1937 - present
Camp Woolsey, the Girl Guide camp near Ottawa, has been welcoming campers for over 80 years. The History of Camp Woolsey was a project started by Emma Kent and myself to share the fascinating story of the camp. The project had humble beginnings, but has since spanned into a facebook page, two museum exhibits, and an upcoming book.
We met at Woolsey in 2007 as leaders in training, and worked together at Woolsey over the next eight years. Our story is not unique - countless women and girls have called Woolsey home since 1937. Their passion can be seen in the property today, in the dedication plaques, in the buildings built by fundraising, in the summer camp staff, in the guiders and girls who continue to use the property.
The story of Camp Woolsey is not just the story of a piece of land. We have loved sharing Woolsey's story with the Guiding and Ottawa communities.
Above left - the front gate in 1947
Above right - the front gate in 2020
Below - Lloyd Dining Lodge, the first building constructed for camp, 1948
Below - Pinhey Cottage, the oldest building at camp, built in 1824. Originally used by camp as an infirmary. Pictured in 2017
The History of Camp Woolsey facebook page was created in 2017 shortly after the announcement that the Ontario Girl Guides were planning to sell all of their camp properties. The goal was to create a "digital museum", and share the information, photos and stories we had discovered.
The response to the page has been incredible, and the community has been invaluable. Thanks to the page, we have made contact with members of the Woolsey family, as well as many women who have moved from Ottawa or are no longer involved in Guiding. We have been sent pictures and stories, and we have been able to ask questions to clarify our own findings. We can't thank the community enough, and will always welcome more photos and personal stories!
In 2018, Emma started to pursue the idea of creating a History of Camp Woolsey travelling exhibit. The first exhibit was held at the Bytown Museum in the spring of 2019. Currently, a second running of the exhibit (altered slightly) is being held at Pinhey's Point Historic Site.
The exhibit showcases some of the artifacts and photos we have collected, as well a rough draft of the book.
The Story of Camp Woolsey book is still a work in progress. We hope to have in complete and published within the next year. The book tells the story of Woolsey chronologically, with each chapter dedicated to a decade of Woolsey's history.
An updated rough draft can be read below. Any feedback is welcome, and we have created a survey with some specific questions.
Left - the mailbox built and painted by my parents in 2014!