Camp Huronda (Formerly Camp Waseosa)

Submitted by lwrawebmaster on Mon, 12/16/2019 - 15:57

(This is a work in progress and the camp is eager for any stories about Huronda's early days. You can send any info you have to us and we will forward it on.)

Originally we (the Canadian Diabetes Association) rented space at other existing camps throughout the 60's including both Camp Beausoleil on Beausoleil Island and at Camp Couchiching in Orillia.  In the Spring of 1971, the Ontario Diabetic Association bought the existing property for $150,000 and ran our first summer season on Lake Waseosa in the Summer of 1971. 

Prior to us buying the property, the site existed as another camp -- it was an all-girls camp called Camp Waseosa. It was owned by the Coventry Family (of Toronto).

Back in 1921/22 there was a murder at the farmstead that is now our camp property -- the Lake was called Long Lake at that time and the owners of the farm were the Solave Family.  (Editor's note: for details about the murder, see the separate article Murder Most Foul )

A local resident who has been coming to the lake for over 50 years now adds:

The farm owners were the Solway family , who's decendents still own property in the area. Many of the cottages along that shore of the lake are on land originally owned by the Solways. Jane Coventry was partners with a "Miss Rothwell" in operating Camp Waseosa, and while it may have been an all-girls facility at the end, it was definitely co-ed at some point in time. The ladies were also partners in running "Happy Days" nursery school in Toronto and both operations catered to well-heeled families. Some campers even arrived by float plane in those days.

Jim Solway has a slightly different version of the property's provenance. Jim tells us it was his mother's parents, George and Elizabeth Martin, that lived on that farm. To his knowledge, it never belonged to the Solway branch of his family. Jim, a grandson of the original owner, confirms the camp was co-ed. However only boys up to a certain age were admitted. He recalls that Happy Day Nursury School was a feeder to Havergal -- one of the more exclusive private girls schools in Toronto. Some of the campers would arrive by float plane, which was pretty exciting stuff at the time for this quiet little lake.

Dale Rhoads recalls that one such float plane flipped on landing. Everyone survived without serious injury, but the plane sank to the bottom. Divers were called in -- not so much to recover the aircraft, but to recover the owner's breifcase which contained documents more valuable than the plane!

James R Solway writes: Regarding some of your information regarding the camp , first it never belonged to the Solway family I was born not far from the lake,my father William was the first caretaker for the camp sometime in 1950 thru to 1954 he and other family members built most of the camp cabins. My mother Greta Solway (Martin) did all the laundry for the camp from our home at Idle Acres. My information has my mothers family Martin living on the Long Lake farm as early as the 1920 . My mother told stories of skiing to Dixons Corners some 2 miles northwest of the camp, her father had a large garden on the property(the soil was great for potatoes) I have several camp brouchers from the camp and pictures of the sign my dad put up at the entrance. Research shows there was a murder on this property prior to the Martin family residing
there. More information to follow.


Some recollections from Camp Waseosa/ Camp Huronda alumni:


Miss Marrianne writes:  I was a junior counsellor at Camp Waseosa 1954, remember Miss Jane (Coventry) and MIss Helene (Rothwell). I was in a tent next to the Boys - ages 6-8 tent and were my responsibilty, we shared a path and dock with them. I remember one named camper John -- will not surname him as he became a well known Realtor in Toronto later.

He was brushing his teeth with Nivea Cream and I got his toothpaste out of his kit and replaced it. Also was in charge of archery - held in a field back of the camp, the Massie brothers were good archers, but tended to shoot too many arrows around not always at the targets. I was also in charge with another counsellor Brenda with the pony called "Dixie", an ex-pony ride from Centre Island in TO. Always broke loose of its tether at night and would come down the hill near the tents and scared everyone, but you could hear the galloping getting closer so most of us were awake.
I was Miss Marianne Wilson in those days.
She adds: The campers got the last laugh when "Dixie" didn't like to be saddled up and started kicking the councillors. Brenda gave up and I took over. Miss Jane interviewed me for the job and although I wasn't "waterfront" had to produce two Royal and one Red cross lifesavings badges to be hired.


Margaret G.:  Attended Camp Waseosa when I was seven. It was all girls camp back then. 1963. The camp counsellor we had at our tent was a witch. I never went back after only one year I was scarred for life.


