Lake Ontario, Canada is tranquil and beautiful. It also holds some pretty interesting secrets I bet you don’t know about. If you are interested in some beautiful pictures and/or a history lesson, keep reading to learn about it’s hidden treasures.
Before the post, I want to take a moment to send some prayers and happy hugs to Canada after the unprecedented events this week. #canadastrong
This is beautiful Lake Ontario, Canada, near Whitby and Oshawa. It’s also the home to Camp X, the secret spy training site for the Canadians, Brits, and Americans SOE and OSS Agents during World War II. Lynn Hodgson, Camp X historian, gave us a two hour tour of the history of WWII spy training. Nothing is left in the location, except for some scrap metal that still washes ashore. Many secrets have been buried there, but thanks to Mr. Hodgson, he regaled us with some great history lessons about Camp X.
After Camp X closed for good, they brought in tons of dirt and grass seed and buried the buildings. This historic marker details the site. Today, it’s known as Intrepid Park. Locals ride their bikes and take walks along the trails and shoreline.
They did build a little monument to commemorate the location of Camp X. It was pretty cool to see pieces of concrete through the grass, which was the roof of the buried bunkers. More pictures are on my Instagram.
Today, it looks like any other field. Even many of the locals don’t know the full history of this place. In a very brief summary, spies were trained here in combat, killing, underwater operations, and it also housed where the codes were sent back and forth to London.
We could have listened to Mr. Hodgson lecture all day. Since Hubby is a Green Beret, which has it’s roots tied to the OSS, it made it that much more special of a walk into history for him.
We were the only “foreigners” on the tour, and since we came all the way from Virginia, we were treated like celebrities. Everyone else on the tour was local. Someone asked us at one point, “So why are you here?”
“No, really, why are you here?”
“Seriously. This tour. We paired it with Niagara Falls, but this tour was the reason we planned our family vacation here.”
Yep, we are the crazy family that drives 10 hours to an empty field to learn about history.
The Forbidden Beach
Igor Gouzenko was a Russian spy who defected to the RCMP. They hid him at Camp X, where he sat on the beach and painted every day. You can see his painting of The Forbidden Beach HERE if you scroll down towards the bottom of the page. It looks the same today as it did 70 years ago.
This is a video that I took of Mr. Hodgson teaching us about Igor Gouzenko. It’s about 3 minutes long, very amateurish camerawork (me) but super cool spy info from Mr. Hodgson and worth the view.
Secrets on the Shores
Today, many locals take walks along the beach, or bring their dogs to play in the lake.
Little do they know about what really happened here 70 years ago.
If the shore could talk, would it spill all of its secrets?
The agents used to run along the beach, put 50 pounds of pebbles in their ruck sacks, and run up these bluffs.
This video is a little longer, about 9 minutes or so. Mr. Hodgson gives more details about the spy training if you are interested in learning more. BTW – this was only the third video that I’ve filmed, and was trying to be “creative.” Ignore the crazy camera lady behind the curtain and focus on the lecture! Oh and PS – you will hear Mr. Hodgson talk about a very familiar name….
And for more information on Camp X, click HERE.
After the tour group went back to base, I took my time and enjoyed the beach. I must have sat on the pebbles for 10-15 minutes by myself watching the waves lap against the shoreline. Hubby was yakking Mr. Hodgson’s ear off and Stepson was exploring. It was so peaceful and tranquil, I wanted to capture the moment for my Mom, since I know how much she loves the beach. She can view it any time. And now you can too.
Niagara Falls, Canada
If you want to see more from our trip to Canada, here is the post for Niagara Falls.
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What about you? What did you think of the history lesson and Lake Ontario?
Love, hugs, and history doesn’t have to be boring!