Between 1940 and 1946 The government opperated a Prisoner Of War camp in Gravenhurst. Known as Camp 20 or Camp Calydor it was an officers camp from 1941 until the end of the war. When it looked like Britain would be invaded in 1940, the POW's held in England were transfered out of the country to keep them from being freed by the invaders.
Camp Calydor was built on the site of the former Minnewaska Hotel. The hotel operated from 1897 to 1908. Competition was intense and many other hotels operated in the area and so it closed in 1908.
Due to the increase in cases of Tuberculosis it was necessary to have more hospital rooms. The Minnewaska was converted into a private Sanitorium. Calydor Sanitorium opened in 1916. In 1935 the sanitorium was closed.
POW camp 20 was, by all standards, a vacation spa for the POW's. They had a swimming area and were allowed to build themselves an aquarium. By the summer of 1940 489 prisoners were held at Camp Calydor. The prisoners were taken to work on projects around Gravenhurst especially in Gull Lake Park where a set of stone steps remain of their workmanship. They also built a lighthouse in the park.
On July 15 1948 the newly renovated buildings were re-opened as Leyland Holiday Villlage. In the 1960's the camp was operated as Camp Aviv and offered Jewish youth a vacation area. In Nov. 1967 a fire destroyed much of the property and another fire on April 13 1968 finished it off.
All that remains are the silent concrete pillars standing in rows in the woods. The old sewage treatment facilities, fire hydrants and the outline of the security fence could be found amongst the regrowth of trees in the 1990's. The site has recently been developed for a subdivision. There is now a little information kiosk at the end of Lorne Street along with the former POW's stone fish tank.
Also check out the write-up under "Muskoka" on this site for a location called "WW2 Plane Crash Sites in Muskoka" . It has other details historians will be thrilled to learn of..