These snow shadows representing the winter season in the top centre of the” Flag Painting” could be from virtually anywhere in Canada. But these particular shadows are specific to Mackenzie Mountain and an important part of Canadian history. It is appropriate that they be included in the 50 Years of Our Flag mosaic.
This area used to be part of our extended back yard where we hiked and I painted. A close friend environmentally farmed and managed the land. These snow shadows were on the slope of Mackenzie Mountain. The “mountains” on the 12th Concession of King Township just north of Toronto are not really mountains at all. They are just higher than normal mounds of Schomberg clay. There is still evidence of the dug pit at the very top of Mackenzie Mountain where the rebel volunteers under William Lyon Mackenzie trained in preparation for the 1837 Rebellion. Jesse Lloyd, James Bolton and others would have trained on those slopes while someone from the peak could watch for miles around should any British military or loyalists attempt to approach. The 400 rebels under Mackenzie that formed the “Toronto Rebellion” portion of the 1837 Rebellion were dispersed in less than 30 minutes on December 7th at the “Battle of Montgomery’s Tavern. A few people died, a few were hung and more were exhiled. It was a troubled time. The confrontation was probably necessary and it certainly helped pave the way to Canada’s Confederation thirty years later.
The names of the key rebels are those of the hamlets in the area. The small towns are not yet suburbs of Toronto. The “mountain” was christened after Mackenzie but maybe only the locals know it by that name. In any event this is an important part of Canadian history and deserves a subtle mention within the 50 Years of Our Flag Project.
The accompanying images are just a few of the many plein air sketches that I completed when I trekked the trails in the area. Casson and other members of the Group of Seven also painted in the area. All of Canada is inspirational.