Powerful landscapes by Lawren Harris and his Group of Seven colleagues, key abstract works that Jean-Paul Riopelle gifted to a mistress during a tumultuous love affair and exciting contemporary sculpture and video art will cross the auction block in Canada this season.

Heffel holds its annual spring auction in Vancouver on Wednesday, with 186 lots on offer.

Toronto-based Joyner holds its event on June 3, with 174 lots slated for sale.

In the photo gallery above, Heffel president David Heffel and Joyner vice-president Rob Cowley share a few highlights of the season.

The upcoming sales are the first since Sotheby's Canada announced its decision to withdraw from regular live auctions and focus on private sales. The decision, revealed in February, follow a period of weaker auction results for the venerable house.

Heffel's company has seen a host of blockbuster sales for years.

"We're bullish," he said. "I think the market is going to be very successful at the top end. Works over $100,000 I think are going to see keen competition on Wednesday."

Cowley concurred that "works of quality and rarity continue to perform very well at auction." He added, however, that "the challenge, of course, is finding those works every season."

The market is continually evolving, he said. While there are obviously competitive benefits to one less player in the live auction scene, "we absolutely see the negative effect of the loss of Sotheby's Canada," Cowley said.

"It's a loss of an international presence that gave great exposure to Canadian art."