Ilahee Lodge was used in the 1950's as a summer camp for boys and girls from southern Ontario with medical needs such as diabetes and heart conditions. There were a lot of us and although we did not all sleep in the house, we had all our meals in the dining room. It is difficult to believe the house is as small as it looks in this photograph.
The front veranda, facing south to the lake, was higher off the ground than is indicated here. Among my very poor black and white photos from that time, one shows 8 or 9 grand, - perhaps 12 feet wide - veranda steps, with 23 children and counselors sitting on them but only occupying about 60% of the area. I recall the veranda being maybe 4 to 5 feet off the ground. I have many fond memories of Ilahee Lodge as a grand old mansion and I am happy to see it has been preserved.
Has it been preserved? I thought it was now a condo.
Wow! I loved going to this place..I was there in the 60's and I loved the house. I never slept in the big lodge part, but I did sleep upstairs in the smaller house that was behind the lodge, also in the rooms like motel rooms. And I loved going to the swimming hole out of town. I also went to the camp up in Huntsville.
There was a councillor at Illahea and I believe her name was Shirley, she was so nice. Great times!!
I, myself didn't attend the Illahee camp. My older sister attended in the 60s. She had a heart condition and went every summer for a couple weeks, right up to when she passed away in 1970. She loved going there. She made a lot of friends. The staff and the volunteers were great with the kids. There were so many activities for the kids. My family became friends with one of the volunteers and my family would get invited to visit her and her family on one of the weeks that my sister would still be there and we got to see how the children lived and interacted. It was a wonderful experience. The house was so grand, the property was so large and close to the lake. I loved going there to visit. Even after my sister passed away, we kept the tradition of going out to Cobourg every summer, from Toronto, to visit with the family we had become friends with, right up to the 1990s when our friend passed away. My husband and I drove out there last summer after being away from Cobourg all these years, and I was so happy to see the lodge is still there, but a little disappointed to see othe large homes on the property. It brought back a lot of wonderful memories.
I went to this camp in the early 70's for a few years but not consecutively. I stayed in the main lodge most of the years i was there. Stayed 1 time in the cabins and was never in the guest house. I loved it! Met a very good friend and we are still in touch today. I learned how to swim, canoe, camp but most importantly,I learned that there were other kids with health conditions too and that I was not alone. I seemed to be the only person with a heart condition as the majority of the kids had diabetes or were epileptics. We were unique but the same. It was probably the most happiest childhood memory i have to this day and I am so grateful that my parents had the good sense to let me go there. The last time I was there, was in the 90's. My finance (at the time- now husband) and I passed by on our way to a wedding in Belleville. It brought happy memories to see it again although I believe that it was changed to accommodate seniors in some capacity but not 100% sure. I managed to go to the new camp in Haliburton shortly after they closed the one in Coburg and met Uncle Dave. He was still the camp director. I wonder if a reunion has ever been held. Wonder what every happened to all the photos that were taken along the years. What a great facility it was.
My name is Barry Cull. I was one of the first open-heart surgery cases of Dr. William Mustard in 1959. I attend camp Illahee throughout the 1960's as a camper, CIT, and counselor. During my time at the camp, the director was Don Anderson, a high school principal from Thornhill. The program director was Dave Sands, who was the recreation coordinator on the 11th floor of Sick Kids.
I am researching a personal essay on the camp and would like to speak with anyone who attended during the years 1960-1970. Please contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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