Chapter 5: Camp Kitchikewana

September 28, 2021

"I remember the first time I went to Kitchikewana; I knew it was different." - Brian Shelley, YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka.

Camp Kitchikewana

YMCA Camp Kitchikewana hosts hundreds of children on Beausoleil Island every summer. The sandy embankment where Kitchikewana is situated has been a camp for thousands of years. Remnants of fire pits, clay pottery, projectile points, and trade items suggest that the area was used by Indigenous peoples to gather, hunt, and fish in the summertime. In this chapter, we are joined by former Kitchikewana camper and director Brian Shelley to learn more about the meaningful impact that Beausoleil Island has on young people.



Chapel 1958 Chapel Now


About our Guests:

Shawn Corbiere

Shawn Corbiere is Ojibwe from M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island, Ontario. Shawn is the Indigenous Outreach Officer for Georgian Bay Islands National Park, where he sits on the Cultural Advisory Circle and facilitates connections between Parks Canada and local Indigenous communities and organizations.


Jamie Hunter

Jamie Hunter has been interested in the archaeology and history of the region known as Huronia/ Georgian Bay for nearly 60 years. He obtained a BSc in archaeology from Trent University  and  a Masters of Museum Studies and Archaeology from the University of Toronto.He has participated on over 100 archaeological projects in the area and was Curator of Research at Sainte Marie among the Hurons for 4 years and Director/Curator of Huronia Museum and the Huron/Wendat Village for 30 years. After retirement in 2013 Jamie has continued to write,research and publish on Huronia's past in its many forms from underwater shipwrecks to land projects on a variety of topics.He is presently working on two major projects which if they come to fruition should add  significantly to the history of Huronia in terms of collections and curation of this areas fascinating human history.

Jamie is holding the first Indigineous artifact that he found in 1964 as a camper at Camp Kitchikewana. It is a triangular chert arrowhead that he picked up at the site and helped lead him to a career in archaeology and historical preservation.


Brian Shelley

Brian Shelley is a Vice President at the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka. Prior to joining the Y's Leadership Team, Brian was the director of YMCA Camp Kitchikewana, and before that was the director of YMCA Camp Queen Elizabeth (both located on Beausoleil Island in Georgian Bay Islands National Park). Brian studied History and English Literature at Queen's University and currently lives with his awesome little family in Barrie, Ontario. Brian enjoys giving back, and over the years has sat on various committees and boards of directors for local organizations making a difference in their community.



  1. Canoers paddling around Georgian Bay Islands National Park, circa. 1960's. From: Parks Canada. 
  2. Welcome to Camp Kitchikewana! This sign has greeted campers for 100 years, circa 2019. From: YMCA Simcoe/Muskoka. 
  3. "Tenting tonight on the old camp grounds" taken at Camp Kitchikewana, date unknown. From: René Hackstetter. 
  4. Then and Now: A photograph from the dedication of the newly built Camp Kitchikewana Chapel in 1958 (left) and the chapel stage in 2017 (right). From: Huronia Museum; YMCA Camp Kitchikewana.

Select Bibliography:

Campbell, Claire. “Bonnie G. Rourke: The Sea Cadet Years on Georgian Bay. Midland, ON: Huronia Museum, 2008”. Journal of Military and Strategic Studies, vol. 11 is. 4, 2009.

Mortimer, Benjamin James. Whose Pot is This? Analysis of the Middle to Late Woodland Ceramics from the Kitchikewana Site, Georgian Bay Islands National Park of Canada. Dissertation, Library and Archives Canada, 2012.

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