How/When did it start?
The plot of land on which Camp Massawippi is now located, was purchased on March 17, 1951, from Miss Mary Helen Norton who had acquired the property from her late brother, Henry Arunah Norton for the token price of one dollar.
The original 15.1-acre estate had many buildings, including a summerhouse known as “the house that Jack built”, the Baldwin red cottage known as “the Log Cabin” and a boat-house on the lake. By acquiring adjacent properties, Camp Massawippi was able to grow to occupy its present 19-acre site.
Camp Massawippi, formerly known as the “School for Crippled Children Camp” because of its affiliation with the Montreal school, opened its doors for the first time on June 14, 1951. It wasn’t until 1952 that it held its official opening ceremony. Sixty years and several partnerships later, the school evolved to become the MAB-Mackay Rehabilitation Centre, and the camp acquired the name of Camp Massawippi.
During our first summer season we welcomed over 60 campers for 5 weeks, with 42 staff members (including families) in attendance. There was a “tuck shop” where campers could buy many necessities from chocolate bars to shoelaces to toothbrushes. Every Wednesday campers were required to write letters to their families, and every Sunday evening there was a vesper service on the campsite. A hairdresser would come twice during the summer and cut hair for $0.25/head, and every Thursday was picnic day. Activities included, among others, fishing, swimming and arts and crafts. That first season in 1951 was a resounding success, and Camp Massawippi has been thriving ever since.