Historic camp celebrates 75 years in Sooke

Camp Barnard donated to Scouts Canada in 1944

Scouts in the early days of Camp Barnard, near Sooke. (Contributed)

Seventy-five years ago – back when fishtraps graced the harbour and decades before Sooke became a municipality – Canadian Senator George Barnard donated his hunting lodge at Otter Point to the Scouts.

The lodge was surrounded by a vast wilderness area. But fast-forward to 2019, and you’ll find numerous campsites, 58 buildings, trails, recreation areas – and stampedes of kids making lifelong memories.

The lodge is known as Camp Barnard, and it’s one of 10 Scouts Canada camps in B.C.

Sept. 20 marked the palladium jubilee.

RELATED: 2,200 Scouts descend on Sooke’s Camp Barnard

“It’s a quiet little gem you’ve got out there,” said Penny Hill of the Camp Barnard management committee, adding that over the years Scouts Canada has evolved the camp to become a cornerstone of the community.

A storied past

What started out as just an area of wilderness where intrepid Scouts would bring everything they needed to build a campsite and look after themselves, has grown into a more developed camp facility.

Over time, some smaller acreages have been added creating the now 250-acre facility.

RELATED: Camp Barnard transformation

There are still areas of wilderness camping, but with some niceties such as potable water and outhouses.

This year, the camp hosted more than 30,000 camper nights, including the Pacific Jamboree that saw nearly 3,000 Scouts call the camp home for a week.

“Camp Barnard provides facilities for the youngest and least experienced camper to develop skills and confidence with residential camp settings, rustic cabin circles with dining hall and kitchen, and back country tenting sites for more advanced and adventurous leave-no-trace camping,” Hill said.

Building up community

Today, Camp Barnard opens its gates to more than 120 groups, from school groups to recovery support, and rates are purposely kept low to ensure that camping is financially achievable to organizations.

The camp is also used as a muster station for community emergencies.

“We try to be a good neighbour and provide more than just a setting for camping,” Hill said.

Hill said she’s proud to be part of the organization.

“It’s a source of inspiration for people,” Hill said.

“We [the committee] all have an emotional attachment to the camp because as Scouters we all took our training out there. We spent many a night sleeping on uncomfortable cots.”

•••

Who was Senator Barnard?

Senator George Barnard (1868-1954, a lawyer, was elected mayor of Victoria in 1904. He served two terms.

In 1908, he was elected to the House of Commons (Liberal-Conservative Party) where he promoted Victoria as a seaport resulting in the building of the Ogden Point wharves. In 1917, he was appointed to the Canadian Senate, where he served until 1945 when he retired to Victoria.



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Occupancy rates remain above capacity in Greater Victoria hospitals

Region’s hospitals have more patients than acute care beds

Saanich mayor signs up for mason bee rental service

Fred Haynes rents mason bee colony from Oyster River beekeeper for his Prospect Lake home

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Uber, Lyft approved for ride-hailing in Lower Mainland

Kater Technologies Inc.’s application was rejected

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

Former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse in B.C. granted day parole

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s

VIDEO: Person in wheelchair narrowly avoids collision with car in Kelowna

There were no injuries in the scary looking near-accident last week in Rutland

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

B.C. still struggling to control non-resident medical care fraud

Unpaid bills, out-of-province claimants a costly legacy of MSP

Most Read