Heritage and hope timeline

Canada 150 Heritage and Hope Timeline

Heritage and Hope Timeline

Heritage and Hope Timeline

This summer, to celebrate our country’s 150th birthday as well as camp’s 100th, 600 Moorelands’ youth, made up of 58 different cultural backgrounds, will be coming together for six weeks to create a nature walk timeline with 15 stations; one to represent a significant Canadian achievement for each decade of our history.

The timeline will wend it’s way through some of Ontario’s pristine wilderness – incorporating information about our natural resources and the role that nature can play in a sustainable future for Canada.

Each participant, upon completion of the walk, will be asked to answer three questions about their hope for the future of Canada.

These answers will be placed on card of red or white along with the youth’s name, age, and languages spoken in the home. Upon completion of the cards, they will be placed on a giant Canadian Flag made up of all the youth’s answers.

Another 200 participants from Toronto and 200 from the Dorset community will be invited to Moorelands Camp to see and celebrate the kids’ views of Canada and to walk the timeline – impacting 1000 Ontarians. Select responses will be captured on video and shared with a community of over 4500 back in Toronto.

Moorelands’ Heritage and Hope Timeline will create and deepen and understanding of what it means to be Canadian for over 5500 people; inform our citizens of our kids hope for Canada’s future; give context to the diverse and rich backgrounds of the citizens that make up this great country; and will help our kids explore their active role in the future of Canada.

Take Part in the Heritage and Hope Timeline!
Join us at Moorelands Camp Visitors' Day on July 14th to take part in the Heritage and Hope Timeline and see our campers in action.
Learn more

Moorelands is a proud recipient of a Canada 150 Grant for our “Heritage and Hope Timeline” at Moorelands Camp this summer. This initiative is made possible by the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, a collaboration between Toronto Foundation, the Government of Canada, and extraordinary leaders from coast to coast to coast.

Moorelands: Canada 150 Grant

History of Moorelands Camp

History of Moorelands Camp: 100 Years

Moorelands Camp is 100 years old in 2017! Learn about our camp’s history in a timeline of key moments: Moorelands Camp – 100 years of meeting needs & inspiring change.


Moorelands began in 1912 as the Downtown Church workers Association (DCA) to help with the difficult living conditions of the time


To minister to the souls and bodies of the people in district south of College St. (over 7,000 home visits made in the first year)


letter patent

DCA incorporated as a corporation without share capital in the Province of Ontario


5 acres on Lake Simcoe purchased for Moorelands Camp (would grow eventually to 18 acres)


St. Faith’s Lodge for underprivileged girls opens


Moorelands Camp opens – 500 children and mothers attend in parties of 100 for 12 days



Recession results in sharp rise in unemployment & high demand on DCA


Founder of the Downtown Church workers Association Canon Moore dies


DCA responds to the needs of those affected by the Depression with food, clothing & shelter


St. Faith’s Lodge given over to United Appeal


After being neglected for 20 years, Moorelands Camp infrastructure near dilapidation

1953 - 1955: REBUILD OF CAMP

Massive rebuild of Moorelands Camp leaves little money left for urban programs


Urban Board formed


12 downtown churches now part of DCA


DCA moves from parochial “hand-out” organization to inter-denominational work in the community


Financial troubles & changing city lead to full scale reorganization of DCA



Special Committee on urban work created to deal with causes of suffering rather than just the effects


Last summer the mothers’ program is offered at camp


The final step in the transition to a professional staff model at DCA


Board reduced from 27 to 15 members and focus shifts to policy


DCA works with economically disadvantaged children and youth from Toronto


DCA considers itself a camp organization with supportive programs during the year


Moorelands Camp Capital Maintenance Plan created


Research studies conducted at Moorelands Camp with professors from U of T




 4 C’s & Positive Youth Development introduced


City Programs Expansion Plan approved



Capital fundraising goal of $1.5M achieved to rebuild Moorelands Camp



Moorelands serves more than 1,500 children & youth in city, camp & family programs


2007 All City Programs moved to Flemingdon/Thorncliffe Park


Research informs all program design



Revised mandate includes building competence, confidence, character & connections



The rebuild of Moorelands Camp is complete


Moorelands celebrates its 100th Anniversary



Moorelands Camp changes to a calendar week



Moorelands pilots Kawagama Day Camp



Moorelands leadership habits and qualities are introduced to align camp and After-school programs


See how we will be celebrating Moorelands Camp’s 100th birthday and Canada’s 150’s birthday up at camp this summer with our Canada 150 Heritage and Hope Timeline.

