The picture above shows the second largest city in Manitoba in 1916. Over 30,000 men trained for WWI at Camp Hughes just west of Carberry. A town sprung up around the training base that included movie theatres, hotels, even a swimming pool. Almost 100 years after its heyday, Camp Hughes consists of some indentations where the trenches were and a cemetery housing those who died during training and local people from the area after 1920.
Camp Hughes is one of my favourite stopping spots for its solitude and subtle beauty. On Monday I happened to be power napping when two vehicles arrived carrying two Carberry men – former town mayor Wayne Blair and Brad Wells, both members of Friends of Camp Hughes. They came bearing the architect’s plan for an information kiosk on site that would expand upon the small provincial plaque that currently explains the area’s past. One of the directors of the Shilo Artillery Museum arrived and shared numerous ideas for design and information location. The aim is have the kiosk done for the site’s centenary in 2016.
The Friends of Camp Hughes hold a heritage day every fall and invite the public to visit and learn more about the base and its activities. This year the event is on Sunday October 4 starting about 11:00 til mid afternoon. There is no charge for the event. Camp Hughes is located off PR 351 about 14 km west of Carberry. Watch for signs that will direct you in via a good gravel road.