Doors Open 2010
September 11th 2010
10am - 4pm
Re!scover "under Bay...
STEP BACK INTO HISTORY AND EXPERIENCE 11 OF
THUNDER BAY'S HERITAGE SITES
For more Information please visit
or call (807) 625-2724
Explore architecture, community, culture and heritage
through a variety of self-guided and guided historical
tours, exhibits, photos, and stories illuminating some
of the many historical features of our City's past.
By Tanya Gouthro
Ah...camp. These hot days make me long for a return to our family camp, located a 2 1/2 hour
drive east of here on a small, spring-fed lake close to Jellicoe. The place where I became an excellent
`stick picker-upper'. The place where I fell asleep gazing at the particle-board walls doing the equiva-
lent of cloud-gazing, finding all sorts of creatures and images in those pieces of board with my sister,
below shelves that housed everything from Nancy Drew novels to rocks to turtles over the years. The
familiar path we raced down from the sauna, naked as the day we were born, to throw ourselves into
chilly moonlit waters night after night, giggling like kids even into our only slightly more modest
The first visit to camp always felt like
entering a different, but oh-so-familiar
universe. The smell of the building
welcomed us like an old blanket and a
quick scan of the two main rooms always
rewarded us with a lovely sense of relief.
The camp stuff - the likes of which would
never grace the inside of our home in
town. The insulators from the train tracks
making a little collection of glass on
shelves. The collections from over the
years of rocks, shells and sticks (all of the
women in my family still seem to surround
themselves with little piles of rocks in
our homes). The horrifying collection of
truckers' hats, left there from the previous
owners and added to by us over the years.
My favourite spoon - one that reminded
me always of my Nanny for some reason
and therefore with which I had almost
an emotional connection. The accordion
doors to the bedrooms, later changing into
curtains - the necessity for privacy never
really being much of an issue at camp.
Random objects up on wood-paneled
walls, and photos and comic-strips from
forever-ago pinned on our bulletin board.
Clothing that had been rejected in town
and embraced, year after year, at camp. I
still have vivid memories of my mother's
threadbare blue floor-length housecoat and
how amazing it felt, post-sauna, blissfully
tired and sunned. Perfection.
Technology was uninvited. We did have
a telephone eventually, and someone
contributed a getoblaster that looked
wildly out-of-place with its uber-modern
double cassette deck. But the favourite,
and perhaps the most fondly-remembered
thing in that building was the record player.
Housed in the corner of the living room
at the end of the wall-length mattresses,
beside my father's completely flattened-
out medicine ball and our log-stump stools
in front of the fireplace, it played all day.
Every camp activity was accompanied by
the ever-present `crackle-crackle, hum'...
the thing was a dinosaur. We loved it.
And the music we listened to - again,
none of which would ever make it onto a
mixed tape to be listened to at home. The
favourites that come to mind - Zamfir, (pan
flute?!) during supper preparation. Janis
Ian's `At Seventeen' became a favourite
when I was about that age. Melanie's
`Brand New Key' had all of us singing along
whenever it played. My father's favourites
- Joni Mitchell's `Clouds'. John Denver and
Neil Diamond. I am still in possession of
a photo of a dear old friend of mine, bare-
chested in a cowboy hat, singing into my
epipen to `Forever in Blue Jeans'. It was
there that we put on shows for the camp
neighbours, dolled up and dancing to Olivia
Newton John on the log-stumps. It was
there I watched with a very light heart my
parents dancing in the living room, twirling
each other around and remembering why
they liked each other. There we cut rug to
the likes of The Oakridge Boys and fought
over who would pick the next record to
play. At camp, vinyl ruled. I have since met
people who have held fast to their love
of vinyl, and I have to say I get it: needle touches vinyl,
and somewhere out of that pattern of lines on a record
comes music, and memories, and magic.
: Darren McChris