Origin of Camper's name:
A Post Office and Canadian National Railway point established in 1911 on 17-24-6W. It was named after Reverend Joseph Charles Camper, who worked as a missionary for over 30 years and died at Fort Alexander in 1916.
The local school district was named New Hirsch. New Hirsch was named after Baron Maurice de Hirsch who financed Jewish agricultural colonization in Canada and Argentina Families from Russia settled here in 1911 and engaged in dairying and cattle raising. The colony flourished until cattle prices fell after World War II.
"Walking hand in hand toward the future; one staggers to realize the amount of effort and dedication it took to tame this wonderful wilderness......."
In the heart of what was once the bustling community of Camper stands a Cairn with an inscription that reads; In memory of the brave pioneers who in early 1900 homesteaded the Camper area and who through their sacrifices endowed us with a heritage we will forever cherish. The fire of 1989 destroyed all recognition of Camper except the community hall and New Horizons Center.
Pioneers settled the Camper area as early as 1908. The town came into being in 1912, and was named after a Roman Catholic priest Father Camper. The town progressed to where there were four stores; a creamery; Municipal offices; a flourmill; butcher shop; Smithy and Harness Repairs; grain elevator; stock and Post Office. Two hotels and a number of boarding houses provided accommodations for travelers and workers in the community. In 1910, a Jewish colonization took place two miles east of the town. In spite of a lot of effort, it eventually dissolved as the people sought out other places to live and work.
In 1914, WWI called a number of men into service. Many sacrifices were made at home and abroad with the most difficult being that very few men returned. Whether men had gone to war or had to seek employment elsewhere to earn a living, women were left alone with children; loneliness; lack of conveniences and fear of the wilds. Night time brought the howling of wolves that emphasized the isolation of pioneer life.
Adina Hoffman (age 76) and husband Ted (age 81) spoke of many hardships, but also highlighted many joys. They spent a lifetime of community service through a variety of venues. The Interlake Moms and Dads brought many enjoyable hours to the community with their ‘down home country style’ music. Adina and Ted’s message to the younger generation is Slow down, don’t live so fast, life passes too quickly.
Busch’s Store was chosen to represent Camper as it was the last business to close its doors in 1980. Rudy and Irma Busch were the last proprietors of this long loved general store. The silence of what was Camper still holds the indomitable spirit that christened its beginning. We will never forget.