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Why WahanowinOur Heritage

What is Wahanowin?

The land where Camp Wahanowin now stands was granted to one John McPherson in 1867. Using limestone from our site on Lake St. John he built the Stonehouse, the first settlement and post office in Simcoe County (our mail service remains excellent to this day). It was nearly 100 years later, in 1955, when Harold Nashman and his Mother, Anne (Bubby Nash), discovered the site and recognized it for what it was – a place for children to flourish. They opened Camp Wahanowin that same year, and the Nashman family has owned and operated Camp Wahanowin ever since.

Camp Wahanowin – Land Acknowledgement (February 2022)

Camp Wahanowin respectfully acknowledges that it is located on the tradition territory of the Anishinaabeg, Ojibwe, Odawa and the Pottawatomi nations. These are collectively known as the Three Fired confederacy.

We also recognize the contributions that the Chippewas of the Rama Mnjikaning First Nation, known as the “people of the deer” has made in shaping and strengthening our community.

Camp Wahanowin’s surrounding area is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to share this land. We are committed to a relationship with First Nations, Métis and Inuit people based on the principles of mutual trust, respect, reciprocity, and collaboration the spirit of reconciliation.

Our Founder

Harold Nashman (1927-2011)

Harold Nashman was born in Toronto in 1927 and was a graduate of the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall Law School. It was during his final year of law school when he and his mother, Anne “Bubby Nash” Nashman, rented Camp Hiawatha. Her expertise in food preparation and management, combined with Harold’s camping experience, resulted in a successful season and the beginning of a lifelong passion for Harold.

Harold practiced law for five years, but at age 30 he took an “early retirement” to devote all of his energy to running Camp Wahanowin. Since its opening season in 1955, Wahanowin has grown in the number of campers, the size of our campsite and in the variety of programs and facilities.

Harold brought a special blend of showmanship, charisma, compassion and warmth to everything he did, and he always made those around him feel special. His passion for Wahanowin and his love of camping remained undiminished throughout his life. He often said, “being a camp director is not a job; it is a way of life.” That way of life created a special place filled with wonder, friendship and memories for thousands of children.

Bruce & Patti Nashman

Bruce and Patti have been married since 1994 and are the proud parents of 3 beautiful children, Hannah, Rachel and Samantha. Bruce was born and bred at Camp Wahanowin. Growing up in a camp family has allowed him to experience all aspects of life here — from camper, to Counsellor in Training, to Ski Staff, Unit Head, and finally, Program Director. On obtaining a Master of Science degree in Leisure Studies and Services at the University of Oregon, Bruce committed himself to continue the Nashman family tradition at Wahanowin.

Patti is a Social Worker by profession and has worked with children and families in both community and hospital settings. She received a Bachelor of Social Work from York University and a Masters from the University of Toronto. Patti worked as a full-time Director at Wahanowin for over 20 years.  Much of her time was spent helping campers work through homesickness, inter-cabin dynamics, and the other issues that arose at camp. She also worked directly with camp doctors and health centre staff to maintain excellence in camper well-being.

We are forever indebted to the Nashman family for making Wahanowin a reality and it is the rich history that they have created that will continue to pave Wahanowin’s path into the future.

Harold Nashman Tribute Video:

50th Anniversary Reunion Slide Show:

Camp is all about providing an environment that brings out the best in our children and we are thrilled with our experience at Camp Wahanowin. While great staff, facilities and programs keep our daughters smiling all summer long, we can clearly see how Wahanowin’s core values are helping her to build character,  leadership skills and self confidence.”

Stuart Baltman
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