We briefly explored the East Side while collecting material for a book after discovering that Tom Thomson, a contemporary of the Group of Seven Painters, worked one summer as a Fire Ranger and was stationed at Achray. While here he sketched and gathered material for one of his more famous paintings, The Jack Pine. The pine was situated on the shore of Grand Lake, and although the actual jack pine is long gone the site is well known, and is frequently visited by contemporary artists hoping, perhaps, to absorb some of the inspiration that motivated Tom Thomson.
A visit to the East Side is not complete without visiting the Barron Canyon with its awe inspiring cliffs cut by the Barron River. The river, once important to the spring log drive is now silent enjoyed by canoeists who journey through the canyon.
There are other access points to the East Side, but sadly, back when we researching our book, we had only time enough to access the park briefly from Rain Lake. We promised ourselves that one day we’d get back that way, but as is often the case one gets sidetracked and the opportunity, or reason for doing so, never materialized. Perhaps, a few of you reading this might decide to travel to the East Side, and pick up where we left off. Believe me when I say that there’s a lifetime of sketching and painting left to be done in the incredible wilderness known as Algonquin Provincial Park.
Jack Pine - Grand Lake Graphite Study