Last weekend I visited the summer camp where I spent some of my most memorable parts of my childhood. Camp Northland is situated in the Haliburton Highlands which is part of the Canadian Shield also known as the Precambrian Shield. The shield was the first part of the continent to be permanently raised above sea-level and covers about half of Canada. Subsequent rising and falling, folding, erosion and continental ice sheets have created its present topography. The reoccurring invasion and withdrawal of the ice sheets (1.6 million to 10,000 years ago) depressed the surface creating Hudson Bay, scraped out tens of thousands of lake basins, carried away much of the soil cover and redeposited glacial debris. Below you can see the hghway which has been blasted between rock.
The region is made up of forest and lakes. Below is a lake near Miners Bay which is a tiny community. The region is largely dependent of tourism.
On the way up I made a few stops including the famous Kawartha Dairy store outside of Minden. During the summer months there are constant long lines for ice cream out front. I remember dropping by in winter about 15 years ago while doing some skiing for ice cream. An employee wouldn't serve us inside and made us line up outside even though the place was deserted.
While up at camp you didn't want to get hurt. We did have a doctor at the camp but for more serious problems you were either sent home (2.5 hours trip) or sent to the hospital in the town. I had the misfortune of injuring an ankle one summer and had to take a bumpy and painful ride into town. They had to call in the radiologist in who was making dinner at home. Then they had to call in a doctor to read it. I remember waiting around for hours.
Hockey is an important form of recreation throughout Canada and every small town has an arena. The Haliburton region actually has sent a few players to the NHL and the town has painted portraits of them outside. I didn't poke my head inside but there likely plenty of banners and picture of Bernie Nichols and Ron Stackhouse. Nichols was a star in the NHL in the 80s and 90s and scored about 1200 points - mostly for the Los Angeles Kings. One of the seasons he played with Gtrezky he scored 70 goals and 150 points. Ron Stackhouse was a defenseman in the 70s who played most of his career with the Pittsburg Penguins. I know Stackhouse returned to Haliburton when he retired.
"McKeck's Place" is a Haliburton fixture for 30 years now. It's a family restaurant owned by a former NHLer Walt McKechnie. He was a journeyman who played for 9 team 1967 to 1982. He is not from the area and I have no idea why he settled here. Then there is Sharley's Sports which is owned by ex-NHLer Glen Sharpley who played 7 seasons before quitting because of an eye injury. There also used to be a family restaurant back even when I was a kid called Cosy Corner on the main street but I understand its been moved into the Sears store.
The Molou is the old movie theatre in town which looks no different than I remember it back even in the 1960s. It shows how small communities can be frozen over time. The big box movie houses will never come up here.
Highland Street is the main business section of Haliburton.
This old house as you can see is on the 45th Parallel, half way between the Equator and the North Pole.
A took a drive up to Skyline Park which had a tremondous view of the town below and the area. When I was staff at the camp we used to buy steaks in town and BBQ them up here on our day offs. Beat the camp food.
Finally made it to the camp which is on Haliburton Lake Road between Eagle Lake and Fort Irwin on Moose Lake.
I was a camper and staff at the camp from 1964 till 1976. When you walk through its remarkable how much has stayed the same and how disorienting anything new can be. The full name of the camp is Camp Northland (boys' side) - Binai Brith (girls' side).
The camp owns about 700 acres of beautiful forestland situated on Moose Lake. There are no cottagers on the lake so no boats buzzing around all summer. Along the lake are cookout spots for kids to canoe and sleep over night.
Moose Lake is fed in from a number of different lakes in the area include Eagle Lae, Redstone Lake and Haliburton Lake. You can do canoeing up the Oblong River to a set up rapids.
The dining hall has lots of glass and can seat about 300 as far as I can remember. A tornado touched down in the camp in the 1980s and did considerable damage. I know people who were in the camp at the time and it was a terrifying experience. All the windows in the dining hall were blown out as kids protected themselves under tables.
The cabins are identical to when I went to camp except now they have electricity.
They have new wash houses now that are considerably nicer than what I rememeber. Yes its true. This is an improvement.
Kids still scrawl the same raunchy messages today. Some things never change.
Many notable people went to the camp. In the 1970s Mike Clarfield worked on skiing. He went to be one of the first full time sports medicine doctors in Canada and was the Maple Leaf team doctor for quite a number of years.
I also noticed in the dining hall the name of Alicia Ross who was tragically murdered by her next door neighbour in 2005. A litle chilling to see.
There is always a serene fog that covers the lake in the morning which burns off by breakfast.
Here I am kayaking.
I took a hike along the lake to the cookout spots. I did not remember the trails being this rugged. It was quite a hike.
The cookout spots all had names like Goldsteins, Sandy Cove, Indian Village, Half Point, First Point, and Second Point. Below is Painted Post but I never remember a toilet being there when I was a camper.
Sunsets are just stunning. The colours are spectacular.
In the evenings we lit fires and sang songs...from the 70s of course.
On the evening before you left camp it was always a tradition to light a giant NBB (stand for the full camp name of Northland-B'nai Brith). The tradition lives on.