|Seasonal highlights from the chair of the Fires of Friendship Alumni Association
|I am writing this on the day of Dan Gibson's memorial service.
How many of you remember his family of goslings whom he taught to fly?
Dan, that "Summer of the Geese", gave Canoe Lake a window into the joy of Nature like we had never seen before so dramatically.
They were cute little guyswhen they were tiny.
Then they grew and grew.
Dan would whip up and down the lake in his dented aluminum boat calling "Here, geese! Here, geese!" encouraging them to take flight.
(I'll let someone else relate the outcome.)
At Wapomeo, as Dan's feathered family grew increasingly independent of "father", the full grown but flightless flock would paddle their way over to the docks, hop up, sun themselves, depart at their leisure, leaving Frank Yantha and his crew to unwind the fire hose and blast the geese's gifts to Wap off the docks.
The geese also loved to preen the long hair (in style then) of any girls who could stand it.
What a thrill for us all!
And can you remember the weekly showings in the Lodge of a Dan Gibson nature film?
The bonus often was having Dan there in person, filling the Lodge and our minds with his enthusiasm.
He will remain on Canoe Lake in thousands of hearts and memories.
|Ahmek and Wapomeo have been blessed for 85 years with the teachings and role models of so many outstanding Naturalists, beginning with Jack Miner and Ernest Thompson Seton in the 20s and on with Mark Robinson, Stewart Thompson, Dan Gibson, Ottelyn Addison, the Chief, Couchie, Dr. Harry and Dr. Tay.
These were the "famous" ones, yet each summer has brought nature lore and environmental staff who remind campers and staff that they live in Algonquin Park with all her glory around them to touch, feel, breath, see, learn, remember and pass on to the next generation of campers.
|The ice on Canoe Lake remains firm but the temperatures are rising in this neck of the woods.
The annual "Canoe Lake Ice Out" predictions, collected by Jeff Ridpath, are being frantically submitted.
Before we know it, that indescribable early Spring green will begin emerging in the hills.
The docks will be towed back to their places from their wintering bays.
Dave Standfield's beautifully restored canoes will be barged to the Wap and Ahmek docks with the help of the Work Camp staff who arrive in May to work hard while battling the clouds of short-lived blackflies.
|May the emergence of Spring (or Fall "down under") renew your souls and bodies while keeping the Fires of Friendship burning brightly all over the world.
|Reunion 2005 on Canoe Lake in August!
Now that image should dispel the winter blues!
Can't you see that island, green on waters gray?
On a ripply lake.
Pines swaying to and fro.
Swimming and paddling all day long.
Skies so blue.
Fir trees fringing the shore.
The moon and stars shining.
When you got the sad, not the glad, Algonquin blues when that man you lost!
You know that you are lonesome for camp on Lake Canoeso, when you get up to Ahmek, what a riot you can make!
The Wilson, the Three Day.
You want to go back to Lake Canoe.
Back to the days of camping trips.
Back to the days of skinny dips.
You want to go back.
You got to go back, to Lake Canoe.
Friends and comrades all are we.
And this Reunion you canMmm, linger for a whole extra day and remember the times you had there.
Come sing and be merry around the campfires.
No matter what your age or era, you will be transported back to the time you were at camp.
|Your son, daughter, grandchild want to see what Camp is all about?
This is a perfect time for them to share with you some of the experiences you have been talking about all their lives.
To see is to believe!
|Those who simply cannot sleep on a camp cot nor maneuver the rock and root strewn paths as well as they used to, we shall be inviting you to come into Ahmek for a special luncheon in your honour.
You'll be picked up at the Portage Store midmorning.
Have lunch with friends from your era.
Feel free to wander around Ahmek or sit on the beach and chat.
On the return boat trip, a swing by Little Wap and then a brief stop at Big Wapomeo Island.
We expect a huge demand to attend this luncheon and so we shall be very strict about having guests only from the 1920s through the early 50s.
Please contact Sue Ebbs if you wants to be on this mailing list.
Pass the word.
This luncheon was a highlight in 2000, especially for the younger alum and staff who so enjoyed meeting you.
|See you on Canoe Lake!
|Sue "Swebbs" Ebbs
|What a brutal winter most of Canada is having!
South Central Ontario has experienced many nights at -30 to -40C!
My wood stove and fireplaces are quickly depleting the woodpile.
Memories of a fabulous summer and the colours on Canoe Lake on Thanksgiving weekend keep me warm!
Mother Nature had all the trees at their brilliant peak simultaneously in October, along with Indian Summer and a full moon!
A man-made phenomenon was the lowest water level in decades.
Something to do with improving lake trout spawning grounds?
Anyone know for sure?
(Swebbs went swimming. C-o-o-ld! S-o-o dumb!)
|November 1st Dr. Tay was toasted and roasted in front of over 400 admirers at a gala dinner in Toronto.
Sheilagh Wright (80s/00s) and her various committees did a fabulous job planning this huge event.
Speakers were representative of Dr. Tay's impressive camping and medical careers, as well as the various generations of staff and campers under his directorship: Jim Felstiner (40s-50s)(MC), Dave Taylor (50s-60s), Dr. Patricia White, Bill Pigott (50s-60s), Sean Walter (80s-90s) and a wonderful video message from actor William Hutt who served under Dr. Tay in WW II.
The crowd loved Henri Audet's (50s-80s) singin' and strummin'.
(I must add that from my cabin on Little Wap last summer I could hear the Wap Dining Hall really rockin' and the floor bouncing at dinner when Henri performed!)
Dr. Tay's kids, Lyn (40s-60s), Judy (50s-70s) and Tike (50s+), led "The Tay Wearers" (their cousins dressed in fashionable togs from Dr. Tay's camp wardrobe), in barbershop quartet songs, written, produced and directed by Pete Turner Jr (50s-60s) and Cindi.
