The camp is located south-west of Iona, and sits on 60 acres. Originally purchased in 1975 to provide an outdoor camping experience for the youth and leaders, it has evolved from a very basic, wilderness style ONLY camp, to it's present stage, which includes a picnic shelter, privies, 2 bunkhouses and a longhouse, which is used by younger members for winter camping, and by all members in case of severe weather.
Camp Timken closed in June, 2016.
The camp was purchased in 1976 with a cash donation of $35,000 from Canadian Timken, through their Maple Leaf Foundation. The original property purchased was 50 acres. Elgin District also invested $25,000 from the sales of the Scout House that belonged to St. Thomas council to erect the picnic shelter, the tractor barn and 2 bridges over the next few years. In 1982 Elgin District purchased an additional 10 acres for $5,000.00. In 1989 after a 2-year fundraiser from the community, the Longhouse was built at a cost of $70,000. This addition to the property saw a huge increase in usage and revenue and in 1996 a new project was developed called Timken 2000. This plan called for an investment of $45,000 over a period of 5 years. The selling of prints from a Peter Robson painting called the "Spirit of Scouting" funded this initiative. This is when the camp took on an environmental theme with the front Wetland development, new water supply to ensure safe water at the camp, and the building of 2 bunkhouses. The Elgin Gilwellians also erected the chapel. In 1998 during a routine monthly inspection some cracks were found in the support foundation of the longhouse and after many consultants' opinions, it was decided to replace the current foundation with a full basement containing showers and 3 meeting rooms. The funds for this project came from reserve funds held by Elgin District. In the final year of the District a portable classroom was purchased and the picnic shelter was closed in for 4-seasons usage.
In the summer of 1997, an inspection of the crawlspace under the longhouse showed that serious water damage had occurred during the past few years. The membership of Elgin authorized the construction of a new basement, and this involved raising the longhouse while the basement was poured. Our Camp Manager, Norm Carsons, and our Camp Committee chairman, Dave Palmer, were the main driving forces in this project, and we certainly appreciate all their hard work and I know that they wish to thank everyone that helped out in any way. Thanks to everyone's hard work, in early January 1998, a Winter Skills course was put on in the new basement, and it promises to be a very useful addition to Elgin District and to the camp facilities. The old longhouse is shown to the left. Two bunkhouses that each can sleep about 12 cubs have been built in the fall of 1998.
The 4 year plan included reforestation of a front field that had been rented out yearly to a local farmer (8000 trees, representing six species), a new access road and parking lot for the longhouse, an improved water supply for the longhouse, an obstacle course for senior youth members, new signs in and around the camp, and last but certainly not least, the construction of bunkhouses adjacent to the longhouse to be used for winter camping, leader training, etc. Also added was a portable classroom adjacent to the longhouse and bunkhouses.
Closing the Doors
Camp Timken was a small but excellent camp for youth and Scouters alike. Many have fond memories of camping throughout the year and attending some of the fantastic group, area, and council events throughout the years. It was in great pain the decision made to close the doors of Camp Timken in June of 2016. While this is not meant to go into the specifics, property use failed to keep the property afloat for many years before the decision was ultimately made. It was at least a year afterwards was the property put up for sale and eventually sold. As with all proceeds of sale, the funds are held in trust by the the Ontario Incorporated Body for Scouts Canada in Ontario for sustaining Scouting properties into the future.