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Camp 20

gilded cage

13

Gravenhurst was the home of a German prisoner-of-war camp in the 1940s.

Situated on a hill near the Gravenhurst Wharf, it was called Camp 20 and accommodated upwards of 490 Nazi Prisoners of War from 1940 to 1946. The Gravenhurst Internment Camp was known locally as “the Muskoka officers club”. Many describe Camp 20 as a vacation for the prisoners of war. The camp had a swimming area and gardens. The prisoners were taken around Gravenhurst to work on various projects.

Photo: “Lager Zoo” at Camp 20 (Gravenhurst, Ontario). Courtesy of International Committee of the Red Cross Audiovisual Archives

 

The site was taken over by the Gateway Hotel, which would be Ontario’s largest Jewish resort in the 1950s.

Irving Ungerman, the late Toronto boxing promoter and a summer resident of Gravenhurst bought the land and donated it to the town. Today, it’s known as the Ungerman Gateway Park.

All that remains of Camp 20 are concrete pillars, a fire hydrant, and the outline of a fence. There is an information kiosk at the end of Lorne Street where visitors can go to get more information on the camp.

The well-documented Gravenhurst camp has been profiled in the book The Gilded Cage (1999) by Cecil Porter of Gravenhurst.

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1 Response

  1. Hello,
    My name is Mario Tulipano. I am contacting you to see if you would be willing to come to The Rotary club of Orillia and speak about the camp. One of members heard and said it was excellent! Please contact me if that is possible. We meet Tuesday evening at 5pm.

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