History of Sparrow Lake Camp

Sparrow Lake Camp is situated on the southern-most tip of the majestic Canadian Shield.  The site is known to have been a camp ground for bands of the Huron people prior to the European intrusion.  It is considered probable that Samuel de Champlain, the first European to explore Huronia, spent a night on this site in the 17th Century.

1892-- The property was sold by pioneer Captain Thomas Stanton to Toronto's renowned Massey family to act as their summer resort.  The resort sported a main lodge, dining room, and cottages and was only accessible by train and steamer. From the onset, the Masseys used the site as a summer retreat for the Young Men's Bible League of the Central Methodist Church. 

1905-- Succumbing to growing fears of isolation in the event of a fire or tragedy the Massey family abandoned their estate and allowed the Methodist ministers to use the site for family vacations. 

1912-- After a series of proposed business ventures failed to get off the ground, the Massey family decided to donate the property to the Church for use as a summer camp site for disadvantaged boys from Toronto. It was then named Sparrow Lake Camp.

1916 – Girls were added in the summer camp programming, with boys attending in July and girls attending in August.

1925-- Sparrow Lake Camp, with its sister camp (Camp Scugog), became a United Church Camp.

1926-- The adjacent Langmuir's Point property was purchased by the Toronto Home Missions Council, growing the camp from 85 to 130 acres. The present camp buildings were constructed and the camp was run by Rev Neal of the Toronto Home Mission Council.

1940-- Morgan Crockford, a member of the United Church, organized a Sparrow Lake-Scugog Management Committee to oversee the camps. Dr. Clifford Torrance became President of the Toronto Home Mission Council and took over leadership of the summer camp. 

1968-- Dr. Clifford retired and a paid Camp Director position was created. This is the first time the camp was not volunteer-run.

1977-- The Management Committee separated and Scugog and Sparrow Lake Camp both formed their own committees to oversee the growth and continuing success of the two camps.

1982-- A 'Pee-Wee' camp was introduced for children aged 5-7, initially a weekend program which has grown to a week long experience by present day.

2002-- Due to a change in United Church Policy the camp incorporated to become Sparrow Lake United Church Camp Inc. and is managed by a Board of Directors. 

2006-- The camps introduced a Family Camp Weekend on the mid summer weekend.  The four day Peewee camp integrated with regular camp sessions and one week sessions began to be offered.

2008-- The Leader in Training (LIT) program followed by the Counsellor in Training (CIT) program were introduced to Sparrow Lake Camp.

2010-- Sparrow Lake Camp became part of South West Presbytery of the Toronto Conference.

2011-- Sparrow Lake became an accredited Private School and offered credits for the LIT and CIT program. This accreditation is no longer in effect.

2012-- Sparrow Lake Camp Celebrated 100 Years of Summer Camping.

2019-- Sparrow Lake Camp continues to thrive under the new leadership of Executive Director, Brendan Turner.


Sparrow Lake Camp is looking to expand our own knowledge of our extensive history! If you have any connection to Sparrow Lake Camp we would love to hear your story. Send an e-mail to director@sparrowlakecamp.coms