Brought to you by
When Cameron Stevens first began hiking through Canada’s parks, he was haunted by their beauty and isolation. Places such as Killarney and Algonquin Provincial Parks soon became the inspiration for his vibrant paintings and posters. “I’ve always admired Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven and other artists who portray Canada as this big, powerful, raw landscape,” he says.
His collection of vintage-y posters of Canada’s great parks caught the attention of BUFF Canada, who had him design a neckwear collection to celebrate Canada 150 in 2017. Apparently, they liked his work because he was tasked with designing this year’s Canadian Collection. Here, the Hamilton, Ontario-based artist shares what inspired some of these new designs.
Design Inspiration: Bon Echo Provincial Park, Ontario
“When I design a poster, I do a lot of research to boil the park down to its real essence,” Stevens says. “Bon Echo is known for these gigantic cliffs, so I knew that’s what I wanted to depict.” His design positions those famous cliffs surrounded by dramatic pinks and purples. “The parks all have water, sky, trees, so it really is a process of choosing the best colours. It’s all colour theory,” he explains.
Travel Tip: This year marks Ontario Parks’ 125th anniversary. Don’t wait until the last minute to reserve your campsite or cottage. Book early to snag one of six yurts at Bon Echo, which feature beds, windows and even electric heat.
Design Inspiration: British Columbia coastline
Stevens had a specific place in mind for this design: the spectacular B.C. coast. “When I first went out to B.C., it felt so different from where I grew up in Ontario. Even the air smells different there,” he says. “British Columbia really left a mark on me, and I’ve returned several times.”
Travel Tip: With nearly 26,000 kilometres of Pacific coastline, there are countless islands, inlets and waterways to explore. Take in all that coastal beauty while hiking the seven-day, 77-kilometre West Coast Trail in Pacific Rim National Park. (A four-day route is also available for trekkers.)
Design Inspiration: Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador
“Gros Morne is such a humbling experience. It is iconic,” says Stevens, who focused on the Western Brook Pond fjord for this design. “We think of fjords in Norway or other Scandinavian countries, but look, they’re right here in our country, too.”
Travel Tip: The warmer months of the year mark Gros Morne’s festival season. Music, theatre, food, comedy – there’s a festival for everyone. Take in a show at Woody Point Heritage Theatre (open from May to October) or enjoy the music and storytelling of the Trails, Tales and Tunes festival in May.
Design Inspiration: Aurora borealis in Northern Manitoba
“This was inspired by a park in northern Manitoba, near the shores of Hudson Bay,” Steven tells Canadian Traveller. The dancing ribbons of light are here shown in greens and blues, but they can also be red, pink and orange. “The further north you go, the spikier the aurora looks, and the higher in the sky.”
Travel Tip: Peak viewing season for the Northern Lights in Manitoba runs from January through March (although the lights are visible for up to 300 nights a year). Churchill, Manitoba is a top spot to view the Lights. Watch the skies dance from inside a Plexiglas dome or on the deck of a heated tundra vehicle.
BONUS! Vanlife Trucker Hat
Design Inspiration: Your outdoors happy place
Stevens didn’t design this playful cap, but BUFF Canada’s signature trucker hat also inspires us to get outside and pitch a tent in some beautiful part of Canada. There are 47 national parks and national park reserves in this country – at least two in each province and territory – so there’s a good chance you’re not too far from one right now. Plus, there are over one thousand Provincial and Territorial Parks. What are you waiting for? Get out there!
Travel Tip: Certain parks and trails are very popular (and even crowded) so it’s a good idea to seek out ones that are off the beaten path. Try Kouchibouguac National Park in New Brunswick or Pukaskwa National Park on Lake Superior on Northern Ontario.
This article was brought to you by our friends at Buff Canada. Have a look at the great Canadian destinations featured in the newest line-up of gear by visiting https://www.buyabuff.com/Collections/CANADA.