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From Field to Studio: The art of Paul Kane - page 9 / 36





9 / 36

PKI Teaching Guide

Page 9 of 36


Scene from documentary - GREAT LAKES JOURNEY

Kane briefly describes his first journey around the Great Lakes in 1845. This scene is quite short but the importance of the trip is elaborated on in the videos and activities in this section.

4a. – Video - Kane’s 1845 route

This video describes in detail Kane’s 1845 journey and provides a map of the trip. This was in many ways a “dry run” for his next trip which would take him much further into the Northwest.


  • primary sources

  • written records

  • sketches

Learning Objectives:

  • use primary source material to evaluate Kane’s purpose in travelling the Great Lakes

  • learn about the cultures and conditions of the Great Lakes indigenous peoples

  • discover the connection between Kane’s motivation to travel further west and his

experiences in the Great Lakes region.

4a. Kane’s 1845 Route Video Script (R/T 2:04)

Paul Kane set out on his Great Lakes journey from Toronto on June 17, 1845. On his summer trip, he visited many places where the Ojibwa, the Odawa, and the Potawatomi people were attending large annual gatherings. These gatherings gave Kane a unique opportunity to sketch portraits and scenes that he would later use as the basis for his studio oil paintings. The original sketches seem closer to what Kane actually observed in the field, showing the influence of nearly 200 years of contact between these original Great Lakes people and people of European descent.

Kane spent nearly six months travelling around the Great Lakes. He went to present- day Orillia, Penetanguishene, Owen Sound, and Saugeen. Then it was on to the Thirty Thousand Islands of Georgian Bay, Manitoulin Island, Sault Ste. Marie, and Mackinac Island at the entrance to Lake Michigan. Paddling across Lake Michigan to Green Bay, he visited the Lake Winnebago and Fox River regions in Wisconsin before he made his way back to Toronto on November 30, 1845.

Kane may have believed that he would find a larger variety of subjects in the West, because he embarked on a second much more expansive journey the following spring.

Select a location on the map to read pages from Kane’s field notes of his 1845 trip around the Great Lakes.

Proceed to activity 4c. Read Field Notes

From Field to Studio: The art of Paul Kane

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