Moorelands is a proud recipient of a Canada 150 Grant for our “Heritage and Hope Timeline” at Moorelands Camp this summer. This initiative is made possible by the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, a collaboration between Toronto Foundation, the Government of Canada, and extraordinary leaders from coast to coast to coast.

Moorelands: Canada 150 Grant
Divided City

Divided City: Life in Canada’s Child Poverty Capital 2016

Divided City

Divided City - Life in Canada's Child Poverty Capital

Some key findings from the Divided City report:

  • Toronto continues to be the child poverty capital of Canada: it has the highest rate of low-income children among large urban centres (26.8%)… 133,000 children continue to live in poverty.” In the communities Moorelands serves, the figure is between 40% and 63%.
  • “Recreation and early learning participation levels of Toronto children are highly dependent on family income: half of children in families with annual incomes under $30,000 do not regularly participate in out-of-school arts or sports programs (in contrast, only 7% of children in families with incomes over $100,000 don’t participate in these programs).” 
Summer Camp - great learning choice for kids

Summer Camp: Teaching Children Skills for a Lifetime

summer camp
summer camp camp fire
summer camp

Summer camp is a time for children to try new things, make new friends, and enjoy the beautiful outdoors. As the warmer weather starts approaching, we look forward to another fun-filled camp season.

Located on the gorgeous Kawagama Lake, Moorelands Camp provides children with a week away from the city in a safe, positive, and incredibly fun environment. But let’s face it – we all know camp is fun! What many of us may not realise is that summer camp also teaches children a variety of positive character skills that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

We’ve decided to compile a short list of some of the skills you can expect your child to develop at summer camp:

summer camp girls having fun
summer camp
summer camp


One of the most rewarding effects summer camp has on children is boosting their self-confidence. Unlike school where children are so often faced with strict academic, athletic, and even social competition, summer camp is a non-competitive environment. At camp, every child is a winner. With opportunities to accomplish something new every day, summer camp develops children’s sense of self-confidence and self-esteem that stays with them forever.


Summer camp is an incredible opportunity for children to blossom and develop into who they truly are. When children live away from home, they are free to make their own choices without having a parent or a teacher do it for them. By thinking for themselves, children develop independence, self-assuredness, and trust in their own decision-making ability. This has a lasting impact and can even help children down the road in making good decisions and avoiding peer pressure.


Whether it’s cleaning up the table, making the beds, or helping younger campers out, there are countless opportunities for children to take initiative at camp. But more than that, at Moorelands, our camp counselors go to great lengths to embed the importance of leadership and how to be leaders into every activity that the campers do. By inspiring and motivating the children to be proactive, set goals and work as a team, camp counselors are invaluable role models during a child’s time at camp, and often leave a lasting positive impression on the young campers.


There’s no doubt about it – trying new things can be difficult. At summer camp, kids are encouraged to explore and try new activates that are outside of their comfort zone. Although intimidating at first, being faced with new situations helps in developing children’s courage and aptitude to explore. Oftentimes, children discover amazing things about themselves that they would have never discovered outside of camp. This appetite for adventure stays with kids throughout their entire lives.

It’s amazing to see all the positive ways that summer camp helps children grow. Is there anywhere else children can have fun, enjoy the outdoors, make friends, and learn new things all while developing lifelong skills that will help them succeed in life?

We encourage you to give your child the opportunity to go to summer camp. To find out more about Moorelands Summer Camp, head over to our camp page to watch our video!

