Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Camp Morton, 1920.  This former children’s ‘fresh air’
camp is now a provincially-run park with rustic log cabins in a beautiful setting by the lake. It was probably even more beautiful back in the twenties and thirties when the buildings were new and the stone walls, (built from shoreline rocks in Italian style), weren’t collapsing. But maybe not. There’s something compelling about ruins—something that evokes melancholy, and a sense of time and forgotten memories. Lake Winnipeg crashed then like now against the shoreline and silver moons lit night time highways over the brooding depths of this huge lake. (Lake Winnipeg is one of the largest lakes in the world.)

 
I’ve come back here every fall for more than twenty years.  It’s peaceful, it’s rustic, it’s ghostly, it’s magical.  Disadvantaged children from the Winnipeg area would come to this Catholic-run camp for the a week in the summer. Old steps lead down to a crumbling beach house. A few of the other old buildings still stand—the water tower, the former chapel, the arcade. The sunken garden still blooms.  


I’d like to think I can hear the sound of children laughing on the swings, but maybe that’s just some bird twittering.  And is that the sound of a homesick child crying on a windy night?  Probably just a drafty window.

Camp Morton is an hour and a bit north of Winnipeg on the west shore of Lake Winnipeg. It's now closed for the season...(for us regular folks, But who knows what memory does when left alone in an empty place?)





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