In 1912, Lawren Harris saw paintings by James MacDonald that changed his life. Through Macdonald, Lawren was introduced to other Toronto- based artists: Frank Johnston, Franklin Carmichael, Arthur Lismer and Fred Varley who all worked at Grip Limited, an artistic school in Toronto, Ontario. After, MacDonald wrote to a Montreal friend Alexander Young (A.Y) Jackson whose work they admired. Jackson soon moved to Toronto to join the six. Tom Thompson was also in the circle of friends, but died in 1917 before the group was discovered and never became an official member of the group. Tom did however play an importand role in the group because he sparked their interest in painting the Northen Ontario landscape because he was a vivid outdoorsman. Their first exhibition was held in May 1920 at the Art Gallery of Ontario which introduced the group to the Canadian society.
Their Importance to the 1920's Before the Group of Seven, Canada was not portrayed in paintings. The Group of Seven changed the way that Canada was seen and it was the first time anyone painted anything to do with the Canadian experience. They inspired other Canadians to start painting.