In memory of Barbara Turnbull

Barbara Turnbull

Barb was a significant part of our Moorelands’ family as a camper, a counselor at our Wilderness Camp, a long-standing board member and a regular contributor to our newsletter.

Barb cared deeply about Moorelands. She wanted the camp that she loved to continue being a strong influence in the lives of Toronto’s children who, without Moorelands, could not afford to go to camp.

In this excerpt from an article in the Toronto Star, Barb described her Camp experience:


“Camp is my happy place.


It’s where my mind automatically goes when summer approaches. It’s my immediate thought when the subject of happiness is raised.

Moorelands Camp, a 45-acre (18-hectare) island paradise on Haliburton’s Kawagama Lake, was my lucky reality for three years as a camper in the 1970s and three years on staff in the early ’80s. Three decades since my last visit, it’s sometimes still my fantasy retreat.

As the child of a single mother who had no extra cash, I benefited from the Moorelands mandate to give less privileged kids the building blocks that strengthen skills and self-esteem. I’m one of many who went on to join the staff and be forever tied to the oasis, and the philosophy that all children can develop competence, confidence, character and make lifelong connections. I recently stepped off the board of Moorelands Community Services after a seven-year stint.

I took this picture in August of 1983, my third year as counsellor…In each session there were kids who had never experienced life outside Toronto’s downtown core. Some lived in incredibly difficult home environments. I recall discovering one of my campers was being abused at home. I think she left the site and went directly to Children’s Aid.

The more I learned of the circumstances under which many of these children existed, the more important it became to give them experiences that would make a permanent impact, to make happy memories to keep within themselves. There were daily swimming lessons, arts and crafts, canoe trips, campfires. There were team-building exercises, singalongs, camp-wide special days and dances.

…To me, this picture symbolizes the ultimate in a carefree existence, when there is every reason to feel positive and believe that life can be OK.”

One perfect day at camp makes for a lasting memoryToronto Star, Jul 4, 2014

Barb’s legacy will live on in the camp she so loved.


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