By Natalie Burns-Holland

Moorelands LOGO

summer camp confidence
summer camp discipline
summer camp
summer camp
Annual General Meeting

Annual General Meeting 2017

Please join us for our

Annual General Meeting & Dinner

Wednesday April 19th, 2017

5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Moorelands – Creating leadership opportunities for Toronto’s economically disadvantaged kids

Please RSVP by April 10, 2017

to 416.466.9987 ext 300


 Hot House Restaurant

35 Church St at Front St

Toronto, Ontario  M5E 1T3

Annual General Meeting 2 boys canoeing
Annual General Meeting
Annual General Meeting


Parking:  Street parking available on both Front St and Church St. Underground parking available below restaurant off Church St.

Transit:  Walking distance from TTC King or Union Stations.

Jane Rowan’s story

IMG_7820“You just have to do something, make an impact; I always wanted to leave a mark!”



At St. James Cathedral, The York Group’s Baby Shower for Moorelands Baby Bundles program, we had the good fortune to run into Jane Rowan. Jane is not only the Secretary of the York Group, with a long history of supporting Moorelands through their annual Baby Shower, but she also knows the benefits of Moorelands Camp program first hand.

BabyAs a single mother in the 1970s, Jane sent her children, Daniel and Darryl, to Moorelands Camp.  It was a difficult time for her, she explains: “I’d split from my husband and my parents disapproved – back then there was a lot of stigma attached to being a single parent.”  For Jane, it was a relief to find out about Moorelands and the opportunities it would provide for her young boys, “I didn’t have a lot of money at the time, but I didn’t want to deprive my kids of anything.”

How did she feel sending her two young children away from home for two weeks for the first time? “I was mostly relieved!” Jane smiles, “I was working full time and it gave me a much-needed break.  I knew they would be looked after and I didn’t have to worry.”

The boys had so much fun they went back two years in a row, accompanied by her sister’s children, Karen and Jason.  The cousins all have fond memories of camp. “They remember the boats going over to the Island very well, it left quite the impact on them.”

It’s clear that Jane is very proud of her boys and what they have achieved since their days at Moorelands. Daniel works at the University of Toronto as a Stationery Engineer and Darryl is an Accounting Manager at CBC. She’s “amazed” by their success and feels so blessed for the opportunities they have been given.

As for Jane herself, she too has achieved so much since those early days of being a single parent. She went back to school to study Industrial Accountancy and after graduation worked as an Accountant. Her career took her to Saudi Arabia as an Assistant Financial Controller and when she returned she became a Non-Profit/Co-operative Property Manager and founder of a childcare co-operative.

IMG_7887A volunteer at her church and in her co-op, as well as a great supporter of Moorelands Baby Bundles, Jane is filled with enthusiasm as she discusses the plans already underway for the York Group’s Baby Shower 2016. She explains, “We already have five bags of baby supplies ready for next year!”

It’s clear Jane is dedicated to Moorelands and the work we do.  As she considers the impact she has made over her years working in the non-profit sector and volunteering, she remarks how important it is to engage the next generation in volunteerism and charity work. “You just have to do something,” she explains, “make an impact, I always wanted to leave a mark!”

IMG_7827Thank you, Jane. By choosing Moorelands and supporting our Baby Bundles program, you’ve made a significant impact in the lives of some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

This Christmas, like Jane, why not choose to share your time in support of our Baby Bundles program.

Help give babies born into poverty, the best start in life. Find out more or call Cheryle at 416-466-9987 x 300.

Please keep your Century Club stories coming! Contact Helen: hbanham@moorelands.ca or 416-466-9987 ext. 312


Nancy’s Story

“When you are young and discouraged by things you have no control over, it is important to know that there are people who care.”

Century Club Member, Nancy Lou Farrell, shares her story

Nancy at the cottage
Nancy at the cottage

When Nancy Lou Farrell retired from teaching 15 years ago, she asked that in lieu of a retirement gift, a donation be made to Moorelands Community Services.

It is a wonderful organization,” she says. “When you are young and discouraged by things you have no control over, it is important to know that there are people who care. That’s what Moorelands does through its mentorship of disenfranchised children and youth and its strong role models.”

