A prison camp in the Abitibi region during the First World War and interpretation center
In 1914 when Canada entered the First World War, the Canadian Government decided to order the registration and, in some cases, internment of foreigners of enemy nationality.
Thus twenty-four camps were set up in Canada, four of them in Quebec. On January 13, 1915, the Spirit Lake detention camp was opened on the shores of Beauchamp Lake near Amos, a town in the Abitibi region.
The camp held over 1 200 prisoners interned essentially because of their ethnic origins. They were Ukrainians, Germans, Bulgarians and Turks. The Spirit Lake camp was one of two camps in Canada to accept families. About sixty wives and their children, who came there on a voluntary bases, settled in Spirit Lake. However, most of the internees were Ukrainians.
The internees were governed by the Hague Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land. They had to see to their own subsistence, comfort and hygiene by performing various tasks, but prisoners accompanied by their families did not work and they had only to look after their families.
The detention camp was shut down in 1917. Later, its facilities were used for the development of an experimental farm until the end of the 1920s.
The corporation Spirit Lake was foundes in 1998 in order to preserve an important part of the Canadian history. Since 1999, archaeological excavations took place on the former site where stood the prison camp. In 2001, the Spirit Lake Corporation purchased land near the Church of The Farm to establish an interpretive center.
Then, in 2008, the Spirit Lake Corporation receives major financial assistance of $ 400,000 from the Foundation Taras Shevchenko. This investment allows the corporation to obtain sufficient funds to enable it to launch the project of construction of the interpretive center.
Spirit Lake Internment Camp general view. Photo : www.campspiritlake.ca
Mailing adress :
242, chemin Joseph Langlois
Phone : 819-727-CAMP (2267)
Web Site: www.campspiritlake.ca
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