Camp Attawandaron is ideal for active campers seeking fun and adventure. One of its most prominent features is a large area called “The Flats”. Whether campers use this area for an exciting game of “Capture the Flag” or simply Opening Ceremonies, it will fit a variety of needs. Likewise, there are 3 fully marked trails with maps for various levels of hikers, extending the length and breadth of the camp. And don't forget, the Camp has access to the Ausable River for canoeing.
Attawandaron Camp is tied very closely to some of the most adventuresome and romantic stories in the annals if Canada. This Camp on land which is part of the territories of the Attawandaron or Neutral Indians. At nearby Port Frank, the Attawandaron carried on an industry of making arrowheads. The arrowheads from the chipping beds of Port Frank attracted the trade of Indians from many tribes and nations of North America who gathered in the lands of the Attawandarons to engage in its peaceful trade and commence. The flint material for the chipping sites came from the only known silica outcrop in this part of Ontario on the shores of Lake Huron, the Attawandaron Nation name was Keregnodi, about two miles south of the present mouth of the Ausable River.Archaeologists exploring Attawandaron Villages have discovered the presence pf pottery made by the Indians on the East Coast of Canada among the artifacts turned up. As a peaceful nation poised between the mighty adversary tribes of the Iroquois and Huron, the Attawandaron Territory prospered for a time and it is said as a kind of free state or united nations where all the tribes met in peace.
The name "Attawandaron" came from the word "Attawandaronk" which was given to them by the Huron and Iroquois meaning "they are those whose language is awry". In time, Christianity was brought to the area, the remains of a Jesuit Chapel has been discovered in the territory.
The balance of power which brought peace and prosperity to the Neutrals did not last when the Huron Nation was defeated and dispersed by the triumphant Iroquois. The Attawandaron, too, were attacked and dispersed by fleeing west with the remainder of the Hurons and Tobacco, eventually to become fused and known as the Wyandotte. The years were 1650-51.
Legend tells of a great massacre having taken place at Northville, west of the camp where the Attawandaron Chief had been challenged to a battle by the Iroquois Chief and having defeated him was fallen upon, with all his people, by the disappointed and vengeful Iroquois who killed them by the scores. It is said that the sad remains of this battle form the pieces of bone and weapons still discovered from time to time by the residents in the area.
Modern warfare came to the Pinery lands during the Second World War as it was frequently crossed by truck and armour of the Canadian Army on maneuver from near by Camp Ipperwash. Piles of empty shell casings are still sometimes found as evidence of this history, like the flint chips of the Indians are evidence of their conflicts.
The Sarnia Boy Scout Camp remained part of the remaining parcel of the Canada Company until it was purchased by the Sarnia Boy Scout Association in the mid 1940's. The lands had been used for Scout camping for many years, by Nelson Allen and others, but had not been improved until two hundred and thirty-seven acres on both sides of the Ausable Cut were acquired after a campaign for funds.
Originally the Ausable River had it's water course through the Grand Bend and thetraveled through what is now the Pinery Provincial Park. The stream on the north boundary of Camp Attawandaron was the original Ausable River. The Ausable Cut was created to alleviate flooding of the Bosanquet Township and in the 1890's it was George Parker. Subsequent to the purchase, part of the Scout Camp lands on both sides of the “Cut” was expropriated by the Ausable Conservation Authority.
Eventually, two leases were negotiated to establish the present boundaries of the camp which extends from the north limit to the Ausable River and to Highway 21 on the south, from its west limit on the Ausable Cut, and its east limit being the Pinery Provincial Park. With its sand dunes and great variety of trees and plant life, some of itvery rare, with its good swimming and abundant of winter activity, the Sarnia Boy Scout camp is fast becoming desirable and has proven to be a delight for Scouts within a wide portion of south-western Ontario as well as from parts of the United States.
A Scout Camp becomes a reality
The Sarnia District Association purchased from the Canada Company two hundred and thirty-one acres of land, comprising of forty-seven acres is located on the west of the Ausable River Cut with the balance on the east side and adjacent of the PineryProvencial Park for three thousand dollars. President Paul Bradley and George Parker negotiated on behalf of the Association. The deed was registered on May 5th 1948, at the Lambton County Registry Office under the Instrument number 19004.
On November 20th. 1948 Mr. and Mrs. George McIntyre were honoured by the Group Committee, Scouts and Cub leaders, their assistants and officers of the ladies Auxiliary of Devine St. United Church for their work in the camp.
How the Totem Pole came into being created
One day a scouter a carver and a camper were sitting around the campfire when the carver Allen Vyse said "what this place needs is a new Totem Pole"
Immediately after Al made that comment the wheels were set in motion and things began to happen.
Sarnia Hydro donated an old used Telephone pole. After much filling of holes and cracks our resident carver AL began to work diligently. He worked like a Trojan. It was more than a challenge to him; it became his passion. He worked very hard the remainder of the summer and on into the fall. The wood chips really flew from the morning right into the evenings.
Sadly by November Al was diagnosed with Cancer and by Christmas he had passed away. Even on his deathbed he worried that he wouldn’t get the Totem Pole done. As a group we promised him it would get finished one way or another.
The pole sat idle for about 4 years when someone who knew someone mentioned a fellow named Doug Rowe who lived in Port Elgin. Well Doug was also a scouter so he agreed to finish it for us. It was very nice to have someone who knew what this was all about and appreciated what we were trying to do on board.
Many campers had a hand in helping with this project. They were all FCRV (family campers &rivers) they came from Sarnia; London: Corunna; Port Elgin; Bellville; Trenton; Woodstock & Kingston. At last Als dream of a Totem Pole is completed. So today we are gathered here as friends of the Attawandaron to pass on to the camp Als' Totem pole. May you enjoy it for many years.