Founded in 1924 by Ferna Graham Halliday, Camp Oconto has been a summer destination for girls ever since. Miss Halliday dreamt about a place on a beautiful lake with a big sandy beach, set among rolling hills, and with Camp Oconto her dream came true. Set on the spring-fed Eagle Lake in the Land O' Lakes region of north-eastern Ontario, Camp Oconto is unspoiled, scenic, and one of the longest running camps in the nation.
Miss Halliday ran Oconto each year until 1949 when June Kennedy Labbett and Cliff Labbett took over. Mr. and Mrs. Labbett were very active at Oconto and in the camping industry as well. They served as members of the Ontario Camping Association and were founding fellows of the Society of Camp Directors. Mr. Labbett was also chairman of the Board of the OCA. The Labbetts ran Oconto until 1982, when they handed over the reigns to their daughter Lisa and her husband Bruce Wilson.
The camp has several buildings of historical note. Labbett Lodge, named in honour of Mr. and Mrs. Labbett, is the main gathering place and was erected in the first year of the camp in 1924. It is a building recognized for its architectural significance, and the Museum of Civilization and Man in Hull, Quebec, is planning to build a replica. Halliday Hall, named for our founder, Miss Halliday, was also built in 1924 as our original Dining Hall. It now houses two arts and crafts shops, our pottery studio and the tuck shop. The camp is committed to preserving our history, and several other original buildings, updated through major renovations, are still used by the campers today.
Why the Brown-eyed Susan on the website? The Brown-eyed Susan was featured as the first logo designed for Oconto in 1924. This flower was chosen because it grows wild all over camp. For this reason, the original camp colors were orange and brown. In 1942, we adopted our current logo - the C and the O and the symbols representing the sun, the trees and the water. But we keep the Brown-eyed Susan close by to remind us of where we began.