Dream of McGowan's Lake
BY LARRY GALBRAITH, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
The Community of Christ RV Association became part of an ever-expanding dream at
McGowan’s Lake Campgrounds in 2010.
The group’s volunteers provided the expertise and manpower to complete a full
shower and toilet facility. The work enabled many more people to attend and join
in God’s ministry. The campground no longer is for Community of Christ members
alone. It is open to other people and other needs as God directs and opens
The work lasted three weeks as association volunteers labored side-by-side
with church members and nonmembers.
It was the latest development in a setting that church members dreamed of
more than 60 years ago. At that time, people from the Ottawa Branch had to
travel more than 700 miles to attend the nearest reunion at Eerie Beach
Campground on Lake Erie. They prayed to find land closer to develop for reunion
experiences for eastern Ontario and beyond.
Their prayers were answered with the purchase of land on McGowan’s Lake in
Maberly, Ontario, Canada. Work started in the mid-1950s. By the mid-’60s,
McGowan’s had become a “tent city.”
Members from Ottawa, Montreal, Cornwall, Kingston, and Belleville gathered to
clear land, hold Sunday school picnics, and dig wells. They also organized a
full reunion agenda with preaching services in a natural, outdoor chapel. It
featured a huge rock that served as a choir loft.
Leaders bought a World War II airplane hangar from the Ottawa airport for use
as the first building in 1969. Workers assembled the steel, interlock Quonset
hut by hand. With no power tools or cranes, they relied on muscle and hand-built
scaffolding to lift the heavy panels. By the end of summer 1970, the building
overlooked the lake.
In 1977, they added a chapel, bringing blessings and gifts to young and old
alike. The promise has been given that as opportunity to grow arises, the
finances and key people will be there to fulfill the dream.
McGowan’s Lake has seen this time and again. God bless each volunteer who has
helped make the dream a reality. You have inspired us to move forward with zeal
for the Lord’s work.