Fresh Air Camps


Finding Aids for Fresh Air Camps

For photographs and other documents related to Fresh Air Camps please use the search tool found on the right side of our home page.

Church Camps. – 1918-1999. – 3m textual records + 270 photographs and other material.

Since the first Fresh Air Camp was founded in 1905, the United Church has supported a variety of camping experiences within the Manitoba Conference. The United Church camping tradition encompassed summer institutes and leadership training camps, such as those sponsored by the Methodist Epworth League at Rock Lake. It also included the Fresh Air Camps at Gimli for disadvantaged urban children and their mothers that were affiliated with the Institutional Missions of Home Missions. Other early camps included ‘Skinny Camp’, held near Selkirk during the 1920s for working boys who were too old for Fresh Air Camps, and Kirkfield Camp, a mission education camp held on the banks of the Assiniboine seven miles west of Winnipeg during the 1940s. Successor camps in Manitoba included: Christian Education Church Vacation and Leadership Education Camps at locations such as Rock Lake, Wasaga, Totogan (Lynch’s Point), Jackson Lake, Wellman Lake and Belair; the leadership development and mission education camps of the various Conference and Presbyterial women’s groups; CGIT and Explorer Camps at Brereton; Tuxis and Trail Ranger Camps at Victoria Beach and Belair; and Winnipeg Presbytery’s Maskwa Project Camp near Pine Falls. Camps in Northwestern Ontario included Camp Freeman at Atikokan, Duncan Memorial at Loon Lake near Thunder Bay, Goldpines near Red Lake and Sunny Cove Camp near Fort Frances.

It has generally been the case that Conference camps operated under the supervision of a camp board with ultimate oversight by the Presbytery in which the camp was located. Exceptions kincluded Fresh Air Camps, which came under the oversight of Conference Home Missions until 1967, at which time supervision was delegated to Winnipeg Presbytery. Another exception was Camp Wasaga at Clear Lake, which had been operated by a Board that drew membership from the Presbyteries of Birtle, Brandon, Portage and Northland and which was re-developed in 1979 as a Conference camp. Attempts have been made over the years with varying degrees of success to institute Conference level control and co-ordination of all camping programs within the Conference. Camping had been a sub-committee of the Conference Christian Education Committee at least since the 1950s and by the 1960s, Conference Christian Education had moved towards the amalgamation of all Conference camping programs under one Conference Camping Committee. This committee had an erratic existence throughout the 1970s and ceased to exist after Conference restructuring in 1983 when responsibility for Conference Camping passed to the Worship and Education Council. The Conference Camping Committee was briefly reconstituted in 1985 and disbanded again in 1987.

Records have not yet been accessioned for all the camps mentioned above. Also, there are gaps in the records that have been accessioned and camping records are found in more than one series. Records that are described here include the following sub-series: Fresh Air Camps, 1920-1975; Rock Lake Camp, [ca.1902]-1996; Camp Belair, 1956-1976; and Portage Presbytery Camps, 1960-1980.


United Church Fresh Air Camps. – 1918-1975. – 1m textual records and other material.

The first Fresh Air Camps were organised in England around 1877 in order to give the children of London’s Whitechapel district a country holiday away from the slum conditions of the city. The deaconesses of Winnipeg’s All Peoples’ Mission are credited with establishing the first Fresh Air Camp in Western Canada in the then pastoral Norwood Flats area of Winnipeg, which the children reached by streetcar, in 1905. The Fresh Air Camp movement in Winnipeg was likewise a response to the miserable slum conditions that existed in Winnipeg’s north end at the turn of the century where summer epidemics of typhoid were an annual occurrence. Within a year, the camp moved west to the Sturgeon Creek area and in 1907 to the Gimli area on Lake Winnipeg where it was known as All Peoples’ Gimli Camp, and later Camp Sparling. In 1911, the Presbyterian urban mission of Robertson Memorial Institute opened another Fresh Air Camp nearby at Loni Beach, known as Camp Robertson. Campers were also sent to Camp Robertson from the Presbyterian Ruthenian and Jewish Missions. These two camps were amalgamated in 1949 on the Camp Robertson site under the name United Church Fresh Air Camp when shore erosion made Camp Sparling unusable. Other Winnipeg faith groups and service clubs operated similar camps, all of which were located on the west shore of Lake Winnipeg. These included Sandy Hook (Salvation Army), Husavick (B’Nai B’Rith Camp), Lakeside Memorial Camp (Gyro Service Club) and Camp Morton (Roman Catholic). This Fresh Air Camp work was co-ordinated through the Associated Winnipeg Fresh Air Camps Board. This Board had ceased to function as a co-ordinating body by 1949. Over the years, the Fresh Air Camps provided a one or two-week summer vacation to disadvantaged children alone or with their mothers and senior citizens. The Fresh Air camps also pioneered ‘Hospital Camp’ with special facilities for those recovering from an illness or suffering from a chronic disease or disability. Over the years, this proved to be one of the most popular camping programs. Rising costs and the growth of other camping opportunities led to the 1974 closure and eventual sale of the Fresh Air Camp facility.

