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GFG Collection

The GFG Collection is a series of works commissioned by Georgian Frame Gallery.

In The Beginning - GFG Collection

In The Beginning - GFG Collection

  • Memories of Collingwood Harbour - GFG Collection
  • Craigleith In Autumn - GFG Collection
  • In The Beginning - GFG Collection

Memories of Collingwood Harbour - 1915

With the Collingwood Harbour about to experience an increase amount of activity with arrival of the tall ships in mid August, I thought that we would take a trip back in time to when the harbor was called Hen and Chickens; and was a major terminus for transportation to the west for both people and goods as our county expanded.

The Hen and Chickens Harbour seems like a whimsical name for the place which was soon to become one of the most important ports and railroad terminals in Northern Ontario.

In 1853, a northern terminus of the Ontario, Simcoe and Huron Railroad was needed to connect Georgian Bay with Lake Ontario. It was due to the foresight of the railway engineers who recognized the potential of the facilities that this area was established and renamed Collingwood, in honour of an English Admiral. The town, literally, was to spring up right out of the bush.

The northern railway terminus extended all the way to the already busy deep water harbour servicing freight and passengers north through Georgian Bay and Lake Huron to the "Great West and North" and south to Toronto and Southern Ontario. With the opening of the new dry dock, shipbuilding was flourishing as was the lumber and fishing industries. "Palace Steamer" ran regularly between Collingwood, Chicago, Sault Ste. Marie, Owen Sound and other ports of call, all contributing to Collingwood as an important harbour and industrial center. By 1900, all of this activity and commerce had earned the Collingwood community the nickname "Chicago of the North".

The painting, Memories of Collingwood Harbour - 1915, depicts the busy Harbour on a typical afternoon in 1915 while highlighting the various activities for which it was famous. In the background steamers are alongside the dominant profile of the big grain elevator, a conspicuous landmark that could be seen from Duntroon Hills to Christian Island. In the distance, box cars wait on the wooden wharf. Engine number 2462 has just started to haul freight cars out of the Grand Trunk freight shed. Alongside, the "City of Collingwood" is taking on passengers for her daily trip. "Chicora" a magnificent passenger ship is getting up steam to make ready her 1,000 mile run to Prince Arthur’s Landing, while a local Ford pick-up is making a delivery of dry goods for the long trip. Onlookers watch the activity aboard a small fishing vessel and in the calm waters of the harbour some Watts’ fishing boats, that were built right in Collingwood, are securing their rigging and nets as another one sails in from the mornings catch.

"Memories of Collingwood Harbour - 1915" was painted by renowned Ontario watercolourist, Ray Davidson. Limited Edition reproduction of this remarkable image are available at Georgian Frame Gallery, 172 Hurontario Street, Collingwood. Call, 705-445-4477 to reserve your copy of Collingwood history today.

Craigleith in Autumn

Our region, South Georgian Bay, is home to some of the country’s most stunning natural landscapes. And, in autumn, they kick it up a notch with the most spectacular fall colours. Here you will find the beautiful red, oranges and yellows that mesmerize you are even more breathtaking to behold as the escarpment extends to the clouds and reflects into Georgian Bay.

It is with that in mind that the rail companies would run fall excursion tours to the area and the Craigleith Depot was one of the prime stops for tourists to get out and enjoy the grandeur that we enjoy on a daily basis. This was the premise behind William Biddles water colour painting ‘Craigleith in Autumn’.

The train brought tourist to the area who wanted to see just how impressive the fall colours really were. The painting depicts the fall excursion train slowly leaving the Craigleith Depot, the caboose just making the cure as it heads toward Collingwood and then onto Toronto. The day is drawing to a close, a few people continue to mill around enjoying the splendor of the day and taking this last opportunity to snap those last few photographs to commemorate the spectacular day it has been.

The yellows, reds and oranges highlight the historic train station that was build for Sir. Sanford Flemming, an exact replica of the station in Craigleith Scotland; with its brick red painted sidings seems to fit in perfectly with the colurs of the fall.

Although the train no longer runs to the area; we can enjoy the colours of the season while walking the Georgian trail, situated exactly where the tracks use to be. And with the station now a museum, it continues to be a draw for tourists in all season; but I believe it is still most spectacular during the autumn.

Part of the Georgian Frame Collection ‘Craigleith in Autumn’ has been reproduced as a limited edition reproduction with a very exclusive size of 350 prints and is exclusively available at the Georgian Frame Gallery.

In the Beginning - Jozo's Ski Barn

The recent history of the Georgian Triangle area has a direct connection to Blue Mountain Resorts. As the Resort grew so did tourism throughout the area. One of the first major improvements to Blue Mountain came in 1949 when Jozo Weider converted the Kinsey farm barn into the new accommodation center of activities for the resort.

To create a unique facility Jozo had all the barn board siding removed, then using the foundation of the original barn and all the support beams and frame, Jozo had one foot lengths of old cedar fencing stacked between the original beam work and held in place with mortar. This allowed him to put in windows, and yet created a solid distinctive facility that would be the center of all activity at the mountain for many decades.

The interior of the new facility was original and charming. A large fireplace was positioned at the north end of the building, with a humorous painting above the mantle of people square dancing by Walter Trier. Lighting was supplied by large wagon wheels hung from the ceiling, painted yellow and equipped with lantern bulbs. The second floor offered dormitory style rooms, in a u-shape around the corridor, with a railing to prevent guests from falling down onto the open dance floor below. The walls of the barn were also covered in cartoon like paintings of prize-winning cows, also by Trier. The après-ski parties organized by Jozo are still to this day, legendary.

Collingwood’s historical artist Nick Hodson captured the spirit and character of the now infamous Ski Barn in his painting; In the Beginning – Jozo’s Ski Barn.

Mr. Hodson was born in 1916 in Russia, to English parents. Later moving to England for his formal education and then to Canada in 1932. Initially sent to Nottawa, Mr. Hodson eventually found work in Collingwood. Although Nick has drawn since he was a child, he didn’t seriously start to work with oils and acrylics until 1964. He took lessons from locally renowned artists Brown and Kemp. Mr. Hodson’s works are in many private and corporate collections in Canada, USA, and internationally. Collingwood Town Hall currently has 10 framed sketches of Mr. Hodson’s on permanent display in the Council Chambers. Mr. Hodson’s style is historically accurate, and very detailed.

This open edition reproduction captures a simpler time in our skiing history and is the latest edition to the Georgian Frame Collection.