Wabun – A Brief History
Eight teacher-coaches began their founding of Wabun in the fall of 1932. They felt even then that the technologies of the times were insulating their student-athletes from a true connectedness with the comforts they enjoyed in their everyday family lives – many buttons, levers, keys and switches. They sought to formulate an experience that would put kids in touch with their their own strengths and abilities while enjoying a close and powerful relationship with the natural beauty of a Lake Temagami lake and riverscape.
They were convinced that the benefits to be enjoyed in being the authors of their own well-being and joys could be transformational in the development of competencies and confidences. Life at four miles an hour, recreation being what you do with others – not what you purchase, subscribe to or consume, and contributing to a truly interdependent section of wilderness canoeists guided their definition of the Wabun experience. In the winter of 1932-33, several of these gentlemen called upon the efforts of the Mattawa guides with whom they were to lead canoe trips the following summer, and the residents of the local Temagami First Nation population on neighboring Bear Island. They travelled by train to the town of Temagami, and together they all loaded dogsleds with materials needed to start the building of the camp’s facilities, mushed their way up the eighteen miles of ice to what would be Wabun’s future site and started laying foundations and pounding nails. With basic structures in place, these founding directors launched Wabun’s 8-week inaugural season in July of 1933. Campers travelled by train to the town of Temagami where they boarded a large passenger boat for, what was then, a two-hour water journey to the base camp on Garden Island.