Prior to 1925, a committee of Winnipeg Presbytery administered Camp Robertson and the Deaconess Board of the Methodist Church supervised the All Peoples’ Gimli Camp. After Union, a request was made to unite the Fresh Air Camps under one Board supervised by Conference. This Board would then have the privilege of Conference-wide appeals for camp support. The new Board came into being in 1926 and at that time the name of the Gimli Fresh Air Camp was changed to Sparling Fresh Air Camp. Thereafter, according to the records of the Robertson Memorial Institute, Robertson staff had responsibility for day to day administration of the camps. Initially, the full Fresh Air Camps Board had forty-two members and met semi-annually with the Executive meeting more often, approximately every three months or as often as every two weeks if required. Members were appointed by Conference. In 1956, the size of the Fresh Air Camp Board was reduced. Throughout its existence, places were reserved on the Fresh Air Camp Board for the Presidents of the Women’s Union, the Conference Branch Woman’s Missionary Society (WMS) and the Woman’s Association (WA) as well as representatives from the Winnipeg Presbyterial WMS and WA. The Winnipeg Women’s Union was a stalwart supporter of the Fresh Air Camps program for many years, organising and hosting the Women’s Union Camp Picnic and later Camp Tea fundraisers. The Fresh Air Camps Board reported directly to the entire Conference until 1967, when Fresh Air Camps were placed under the oversight of Winnipeg Presbytery.

The provenance of these records is not always clear. It is known that Nelson Rajotte, a member of the Fresh Air Camp Board, [ca.1972]-1974, brought several items to the Conference Archives in 1982. Many of the items appear to have been collected for and used as part of a commemorative display of the 70th anniversary of United Church Fresh Air Camps in 1974.

Records of the Fresh Air Camps described here include: Gimli Fresh Air Camp Pamphlets, 1918-1923; and records pertaining to Camp Robertson, 1920-1924; minutes of the Fresh Air Camps Board and Executive, 1936-1974; Annual and other Reports, 1928-1974; Camp Constitution, 1963; records of the Buildings and Grounds Committee, 1966-1970; Preliminary Report of the Property Committee, 1971; Plans and Drawings, [before 1970]; Correspondence, 1920-1975; Financial statements and reports, 1925-1975; Cash Books, 1972-1975; a Manual for Leaders, [before 1950]; Job Descriptions, [after 1950]; miscellaneous lists and plans, 1932-1961; a Camp Accreditation Workbook, 1969; records pertaining to the Winnipeg Presbytery Research and Planning Council Camping Study, 1973-1974; Fresh Air Camps Concert material, 1933-1954; Pamphlets, flyers and brochures, 1925-1974; historical material and clippings, ca.1920-1967.

Title based on contents.

Records include 249 photographs and slides pertaining to the United Church Fresh Air Camps and their predecessors that have been described as part of the Conference and Church Camps Photograph Collection.

Some items included in accession 1982-26 have been affixed to cards for display and cannot be removed without damage to the item.

A folder containing owner’s manuals and warranty information for various pieces of camp equipment and a sales prospectus describing the Roman Catholic Fresh Air Camp, Camp Morton were discarded from accession 1986-31 when these records were described for this Finding Aid.

