Camps on Couchiching
July 27 - September 17
The Mulcahy Family Gallery
Summer camps evoke strong memories of summer’s past. The experiences engaged all senses from the smell of the campfire, the sound of the lake lapping up against the beach, the feel of warm sunshine on skin, the sound of songs collectively sung, and the action of dipping the paddle into the still water…. It is those evocative sensations that reminded me of what I loved about my couple of summers on the lake, making new friends and learning new skills while attending camp on Mary Lake just up the road from Orillia. I remember these like yesterday, a collection of memories that I think of often.
Camps have a long history in Ontario, especially on Lake Couchiching. Notably, YMCA Geneva Park, Camp Couchiching and Camp Wahanowin have developed and shared with hundreds of children and families the benefits of sport and culture amongst nature and how all together they create a sense of community. The commitments to inclusiveness and social well-being are also key elements to sustaining a healthy community. These camps provide transformative experiences to hundreds of campers each year since the early 20th century.
These are some of the themes that will be explored in this summer’s exhibition, Camps on Couchiching. The exhibition will feature the design skills of Amanda Britton - who has developed exhibition designs for the OPP Museum and Museum on the Boyne – with financial support from the County of Simcoe. Expanding on the history of Longford Mills and the surrounding area that later became campgrounds, to the history of camps in Ontario, the exhibit will also include camper alumni art and photographs inspired by the landscape and experiences of a summer on the water. We know that experiential educational opportunities have a lasting impact on our children and youth and the memories they carry with them into their adult lives. We hope to capture these stories for you.