About an hour drive northeast from Toronto, in the small community of Bowmanville, lies an abandoned Canadian-run POW camp. A POW camp, for those that don’t know is a prisoner-of-war camp. This one in particular was used for German soldiers during World War II. In September of 2013, the camp was designated a “Natural Historic Site of Canada.”
When the buildings were first built, they were designed as a school for unadjusted boys, who were inherently delinquent. After being opened for 14 years, they had to move the school to a new location as it was then turned into a P.O.W. Camp. After the war ended, and the prisoners were sent home; the site returned to being a school until 1979 and then various academic usage – school for overseas Malaysian students, St. Stephen’s Catholic School & a private Islamic University – until 2008.
After being abandoned, the buildings have been boarded up, and blocked off by dirt. All of the windows have been broken, and there is graffiti EVERYWHERE! For Toronto photographers, and adventurists alike, this place is a goldmine. This is what made me want to visit. I have seen a TON of Instagram photographers get some amazing shots at Camp 30, and I wanted to check it out, and explore as much of it as I could. So I called up one of my buddies, and we decided to go on a Saturday (wrong choice).
When we arrived, we realized there was no parking allowed near the camp, and we had to park at a distance and walk about 5 – 7 minutes. It wasn’t too bad, but as soon as we got to the camp, we noticed fences and restricted signs. Apparently we were unable to go in the property. There was one building on the other side of the road that we went into and got a few great pictures, before we heard the police. We weren’t allowed in that building either. Wow, what a buzzkill. There were about 5 other people there, walking alongside the road, getting pictures from a distance, but the police kept on patrolling the area and were preventing us from sneaking onto the property. As such, my friend and I had to remain at a distance, and observe from far.
It was pretty cool just looking on, but the chance to go inside, would have been 100x better. From what I found out afterwards, going on the weekend was a bad idea because cops are always patrolling the area. The best time to go would be during the week and the middle of the day. That way there is light and you can see around. The second alternative would be weeknights; however, trying to find your way around would be difficult without a flashlight as there are no lights anywhere nearby. Also, with using a flashlight, you are going to be drawing attention if there are any passerby’s.