The Beginning of Cape Breton Bible Camp

As told by Hughie MacDougall, first camp chairman.

In all things, there must be a beginning and this is the account of the beginning of Cape Breton Bible Camp. In the early 1950's, Laurie McAllister came to Cape Breton to work as the mine superintendent in Cape North. Later on he became the superintendent of Canadian Sunday School Mission in the Maritimes. 

Laurie McAllister - Age 96

The mission was on the campus of New Brunswick Bible Institute at that time. Mr. McAllister had a great love for children. One of his closest friends was Les Toby of Port Hood. Les took Laurie to look at a small island off Port Hood as a possible site for a camp for children. Laurie went back to the board of CSSM and NBBI (they were one and the same in those days) and discussed this prospect and got their approval. Having a camp on an island required a boat to transport the children back and forth. God supplied the need when Mr. Toby took up the challenge and offered the use of his boat. The first summer saw approximately ten children at the camp. They were from Port Hood. The land had come with only a small, tumbled down house. The only facility, other than the house itself, was an outside well. The first year, the children slept on hardwood floors with blankets, washed and cooked with well water and bathed in the river. The first year, the camp was run by Laurie, Rev. Ted White, and Pastor and Mrs. Austin Calder.

The following year, advertisements went out to the churches and enrolment increased to the point that there was not enough room for everyone. Hughie drove to Truro where he purchased a large circus tent and two bell tents. He placed them on Port Hood Island. That year, they had thirty to forty children. They had swings, slides, baseball games and many other activities. Things went well under the direction of new directors, Mr. and Mrs. Vaughn Giggie. Changes were made at the camp over the next couple of years. A new well was drilled and men from Cape North built two cabins on the island for the children.

In 1966, two men, Mr. Clark and Mark Bredin, (from the CSSM board) came to visit Hughie. The mission of their visit was to get Hughie's approval to move the camp off Port Hood Island. At first, he was not in agreement. However, when they explained why, he had to agree. There were many children coming to the camp needing to be taken there by boat each year. Their fear was one child would fall off and drown.

Three sites were looked at in New Campbellton. The third site they looked at was immediately bought from a Mr. Birchell for $4500.00. In the summer of 1966, the Port Hood property was sold. In the summer of 1967 the first camps were held at the new “Cape Breton Camp” site. In November 1968 the name was changed to Cape Breton Bible Camp. Hundreds of children have passed through the camp doors since then. There have been many good directors and staff throughout the years. They served the Lord graciously and ministered to the needs of our children lovingly.


Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

September, 2002