Camp Big Canoe is a unique site situated in the diverse region of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence forest. With 240 acres all to ourselves, we boast our very own lake, Hart Lake, where all our water activities take place. Within the site there are numerous areas the campers will become familiar with, divided mostly along the lines of “Top of the Hill”, “Bottom of the Hill” and “Tentlines”.
Top of the Hill
Our Kitchen facilities boast all the necessary equipment to provide healthy, allergy conscious, delicious meals for campers and staff throughout the summer. Health and waste awareness practices ensure three delicious meals a day, providing all the necessary nutrition to take advantage of the daily camp activities. With a dining area that often serves as the centre of camp life, our kitchen staff maintain food preparation areas beyond Ministry of Health standards to ensure quality, delicious meals served hot when it’s supposed to be hot, and cold when it’s supposed to be cold. The roof of our Dining Hall also hosts Camp Big Canoe’s very own sport, Roof Ball!
Affectionately known as “The Elephants”, Camp Big Canoe’s washroom facilities are shared space. These washrooms are easily maintained for cleanliness. Campers visit the washrooms a minimum of three times a day to wash hands, brush teeth, and get ready for bed. Each side has new low flow toilets to help maintain our water waste, as well as shower stalls with hot water – especially good when returning from a lengthy canoe trip!
The Wellness Centre – Nurse’s Cabin
Each session of camp, a Registered Nurse is on site providing first aid and medical advice for all staff and campers. An accessible location with a treatment room, a place to sleep for the nurse, along with two other bedrooms for campers in need of extra rest or attention, Camp Big Canoe maintains a safe and healthy environment for all members of the Big Canoe community. Camp Big Canoe has also been a leader within the Ontario Camping Association with regard to camper health and safety, something of which we are very proud.
The Director’s Cabin
A hub of activity at the camp, it’s common to find the steps full of either campers or staff preparing for another exciting activity. Inside, the heart of Camp Big Canoe can be found as all staff use this space to coordinate activities, check-in with the Director and Assistant Directors, and dream up of ways to make camp even greater!
The home of our Music & Drama program, the ARC is a space designated for creative expression. Filled with costumes and props, inside the ARC (and out), anything is possible!
Bottom of the Hill
Our Craft Cabin! When people think of camp, often it is thoughts of making crafts from dream catchers to friendship bracelets. Camp Big Canoe is just the same, and our Craft Cabin showcases some of the long history of the camp with the names of staff and campers, past and present, decorating the walls, and even the ceiling, of the cabin. One quarter of the cabin also houses the Rediscovery program, however it is a rare occurrence that you find the space being used in program – normally they are outside discovering!
From campfire to friendly games of volleyball to morning exercises, the beach is a gathering place, a place to play, or simply a place to stare out at the lake and contemplate just how amazing our world is!
Our controlled waterfront is staffed by qualified, experienced life guards and swim, canoe, and kayak instructors. With the benefit of having a waterfront all to ourselves, Camp Big Canoe can safely deliver water based activities without interference from neighbours and cottagers. The swimming area is divided into three areas for different levels of swimming. The canoe and kayak area provides a place for campers to safely learn about, use and store all the necessary boating equipment. Using the entire lake for lessons, campers have the opportunity to truly get into the paddling experience.
Following a trail out behind the craft cabin will lead you to our secluded and quiet forest chapel. Used on Sunday mornings for a camp gathering, and throughout the session by the Rediscovery program, the chapel provides a place for quiet reflection as individuals and a community. Often the loons will join us when we visit as a camp!
The epicentre of our Out-Tripping Program. All equipment needed for safe and successful out-trips are stored here at the Barn. It’s also from here where campers get involved and experience everything that goes into the preparations for a trip, including Camp Craft sessions where all campers learn some basic skills to be able to enjoy and participate in an over-night trip.
The Marn / Bill’s Place
The Marn is our maintenance building, housing all the equipment needed to keep camp running safely and efficiently. In winter months, it serves as our primary storage facility and we are so, so happy to have it!
The Low Ropes Course
The low ropes course is intended to take campers and their units to a place they didn’t think possible. Each of the different low ropes elements takes campers through team building and goal setting exercises, allowing them to see what is possible with a dash of cooperation and a pinch of creativity.
The Archery Pit
A favourite Sports & Games activity, the Archery Pit is home to our Archery program. A test of skill, perseverance, and goal setting – can you hit the bullseye?
The tentlines are where our campers and counselling staff are housed for their stay at Camp Big Canoe. Each tentline ranges from three to seven tents and has its own fire pit and picnic table, where units and campers can gather each day, sharing stories and having adventures. The tentlines are spread out throughout the site and are designed to minimally impact our environment. The space between tentlines is left for camp wide games that can include Capture the Flag, Survival, and Firebombers!
Our camper sleeping facilities bring the children back to nature. Each unit of campers is given ownership over their tent – a raised wooden platform covered with a canvas tent and tarp. Each tent can sleep six to seven campers on bunk beds equipped with mattresses. Electricity is not run to the tents, however each comes equipped with a smoke detector, and counselling staff sleep in tents right next to the campers. Surrounded by the woods of our 240 acres, campers experience the outdoors as it should be – up close and personal.
While not actually tentlines, we also have four staff cabins for our program and kitchen staff. They include Labie, which is exclusively for our Head Chef, and Cook’s Cabin, Turtle’s Nest, and Aquarium.