The Other Keewaydin

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Photo: William Gunn, former director of Keewaydin Camp

William K. Gunn


Dunmore Director 1920-1925

Temagami Director 1926-1947


But Gunn wasn't alone working at both camps. There were many staff who had been at both, either as campers or staff or both, keeping alive a strong bond. Sid Negus, Gunn's successor at Dunmore, started his Keewaydin career in 1919 at Temagami. When seven staffman left Temagami to found Camp Wabun in 1933, they even had an eighth partner, a friend from Dunmore, Walter "Mac" McLellan. He felt so close to his Temagami friends and the idea of a Temagami tripping camp that he joined them despite never having worked at Temagami. 

On at least four occasions there were Dunmore canoe trips Temagami to Dunmore, traveling down the Ottawa River into the United States. Wilson led the 1933 trip (see list below). Their arrival at Dunmore was a special occasion. Everyone would go down to the water to greet them. "I still remember the puppies in the bow of the canoe and the Indian guide," said Hare. The trips were as a powerful recruiting tool for Temagami.

By 1938 there were 11 camps and resorts in the corporation. Temagami, Dunmore and Songadeewin (a girls' camp on Lake Willoughby, Vermont) were the most successful camps. Dunmore may have been the most visited as it was one of the largest, road accessible camps, close to the homes of many alumni of the various camps and near most of the other operations. 

But Temagami remained the mythical center. Temagami alumni were spread among the other operations, which were all in the United States, and they loved to tell stories about it. Temagami too had mystery attached to its remoteness and there was the incredible adventure of carving a place for itself out of the frontier.

                             Photo: Tony Way

This carving is on a portage on the Matabitchuan River near the oldest Keewaydin carving. It says:





Mike Buckshot

Roy Waters was the staffman and Mike Buckshot the guide (see Dunmore trips below).

In 1938 the conglomerate broke up. John "Speedy" Rush, a former Temagami staffman, was general director of the corporation and its major shareholder. He had started at Keewaydin in 1906 and became the general director, not only on the strength that he was an insider and a Temagami man, but that he had the money to purchase Clarke shares after his death in 1926. On dissolution, most of the camps were purchased by their respective directors. As part of Rush's settlement, he took ownership of Dunmore.

Rush appointed himself as Dunmore director in 1940, replacing Sid Negus who was then director. One of his great talents was his storytelling and, not surprisingly, his most spellbinding tales came from his days at Temagami. At the top of the hit parade was his story of riding a moose. In 1946 Rush sold Dunmore to Alfred "Waboos" Hare, Abby Fenn and Harold "Slim" Curtiss.

In 1947, Gunn served his last year as director at Temagami. It was the last year in which either camp had a director who had been at both. However, the assistant director at Temagami, Roy Waters, had been the Moosalamoo Wigwam director at Dunmore from 1931 to 1933. He led Temagami's Dunmore trips in 1936 and 1939 and would continue telling Dunmore trip stories at Temagami until his last year in 1976. 

There was a vacuum in Dunmore's program now that it was no longer affiliated with the advanced-trip program that existed in Temagami. In 1963, Warren King and Fenn co-founded Dunmore's Wilderness Canoe Trips program that sends experienced campers on long trips in Canada guided by Mistassini Cree. King, a former Temagami camper (1951), and Fenn were attempting to replicate the Temagami experience. Originally the trips were eight weeks long but have since been shortened to five. 

In 1978, Fred Reimers organized the Roy Waters Scholarship Fund to provide financial assistance for Temagami campers, modeling it on Dunmore's General Breed Scholarship Fund.

Pre-1910 Keewaydin logo. Both camps have kept similar logos.

Despite the end of their affiliation in 1938, many alumni at Dunmore will tell you today that Temagami is special. Says Fenn, "For us Temagami is part of the tradition and part of the mystique."

For two institutions so committed to tradition, it is hard to let go. Today, flip open the songbook at either camp and you will find songs from Temagami prior to 1910: The Trip In; Goodbye, Abitibi; Wannigan: That's Me; and Mr. Staffman.

Where else on Earth will you hear the cheer: 

Kway, kway, kway,

Kah kee kay,

Kway, kway, kway,

Kah kee kay,

Kway, kway, kway,

Kah kee kay,

Keewaydin, Keewaydin, Keewaydin,


Hare sums up a common Dunmore alumni view of Temagami: "It's the original Keewaydin. You graduated to there. That's where you REALLY did trips, with Indian guides. Temagami is just magical."



Dunmore Trips

  Route Staffman Guide Campers  
1919 L Temagami - Ottawa R - Ottawa - Montreal via rail - Richilieu R - L Champlain - Camp Keewaydin, Dunmore, Vermont Ted Saunders Jack Green John Caswell, John Blythe, Clarence Cleminshaw, Bob George, "Mac" McMahon, Marshall Waterman, Victor Cannon, Tom Crabbe, Richard Buck, "Greeny" McFerran, Bill Coke, Bob Hoag Aug.3-27

A Dunmore group paddled to Ottawa to meet them. Somehow they missed each other.

1933 L Temagami - Ottawa R - Ottawa to Richilieu R via rail - L Champlain - Dunmore, Vermont George "Moose" Wilson Mike Buckshott NA  
1936 L Temagami - L Kipawa - Grand Lake Victoria - Dumoine R - Ottawa R - Ottawa to Montreal via rail - Richilieu R - L Champlain - Dunmore, Vermont Roy Waters Mike Buckshott NA Rock carving made as shown in photo above.
1939 L Temagami - Grand Lake Victoria - Gatineau R - Ottawa R - Ottawa to Montreal via rail - L Champlain - Dunmore, Vermont Roy Waters Mike Buckshott NA  

Sources: The Keewaydin Story by Abbott Fenn, The Keewaydin Way by Brian Back, The Keewaydin Kicker 1910-20, Keewaydin Archives, Abbott "Abby" Fenn, Alfred "Waboos" Hare, Fred Reimers, Harold Scott, Junie O'Brien, Steve Patch, Seth Gibson, Warren King. 

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