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CANADIAN WAR CAMPS   255

service filled the restful evenings, and all ranks looked forward with enthusiasm to the day of departure for the serious business of soldiering.

Through all the late summer of 1915 the lack of elbow room for the men in training was apparent, particularly at Niagara and at London. Enlistments were heavy in Western Ontario and it became clear that some preparation must be made to accommodate the swelling army. For the winter the Exhibition Camp at Toronto was used again, nearly ten thousand troops finding shelter; but in addition to this, company training and drill were conducted in a hundred small . towns and cities. Perhaps a community of two thousand people would have a captain or lieutenant with fifty men mastering the exercise in the town hall, keeping the khaki before the eyes of the civilian lads, rousing the patriotic interest of the women, and finding comfortable billets in generous homes.

As spring approached, the Government announced the acquisition of a large tract of country a short distance west of Barrie, Ontario. "The sand hills" had at least one merit, that of being situated at an elevation of approximately 150 feet above Lake Huron. The new training ground, called Camp Borden, was prepared for habitation by Lieut.-Col. Low and others who had had a hand in the performance of the miracle of Valcartier. Here also the work was done with haste and yet with efficiency. Water supply, lighting plant, sanitary arrangements were soon available, and the camp was opened on June 15th; on July 11th about 30,000 troops were established there. The place had some serious natural disadvantages. Forest fires of past years had left a layer of black ash upon the sandy and barren soil. When the wind blew, the air was full of a vile mixture that made the men uncomfortable. Even on a still day a marching column raised such a dust that on the halt the soldiers' faces were as black as a moulder's. As the summer wore on the dry heat of August aggravated


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