The Trent-Temagami Colloquium: A hidden treasure

temagami canoe

Photo by Catherine Monaghan

Last fall, I started the first year of my Master’s as a first-time Trent student. Although those first few weeks were hectic, I heard about the Trent-Temgami Colloquium and suspected that it was an event not to be missed.

That suspicion turned out to be true: not only did I have a great time on the trip, I also had the chance to meet some of the Trent community, making me feel welcome and accepted as a new student.

Last year marked the 40th anniversary of the event, which takes place every year at Camp Wanapitei, on Lake Temagami. For $175, students get in on four days of fun: travel to and from the camp, and food and accommodations for the entire event. Not to mention all the fantastic events that make up the weekend: guest speakers, workshops, square dancing on the Saturday night, outdoor bonfires,  access to a sauna, canoeing, and hiking.

Last year’s event included a Paddling Puppeteers show by Glen Caradus, enjoyed by adults and children alike, a presentation about Arctic sovereignty by Shelagh Grant, and readings by poet Mike Johnston and author Joseph Boyden.

Camp food can sometimes be hit or miss, but Camp Wanapitei’s provisions were excellent. For those with dietary restrictions, vegetarian or gluten-free foods were always available. The memorable meals included homemade mac and cheese for lunch, curry one night, a full steak (or veg) dinner another, and apple crisp or fresh cookie desserts, with hot chocolate to boot. Camp Wanapitei planned and prepared all the meals, recruiting participants only for cleanup afterwards.

Although I brought a tent for my sleeping arrangement last year, I heard good reviews about the camp cabins. Since the event takes place annually in September, and well north of Peterborough,
all participants were advised to bring warm clothes and gear. For me, this meant a sleeping bag rated to -20 C, which kept me warm overnight without a problem.

The daytime temperatures last September were pleasant, with just a little rain. Since Friday and Saturday’s events were based outdoors, canoeing or hiking, the pleasant weather was well appreciated. I even made use of the sauna last year, warming up in the sauna before jumping into the lake. Unsurprisingly, Lake Temagami was rather cold – refreshingly so.

This year’s Trent-Temagami Colloquium will occur from September 19 to 22. If you’re interested in attending, you can learn more about the event and access the registration form at Drop off your registration form at the Kawartha World Issues Centre (KWIC), located at ESB B101.  Space is limited for the event, so make sure to register and pay soon, and definitely before the deadline of Tuesday, September 17. The cost is $175 per student, or $200 for faculty and staff. Contact Professor Stephen Hill at for additional questions about the event.