From Guides to Camping to Summer Camp!

Nancy Lou first learned about the work of Moorelands in a church bulletin when the organization was under the auspices of the DCA. Small donations were made at that time but as her circumstances changed, monthly donations became possible.

Camping has played an important role in Nancy Lou’s life. There were challenges at home and she was inspired and mentored by her Girl Guide Captain, Mary Liddell, who first introduced her to camping. Theirs became a lifelong friendship. In 1955, Mary founded Camp Mia-kon-da and offered Nancy Lou a job teaching swimming. “That first camp had four counsellors and 14 campers. Two of the campers were my sisters and one a cousin,” Nancy Lou chuckles.

Nancy: A camp out at Moorelands
Active games at BLAST Thorncliffe Park

Shared Values: Respect, Teamwork & Sharing

“The values taught at Moorelands today, were also the values taught at Mia-kon-da; respecting others, teamwork and sharing talents, were all part of the camping experience. They are values that stay with you forever.”

Camping was also instrumental in my choice of career as a Physical Education Teacher for twenty years. This period included involvement in the Council of Outdoor Educators,” she says. Nancy Lou also taught other subjects in the final twelve years of her career.

The Joys of the Great Canadian Wilderness

I love the wilderness,” Nancy Lou says emphatically. A thirteen day rafting and camping trip in the Western Arctic in 2005, rafting in the Grand Canyon in 2007 and a less physically demanding trip to the Eastern Arctic planned for next year allude to the fact. “Living with nature is the best way to learn about oneself and to refuel one’s batteries.

When I think about young people in the inner-city and the daily challenges they meet, I am more than happy to help them have a camping experience. It changes lives.

She adds, “Moorelands City Programs keep the light burning. It gives children a safe place to go where they are valued as individuals and this will help our society in the long run.

Nancy enjoying the great Canadian outdoors.
Nancy enjoying the great Canadian outdoors.

Nancy Lou has been a Moorelands monthly Sustaining Donor for several years. “It is my way of showing gratitude for the helping hands I received along the way.”

Thank you, Nancy, for your amazing support of Moorelands!

Like Nancy, you can help kids experience a wilderness adventure at Moorelands.

Take a look at the equipment needed to make out-tripping adventures happen. Your donation of any size can make all the difference to Toronto kids-in-need.


Moorelands Logo - help us help kids

Got a Moorelands story to share? We’d love to hear it! To share your story, contact Helen – (416) 466-9987 ext. 312 or click the link below.

Share a Story

Martha Eisenhoffer

Martha Eisenhoffer

Century Club Member – Martha Eisenhoffer

Martha Einsenhoffer (c) with Moorelands' Staff Maureen Lewis (l) and Cheryle Pollock (r)

“I can’t help but love Moorelands Baby Bundles….  This is a great way to help that has enormous value when it is done and delivered.”

Martha Eisenhoffer loves Moorelands Baby Bundles.

For many years, as part of the Telco Community Volunteers Toronto Retirees Club, she has been carefully sewing flannels, burping pads and receiving blankets for Toronto babies born into poverty. For Martha and her colleagues it is clearly a labour of love.

Martha first came to Canada 59 years ago from Hungary. She worked for Bell Canada as an Accounting Clerk for 32 years before retiring in 1984. Since then she has been heavily involved with their retiree volunteer program. From quilting blankets for children in Malawi, to sewing heart pillows for patients at Toronto General Hospital, helping others has been a significant part of her life.

Why Baby Bundles? “I understand the need. I was a young mother once… a long time ago…” she chuckles, “There’s so much you don’t know and it can be a very precarious time, especially for someone on a low income.”


“To receive a Moorelands’ Baby Bundle – and along with it the knowledge and the help and support – is an awesome thing.”

Martha goes on to describe what has kept the Bell Retirees’ support for Baby Bundles “going strong” all these years.  “For new moms in poverty,” she explains, “providing for their babies will be hard.” She imagines that most of the items within reach of their budget will be second hand or hand-me-down. “That’s if they have cash to buy the items at all.”

