CANADA'S OLDEST CAMPS

1999

Camp

First

Year

Gender

Program

Avg.

Daily

Enrolment

Sponsor

Keewaydin Camp, Ontario (formerly known as Kamp Kah Kou)

1894

B,G

C

113

Keewaydin Foundation

YMCA Kanawana, Quebec

1894

C

M

150

YMCA of Greater Montreal

Camp Chapleau, Quebec

1906

C

M

300

Old Brewery Mission, Montreal

Camp Northway, Ontario

(formerly known as Northway Lodge)

1906

G

MT

57

Private

YMCA Camp Elphinstone, British Columbia

1907

C

M

280

YMCA of Greater Vancouver

YMCA Camp PineCrest, Ontario

1910

C

M

208

YMCA of Greater Toronto

Camp Kwomais, British Columbia (formerly known as Ocean Park Camp, Young Peoples Camp)

1910

C

M

70

United Church of Canada B.C. Conference

 

Noteworthy

Big Cove YMCA Camp, Nova Scotia

1889

C

M

120

YMCA of Greater Halifax/Dartmouth

YM-YWCA Camp Stephens, Ontario

1891

C

M

200

YM-YWCA of Winnipeg

Rock Lake United Church Camp, Manitoba (formerly known as  Rock Lake Summer School, Rock Lake Church Camp)

1897

C

R

40

Presbytery Agassiz of Manitoba-Northwestern Ontario Conference of United Church of Canada

Key

Gender

Camper gender for 1999:  C = co-ed    G = girls    B,G = boys and girls in separate programs

Program

Program activity for 1999: C = canoe tripping, M = mixed activities, MT = mixed activities with strong emphasis on canoe tripping, R = religious study with other activities

First Year

The first year of camper enrolment and treated as founding year.

Enrolment   

For 1999 season.

Sponsor   

This is the operating or sponsoring organization of  the camp. Private camps are privately-held by individuals through share ownership.

Criteria  For Listing

1. Camp operated continuously from founding year to 1999. 

2. Camp a member or affiliate of a provincial camping association.

3. Camp founded in 1910 or earlier (founding year is first year with camper enrolment).

4. Camp operated in Canada in 1999.

5. After change of name, location and/or ownership if ALL of the following events are true of the new camp in the year following change, then it is considered the same camp with continuity:

1. Camp program similar.

2. Camper market contains market of previous year, but not necessarily limited to it.

3. Camp has staff and management from previous camp.

4. Camp considers itself to be the same camp in spirit and/or fact.

Notes

Camp Keewaydin

Though it operates in Canada as a Canadian corporation, it was founded in Maine in 1894, and moved its program to Temagami, Ontario in 1902. Keewaydin uses 1893 as its founding date. It did begin organizing in 1893, but its first year with campers was 1894.

Camp Stephens

Closed during 1918, year of conscription, hence not on qualifying list.

Camp Big Cove

Big Cove has the oldest founding date of any camp operating in Canada today, but it has not been in continuous operation. It was closed for part of the 70s and 80s, hence it is not on qualifying list.

Rock Lake Camp

During the late 1880s and early 1890s there was a bible camp at Rock Lake operating intermittently. Although these years are mentioned in the camp's history, the current entity began operating annually in 1897 with summer bible study at Killarney Lake in a church. Actual camping (as opposed to operating in the church) did not occur until 1899. Outdoor camping was discontinued in 1901 and in 1903 in favor of church use, though it still operated. In 1904, camping resumed again at Rock Lake. Continuous operation was traced from 1897 to 1938 and 1942 to 1999. It may not have been in operation from 1939 to 1941, hence it is not on qualifying list.

Myth of the Oldest

If you ask the question, who is the oldest, few in the Canadian camping movement can tell you. There has been no definitive Canadian camping history or research, so there has been myth built up around the holder of the title. Those who think they know might answer: Stephens, Big Cove, Kanawana or Keewaydin. The former two seem to get mentioned more often than the latter two, and for good reason. They both use the first year of operation as their founding date, but neither have been in continuous operation since that year. Whereas Kanawana and Keewaydin, though they started later, have been in continuous operation every year since founding. 

SOURCES:  Alberta Camping Association, Associations des camps du Quebec, British Columbia Camping Association, Camping Association of Nova Scotia, Manitoba Camping Association, Ontario Camping Association, Saskatchewan Camping Association, New Brunswick Camping Committee, Camp Big Cove, Camp Elphinstone, Camp Stephens, YMCA Kanawana, Camp Northway-Wendigo, Camp Keewaydin,  Camp Kwomais, Camp PineCrest, Old Brewery Mission,  Rock Lake Camp, YMCA of Montreal, Concordia University Archives, United Church of Canada Archives, The Keewaydin Way by Brian Back, Les camps et les colonies de vacances cent ans de presence au Quebec by Daniel Turcotte, The Story of Northway Lodge 1906-1942 by Fannie L. Case, Rock Lake United Church Camp 1884-1984 by Earl McIntyre, Louis Jean, Linda Sharpe, Rev. Daniel Hanson, Diane Haglund, Jennifer Sulkers,  Elayne Mott, Joanna Hoad, John Jorgenson, Scott McCullough, Robert Warren, Arleen Boyer, Matt Aronson.

CAMP PAGES: 

World's Oldest Camps

U.S. Oldest Camps

Canada's Oldest Camps

World's Largest Wood-Canvas Canoe Fleets List

Temagami Youth Camps List (historical)

Keewaydin Way

   Home   Rupert Battle   Rupert River   Temagami   Che-Mun

    Forum   Crees   Camps   Canoes   Keewaydin Way   Search   About   Contact Us

Maps and information herein are not intended for navigational use, and are not represented to be correct in every respect. 
All pages intended for reference use only, and all pages are subject to change with new information and without notice. 
The author/publisher accepts no responsibility or liability for use of the information on these pages. 
Wilderness travel and canoeing possess inherent risk. 
 It is the sole responsibility of the paddler and outdoor traveler to determine whether he/she is qualified for these activities.
Copyright  2000-2014 Brian Back.  All rights reserved.
We do not endorse and are not responsible for the content of any linked document on an external site.