WHITEFISH FALLS––A sense of peacefulness descends as you drive down the driveway into Widgawa Lodge, home of the Widgawa Lodge Art Festival and a refuge for those seeking respite from the pressures of an urban existence. Nestled below the famed La Cloche Mountains that inspired the Group of Seven, the lodge is a perfect location for an art festival celebrating their artistic influence.

Photographer Jon Butler and his wife Kerry had many of their works on display.
Photographer Jon Butler and his wife Kerry had many of their works on display.

Several accomplished artists had their works on display either against the complementary dark wood of the cabins or inside.

Photographer Riann Willoughby was exhibiting in the festival for the first time. “So far so good,” she said of the sales.
Photographer Riann Willoughby was exhibiting in the festival for the first time. “So far so good,” she said of the sales.

Owners Joshua Willoughby and Cornelia Filteau, both artists in their own sense, he in painting and she in photography and textiles, decided to start the festival as a celebration of the region and its links to the Group of Seven.

Martina Gundyra and Fredica Heitz of Dortmund, Germany were on hand to help out with the festival, their next destination is Toronto and then onto Niagara Falls.
Martina Gundyra and Fredica Heitz of Dortmund, Germany were on hand to help out with the festival, their next destination is Toronto and then onto Niagara Falls.
Jewellery artist Gwen Goulet had some great assistance from her sister Ruth Reed at her booth in the festival.
Jewellery artist Gwen Goulet had some great assistance from her sister Ruth Reed at her booth in the festival.

The festival has proven to be a success, despite its laid back atmosphere, or perhaps because of it, and artists like Andrew Gallagher have been hauling in the customers.

“This was my best week last year,” said Mr. Gallagher. “It is looking like this year will be very good as well.”

Andrew Gallagher is back for his second season at the festival. photos by Michael Erskine
Andrew Gallagher is back for his second season at the festival.
photos by Michael Erskine

Friday night featured an open mic stage, while on Saturday evening, the eclectic and erudite musician/songwriter Ian Reid finished off the festival on a high note.