‘They’re cam­pers’

Cold weather won’t keep peo­ple away

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY NIKKI SUL­LI­VAN CAPE BRE­TON POST

Vic­to­ria Day week­end is the un­of­fi­cial kick­off to camp­ing sea­son in Cape Bre­ton and while the chilly tem­per­a­tures might have kept some peo­ple in­side, it didn’t stop the sea­sonal cam­pers.

Thelma Cook is man­ager of Lake­view Camp­ground in Catalone, which is owned by her brother Mike. Since tak­ing over the camp­ground 11 years ago, she’s seen a big in­crease in sea­sonal cam­pers and noth­ing keeps them away.

“These peo­ple are what you call die-hard cam­pers,” she said with a laugh. “It doesn’t mat­ter if it is rain­ing, it could be snow­ing here, which it has.

“The first year we were out here, our wa­ter froze. I think it was the 15th of May and it froze. It thawed out later that day but you’d see peo­ple in their big win­ter coats, they don’t care. I think if there was an igloo dug here you’d see them in there, with a fire, singing songs, be­cause that’s what they are — they’re cam­pers.”

Wendy Odo is from New Water­ford and has been a sea­sonal camper for 15 years. Her and her hus­band have spent the last five at Lake­view af­ter friends and fam­ily drew her to the place. Like Cook, she thinks the num­ber of sea­sonal cam­pers in Cape Bre­ton is in­creas­ing yearly.

“With the cost of trav­el­ling, more peo­ple are camp­ing and do­ing the sea­sonal thing. It’s re­ally hard to find a sea­sonal camp­ground be­cause more peo­ple are do­ing it,” she said, adding she thinks it’s be­cause of ris­ing gas costs and high travel ex­penses, more peo­ple are va­ca­tion­ing close to home.

Out of the 150 sites at Lake­view, be­tween 94 and 100 are taken by sea­sonal cam­pers, who en­joy the many ac­tiv­i­ties put on for them, like adult dances, swim­ming lessons, darts and washer toss tour­na­ment,s as well as events and games for the kids.

“Ev­ery year we try to add some­thing new for the kids,” Cook said. “This year we’ve got a new big bouncy tent, it’s a fire truck. Next year we’re hop­ing to put in a lit­tle (skate) park.”

How­ever, it’s not just the ac­tiv­i­ties that draw the sea­sonal cam­pers. It’s a sense of com­mu­nity that comes with that camp­ing site.

Terry Ea­gles from Glace Bay and his fam­ily spent the last three years as sea­sonal cam­pers at Lake­view. He said he likes it be­cause of what it of­fers his kids — free­dom.

“The kids have fun. There’s a lot of kids around. They like to play with every­one else. It’s like a fam­ily. Every­one knows every­one else and you can just travel around from trailer to trailer.”

Cook agreed: “They (the cam­pers) watch ev­ery­body’s back. If some­body does some­thing down there (in the camp site area) be­fore we know it they are gone. You know, if there’s any­body around who’s not nice or naughty, they are gone. We keep peo­ple happy that’s why they are happy cam­pers. They are like a fam­ily.”

Still, many peo­ple may won­der how these die-hard cam­pers make it through the chilly weather.

Ea­gles said it’s sim­ple: “Keep the fur­nace on. Lots of clothes and hope for the best.

“Just deal with the weather. It’s Cape Bre­ton. Deal with it.”

NIKKI SUL­LI­VAN/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Ed­die and Wendy Odo stand with their dog Teikah out­side their trailer at Lake­view Camp­ground in Catalone.

NIKKI SUL­LI­VAN/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Brady Ea­gles, 7, throws the ball to his brother Tris­ten, 11, and friend Drake De­veaux, 10, at the Lake­view Camp­ground in Catalone.

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