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APRIL 27, 2007

Break-up during the night

Last night the ice went out on Lake Temagami, reports Ottertooth's official observer, Glen Toogood, and a new season has arrived.

Lake Temagami, one of the deepest and largest lakes in the area, is the measuring stick because it is the last to go and the central lake, physically and emotionally, in the area.

  LIST:   Break-up dates over 22 years

APRIL 26, 2007 p.m.

Bear Island open but North Arm still closed

Bear Island residents are now able to boat to the road, but the North Arm of Lake Temagami remains ice covered.

Observer Glen Toogood reports that he is able to get to the landing by boat from Garden Island.

Clouds today, so no spy from the sky.

  Photo: airboat on ice on Lake Temagami


George Mathias' airboat skimming the ice as it passes Garden Island, heading home to Bear Island at sunset, April 25.


APRIL 26, 2007 a.m.

Deep lakes hold onto ice

The deeper lakes still have ice. This satellite image gives a good view of ice in northern Temagami, Anima Nipissing, Obabika, and Lady Evelyn lakes, and those to the northwest


APRIL 25, 2007

Big lakes starting to clear

The stubborn big lakes are starting to clear of ice in spots.

Only large sheets of ice are visible in this satellite photo, and the most obvious are labelled.


Photos: ice pushed over dock on Lake Temagami, break-up, 2007

Photo: ice break-up, Garden Island, Lake Temagami, 2007 Photo: ice break-up, Garden Island, Lake Temagami, 2007

APRIL 22, 2007                                                                                              GLEN TOOGOOD

Ice shifts

Southwest wind shifted Lake Temagami ice about 30 feet today (shown in photos), reports observer Glen Toogood on Garden Island.

The ice shift is the normal harbinger of break-up. Candle ice (left photo, looking west toward Cayuga Island) has piled on the shore. The candles are six inches long so the floating ice is about that thick. Toogood says the ice is still not ready to go out and says without wind it may not go out until next weekend.

"Good enough to mix drinks with," he emailed.



Photo: Keewaydin Camp canoe trip in Temagami, sitting on tree overhanging lake.

                                                                                                             DAVID BOURDELAIS

     A Keewaydin canoe trip.


APRIL 21, 2007                                                                    

50,000th camper will attend a youth camp

By Brian Back

A century after the arrival of the first youth camp at Lake Temagami, the 50,000th camper will attend one of its nine youth camps this summer.

The lake plays an outsized role in youth camping. It holds one of the highest concentrations of camps of any lake in Ontario, a province regarded as a hub of world youth camping. Keewaydin Camp in the North Arm is the oldest camp in Canada — tied with Kanawa in Quebec — and the oldest canoe-trip operator in the world. Cochrane's Camp, formerly Camp Temagami in the South Arm, was one of the first camps started in Ontario.

Keewaydin's arrival in 1902 — it was founded in Maine in 1894 — launched the lake's second industry (after the fur trade), according to historian Bruce Hodgins. Cochrane’s Camp arrived the following year. The third was Camp Cayuga, which opened on the Northwest Arm (today Northwaters occupies the site) in 1925. The number grew to eight by 1949, and has swung between eight and eleven since.

Sometimes the rustic base-camp facilities bordered on the outlandish. Cochrane’s had a six-hole golf course. The first Wabikon had riding stables with a bridal path to Temagami Lodge. Keewaydin had, and still does have, clay tennis courts.

Of course, camping was a boys fiefdom in the beginning, broken when the second Cayuga opened in 1940 under Henry and Marjorie Woodman.

For the first six decades, youth camping on Temagami was a stable business. Aside from the 1932 closure of the first Cayuga (which never really reached viability), no camps closed until the first Wabikon in 1961. The quick-succession demise of Windshift, Metagami, Northwoods, Cochrane’s, White Bear, and Wigwasati in the 1970s left the impression of instability, but a new generation of camps — Canadian Adventure, Pays d’en Haut, Lorien, Langskib, and the third Wabikon — opened in their wake, keeping the overall camp count fairly constant.

