My first trip to Kilbear came in 1970 when my then boyfriend, Horst and his two children, Karen and Kevin, invited me on their annual camping trip. Located 26 kms north of Nobel, Ontario, Horst and his first wife, Juliane (1935-1969) had taken the kids there since since they were small and remember driving over rocks and hills in their 1957 VW beetle just to get to the campgrounds.
Now in 1970 and as a family unit, they had the vehicle, the boat and all the camping gear, so all I had to do was pack some clothes and some personal items. After helping pack-up the boat and car, we were off! I remember thinking we would never get there - it seemed to take forever and yet Kilbear had to be pretty special for Horst and the kids to drive this distance year after year.
It didn't take much convincing that Kilbear was one of the most beautiful parks I had ever seen. The park was divided into eight different sections, our favourite one being Harold's Point, which itself was divided into three sections-one large area and two smaller loops located on either side. The rock formation on the one side provided an excellent "harbour of protection" for the moored boats and crafts not to mention the hours and days of entertainment for the kids who scaled them and dove into the waters below. If the trees could talk on the rock, they would tell you of the possible millions of photographers who had taken pictures. The sunsets at Kilbear were and still are nothing short of breathtaking! I was hooked!
Kilbear was the ideal spot to sail, a passion that Horst had held only as a dream for many years. Being the determined and resourceful person he was (one of the admirable traits I love about him to this day), Horst embarked on building a sailboat. His brother Guenther, (1925-2010) and two friends, Hans and Helmut also had the sea bug and decided that they would also build the same boat. So, the four of them built identical cedar strip/mahogany day sailers. Regulations of the day stipulated that if more than three boats were built with the same plans and specs, one could ID them with a personalized class name. Although Dorchester would have been the most natural name of choice, it was decided to name them Belmont and all had the letter “B” emblazoned on their main sails with four consecutive numbers distinguishing each boat. The best friends and sailors met up year after year to sail the north channel and shared many stories of their antics, trials and tribulations.
On one particular race day, Heinz Kloss, another sailor remembers an incident that the group has laughed about since. Heinz submitted his story and it now forms part of a wonderful book “Kilbear, Thanks for the Memories” and written by a very special young lady by the name of Julie Harmgardt. Julie developed the book to capture the memories of all those campers who had stories to tell and to help raise money for the Friends of Killbear. In concert with her book, and courtesy of Script Reaction, Julie continues to receive comments and submissions for her second book, due out later this year. To read the story Heinz submitted, click here for the pdf; or go to scriptreaction and check out the amazing work Julie has accomplished.