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Our Story

Our Story

As early as 1881, the Mennonite Brethren in Christ Church held “Bush Meetings” in Ontario. This style of Camp Meeting was the predecessor to Christian Camping in Ontario.  In 1925, camp sites in Kitchener and Stayner were purchased.  The Kitchener site hosted camp meetings for nearly 40 years, after which it was donated to Emmanuel Bible College.  The white pine acreage on Scott Street in Stayner was purchased in from the Gartlan Estate for $1500 to become Stayner Camp.

Camp Mishewah is located on the traditional territory of the Anishinabewaki and Omàmìwininìwag (Algonquin) peoples.  Our site on Round lake has a history of camp ministry going as far back as 1955.  The property was owned the Middleton Family and operated as Franklin Middleton Memorial Camp, and later as Camp Kirjatharba.  In the 1970’s, leaders in the Missionary Church saw the need for additional camp programming with a lakefront property.  Pastors from our northern Ontario churches found the property for sale in 1971, with the stipulation that the property must be sold to an Evangelical church group that would operate youth camps.  The camp was purchased in 1972, and we ran our first summer as Camp Mishewah in 1973.

Timeline

1935

H.H. and Martha Middleton, having seen the need for affordable, faith-based camp for local kids, run their first girls camp with six girls in attendance. Their camps are held at several local farms, cottages and campsites for the first few years, until settling at Camp Lau-Ren near Point Alexander. Over the next two decades attendance steadily grows to over 100 campers.

1955

The Middletons purchase property on Round Lake from Mr. A Dunn. The funds for the purchase came from the savings and insurance of their son Franklin, a great supporter of their camp ministry, who passed away of M.S. at age 33. In his memory, they name the camp "Franklin Middleton Memorial Camp." A number of notable buildings are constructed, including the Boathouse, the lakeside picnic shelter, the dining hall, the lodge, and what is now the Cafe.

1956

The first children's camps are run onsite July 21-31. Camps continue to run for the next two decades, and the property is also rented at times by other camps to run their programs, including Camp Lutherlyn and Camp Adonai.

1968

H.H. Middleton passes away. Martha decides to sell the camp, stipulating that the purchasers must continue to run Christian children's camp progams. A group from Hebron Fellowship in Kars, ON take over the camp, renaming it "Camp Kirjatharba"

1971

The property goes up for sale. In June, Reverend Bill Smith of Pembroke brings news to the Missionary Church East District Conference of the available camp site. The denomination had been looking to expand their camp programs with a lakefront location and it is unanimously voted to pursue purchase.

1972

The Round Lake property is purchased in January by the Missionary Church. A campout and work bee is held on Labour Day Weekend.

1973

The name Mishewah is chosen, meaning "heart" in Algonquin. The first summer camp programs are directed by Ross & Audrey Gardiner.

1979

The first week of Mishewah Family Camp takes place, directed by Rev. Bill Smith

1984

A new chapel is built by Bob Shantz, a contractor from the Missionary Church in North Bay, and is dedicated on July 1.

1991

The new MWC Motel building (Lakeside Suites) is built. It is dedicated on July 2nd.

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