For Martha, the joy of the Baby Bundles program is to be able to provide something “new and beautiful” for these families in need. “Moorelands Baby Bundles is about giving a gift to welcome a child.”

Her passion for the program, and the work that Moorelands undertakes in general, is obvious from Martha’s warmth and enthusiasm as she describes her involvement.

You want to support Moorelands and what they do but you aren’t always in a position to give money. This is a great way to help that has enormous value when it is done and delivered.”

Martha is keen to point out that what she and the other members of the Bell Retirees ‘Sewing Group’ do is “just a part” of the program as a whole.

“Moorelands acts as connector to identify the need and provide service, but it’s very satisfying to be a part of the process. Plus I get to buy some beautiful materials!”

Martha understands the large commitment involved in volunteering and acknowledges that “lots of people express a desire to volunteer but you need to know yourself and what you can afford to offer.”

Well, Martha, Moorelands also understands the fantastic amount of work that you and your colleagues put in. We honour you and thank you for your support!

Please keep your Century Club stories coming!

Contact Helen: hbanham@moorelands.ca or 416-466-9987 ext. 312

Victoria Swindell

Victoria Swindell shares her story

“Moorelands creates SO MANY opportunities… for development, for growth, for fun… I have a huge debt of gratitude. Gratitude. Gratitude. Gratitude!”

Introducing Moorelands Alum and Century Club Member...

Victoria Swindell

Victoria Swindell joined Moorelands as Swim Staff in 1979 and since then has been unwavering in her support of Moorelands Wilderness Camp.

She remembers her first experience of camp with great enthusiasm: “My sister worked there and out of the blue I got a phone call from Camp Director, Doug Varey – a lifeguard hadn’t shown up and he’d heard I was trained… Would I be able to help them at Moorelands? I was up there the very next day!”

During that first summer, Victoria was ‘blown away’ by Moorelands.

“Moorelands Camp is just a whole other level. The amazing range and quality of programs: kayaking, canoeing, rope courses…not to mention the spectacular scenery!”

Victoria Swindell Scenery

After starting out as a lifeguard and counsellor, Victoria went onto become Program Director under Mark Cote in 1982. When her time as staff came to an end, she just couldn’t stay away. She continued to volunteer on work projects for years after, helping to improve irrigation and revamping bathrooms and continues to support Moorelands financially to this day.

Her love for Moorelands is clear from the treasure trove of stories she recounts with such joy. From the good (“I learned so much about the importance of teamwork but also independence – feeling capable, that you can and will do this!”)

Victoria Swindell canoes

To the not so good (“the time I came back dirty and hungry from a 3 day canoe trip to find that Karen Reid had moved the contents of my ENTIRE cabin to the center of the sports field…furniture and all!”)

Many years have passed since Victoria’s time on Kawagama Lake, why is it that she continues to support Moorelands?

“I was an underprivileged child,” explains Victoria, “but I had an amazing childhood despite big time poverty. I was able to go to camp myself because other people were generous. And that has stuck with me.  I’m so glad that as an adult I’m able to give back.

Victoria Swindell
Victoria Swindell at camp

“Being exposed to nature as a child changed me in the best possible way. I’m so happy to be able to provide that experience for other kids. To see the kids at camp running around and enjoying nature fills me with joy. I believe that every kid should have that experience.”

Victoria is also quick to point out that the camp helps young people in other ways too -in the employment opportunities it creates for young people as camp counsellors. “It’s a cycle, both the campers and staff learn these amazing skills that they can take back into their lives and the community.”

And finally, it’s the friendships that really keep her connected. For Victoria, the most enduring aspect of camp is the “life-long friendships that have so enriched my life.”

She’s so proud to be a member of the Moorelands Alumni Committee who organized their first event in March 2016 – the Moorelands Alumni Reunion. Reuniting with so many friends from the past reminded Victoria of the debt of gratitude she feels to generations of Moorelanders who have created this wonderful organization:

 “Moorelands is like a building,” she explains, “each generation builds on the work of the last. I just want to say Thank You to all those who went before and all those who will come after. You make such a difference in the lives of Toronto kids.”

