As with any federal institution, of any nation, art mitigates the overwhelming bureaucracy that is at its heart, and Canada House is no different. Canadian artists are well represented, and this year, the newly renovated space will showcase Arthur Lismer’s Docks on Bay of Fundy, painted in 1943. One of the Group of Seven, Lismer was born in Sheffield, England, in 1885, and died in Montreal, in 1969. Seen as an English-Canadian artist, honoured by both countries, he is ‘custom made’ to represent Canada in the home of his birth. The work inaugurating the refurbished space, in the words of High Commissioner, Gordon Campbell, "is a truly special painting that bridges the Atlantic. We are proud to display such a beautiful piece of our shared history."

Lismer had a colourful and prolific career. He was an official war artist during the First World War and documented the war effort as seen from Halifax, one of the busiest ports on the Atlantic. He was one of the founding members of the famous Group of Seven that defined Canadian art for years to come. Lismer was the principal of the Victoria School of Art and Design in Halifax, and curator of the Nova Scotia Museum of Fine Arts (now the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia). He was in Halifax at the time of the horrific Halifax Explosion and documented its aftermath. Lismer left in 1919, taking the position of the vice-principal of the Ontario College of Art in Toronto. He never lived in Nova Scotia again, but its landscape and seashore imbued his art, and he often went back to sketch there. The painting on loan to London’s Canada House, depicts the high wharves used along the Bay of Fundy, and was probably painted on one of his sketching trips. The painting will hang in Canada’s High Commission for three years, and then return to Halifax. externe) externe)