2019 marks 80th year of operation for Frog Rapids Camp
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
Frog Rapids Camp, located along Highway 72 just five kilometres south of Sioux Lookout, saw its first customers in August of 1939, and they’ve been operating successfully ever since.
“Frog Rapids Camp has been a family owned and operated tourist camp since its inception by Ernest & Germaine Bower in 1939. Since then three more generations of Bowers including Lawrence, Therese, Adele and Larry have carried on its tradition,” their website shares.
This August, the camp will mark its 80th year of operation as a family-owned and operated business.
“My brother and I run it now, and it was our grandfather that started it in 1939,” shared Adele Brunton.
Adele, along with her brother Larry, have been involved at the camp from the age of five years old. They shared that it’s not just their family that have been at the camp for many generations, but their customers keep coming back too.
“We’ve been working here all our lives… It’s pretty special. I think one of the things that makes it so special is we’re the third generation and our kids are the fourth generation, but we’ve had families that have been coming up for five generations. That’s special, and they keep coming year after year,” said Brunton.
“A lot of them (customers) are repeat so they’ve been here year after year and generation after generation, so that makes it special. I can put a face to the name when they call me in the wintertime or when they send me an email, because they’ve been here so many times,” she added.
“Our first guests came until they weren’t healthy enough to come anymore. It was almost 50 years that they were coming… We have guests in camp right now that have been coming to Canada for 50 years, and they’ve been here (Frog Rapids Camp) for around 35 to 40 of those 50 years. We have a lot of customers that have been coming here for over 20 to 30 years, and it’s neat to see that,” said Larry Bower.
The two explained that guests commonly stay at Frog Rapids Camp to enjoy the assortment of fishing opportunities that the area offers.
“They’re here for the fishing, the outdoors, and being able to be out on the lakes fishing and not be crowded. One of the advantages we have of our area is it’s still not crowded. You don’t have to share with a couple hundred other people, which is nice… We don’t have any guides here, so our guests are all familiar with the area. They take themselves and find their own spots and, for the most part, they do really well,” said Bower.
“You can go somewhere on a lake and find a secluded spot. It doesn’t matter which lake you’re on, you can. Obviously there’s going to be more concentrated areas… But you can go and find a secluded place where there’s nobody else,” Brunton added.
When asked about the 80 year milestone, both Brunton and Bower shared that they haven’t dwelled on the significance because they’re focused on providing good experiences for their customers, which is what they’ve done at Frog Rapids Camp all their lives.
“It doesn’t make any difference. We’re just doing the same thing we’ve always done every other year, and hope to do for the next bunch of years, which is making sure people are happy and want to come back,” said Bower.
“It’s no different from any other year really. It’s just another year. It’s just what we do, and it’s what we’ve done all our lives… We haven’t necessarily been here constantly since we were young, but we certainly have been involved with our parents and grandparents being involved. We’ve been getting to know the people from when we were teenagers or younger that are still coming up in some instances, so it’s not anything that I’ve personally thought about. It’s just what we do, and it’s part of our life,” Brunton commented.
Both Bower and Brunton are hoping the camp can continue to remain family owned and operated, but it’s not something they want to force on the next generations.
“You kind of hope so, but you’re not going to force them either. It’s something they have to want. It’s the same with Adele and I, if we didn’t want to take this over we wouldn’t have. Our parents wouldn’t have been upset at us or annoyed with us, but they’re glad we’re running it. We basically started working with them and, as they decided not to do so much, we did more,” said Bower.
“It wasn’t like one year they quit and told us to take over, it was all gradually done. With any luck, it will continue to run that way, but you never know what the future’s going to hold,” Brunton concluded.
For more information on Frog Rapids Camp, visit their website frograpidscamp.ca.