Time to Experience Glenn Gould’s “Idea of North”

Johanna Rowe and Toni Rutland of Soul of Superior at the unveiling of Glenn Gould’s History Door in September 2012.

Wawa and the North Shore of Superior has attracted all sorts of artists throughout the years. Most of them have been visual artists, most famously, members of the Group of Seven.

However, one of Canada’s cultural icons, Glenn Gould spent time being inspired in Wawa. On Friday, September 29, 2017, the first annual Glenn Gould Idea of North Tour will launch to celebrate Gould’s artistic legacy in the land that he called “an extraordinary place,” and the area where he went for his artistic refuge.

The tour begins in Sault Ste. Marie, on Friday September 29, 2017 and travel to Wawa along the stunning Lake Superior coastline, returning to Sault Ste. Marie on Sunday, October 1, 2017.

During the 1960s and 70s, Gould regularly visited the region to find refuge, inspiration and peace of mind. He claimed that, in this landscape, he did his clearest thinking and the best writing of his life. Tour hosts Dale Innes, author of Seeking Solitude: Glenn Gould and the Goldberg Variations (Innes, 2015) and Johanna Rowe, Wawa historian, will take you to the areas that Gould treasured the most, to walk in his footsteps and experience the idea of north that inspired his soul.

“The Glenn Gould Idea of North Tour is sure to appeal not only to the music aficionado, but to those who crave settings that have shaped and influenced Canadian artists and culture,” says Dale Innes, NORDIK Research Associate. “Glenn Gould retreated to the North Algoma Region both for inspiration and solitude and the tour will give a glimpse of this landscape that was near and dear to him.”

Visitors will be accommodated at Wawa Motor Inn, the same motel where Gould was a guest during his Wawa trips. On Saturday evening, guests will be treated to a meal and presentations at the unique Rock Island Lodge, situated on the Superior headlands of Michipicoten Bay. Noted author and journalist Peter Goddard will share passages from his soon-to-be-released book The Great Gould (Dundurn Press) focused on Gould and the influence of the northern landscape on his work.

“This tour not only focuses on the life and works of Glenn Gould, but also showcases the beautiful, idyllic scenery of Northern Algoma, in all its autumnal splendor,” says Johanna Rowe, Wawa historian and co-host of the tour. “Landmarks such as the Agawa Canyon, Montreal River Harbour and Magpie High Falls await your discovery and make an amazing canvas for the photography enthusiast.”

The Glenn Gould Idea of North Tour showcases of one of the many cultural tourism treasures found in Northern Algoma. Tour partners include NORDIK Institute, Algoma Kinniwabi Travel Association, and The Glenn Gould Estate.

NORDIK Institute is Algoma University’s community based research institute whose goal is to build Northern Ontario’s capacity to conduct research that contributes to social, economic and environmental justice in rural, Indigenous and northern communities and provides evidence for informed policy and decision making.