The Voyageurs of Hurontario are a skilled group of canoeists. Campers and staff are “off the island at least once a day” (Birnie Hodgetts’ philosophy), so we like to brag that we are the best! Camp Hurontario has one of the largest fleets of cedar-strip canoes in Canada, and they are constantly in use. Do you remember paddling out to O’Donnell’s Point to jump the cliffs? How about a paddle out to your section’s hamburger cookout at Freddie’s or Paradise? At the close of each session, campers have the opportunity to show what they have learned in a variety of canoeing competitions.
The Hartwood is a doubling competition for Cabins 1 to 13. To qualify for the Hartwood, each boat is involved in a timed race to Muntz-Weller Rock and back. Each camper is able to show their skills as either a sternsman or a bowsman. Six to eight boats are chosen from the qualifying event and proceed to the finals. The finals consist of a variety of technical “moves” like the figure eight, feather, bowcut, and the brake.
The Hodgetts is a doubling competition for Cabins 11 to 20. In this competition, the paddlers are required to switch places on the water in order to display their paddling skills as both a sternsman and a bowsman. Each boat must go through a qualifying time trial to make the finals of the competition. The strokes are similar to those of the Hartwood, but the paddlers must demonstrate more power and fluidity.
The Muntz-Weller is the most prestigious paddling tradition at the camp. It is a singling competition for the senior campers. The fastest 6 to 8 canoeists to complete a course to MuntzWeller rock and back, changing sides halfway, proceed to the finals. To make the finals, the paddlers must demonstrate both strength and skill as a paddler. In the finals, the canoeists display their paddling skills while performing technically difficult strokes. They must demonstrate their proficiency in paddling moves like the inside circle, the brake, and the show-stopping bow-rudder.
I sit at the tiller, and laugh in the spray… Hurontario has a fleet of boats perfectly suited for cruising the Bay on a lazy summer’s day or catching a big wind out in Twelve Mile Bay as you sail to make the Squadron. The fleet consists of Bytes (one- or two-person crew), JYs (our awesome new self-bailing racing boats), and Lightnings, the camp’s flagships (22 foot sailboats that are perfect for the winds of Georgian Bay). Thanks to Bruce Eriksson, one of our alumni, for the incredibly generous donation of a third Lightning to add to the fleet! We also have added a new JY this past summer, meaning that all sailors are skipping top-of-the-line boats in the winds of Georgian Bay! During each session, campers work to develop their boat-handling skills in the different classes of boats offered. At the end of session, everyone has an opportunity to participate in the Junior and Senior Byte Regattas, the Dawson, or the Pinchin.
The Junior and Senior Byte regattas begin with a series of five qualifying races through a triangular course. The best three finishes are counted for each boat and qualifying crews move on to the finals. The bytes are fast, single-sail craft that can be capsized and righted by one person, so sailors must stay on their toes in each race!
The Dawson is a sailing race open to all campers in cabins one through thirteen. Two- or three-person crews head out into the Bay and try their hand at a series of qualifying races before competing in the finals. Both skipper and crew need to know their stuff, from rigging, to docking, to sailing terminology and tacking through a triangular course. The Dawson is a great way for the campers to show off their sailing skills!
The Pinchin is open to any two-person crew in Cabins 14 to 26. Again, crews must show their knowledge and skill in a variety of ways, from rigging and de-rigging, to tacking through a triangular course under a variety of wind conditions. Named after one of the first counselors at the camp, the Pinchin is always a hotly contested race as the senior campers show what they have learned over the years at Hurontario.
Riflery and Skeet Shooting
In the Riflery competition, each camper has only 10 shots. The closer to the bullseye, the higher the score. A perfect score is 100% – a feat that requires a steady hand and pin-point accuracy. Throughout the month, campers also have the chance to join the Sharpshooter Club – the entry requirements are scoring 85% or higher – no mean feat. Members of this club can then aim for the Elite Sniper Award, which requires the shooter to knock a shell casing off a target down range.
For Skeet Shooting, shotguns are used to shoot at clay pigeons. Throughout the competition, each camper has 3 practice shots and 10 shots that count. The shooter who has the highest score out of 10 wins.
Wind Surfing: The Gitchie Manitou
Gitchie Manitou, the spirit that controls the weather around the camp, generously donated his name to the camp’s windsurfing competition. In the race, senior campers tack around a course, using the wind to their advantage. Considering how tough it is to even stay upright on these tricky boards, victory in the Gitchie Manitou is an impressive feat indeed!