Some restrictions on access; see item level descriptions.

File level description; box lists available.

Records pertaining to Fresh Air Camps may also be found with the Charge records for All Peoples’ Mission and Robertson Memorial Institute. See the Annual Reports of All Peoples’ Mission/ later North Winnipeg Mission for 1908/09 to 1948 (File #1, All Peoples’ Box B) and ‘Camp Information’ (File #26, All Peoples’ Box B) and reports of Boy’s Work throughout the 1920s. Also see the Annual Reports of Robertson Memorial Church and House for 1911 to 1961 (File #1, Robertson Memorial Church Box B), ‘Robertson Memorial Notes’, which includes two descriptions of Gimli Fresh Air Camp in typewritten excerpts from the Reports of the General Assembly, 1916 (Robertson Memorial Church Box B) and ‘Fresh Air Camp Accounts Notebook’, 1935-1946 (Robertson Memorial Church Box B).

Further records pertaining to Fresh Air Camps may be found with the records of Property Grants and Loans described as part of the series ‘509/2 Records of the Superintendents of Home Missions’ and with the records of Winnipeg Presbytery.

Accession: 1982-26; 1986-31; and others.

File Description

  1. Gimli Fresh Air Camp Pamphlets. – 1918-1923. – 1 folder.

These pamphlets were accessioned with accession 1982-26 and appear to have been collected for use in a Fresh Air Camp 70th Anniversary display, ca.1974.

Items found here include two examples of pamphlets produced by the Manitoba Conference of the Methodist Church (Manitoba Conference Deaconess Board) for the purpose of raising funds towards the operation of the Gimli Fresh Air Camp. They include photographs of campers engaged in camp activities, a history of camp activities and lists of subscribers.

Title based on contents.

  1. Camp Robertson. – 1920-1924. –2 folders.

These folders contain descriptions of the planned Camp Robertson program for 1920 and 1922 as well as budgets for 1920, 1921 and 1923 and the annual report for 1924. Also found here are examples of flyers, brochures and circular letters describing the Camp Robertson program and soliciting funds for the Camp’s operation.

Title based in contents.

At various times Camp Robertson was also known as the Robertson Presbyterian Fresh Air Camp and the Gimli Fresh Air Camp [of the Presbyterian Church]. Around 1920 the name was changed to Camp Robertson to avoid confusion with the Methodist Fresh Air Camp also operating in the area (File 12c, Winnipeg Presbytery Correspondence Box C).

  1. Minutes of the Board and Executive Committee of the United Church Fresh Air Camps Board. – 29 April 1936-3 November 1955. – 1 volume.

The existence of a volume of minutes which covers the period prior to April, 1936 is alluded to in the minutes of April 29th, however, this volume has not yet been accessioned.

Title taken from the first page of the volume.

  1. Minutes of the United Church Fresh Air Camp Board and Executive. – 1955-1974. – 2 folders.

Items found here include an incomplete run of the minutes of the United Church Fresh Air Camp Board and Executive.

Title based on contents.

Order has been reconstructed from various files accessioned as part of 1986-31.

  1. — 1928-1974. – 2 folders.

These folders contain an incomplete run of annual and other reports of United Church Fresh Air Camp operations for the years 1928 through to 1974. Annual reports of the United Church Fresh Air Camps for the 1940s and 1960s periods have yet to be accessioned. Also found here is a copy of the annual report for the Associated Winnipeg Fresh Air Camps for 1943.

Title based on contents.

  1. – ca.1963. – 1 folder.

Items found here include two copies of the 1963 version of the United Church Fresh Air Camp Board Constitution and a copy labelled Revised Constitution.

Title based on contents.

  1. Buildings and Grounds Committee. – 1966-1970. – 1 folder.

Items found here include committee minutes, annual reports, correspondence and other materials generated by the Buildings and Grounds Committee of the Board of the United Church Fresh Air Camps.

Title based on contents.

  1. Preliminary Report of the Property Committee. – 1971. – 1 folder.

Items found here include the report of the committee that replaced the Buildings and Grounds Committee.

