Monday, 26 December 2011


From the Nipigon Historical Museum Souvenir Edition, Welcome newspaper June 1982

Written by L.M. "Buzz" Lein

From the Times Journal of 1965, we find a record of a special dinner, held in a special place for a special group of people. And the special guest was Nipigon's Jack McKirdy.

The cover menu for this particular dinner displayed photographs of the world-renowned people who qualified to attend this unusual affair. Unfortunately, it is not possible to read the names under the not-quite-clear pictures.

The whole thing was the twentieth anniversary of the Canadian Camp. It was held yearly and only for people who had "camped" in Canada and could prove it. In 1922, this dinner was held on March 3, in the famous Hotel Astor in New York City. Back in those days, according to Jack, camping in Canada was an adventure that set the rugged few apart from the general run of outdoorsmen.

Over the years, the Canadian Camp gathering was attended by many famous and distinguished world figures.Among them were former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, Lord Kitchener, Rear Admiral Robert Perry, Luther Burbank, Ernest Thompson Seton and others. Many of these people who attended would have been on the Nipigon River at some time or another. There is no available record that most of the chaps mentioned above were there but they had to camp in Canada to qualify.

The 1922 dinner was exclusively Canadian. It went like this -
  • Northumberland Oysters
  • Bisque of Ptarmigan Yukon
  • Hudson's Bay Ice Fish saute Penelope
  • Loin of Buffalo
  • Flapjacks Labrador
  • Pate of Beaver, Huron Fashion
There were more than 900 guests paying $15 per plate. Jack was asked to round up 500 pounds of beaver meat as a contribution from the Canadian National Railways. At this time, Jack was in charge of outfitting at the Royal Windsor Lodge that was being operated on Lake Nipigon by the CNR. Neil McDougal, father of Gordon F. McDougal of the Port Arthur Shipbuilding Co., was also at this dinner as a tourist rep for the C.N.R. McDougal was one of the guest speakers - his topic - The Nipigon Trail.

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