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Canadian Women in the Woods: A Continuing Legacy of Canadian Studies at Trent

September 9, 2019

Exploring the origins for Windy Pine

Windy Pine Point (now simply Windy Pine) camp for adolescent girls.

In a community-based research project supervised by Professor Christopher Dummitt in partnership with the Stanhope Museum, CAST alumna Samantha Peever explored the origins of Windy Pine on Kushog Lake near Minden Ontario as a girls’ summer camp.  Using material artifacts from the property (now a retreat and conference centre managed by the School for the Study of Canada) and the Trent University Archives, Peever created an informative display now in its second year on public view at the Stanhope Museum.

Windy Pine Point (now simply Windy Pine) was created as a camp for adolescent girls in 1941 by Dr. Mary Northway and her partner, Flora Morrison.  Northway was a pioneer female psychologist teaching at the University of Toronto, and was later Supervisor of Research at the Institute of Child Study there.  Windy Pine Point gave her a chance to follow her passions for education, mental health and the environment.  Morrison was also an educator, with a strong interest in ecology and camping, and a desire to create opportunities for young women to experience the out of doors. 

Windy Pine Point operated as a girl’s canoe tripping camp from 1941 – 1951 with the mandate of preserving and enjoying wilderness in its natural state, and of giving young women the chance to do “real things” while living simply on the land, developing self-confidence, self-reliance, health, and social responsibility.

This story continues with Windy Pine in the custodianship of Canadian Studies, following Morrison and Northway’s gifting of the property to the department in 1982. Over the years, the property has been a quiet, undeveloped retreat with modest cabins where guests reconnect to nature, hold collaborative meetings, work on graduate theses or undergraduate research projects. In the 1990s the property became a central connective site to Trent’s Bioregionalism Course, and today maintains links to the local Haliburton community via ULinks, one of Trent’s distinctive community-based research programs.

Following her graduation from Trent in 2018 with a joint honours major in Canadian Studies and Environmental Resource Studies, Samantha Peever has worked as a Heritage Interpreter with Parks Canada. In the winter of 2018-19 she served as curator intern at the Elliot Lake Nuclear and Mining Museum. This summer Peever returned to Thousand Islands National Park in Mallorytown Landing, Ontario, working with the Reptile and Amphibian Recovery and Education Program.

The Stanhope Museum is located 15 minutes from Minden Ontario and is open seasonally.  For more information please visit the Stanhope Museum website.