Bondi Resort Blog

Come on into our Blog for a look at the wonderful world we've got to share! With over 240 hectares (600 acres) of wilderness woodlands surrounding the resort, just ten minutes from Algonquin Park, we feature over 400 metres (1200’) of waterfront and beach; boat rentals; summer hiking trails winding through fields and woods; 20 km. of groomed cross country ski trails and snowshoeing in winter; access to nearby snowmobile trails for sledders, and a toboggan hill for the young at heart.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Vesle Skaugum, Little Norway

It began as an outpost of Limberlost Lodge -- guests would arrive by horse and carriage in summer, or by skis in winter. And some of those original buildings are still on the site. But then WWII rolled across Europe. The Norwegian Air Force moved to Canada to complete pilot training exercises -- flying out of the airport at Gravenhurst where there is a museum celebrating this component of what was known as Little Norway. The airmen, overflying the northern Muskoka wilderness, noted its similarity to their home country terrain. They also noted the narrow section of land between Dotty and Oxbow Lakes. Soon, this was acquired as a recreation and training camp. Called Vesle Skaugum (which I believe means "clearing in the woods", but I could be wrong...) a replica of the King of Norway's summer home was constructed, along with dining halls, dormitories, officers quarters, etc.

From here, the Norwegians trained to return to their homeland. There was a POW camp near Gravenhurst, and the Norwegian 'flyboys' used to pick up a bag of potatoes at the grocery store, overfly the camp, and 'bomb' the PoW's with potatoes.

After the war, the site became a Kiwanis camp, and more recently has been reincarnated as Olympia Sports Camp, one of the country's premier youth camps, with over 40 acres and a seemingly endless supply of summer programs! Owner David Grace has ensured that the rich history of the camp is carefully preserved.

Sunday, the Camp opened up for the Lake of Bays Doors Open tour. Camp staff did an outstanding job of walking people through the camp, pointing out some of the more eccentric details (including a ping pong table that was only about 2' 1/2' wide!) that remain from the Norwegian occupation. The hand-carved lamp 'torches' have fit beautifully into the Olympia theme of the camp.
Several old photos were also on display.

Thanks, Olympia, for letting us get this great glimpse of this historic building!

1 comment:

  1. Spent many a summer here in the 1950's as a kid when it was Camp Kiwanis, many great memories. Would like to return one day for a look around.