Robert E.: My younger sister, Holly, and I came from NYC. We were introduced to the camp by Gordana Lazarevich, the camp music director, who was also Holly's piano instructor in New York. I was the second oldest boy in camp in 1964, just having turned 10 (Ted Bangay was the oldest). It was heaven with all of those beautiful women only counselors (I remember Miss Claire, Miss Julie and Miss Sylvia) and 14-15 year old girls. Even though I was years from puberty my first year I fell in love with 13 year old red-haired Cynthia Gilbride. Besides Ted, the other guys in my tent were Tim Holdroyd, Jon (?) Freeman and Ted Lafferty. The riding instructor in one of the site photos was Miss Wendy, a fiery short-tempered redhead. I just loved the place and its emphasis on outdoors skills and camping and singing instead of the commonplace sports-oriented camps I went to in later years.


Judes I.: We all had fun, Jenn, Patti and of course Barbie!!! I remember hearing that plane landing in the lake of the Seitz's + how loud it was!!! Barb reminded me of that just 4 months ago. How we will miss Barbie Seitz and her wonderful memories....


Patti T.: Hillarious memories!!! I actually ran into Miss Rothwell or Coventry (I could never tell them a part at that age) about 10 years ago and she actually rememebred me and a friend I had at camp named Tony G-we got in trouble for wrecking the brand new flush toilets-we were only 5 I believe at the time. I too started at 4....


WOW-crazy memories of all white (I can't recall why) and band practices (I played sticks cause I couldn't play anything else) and we wore little capes HAHAHA.


AND I do recall those horses! They didn't like me at all!

BUT I loved camp-always did....still do

The camp hasn't really changed that much-revamped under new name and direction but it's all still there


Mj. S.:  LOL!! I just remember there were boys there!!!!


Patti H.: Well I think i was 5 but there is a good chance i was 4 - Sue Percival and I were cabin mates. One month every year for sure and I wanted to go because my big brother, David Hull, was going with his friend Jeffrey Smith. And I went here because it was associated with my nursery school - Happy Days!!!! I can't even imagine today sending my kids away to camp for one month that young.. What were our parents thinking.

OMG memories but me being older I don't remember the names of people. But i do remember my brother David being next to me and if you scaled the wall you would get into his cabin. I snuck my baby pillow to camp and wanted to get it out of my trunk, and i lifted the lid open and propped it against my head, and it came ...down and i ended up in the infirmary with pastiches in my finger. And my other bro, Geoffrey, went into the lake one time and came out with blood suckers all over his body - STAND BY ME!!!!!


Jennifer H-B.: I also remember that at camp and Happy day...they always made me sing songs from Pinnochio and Mary Poppins. Chim Chimminee.....At Happy day I spent an awful lot of time sitting on the prickly mat outside the classroom in the hall. That was the time out spot. Hard to believe that I started my life of crime at the age of 3.

I remember being afraid of the horses. They were always cranky and nippy. We called all the councellors Miss so and so and lined up to go into the dining hall while having to show that our hands were clean. I can still smell the oatmeal and peanut butter in the dining hall at breakfast.

I remember indian council ring and ...that old indian princess Dowindeenie(SP) would come. She was probably just another girlfriend of Miss Coventry and Rothwell's. It was a very strict camp. I spent 3 or 4 yrs. in cabin 1 because I was so little. Mrs. Gardiner(really old) was my permanent concellor. I know for a fact that I was the youngest camper there ever!!!!! 3 years of age and for 2 months every summer! I think I hold the north american record!


Eunice Hawdon, who would have been one of the first campers after it became Camp Huronda, would like to pass on the following to Don and David Anderson:

I'd like to leave a message, but not sure who to send it to. I am 55 yrs. old and went to camp Huronda in 1971 and 1972, I have a few photos but many, many fond memories, unfortunately I have lost contact with everyone from camp.  I remember well, Don Anderson as camp director, and his family, and Dr. Erhlich from Sick Kids and squeeze bottles of corn syrup attached to random trees around the camp. I remember first and second voiding... oh joy!! So many wonderful memories!!


Dave Montgomery was a contemporary of Enice. He was a camper for one year then a councillor for the next 3 or 4 years. He also remembers "Uncle Don" fondly.

His other memories include Northern lights and Bruce Cockburn tunes...sweat lodges and medicine wheels....exploding test tablet bottles ....canoeing out for shore luch to "Treasure Island"

"I remember writing a ton of irritating letters to get them to change that original logo..a really bad cliche Indian dude (looked more parrot than Indian! )  Got to learn alot about myself at Camp Huronda."

Any one from "those days" can contact Dave at  bodhio AT live DOT ca.

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