Lake Temagami seems an illogical place for camps as it is so far from a major metropolitan area, but the founders were attracted by the direct railway access and the boat lines. In the boat-line era, which ended in 1965, you could buy a passenger ticket from any major Canadian or American city to a camp’s dock. In spite of their isolation, the camps could move people and supplies to and fro with ease. And in Temagami they adjoined a stunning wilderness network of canoe routes that has become the third most-popular wilderness canoeing area in the world (after the Boundary Waters-Quetico and Algonquin Park).

Most operations have been canoe-trip camps. These are anything but typical youth camps. Campers spend most of their summer away from the comfort of base camp, confronting the challenges of weather, terrain, and each other, and go home more self-reliant and confident.

Until the 1980s, most canoe trips of five or more canoes were from Temagami camps. Before then the colour of these slow-moving specks on the water was a sure identity of their camp: Keewaydin’s green, Cochrane’s grey, Wabun’s and Northwoods’ red, Wigwasati’s yellow, Wabikon’s blue and Wanapitei’s white.

Grey Owl guided at Keewaydin from 1910 to 1911, and when he left for Biscotasing a few years later he was regarded as a poor trapper, but an outstanding canoeist. He would have honed his canoeing prowess at Keewaydin where he paddled every day, all day for the entire season. (He spent the summer of 1925 at Wabikon, made famous as the place where he met Anahareo, but it was a tourist lodge and would not become a youth camp for another 19 years.)

Lake Temagami without the camps would be like coffee without caffeine. They provided some of the earliest employment for Bear Islanders. Many former campers and staff, particularly from Wabun, Keewaydin and Cochrane, became original island owners. The current and previous presidents of the Temagami Lakes Association, Vince Hovanec and Brad Hall respectively, are Keewaydin alumni. Camps hosted the founding meetings of the Save Maple Mountain Committee (at Wabikon in 1973) and the Temagami Wilderness Society (at Keewaydin in 1986), the groups that spearheaded the biggest conservation battles.

These island oases served as villages in the countryside. During the era of the boat lines, they were way stations for cottagers dropped off or picked up at scheduled boat times. They hosted dances, provided vital mail service through their post offices, and dispensed medical help through their infirmaries.

And Temagami is richer for them.

— An earlier version appeared in Temagami Times, Winter 2007.

Recommended reading:  The Keewaydin Way

 MAP:  Temagami camps

 HISTORY:  Camp list

 INDEPTH:  Keewaydin Camp

  Photo: ice break-up, Garden Island, Lake Temagami, 2007

Lake Temagami, April 20 a.m. — This lead is starting to form over a shoal off Garden Island. It will extend further out with the progress of break-up, and then crack all the way to Bear Island (background), necessary before the ice can move at all. You can't tell from the angle of the shot, but it's got about a quarter mile to go. It'll be a while yet. – Glen Toogood


APRIL 20, 2007

Lakes to the south going

Temagami lakes remain ice covered but lakes to the south, notably Lake Nipissing, are partially ice free, as shown in this satellite photo.


APRIL 19, 2007

Ice thins

The rivers are open, but many lakes still have ice that is strong enough to walk on. The others with more progressed melts have been thinning quickly this week.

See this satellite image, the first without full cloud cover in a week.


APRIL 7, 2007

Rare history book goes online

The biography of Bill Guppy, a Temagami pioneer and the man responsible for bringing a young Grey Owl to Temagami, can now be read online at ourroots.ca.

Bill Guppy: King of the Woodsmen by Hal Pink was published about 1940, but few copies remain. It is one of the earliest books written about the area.

Our Roots, an Internet nonprofit, publishes historic Canadian books.

 EXTERNAL LINK:  Bill Guppy: King of the Woodsmen 

APRIL 4, 2007

Spring melt underway

Spring melt has the flow high on Jumping Cat Creek on the Northwest Arm of Lake Temagami, as seen in these Sunday, April 1 photos by Glen Toogood of Garden Island.

Photo: Spring melt on Jumping Cat Creek on the Northwest Arm of Lake Temagami.  

Photo: Spring melt on Jumping Cat Creek on the Northwest Arm of Lake Temagami.

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