The A.Y. Jackson Trail
Alexander Young Jackson (1882 – 1974)
Group of Seven member A.Y. Jackson is one of Canada’s best known and loved artists.
During his long illustrious career he crisscrossed Canada numerous times, painting a new vision of our country. Many of his paintings are familiar, widely recognized iconic images contributing to a unique Canadian artistic identity.
A.Y. Jackson was born in Montreal. He studied art in France and moved to Toronto in 1913 where he lived in the Studio Building for almost forty years. There he became widely recognized as a leading and outspoken member of the famous Group of Seven. He travelled extensively, painting every corner of Canada from coast to coast to coast. His paintings are represented in galleries and private and corporate collections around the world.
In 1952, Jackson moved to Manotick, a small town just south of Ottawa. For the next 16 years he painted throughout the Ottawa Valley. During this latter part of his career, the wilderness and farming country of the Madawaska Hills in the Upper Ottawa Valley became a favourite painting country. Almost every spring and fall he embarked on sketching trips with his friends, Ottawa artists Maurice Haycock and Ralph W. Burton. Their repeated painting trips throughout the area attest to the unlimited artistic beauty to be found here.
Some fifty years later, two contemporary Lake Clear artists have traced Jackson’s travels using actual paintings, titles, notes and personal experience to locate the painting sites of some of his sketches. Kathy M. Haycock is the daughter of Maurice Haycock. John Almstedt painted with Ralph Burton in the 1970s.
The A.Y. Jackson Trail documents the travels and painting sites of this very famous Canadian artist in the 1950s and 1960s. It follows old Highway 17 west of Ottawa to Renfrew, then winds along back roads to Dacre, Calabogie, Eganville, Brudenell, Killaloe, Rockingham, Quadville, Barry’s Bay, Paugh Lake, Madawaska and Whitney to Algonquin Park.
While following the back roads along The A.Y. Jackson Trail, keep an eye out for the majestic scenery along the way between the sites that are marked on the map. Remember that Jackson looked at every lake, filed, farm, hill, forest edge, river and creek with an artist’s appreciation of the composition, colour, form and rhythm before him. He stopped and painted a great many sketches in the area, most are still waiting to be rediscovered.
Everyone who follows The A.Y. Jackson Trail will have a different unique and rich personal experience. Students, artists, residents and visitors alike may admire the landscape with a fresh perspective. Whether you engage in photography, painting, drawing or writing, you can immerse yourself in the muse that inspired A.Y. Jackson, his painting companions, and the artists who have followed.
Jackson made a great artists contribution to the region. He recognized the incredible beauty in the Madawaska Hills and through his many paintings he brought it to the attention of the world. Now others can discover and appreciate the astonishing diversity and splendor of some actual painting sites and the surrounding landscape that so attracted him.
Download a copy of the A.Y. Jackson Trial Map to view geographic location of above painting sites.
A.Y. Jackson Trail information prepared with the assistance of:
Ottawa Valley Tourist Association
Valley Arts Council
Ottawa River Institute
South of 60 Arts Centre
Township of Madawaska Valley
K M Haycock, T H Flegal
C and B Peltzer
P and I Cunningham
A. Blake, J Almstedt
A.Y. Jackson paintings reproduced courtesy of the Estate of the late Dr. Namoni Jackson Groves. Photo credits: Kathy M. Haycock.
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