The plateau overlooking the town of Picton was first used as an army camp in 1938, in preparation for World War II. Buildings and runways were constructed in 1940 by the Royal Canadian Air Force, but in early 1942 it was taken over completely by the Royal Air Force, who used the facility as No. 31 Bombing and Gunnery School to train British airmen. An area was set aside at Pt. Petre as a bombing range, and the entire southern shore from Pt. Petre to Pt. Traverse was used as a bombing and gunnery range. At one point during the war, two County residents were arrested for attempting to remove scrap metal from Pt. Petre. Unexploded munitions remained a hazard for many years in this area, and as late as 1977, a grass fire set unexploded shells off, hampering fire-fighting efforts.
Control of the camp reverted to the RCAF in 1944. During the fifties, Camp Picton was a thriving base. 250 houses were constructed as Married Quarters and a 15 room school was constructed on base. The camp was taken over by the Ministry of Community and Social Services as a complex for the Mentally and Developmentally Handicapped after the Armed Forces closed the base.
Camp Picton, with many of the old hangars and barracks intact, is a favourite location site for film-makers wanting to capture the flavour of a World War II army base.
Source: Kellough, Janet. The Legendary Guide to Prince Edward County. Picton, Ont.: Kellough Productions, 1994.