where his grandfather had all the prime patronage posts, and made my great-grandmother (his daughter) do all the lousy ones (like sit in the unheated Post Office all winter). We always went on drives to visit the area when we were at my grandmother's house when we were kids. I feel a great afinity to this area, as I do to the Bruce Peninsula and Georgian Bay which is where my father grew up and my mom had a cottage growing up. Can you tell we have deep roots here?

Actually, on a date once out in Victoria, we went to the Victoria Art Gallery, and they have alot of Group of Seven stuff in the shop. I had been trying to tell him about me and the beauty of my Ontario homeland and he was obviously not getting it (typical BC person, thinks Ontario is all Toronto). So when we got to the gift shop and saw the Group of Seven stuff, I said "See! This is home!" and he was all confused "You mean this painting of trees?" "No all of them! well, obviously not the glacier, but the rest. The trees! And the river! and the lake! Aren't they gorgeous?" He still didn't get it. hmm, maybe that's why there was only one date.

Anyway, seeing The Drive brought out some stories about my great-grandma. Apparently when all the logs were jammed in the bay, the great fun was to go out and dance on them. This is extremely dangerous. If you fall in, the logs close up after you, and you can't get out again. My great-grandma was the champion. This was in the late 19th century. My great-grandma was out dancing on the logs in her heavy long skirts and highheeled button boots!

It also led my mother and I to start singing "Log Driver's Waltz" which was made into a NFB film and played continuously on TVO while I was growing up. It was not up for Obama's Playlist, but we think it should have been! But i pointed out that none of my BC friends had ever heard of it, so the rest of Canada probably hadn't either. Anyway, here is a link to it on the NFB website. You all must watch it because it is awesome! And think of my great-grandma dancing on the logs in her long skirts!

No comments: