This year, our beloved Shadow Lake Centre is celebrating its 50th anniversary. What started out in the 30’s as a summer camp for female employees of the T. Eaton Company evolved to a year round outdoor recreation facility. Planning for our staff reunion in September 2015, our Camp Director, Gary Ouellette reflected on some of our rich history and highlights through the years:
In 1965, Community Living Toronto purchased the 300 acre facility and offered a summer camping program to children, teens and adults with an intellectual disability. With financial support from the Royal Arch Masons in our early years, the facilities were upgraded and a new Health Care Centre was constructed.
In the mid 1970’s, a committee was formed to examine the future of the Centre. Jim Vipond, a sports editor with the Globe and Mail was instrumental in raising money for the camp and new winterized cabins were built. At the same time, a Golf Tournament was started and continues to operate to this day. Under the leadership of Rick Taylor — who has been organizing the golf tournament for 25 years — the event has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In 1986, Kiwanis Clubs donations helped us construct our new Dining Hall and in an effort to increase accessibility, Crystal Place was built to accommodate individuals with mobility needs. The house was named after Doreen Crystal, a past president and longtime supporter of the camp.
Over the years the camp has been fortunate to have the support of many individuals and organizations. We have improved our facilities by adding a new splash pad, replaced porches, upgrading our fire protection system, paved roads, added wheelchair pathways and purchased new recreational equipment.
Our summer program has expanded as needs change and now includes specialty camps for individuals with Autism, Prader Willi Syndrome and a children’s only camp.
What was once an eight week summer camping program has expanded to a year-round facility. From September to May, the camp is rented out to numerous community groups and schools. Our summer camping program now accommodates over 650 people and employs 80 university students.
Many thanks to everyone who has made this camp what it is today.
It was the summer of 1965 that we had the first summer camp at Shadow Lake hosted by Community Living Toronto (MTAMR in those days). This summer will mark 50 years of camping and lodging vacation opportunities for people with an intellectual disability.
We found a number of Staff Team photos from 21 different years and need your help to determine what year each of them are from. Take a look and send your reply to firstname.lastname@example.org. Once we figure all the dates out we will post them on the site. Thanks.