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It began with an e-mail I received from Earl Barish on March 21. In the e-mail Barish explained that Brenda Tessler-Donen, Executive Director of B’nai Brith Camp, had received a fascinating phone call from an architectural firm in Kenora earlier in March.

Here is what Brenda Tessler-Donen had written both to Earl Barish and Yude Henteleff:
Hi Earl and Yude,
 I received a call from Nelson Architect firm in Kenora (they are working on the design for the new Katan, that was destroyed last spring from the snow overload). They had told me that in early September, an item had floated up to their shoreline that they recognized belonging to BB Camp. They sent me a photograph of it. What is interesting is that the plaque is noted in 1952 and as you may recall, BB Camp did not start on Town Island until 1954.
 I had never seen this before – thought you both might find this interesting. Yude, do you have any recollection what this plaque was in reference to?
Attached to Tessler-Donen’s e-mail was a picture of the plaque, along with a description of what the plaque looked like when it surfaced, from someone named Patrice Nelson at Nelson Architecture:
Here is Nelson’s e-mail:

Hi Brenda - here’s a photo of the plaque. Quite interesting that it is dated before the camp officially began. It measures 3.25” x 2”, and was originally attached to a piece of old wood, which we removed because it was rotten and waterlogged. Might have taken over 50 years to get from Town Island to our beach!
In response to Tessler-Donen’s query sent to Barish and Henteleff, Yude Henteleff wrote:

HI Brenda , It isn’t familiar to me at all .
There was as you know a BB Summer Camp for many years just beyond Winnipeg Beach , and which received active support from BB Lodges ,and the plaque may have been presented to that camp to mark an occasion
You should ask Bnai Brith. They may have records of this particular Lodge’s activities. That plaque, which clearly was kept after the old camp was disposed of, may have been presented to the new camp at Town Island to commemorate some new occasion.
You might also contact Dee Buchwald. Harold may have had some record of this.
Let me know how this turns out, You might also write a note to the Jewish Post asking for help to solve this mystery.
Most interesting,

In short order, however, Stan Carbone, head curator of the Jewish Heritage Centre, was able to solve the mystery of the re-surfaced plaque. On March 24, Brenda Tessler-Donen wrote:

Good Morning,
I took the plaque to the Jewish Heritage and within a few minutes Stan Carbone, its ED found an article in The Jewish Post – July 24, 1952 regarding the Manitoba Lodge presenting two boats to BB Camp. Given the date, this ceremony took place in Sandy Hook and subsequently the boats were moved to Town Island in ’54. I am presuming the plaque was erected either onto one of the boats or onto a wooden plaque that was placed near the waterfront area (Syd – maybe your memory will recall this) and somewhere in time, the plaque ended up in the lake, floating around LOTW for many, many years until it reached the property of Nelson Architects.
 I will ensure that the plaque, along with the article is taken to Camp this spring and secured in a safe spot for public viewing. What a wonderful find!

I was fascinated by this story and determined to find the article that Stan Carbone had found in a 1952 issue of The Jewish Post. I should explain that our entire archive is accessible online on our website: It’s not always easy to find what you’re looking for though. I tried searching for “Manitoba Lodge 1616” and “B’nai Brith” - all to no avail. Then, I entered “July 24, 1952” and finally, I found the article in question:
Here it is:
Manitoba Lodge Presents Boats to BB Camp
One of the most entertaining events of the summer social season will take place at the B’nai Brith Summer Camp this Sunday afternoon, July 27, when members of Manitoba Lodge No. 1616 and all members of B’nai Brith and their guests will convene to see a display of water events, sports and games.
The event will mark the occasion of the official presentation by B’nai Brith Manitoba Lodge No. 1616 of two new boats to the camp. As this day will coincide with “Visitors Day”, the presentation will take place at 5:30 p.m. at the camp. A large turnout is expected.

There you have it - a mysterious plaque resurfaces 62 years after it was dedicated. But how did it end up at the bottom of Lake of the Woods in the first place? Anyone who might have any more information about this long-lost plaque can contact Brenda Tessler-Donen - or The Jewish Post & News.

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