Celebrating Canadian Rockies Nature and History With Summer Exhibitions at the Whyte
Updated: Aug 1
On June 16th, the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies celebrated the opening of two exciting new summer exhibitions: For the Birds and Celebrating 100 Years: Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies.
The opening was well attended by locals and visitors enjoying an evening of refreshments, door prizes, lively conversation, and connecting with community.
"We are constantly amazed and delighted by the way artists look at nature," said Donna Livingstone, CEO of the Whyte Museum, in her opening remarks. "You’ll see that in full twittering colour in For the Birds, presented in the main gallery by our Curator, DL Cameron. It's hard to sit still in the gallery as you listen to bird calls or feel the eyes of an owl follow you around the room. Carry these heightened sensations with you on your next morning walk along the river - you'll have a new appreciation and attunement to mountain birds everywhere."
"We are also pleased to celebrate the important historic anniversary with the Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies. There is a lot of history in this area, but history comes alive on horseback with this legendary historic group, who are celebrating a century of introducing visitors from all around the world to the backcountry of the Rockies. For many, those trips have created lasting memories, some of which are captured in the photos on the walls right here in the Rummel Room. These legendary rides, accented by songs, storytelling, and new friendships really speak to the experience of the mountains."
About the Exhibitions
For the Birds features the work of 16 artists of all different mediums along with select works from the Whyte Museum’s collection. The show celebrates our love for and fascination with birds through various disciplines such as ceramics, sculpture, and paintings. Each artist shares their unique perspective on the subject from the pragmatic to the spiritual to the barnyard friend. Artists include Diana Thorneycroft, Nikol Haskova, Grant Leier, Neil Clifford, Peter McFarlane, Michael Cameron, Michael Corner, Dawn Deterando, Brian McArthur, Dan Hudson, Julya Hajoczky, Joel Satore, Marsha Schuld, Kate Tooke, Krista Leddy, and Tom Willock.
There’s no better way to connect with nature than to appreciate the movements of a bird. To sit and watch a warbler in flight or a woodpecker hammer into a tree. To awaken to their gentle songs in the morning or appreciate their signs of heralding in a new season. They are often the first creatures to let us know that something is wrong with the environment, like the canary in a coal mine.
Birds have featured in art as far back as 17,000 years ago when they appeared in the Lascaux cave paintings. Their stunning variety of colours and patterns make them perfect subjects. Few animals have as much diversity as birds. From the tiny grace of the hummingbird to the large oddity of the Shoebill Stork, it’s easy to see why these creatures have captured our imagination.
The Whyte Museum is thrilled to host Celebrating 100 Years: Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies, curated by current Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies volunteers. This exhibition highlights a century of mountain adventures with this historic group since1923. This year will mark 100 years of riding trails, singing around a campfire, and encouraging a lifelong love of being
in nature with new and old friends.
After the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in 1881, adventurers were free to explore Canada from coast to coast, with the establishment of our national parks soon
to follow. The CPR played a vital role in opening the Banff area to visitors, sponsoring the Order of the Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies as one of their hallmark offerings. With the comfort of
weeklong all-inclusive excursions, outdoor enthusiasts could now traverse valleys and scale mountain passes on horseback, experiencing the grandeur of the mountains and meadows as the first riders did.
This exhibition is a celebration of mountains and horses, capturing the awe and splendour of the
riders’ journey, despite the changes of time. It shares experiences that have made this such a
loved and enduring group - through photographs, trophies, songs, and artifacts from the Trail
Riders of the Canadian Rockies and Whyte Museum collections.
Check out the recent media coverage of our summer exhibitions:
Whyte Museum's summer shows a helluva hoot | Jessica Lee with Rocky Mountain Outlook
Gallery: PHOTOS: Trail Riders exhibit launches at the Whyte Museum | Jungmin Ham with Rocky Mountain Outlook
Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies marks 100 years | Blake Lough with Global News
What to Do in the Mountains in July | Alana Willerton with Avenue Magazine Calgary
Trail Riders of Canadian Rockies carry on 100-year tradition of mountain adventures | David Parker with Calgary Herald
Gallery 1: Summer 2023 exhibition opening at the Whyte Museum. Photos by Katie Goldie.