In 1923, the Ottawa Boys Club is opened on Laurier Avenue and Fred C. McCann, a social worker from Montreal, is appointed as Executive Director.

In 1924, "Camp Minwassin" is founded by Mr. McCann. With the help of local businessmen and various supporters, Mr. McCann acquires land on Mink Lake, near Eganville, Ontario. That year, the downtown clubhouse is closed and McCann and his staff bring 66 boys up to "Minwassin." The benefits to the youth, including getting away from the city, experiencing nature, and building social skills through group living (in tents) are immediately evident, encouraging the continued commitment to the camping experience.

By 1936, approximately 160 boys had the opportunity to spend at least two weeks at the camp, with the club picking up the bulk of the actual cost to attend. In 1937, electrical facilities were installed. During the 1950's sponsorship from the Rotary, Kiwanis, and Lions Clubs allows the Boys Club to build permanent cabins at the camp and the Associated Canadian Travelers (A.C.T.) built a fully equipped medical lodge.

Co-ed programs are established in the late 1970s, cabins for girls are added, and, in 1979, the camp officially becomes co-ed. In 1980, Special Needs programs begin, offering opportunities for campers with certain physical, mental, and developmental challenges to be included in the programs and benefit from the camp overall.

Through the 1980s, the camp continues to grow, serving many children and youth who could not otherwise afford the cost of attending summer camp programs. During the 1990s, an exciting Ropes Course is installed at camp, offering low and high elements that provide superb program options for building trust, teamwork, and encouraging personal growth. Three cabins are also winterized, opening new year-round program and rental options.

In 2001, a brand new Kitchen/Dining Hall is opened. This beautiful, modern facility becomes an excellent focal point for the camp and replaces aging facilities that had served the camp well but no longer met the camp’s expanding needs. The Brian Smith Foundation, established in honour of the late Brian Smith (a local, well-respected sportscaster who attended the club and camp as a youth), also merges with the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa. In recognition of this important merger and the great support, "Camp Minwassin" is renamed the Brian Smith Outdoor Education Centre and the summer program becomes "Camp Smitty.”

On January 1, 2002, the Ottawa Police Youth Centre merged with the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa in an effort to reduce costs and eliminate program duplication. The club and the centre management determined that combining their efforts would go a long way in helping Ottawa youth and reducing costs for program provision. Through the more effective use of staff and by sharing resources, they are now creating opportunities for new or expanded programs and enhanced services. Tom Patrick was the Director of the Ottawa Police Youth Centre at the time of the merger, and being a former camper and counsellor at this very camp, was a natural choice as Camp Director in February 2002.

MISSION

We exist to provide an exceptional camping experience for young people, with an emphasis on those who would not otherwise have access to such.

Our mission is to provide a safe, supportive place where children and youth can experience new opportunities, overcome barriers, build positive relationships and develop confidence and skills for life.

VALUES

Our vision is for all children and youth to discover and achieve their dreams and grow up to be healthy, successful and active participants in society.

Camp Smitty aims to be:

The camp of choice for families;

The employer of choice for top-character camp staff;

The charity of choice for potential camp donors, sponsors and supporters;

The partner of choice for external youth-serving agencies.

CAMP APPROACH

We are a non-profit residential camp that believes in enhancing the self-development and quality of life of our campers.

We believe this is best achieved through safe, fun and unique programs in a healthy and natural outdoor setting, facilitated by dedicated and caring staff.

We provide an environment that allows campers to feel good about themselves and achieve different forms of success during and after their camp experience.

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History

Brian smith

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Brian was a popular CTV Ottawa sportscaster and former NHL hockey player who was killed leaving his television studio on his way to speak to the Children’s Wish Foundation in 1995. Brian attended the Ottawa Boys Club camp (called Camp Minwassin at the time) as a 13 year old and won two best-athlete awards and the most courteous camper. Brian later was also a counselor at the camp. The Boys and Girls Club was always his favorite charity. The Camp was renamed to Camp Smitty to honour his great contributions to the Ottawa community in 2001.