Throughout the evening three huge screens showed photos of Tay's life at camp, put together by David DeMara (90s+).
Hugh Statten's (60s+) PowerPoint tribute presentation was spectacular!
Gord Gibson (70s-80s) and "Solitudes" (who so generously provided a special Reunion 2000 "Solitudes" CD) made a CD from "A Song and a Time to Remember", an LP of camp songs sung in the Ahmek and Wapomeo dining halls in the 1970s, which each guest received.
(Now for sale in our Tuck Shop.)
|I am thoroughly enjoying reading Liz Lundell's (70s-90s) latest masterpiece "Old Muskoka: Century Cottages and Summer Estates" and have had rave reviews from friends who live on Lake Muskoka.
If you are a Muskokian, you'll be fascinated with the beautifully written history and the hundreds of wonderful old photos.
Available at Chapters and Indigo.
|Whether you ski, or not, or not very well, don't miss Fires of Friendship Ski Day at Osler Bluff on Friday, February 27.
Oh, come on, Mom and Dad, give the kids a day off school to come with you!
Bring your non-camp friends too.
Osler members and non-skiers pay only for lunch.
Barb Hayhurst (70s-80s) is hosting and organizing this fun day and can use your help.
Check the web site for details.
|Some Torontonians are dining at Chris Boland's (60s-70s) Tasting Rooms Restaurant on April 13 before going to "The Producers".
Hey, Montreal, New York, Ottawa, Whistler, Denver, London, Tokyoanywhere there are two or more Alumplan a get-together and then let us know all about it and with photos!
We are awaiting news of Hugh Statten's 50th birthday party held on Canoe Lake the weekend of February 7.
If they survived.
Not sure we want photos of that event!
|With Dr. Tay's dinner this past Fall, Music Night will return this Fall.
Exceptional talent welcome.
|Our Tuck Shop is filled with TSC sweatshirts, T-shirts, hats, blankets, the new camp songs CD and quality car mugs.
Holly Gibson Stewart (60s-80s) is close to having Ahmek and Wap silver old crest rings ready for you to order.
All items available on the web and at all events.
|As always, our special thanks to our Web Master David Shapiro (60s) for continuing to find ways of making your web site more informative and friendly.
He would love to have more photos to display.
Send them along.
Do read Andy Scott's (39-41) reminiscences.
He'd love to hear from his cabinmates.
|Finally, a personal note from the Ebbs family: We have been overwhelmed and touched very deeply by the outpouring of affection and admiration for our mother Couchie (24-75) (b.1909, d.2003).
Thank you for your thoughtful messages and generous contributions in her memory.
|Do we have your e-mail and mailing address?
Can't let you know what's happening if we don't know where you are: www.firesoffriendship.com
|Do keep in touch and help others to find long lost camp friends.
|Missed the Fall Echoes' deadline because your Alumni Association has been so busy!
Under the superb leadership of Jane Avery and her band of merry volunteers, a gathering of campers in April, representing 70 years of friendship and admiration transpired to honour the contribution made by Jack and Elizabeth Eastaugh to life at Ahmek and the Canoe Lake community.
Among others, Dr. Tay, Dan Gibson, Mike and Charlie Brown, Bill Pigott, Carl Laurier, Jenny and Candy Eastaugh, mostly roasted Jack.
Elizabeth, of course, was lauded for her grace, warm concern for others and the "class" she brought to a boisterous boys' campand for putting up with Jack all these years!
Dave Passmore tinkled the ivories with camp songs.
Derek Shipman produced a heart-tugging video of the honourees.
The Arts and Letters Club was the perfect venue to display over 80 pieces of Jack's oils, watercolours, carvings and paddles.
For many of us, talking to artist John Hall was especially poignant because he passed away just before Christmas.
The Eastaugh family graciously thanked the volunteers with a luncheon in June at Candy's beautiful home in Churchill.
|November brought another eclectic group of alum together to revive the Fires of Friendship Music Night at BSS.
We joyously laughed, sang, listened and chattered all evening thanks to the wit and talents of producers and co-MCs Bernard Leman and Frank MacAnulty, performers Lindsay McConeghy, Phil McCordic and Michael Welsman.
See you same time this year!
|Really cold winter, you say?
Not on February 21 at Osler Bluff Ski Club!
For one day Wakonda blessed us with warm sunshine and spring skiing conditions.
For sure there were many sitting in their offices thinking "Darn, I should have gone!"
Yet another combination of campers (great to see families) basked in the sun, raced for fun prizes, skipped school, held their breath for the 50/50 Draw and ate a fine spread provided by Osler.
We even hijacked Osler members who hadn't heard we were there.
Next year Wendy Ward-Price Gunn and Aggie Leonard Tawastjerna will bring their gang of youthful skiers.
Thanks to our hosts Holly Gibson and Roy Stewart.
Again, see you same time next year!
|We're still encouraging you all to celebrate the Fires of Friendship on the first weekend in June (the 7th).
Have a BBQ, open the cottage, walk your dogs, gather around a campfire, reminisce about that long canoe trip you took 20 years ago, with one or more of your camp buddies or send greetings in some form.
It's up to you and it can happen anywhere in the world.
(Toronto is definitely not the centre of the Universe!
SARS is discouraging visitors!)
tell us about your planned events.
We can help spread the word.
|Need to find campers in your area?
Check the web site or e-mail your Webmaster David Shapiro for a deeper search: email@example.com.
|Next stop "Tribute to Dr. Tay & Gala Reunion" November 1st!
Keep in touch.
Use your web site (post your e-mail address).
Eat your porridge.
And "remember the times we've had here."