Former Bowmanville Boys Training School/Camp 30 National Historic Site of Canada
© Parks Canada | Parcs Canada, Michelle Cinnani.
2020 Lambs Road, Bowmanville, Ontario
Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
1924 to 1940
1925 to 1925
1920 to 1924
Former Bowmanville Boys Training School/Camp 30
Bowmanville Boys Training School
Ontario Boys Training School
Research Report Number:
Description of Historic Place
Bowmanville Boys Training school/Camp 30 National Historic Site of Canada is located on the east side of Bowmanville, 75 kilometres east of Toronto, Ontario. This rare and outstanding group of six Prairie-Style buildings are laid out on a campus-style plan. Constructed on farmland in the 1920s as a boys reform school, it became a Prisoner of War Camp from 1941-1945. After the war it resumed its role as a boys’ reformatory. The site consists of rolling open grassy fields, dotted with trees and shrubs. Within view to the west is a housing development. Official recognition refers to the 19.34-acre parcel of land with the civic address of 2020 Lambs Road at the time of designation and the six buildings.
Bowmanville Boys Training school/Camp 30 was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 2013. It is recognized because:
when it opened in the mid-1920s, the Bowmanville Boys School was widely considered the most progressive institution of its kind in Canada. A rare example of Prairie School architecture in Canada, Bowmanville’s modern architecture, campus style plan, professional staff, open, semi-domestic environment, and broad educational programme for boys aged 8-14, placed it at the head of the youth reform movement; during the Second World War, the school was adapted to serve as an internment camp, known as Camp 30, for German prisoners of war captured by the Allies. Its principal buildings, used from 1941 to 1945 for internment, remain at the site although guard towers, fencing and temporary barracks were dismantled after the war when the camp was turned back into a school. Camp 30 was the site of a small but infamous riot popularly known as the Battle of Bowmanville.
The heritage value of Camp Hughes lies in its physical fabric and historical associations. At the time of its inception, Bowmanville Boys School was considered by many as the most progressive institution of its kind in Canada and an important element in the youth reform movement. The Bowmanville Boys Training School is a rare and outstanding group of Prairie-Style buildings in Canada. Of the twelve buildings on campus, the six that are designated are of masonry construction with brick and stucco exterior and asbestos-shingle roofs. The four earliest buildings, the Cafeteria, Jury House, Kiwanis House, and the Gymnasium, display the Prairie Style most strongly. They feature open plans, fragmented volumes, natural materials, with a horizontality that reflects the flat prairie landscape. The site is also associated with the detention of Second World War Prisoners of War and Enemy Aliens sent to Canada from Great Britain. As a prisoner-of-war camp, Camp 30 held more than 800 officers and other ranks of the German armed forces. This former camp is the only relatively intact Second World War prisoner-of-war camp remaining in Canada. It illustrates Canada’s internment of enemy combatants, an important contribution to the Allied war effort. After 1945 it re-opened as a school operating until 1979. From 1983 until 2008 the site was occupied by various private schools.
Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, December 2012; Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, July 2012.
Key elements contributing to the heritage value of this site include: the intactness of the landscape including surface imprints and subsurface components associated with Bowmanville Boys Training School and with Camp 30; the complex of six buildings laid out in a campus-style plan beside an oval-shaped ring road, the sixth and largest building being just outside the perimeter road; the manner in which the buildings are visually and functionally interconnected by a network of paved pathways; the Prairie-Style of the buildings, with masonry construction, and brick and stucco exteriors; the modern sensibility of the buildings expressed through open plans, the fragmented volumes, the natural materials, their horizontality, their geometric ornamentation and their flat roofs; the integrity of any surviving archaeological remains and features that relate to the site’s use as a prisoner of war camp during the period from 1941 to 1945; the viewplanes between the buildings.