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Motor Camp for summer tourists drew thousands to lakeside park

During the 1930s, the town expanded facilities, building a new canteen, washrooms and showers and brought electricity and water to most of the camp
124 Motor Camp - Edited
The Orillia Motor Camp, circa 1940. The two rental cabins seen here were built during a period of growth in the 1930s.

Postcard Memories is a weekly series of historic postcard views and photos submitted by Marcel Rousseau.

Some were previously published by the Orillia Museum of Art and History and in the book Postcard Memories Orillia.

In 1929, the town of Orillia developed the old Barnfield property into a motor camp for summer tourists. (The area is now known as Tudhope Park).

That first year, the town hosted some 5,000 visitors, with almost one-third of them coming from the U.S.

During the 1930s, under the capable management of Mr. and Mrs. Ken Crockford, the town expanded the facilities by building a new canteen, washrooms and showers, and provided electricity and water throughout most of the camp.

The two rental cabins seen in this postcard were built during that same period to meet the growing demand for low cost vacations. A total of twenty of these cabins were built during the depression as a municipal make work project.

The cabins had log siding and were about 10-feet wide and 14-feet long and were divided into two rooms. The kitchen and living area, with a large screened window, was in front with a sleeping area in back. 

When the campground closed in the late 1980s, 17 of these cabins remained, two had been destroyed by fire and one had been vandalized.

The remaining cabins were sold by the city for under $300 each to be removed from the property. Several are still in use today with at least five being located in Ramara as storage units.