Keewaydin Songs

Photo: 1903 songs in log book, Keewaydin, Temagami

Song page in 1903 log

Sing a song at Keewaydin and you are likely singing a song written there too. They speak of the land, tripping experiences and historical events. The oldest songs date back to 1903. Four of the songs in the current songbook can be found in their original handwritten form in the 1903 log (shown left), in what appears to be Gregg Clarke's handwriting. 

The first song of the eight written down was originally titled 'Temagami,' but has since been renamed 'There's a Far Away Lake.' Below are the four songs in use today with the wording from the 1903 version. 'Good-bye Abitibi' and 'The Trip In' are also in the Dunmore songbook.

Photo: Leon Adams, Keewaydin, Temagami

Leon Adams who 'laid 

an artful scheme'

'Good-bye Abitibi' commemorates the Abitibi trip, the pre-cursor to the Bay trip. Lake Abitibi was north of Temagami, over the Height of Land and required taking the fur brigade route north from Temiskaming. In 1903 brigades still plied the route. The last two verses of this song were found in the 1903 log. 

Good-bye Abitibi

Air: Wesleyana

You've heard of Abitibi, that lake so far up North?

One year, to make a trip to it, a husky crowd set forth.

They reached it safely, started home, and on the Height of Land,

They paused to bid one last adieu, 

With —


Good-bye Abitibi,

Nishinabi fare you well!

Now we must leave thee,

Must leave the lake we love so well!

To own a waboos blanket

Was Leon Adams' dream;

To get one from an Indian chief,

He laid an artful scheme.

He offered him five dollars,

The 'Injun' drew his gun;

But Leon started on the run,

With —


One day the Deacon Wilson

A rapid hard did try;

He swore he'd "pole her up, by gun"

Or on that spot he'd die.

But Fate seemed dead agin him;

He had to give it o'er.

"I'm not the man I was," he moaned.

So —


Oh, Dave Earle had a Kodak that he carried in his hand,

To take some wondrous photographs

Beyond the "Height of Land."

He left it on the portage

Just before you reach the Quinze

And so as far as pictures went

Twas —


Photo: Aboriginal sacred rock, Rabbit Lake, Temagami

Resembling a rabbit, this rock is the namesake of Waboos (Rabbit) Lake. It is located on Rabbit Point. (Today it is flooded by dam waters.) 'On Rabbit Point our fishermen with much good fortune met.'

'The Trip In' commemorates the original canoed Trip In to Temagami taken 1902-04 before the arrival of the Temiskaming & Northern Ontario Railway. 

The Trip In

Air: Battle Hymn of the Republic

Oh, we crossed the line to Canada

   One fine day in July;

The customs men upon our baggage cast an eagle eye,

But we winked and said "Keewaydin,"

And they promptly passed us by,

On our way to Temagami.


Otta, Ottawa, Temiskaming

Mata, Mata, Matabitchuan

Waboos, Wab Makwa Sagaigan

And fair Temagami.

'Twas Friday morn when we set sail and left the Notch behind,

A two-mile paddle brought us to a hill we had to climb;

So up the Devil's Portage then we trudged with our heads tump-lined,

On our way to Temagami.


We paddled o'er the Bass Lakes four, and poled the Mattabet,

On Rabbit Point our fishermen with much good fortune met.

Then on we went through White Bear Lake, and spent a night of wet,

On our way to Temagami.


But when we struck Temagami, the sun was shining fine;

So past Bear Island and the Post we paddled, all in line;

But e'er we reached the Wigwam,

We were ready quite to dine,

On his way to Temagami.


There's a Far Away Lake

(original title: Temagami )

Air: "In the Good Old Summer Time"

There's a far away lake, where our Wigwam we make,

And Temagami's its name.

Where the bass, pike, and trout, and doré swim about,

And the woods are full of game.

Where the scenery's fine, amidst forests of pine,

'Tis a most delightful clime.

So here's to old Keewaydin, 

In the good Old Summer Time.


In the good old summer time, 

In the good old summer time, 

Our respects we pay to Kokomis

    and Devil's Mountain climb.

The moose and bear had best beware,

And fish avoid our line,

As we paddle 'round Temagami, 

In the good Old Summer Time.

Photo: Lodge, 1904, Keewaydin, Temagami

'There's a far away lake, where our Wigwam we make.' 1904 on the porch of the original lodge, one of the first buildings constructed on Devil's Island.

Hail, Fair Temagami

Air: Russian Hymn

Hail, fair Temagami,

Keewaydin's joy and pride,

Jewelled with islands,

Girt with Forests wide.

Ever our heartiest praises

Rise to thee

Ontario's brightest gem,


T-e-m-a-g-a-m-i   TEMAGAMI! ! !

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