Very early on, Lawren S. Harris was captivated by the dreary slum areas he drew in Berlin from 1903 to 1907. Beginning in 1918, he took an interest in the humanized landscapes outside Toronto’s city limits. A new wave of immigrants occupied the various dwellings set up there on tiny lots, which eluded any urban-planning controls. Although often decrying the ugliness of their setting, the press of the time highlighted the sociability and sense of community of those areas’ residents. The painting Spring in the Outskirts was shown in 1922 at the Group of Seven’s third exhibition. With its palette of vivid colours, verdant lawns and flowery dales, blue sky and sections of walls glowing with the light, it provides a portrait of a community regarded as resilient and optimistic.