Earlier this month Ontario Parks and Canadian Tire were joined by special guests, Natural Resources Minister Donna Cansfield, and Canadian artist and naturalist Robert Bateman to celebrate the Robert Bateman Paints Ontario Parks program.
The event, which took place at Toronto’s Bay and Dundas Canadian Tire Store, was opened by John Winters, Superintendent of Algonquin Provincial Park. Robert Bateman told the crowd of his special connection with Algonquin Park and how he spent many of his teen years working there as a chore boy at the Wildlife Research Camp. It was at this job where his love of nature grew and his passion for painting truly began.
Minister Cansfield spoke passionately about the importance of getting youth involved in nature. She emphasised the need to get children out of the city and into our parks to truly experience nature at first hand.
Mr. Bateman reinforced Minister Cansfield’s comments, saying how important it is to get children off the couch, away from their video games and into nature. His goal is to help children become more familiar with their natural environment so they can begin to recognize different trees, birds and other furry friends.
Joanne Rider of Canadian Tire spoke about how their stores are family oriented. Many of Ontario Parks’ campers pick up their camping supplies in Canadian Tire stores, and now they will be able to purchase Robert Bateman prints there as well.
Minister Cansfield and Mr. Bateman unveiled the paintings for the crowd as he explained the creative process behind his works. He spoke of the hundreds of photographs he took in Ontario Parks that he used as a reference when painting. He told us about one very cold trip to Bon Echo Provincial Park where he took pictures to find the perfect background for the Common Loon. After the speeches Mr. Bateman stayed at the store for an exclusive print signing and to chat with some of the guests.
All proceeds from the sale of the prints will support Ontario Parks research and educational programs and the Robert Bateman Get to Know program, which encourages young people to learn about the outdoors and wildlife.
More information about the Robert Bateman Paints Ontario Parks program can be found at www.OntarioParks.com
Check out Woodland Caribou: A Symbol of Ontario’s North for a more in depth look into the animal behind Robert Bateman’s caribou painting. And check back soon for articles on the Peregrine Falcon, Common Loon, and the Polar Bear!