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Fire at Tamaracouta Scout Reserve destroys main building


Police are investigating after a fire broke out at a former Scouts Canada camp in the Laurentians over the weekend.

The fire at Tamaracouta Scout Reserve on Saturday afternoon caused "complete damage to the main office lodge building," according to a spokesperson from Scouts Canada.

No injuries were reported.

The organization has fenced off the site in Mille-Iles, about 20 kilometres northwest of Saint-Jerome.

In 2011, the camp hosted an international scouting jamboree and was one of the oldest continuously operating Scout camps in the world.

A historical Scouting landmark, the camp and property have been closed since 2018 following "years of successive financial hardship."

According to Scouts Canada, numerous municipal heritage buildings on the property needed urgent structural and electrical repairs, as well as a new septic system. A spokesperson said a warden visited the site five days a week since its closure for "maintenance and security."

The property was put up for sale in 2023.

Local authorities say they've been concerned about the deserted site and asked Scouts Canada to do more to keep it secure.

"It's a sad situation. In fact, the municipality even sent a letter to Scouting advising them of the public safety problem with this because obviously, there's no lifeguard, and there's nothing going on at the camp. The vandalism because dangerous and it being a private property, only the owner is allowed to call authorities for any event," said Mille-Iles Mayor Howard Sauve.

The the main office lodge building at Tamaracouta Scout Reserve was destroyed (CTV News)
The site left abandoned and unsold – and now a fire to its main building – spell a difficult future for a camp with such rich history, said Sauve.

"It's just another sad chapter in the seemingly slow demise of the remnants of the TSR which was the central point for scouting in Quebec. I mean, Knights of Tamara, all the scouts that came from the world for the Jubilee. It was amazing. I'd say scouting at its peak, I guess. And to see it going the other way now, it's just it's very, very sad," he said. "Whatever happens to the camp down the road, that the Scouts can keep some sort of a foothold in there, to keep some sort of a link to their past. I mean, they built the place and now it just seems to be going nowhere."

Police are investigating the cause of the fire. Scouts Canada said it is supporting police in the investigation. Top Stories

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