In 1965, Community Living Toronto (then known as the Metropolitan Toronto Association for the Mentally Retarded) purchased the Shadow Lake property and offered an 8 week summer camping program. Separate sessions were held for Children, Teens and Adults. The property was used for the summer months only.
In 1970, staff saw the potential for growth at Shadow Lake and submitted a position paper to the board of Directors called “A plan for the seventies”. The proposal dealt more with improvements to the summer camping program but some recommendations were made for year round usage.
In 1984 another position paper was submitted entitled “Shadow Lake: Past, Present and Future”. The paper recommended that we should be utilizing the property more extensively by renting out the facilities to community groups in an effort to generate more revenue.
In November of 1984 we started a major fund raising campaign with the Kiwanis. Over $750,000 was raised to construct a new dining hall and make major renovations to the cabins. This enabled us to market the facilities more aggressively.
In 1993 we partnered with the Sterling Community Service Foundation. During 1 weekend, over 1,000 volunteers came to Shadow Lake and helped refurbish most of the buildings and property.
In 1999, in conjunction with the Toronto District School Board, we offered outdoor education programs to students in grade 7 from Monday until Friday.
In summary, what was once an 8 week summer camp is now a year round outdoor recreation facility. From September until mid-May the property is used by hundreds of people from community groups. Our summer camping program now accommodates of over 650 people with an intellectual disability and we employ over 75 summer students.
In December of 2015 Gary took a semi-retirement after serving as the Director for the past 39 years.
His role today is to market the facilities in the off season, initiate fund raising ventures and participate in the development and implementation of Property Projects
Gary studied at both Fanshawe College and the University of Waterloo. Previous employment included CPRI, Salvation Army Children’s Village and the Ministry of Culture and Recreation.
Marisa has been overseeing the property and facilities at Shadow Lake since 2001. She is responsible for ensuring that all buildings are clean and in good working order. Marisa is also responsible for all new building projects, ensuring that we meet the requirements of inspections such as Board of Health, splash pad, waterfront, safe drinking water and Health and Safety.
Marisa has a landscaping background and has her certificate in Operation of a small drinking water system. Previous employment included the Children’s Aid Society and Black Creek Pioneer Village
Sunshine reigns at Shadow Lake: Fresh Air Fund (The Toronto Star)
Day of Service 2014 (tree work) Special thanks to Ontario Commercial Arborists Association for all their hard work. Watch the video