Brian also had a long and successful hockey career.  Though born in Ottawa, Brian played for the Montreal Junior Canadiens, with Hull-Ottawa in the Eastern Pro League, in Europe in the American hockey league, with the LA Kings and the Minnesota North Stars. When Brian was starring for Hull-Ottawa, he was Montreal’s top prospect outside the NHL (when there were only six teams) before suffering a fractured skull in a playoff game. Brian's pro career ended with Houston of the WHA.

After he retired from hockey, Brian was hired at CTV Ottawa (CJOH). In all the newspaper polls to determine Ottawa's most respected sportscaster, Brian was always a runaway winner, usually with four times as many votes as the second place sportscaster. Brian had a different outlook than probably all other members of the media since he did not sit in the press box to watch the Senator games. When he wasn't hosting their TV broadcasts, he bought his own tickets. He also always sat in the stands at either the 67's or Hull Olympic games. The reason he sat in the stands was because he did not think he could get a real picture of a game from the press box, since he felt that the game looked too easy from "on high" and he knew from many years of experience that it is a real tough game played down on the ice. As a result, many hockey fans chatted with Brian at games on a regular basis. Brian was always polite to everyone that approached him.

Besides his daily sportscasts, Brian was also the host of Senator TV broadcasts for three years and did the play-by-play for several games. Earlier, Brian was also the host on Global, of the OHA Game of the week, for two years. He also broadcast Ottawa 67's hockey games on radio for one year.

When the Senators started their quest to get an NHL team, Brian was the first and almost only media personality to think it was possible and became a strong supporter of the bid. Brian also narrated the video that the Senators presented to the NHL Board of Governors to secure the franchise. The Senators have certainly recognized Brian's place in Ottawa sports history with all their wonderful tributes, highlighted by the hanging of a banner to "Brian Desmond Smith, Smitty-18" (at the Civic Centre and now at Canadian Tire Place). The press box is also named after Smitty and a portrait with his LA Kings sweater hangs on the 2nd concourse not far from his plaque as a member of the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame. Besides his hockey background, Brian also played football in high school where he was an end and a punter, he also played baseball and was a member of the St. Anthony's Servites that were the 1955 Eastern Ontario Baseball Bantam champions. Brian was also an excellent golfer, skier, tennis player, a daily runner and worked out religiously at a health club.

Brian is part of the Smith sports family which includes his father Des, a former NHL defenseman with The Boston Bruins, his uncle Rodger who also played in the NHL and with the Riders, his brother Gary “Suitcase” Smith who was a goalie in the NHL for 14 years, plus his brother Dennis who played college hockey at St. Mary's University, as well as his cousin Jim Cain who played CFL football for nine years with the Ottawa Rough Riders.

One positive outcome of Brian's tragic murder was the family decision to donate his organs to twelve different people across Canada. Dr. Keon said that Brian had the heart of a 30 year old. Brian had always worked so hard to maintain his physical condition that it was fitting that he could help so many others.

In summary, Brian was an Ottawa boy who cared deeply about his city and the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club, and always thought that kids benefit greatly from having easy access to sports and recreation as he had had as a young person.

what made him special to so many people?

why did the senators recognize him?

*This biography of Brian Smith was kindly provided by Jim Cain. Thank you!

Brian smith

Brian Smith, sportscaster, camp smitty, ottawa senators
Brian Smith, Camp Smitty
Brian Smith, sportscaster, camp smitty, ottawa senators

Who was he?

old photos, camp smitty, camp minwassin, eganville, mink lake
old photos, camp smitty, camp minwassin, eganville, mink lake
old photos, camp smitty, camp minwassin, eganville, mink lake
old photos, camp smitty, camp minwassin, eganville, mink lake
old photos, camp smitty, camp minwassin, eganville, mink lake
old photos, camp smitty, camp minwassin, eganville, mink lake
old photos, camp smitty, camp minwassin, eganville, mink lake
old photos, camp smitty, camp minwassin, eganville, mink lake
old photos, camp smitty, camp minwassin, eganville, mink lake
old photos, camp smitty, camp minwassin, eganville, mink lake
old photos, camp smitty, camp minwassin, eganville, mink lake
old photos, camp smitty, camp minwassin, eganville, mink lake

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