Architecture. – According to usprivateschoolsfinder, the architecture of Canada more than any other has been influenced by European traditions. However, from time to time, until Champlain founded the first house at the foot of the Quebec precipice, courageous attempts were made to construct buildings which, differently from that used in other countries, would adapt to the particular needs of the climate, of the residents and of the times. This can be observed, of course, in French Canada, where the first colonizers built their houses adhering, albeit not very strictly, to the simple structures widespread in France. “What needed – wrote Percy Knobbs well – was almost all simple by nature: solid walls of well placed stones, with shutters, windows and wooden shutters, very sloping roofs and very pronounced bell-shaped roofs, stone chimneys supporting the two parts of the roof up to the top, solid chimneys. Such were the characteristic features of the first houses. “These bell roofs often extended to form a veranda or shelter both on the side of the door and on the back side.
Although, as it seems, the Franco-Canadians did not build beam constructions in the same manner as the Swiss and Scandinavians, they soon learned to arrange the beams horizontally with nicks and ligatures at the corners. All that we have said concerns private architecture in general, because for the more conspicuous buildings and for the public ones there was a mixture of classical styles: first French, then “Georgian”, followed by the Gothic of the Victorian period. Canadian architecture has also been impacted by the more recent development of the United States of America, contributing to it as well historical facts and race instincts. With the beginning of the century. XX a great change occurred in private architecture, which, despite coming largely from Canadian artists educated abroad, it contained new characteristic features much more suited to local conditions. On the contrary, the Scottish tradition soon appeared in the maritime provinces and in some parts of Ontario, where the first settlers were originally from Scotland; and in southern Quebec and the Ottawa Valley, plank buildings with tile roofs resembled similar buildings in New York and Massachusetts. Here and there one could frequently see, and still do, the influence of classicism, especially in the southern states, where there are still columns and moldings whose influence has been felt as far north as Canada. In Halifax, on the Atlantic coast, there are notable Georgian-style buildings, and further inland in Montreal and Toronto. In the cathedral of Montreal,
Painting. – At the time when Canada was detached from France (1759) there was no national art of any importance; but the religious painting introduced there by the French missionaries for the purpose of evangelizing the natives was such that in the earliest churches and older convents, principally at Laval in the city of Quebec, there were good paintings. But, despite some attempts and encouragement, painting did not penetrate the life of the people until at least a century later, when the Ontario Society of Artists were organized in 1872, Mont-Art in 1880, both of which still exist. The latter is considered the most important artistic institution in Canada and admits painters, sculptors and architects among its members; almost all the painters of a certain repute have belonged to it. It is easy to understand that being such a newly established nation, most of the most distinguished early artists came from abroad. Among these should be mentioned: OR Jacobi, born in Königsberg in Prussia; Cornelius Krieghoff, who came from Rotterdam; the Englishman David Fowler; the Irishman Paul Kane; the Frenchman George-Théodore Berthon; Hoppner Meyer, son of the London engraver of the same name; and EC Bull, also English. All of these greatly influenced their contemporary Canadian painters and left behind numerous works, some of which are preserved in the National Gallery in Ottawa. An indirect consequence of the abode of these artists in Canada, where they lived almost exclusively in the inner province of Ontario and the nearby city of Montreal, was the encouragement given to Canadians themselves to study fine arts abroad. In fact, in the last two decades of the last century many young people began to seek science and inspiration outside their own country, mainly in France, but also in England, Holland and other parts of the European continent. James Wilson Morrice (who died in Tunis in 1924) stood out among the first to study and work abroad, who was a member of various artistic institutes in Paris and London. His favorite subjects were the landscape and the seascapes, but he also painted the figure. Another interesting Canadian painter is Horatio Walker, still living, author of landscapes with animals and genre paintings, nicknamed “the Canadian Millet”. Other distinguished Canadian painters who have lived and worked overseas are: Paul Peel, Wyatt Eaton, Blair Bruce, Curtis Williamson, EY Dyonnet, John Russell, Ernest Lawson, WE Atkinson, Clarence Gagnon, A. Suzor-Coté, St. Thomas Smith, Homer Watson, Franklin Brownell, AY Jackson. Eaton was an active organizer of the American Art Association. Lawson was highly regarded as a landscape painter, and is known among the leading “American” painters. Gagnon is well known abroad for his etchings.
In recent years there has been in Canada, as elsewhere, an abandonment of the academic direction by above all young artists, who in 1920 held the first public exhibition of the “group of seven” in Toronto. This group consisted of Lawren Harris, AY Jackson, Arthur Lismer, JEH Macdonald, Frank Johnston, F. Horsman Varley and Franklin Carmichael, almost all young and daring artists, who found inspiration in the wild and rugged regions of Northern Ontario, where their forerunner Tom Thompson had already been cleared, who died when his work was just beginning to be noticed. But, by accentuating Thompson’s healthy modernism, the group of seven experienced the boldest exuberances of contemporary painting.