Thank you for reading Victoria’s story! If you’d like to support our camp like Victoria, why not donate now to send a kid to camp! You can share your own Moorelands story by contacting Helen Banham in the Moorelands office!

John, with a friend's son, after a successful fishing trip!

John McBride’s Story

“Getting out in nature and learning how to master the lakes and bays teaches you a reliance on yourself and your camp mates that no other experience provides.” 

Meet John McBride, Moorelands' newest Century Club member.

John with his brothers at the cottage.
John with his brothers at the cottage.

John McBride has Kawagama Lake in his blood.

His great-grandfather bought a property on the lake in the late 1800s and his family have remained cottagers there for five generations. John grew up knowing of the camp on Kawagama Lake his whole life:

“We always interacted with the campers at the waterfalls in Bear Lake…As kids, we would hike through the woods to Moorelands’ camp. It was like a treasure quest collecting keepsakes and mementos – with camp as the destination.”  

From Neighbour to Donor

For John, transitioning from neighbour to donor and Moorelands’ champion on the lake was the natural move.

 “Moorelands seemed like a magical place and when we out-tripped as kids we would encounter Camp Kawagama war canoes.

“I’m an avid camper and we would always camp with our kids. I like the idea of that tradition being shared with other kids who really need the opportunity. That’s what inspires me to support Moorelands.”

John (c) with fellow Kawagama Lake cottager John Eckert on a camping trip
John (c) with fellow Kawagama Lake cottager John Eckert on a camping trip.
John (on the right next to his mother) at the KLCA Regatta at Moorelands' camp.
John (on the right next to his mother) at the KLCA Regatta at Moorelands' camp.
John with his mother and brothers at the cottage.
John with his mother and brothers at the cottage.

The Joys of Out-tripping

For John and his family, the importance of Moorelands Wilderness Camp and its benefits to kids from Toronto’s low-income neighbourhoods cannot be understated.

“Giving kids the chance to detach from the city and explore nature is so important… the way we bond when we’re together up there …

Nothing replaces getting into a canoe and the joy of exploring!”

John’s love of nature is profound; as he talks about camp and life on Kawagama Lake, his enthusiasm for the impact of the great outdoors on a person is clear.

“Moorelands is an incredible organisation that avails kids who, in their wildest dreams, would never be able to experience camp. This simple yet profound experience changes you. We’re exposing kids to experiences that for many can be life changing.”

Helping Toronto Families in Need

It’s clear that John is speaking from experience when he talks about the positive effects a summer on Kawagama Lake can have on a child. But he understands all too well that this can be an unattainable opportunity for so many Toronto families:

Families are under a lot of pressure and that’s especially true if you are struggling to put food on the table or make ends meet.  Vulnerable kids need opportunities. Not everyone has the support of family and community that my kids enjoyed.”

John is proud to support the “extremely defined and impactful” work of Moorelands Wilderness Camp.  As well as the ways that a week at camp teaches kids to be resilient and self-reliant, he is a strong supporter of the mentorship role that the Moorelands’ staff play in kids’ lives.

John (c) with family and friends at the cottage.
John (c) with family and friends at the cottage.

In the end,” John explains, “It all comes back to linking young people to opportunity – especially those that are starting from behind because of their socio-economic circumstancesHelping kids that have every capability to succeed to reach their goals is what’s kept me supporting Moorelands for 20 years!”

John, Moorelands salutes you. Thank you for keeping our camp and our kids close to your heart!

Like John, you can help kids experience a wilderness adventure at Moorelands.

Take a look at the equipment needed to make out-tripping adventures happen. Your donation of any size can make all the difference to Toronto kids-in-need.


Please keep your Century Club stories coming! To share a story, contact Helen, 416-466-9987 ext. 312 or complete our short online form.

Moorelands Logo - help us help kids

Page 1 of 1312345...10...Last »