Roberts, Lady Aileen
Bruce’s Camp, 1923
Les Amis des Jardins de Métis Collection
Elsie and Robert Reford had two sons, Bruce (born 1895) and Eric (born 1900). As boys, they spent their summer holidays on the Metis River. It was here that they learned how to fish, shoot, make fires and to love the outdoors. Bruce Reford became a soldier – and his love of soldiering was a product of the months he spent on the Metis River every year.
One of his projects as a young man was to build a cabin on the banks of the river. He would escape to the camp and sometimes live on his own and cook simple meals on a campfire. His father was sufficiently proud of his son’s project to commemorate it with a watercolour by Lady Aileen Roberts that hung in his office for many years. Bruce’s Camp was a hideaway. Made of spruce beams and clothed in cedar shingles, it overlooked the Metis River.
Years later, when the Mitis 2 dam was constructed and the river was being flooded to create a reservoir behind the dam, Elsie and Robert Reford made sure that the camp was demolished before it was enveloped by the rising waters. It was a parental affirmation of the importance this modest cabin had to them and to their family.