Title taken from heading of report.

  1. Plans and Drawings. – [before 1970]. – 1 folder.

Items found here include various plans, blueprints and drawings of camp buildings and facilities.

Title based on contents.

  1. – 1920-1975. – 3 folders.

These folders contain correspondence generated and received by the United Church Fresh Air Camps Board. This correspondence consists of various appeal letters soliciting donations from individuals, congregations and other groups; letters pertaining to bequests to the Fresh Air Camps; letters pertaining to the issue of hospital patient costs, ca.1926; items pertaining to the construction of a breakwater at camp Sparling, ca.1936-1939; communications to and from funding or regulatory agencies such as Community Chest and the Welfare Council of Greater Winnipeg; letters pertaining to the sale of Camp Sparling, ca.1950; the New Capital Funds Appeal of Winnipeg Presbytery, ca.1962; correspondence pertaining to a row boat and the camp van, ca.1971; a proposal for the ‘Kalimat’ program, ca.1972; and items pertaining to the decision to cease operations at Camp Robertson in 1975.

Title based on contents.

  1. Financial statements and reports. – 1925-1975. – 2 folders.

These folders include financial statements as well as lists of expenses; summaries of salaries, ca.1951; and lists of donors.

Title based on contents.

Due to the presence of identifying information concerning individuals, access to this file may be restricted.

TD-1 returns for 1951 have been culled.

  1. Cash Books. – 1972-1975. – 1 volume + 1 folder.

Included here are detailed accounts of receipts and disbursements for the United Church Fresh Air Camp for the period from 1972-1975.

Title based on contents.

  1. Manual for Leaders. – [before 1950]. – 1 folder.

Items found here include two copies of the pamphlet titled Manual for Leaders for use at the United Church resh Air camps of Camp Robertson and Camp Sparling.

Title taken from pamphlet cover.

  1. Job Descriptions. – [after 1950]. – 1 folder.

Title based on contents.

  1. Lists and plans. — 1932-1961. – 1 folder.

Records found here include items such as lists of camping parties for Camp Sparling and Camp Robertson, lists of Camp Hospital Parties, ca.1960-1961, lists of camp staff, and inventories of supplies on hand. Also found here is a survey, ca.1932, and an undated plan for what appears to be the Camp Robertson hospital building.

Title based on contents.

Due to the presence of identifying information concerning individuals, access to this file may be restricted.

  1. Camp Accreditation – 1969. – 1 booklet.

Items found here include a completed copy of the workbook ‘Desirable Camping Practices Leading to Accreditation of Resident Camps’ published by the Manitoba Camping Association and apparently used for a self-assessment of the Camp Robertson program.

Title based on contents.

  1. Winnipeg Presbytery Research and Planning Council Camping Study. – 1973-1974. – 1 folder.

Items found here include materials pertaining to the Winnipeg Presbytery Research and Planning Council’s study ‘The Future Role of Camping in Winnipeg Presbytery’. Items include a outline of the proposed camping study and interim drafts of the final report as well as a list of name sand addresses, apparently of those persons consulted regarding the report.

Title based on contents.

  1. Fresh Air Camps Concert material. – 1933-1954. – 1 folder.

From the time it was constituted in 1925/26, the United Church Fresh Air Camp Board mounted an annual fund-raising concert and variety program. This was known as ‘The Sunshine Review’ from 1935 on. The last review took place in 1954.

Items found here include concert programs, tickets, an undated clipping pertaining to the 25th concert and a letter announcing the end of the annual concert reviews.

Title based on contents.

The clipping has been photocopied and the original has been discarded.

  1. Pamphlets, flyers and brochures. – 1925-1974. – 1 folder.

Included here are examples of various publicity flyers, fund-raising brochures and envelopes, and registration forms for the United Church Fresh Air Camps.

Title based on contents.

  1. – [after 1925]. – 1 folder.

Items found here include written reminiscences pertaining to the Fresh Air Camp movement and the United Church Fresh Air Camps (Camp Sparling and Camp Robertson).

Title based on contents.

  1. – ca.1920-1967. – 1 folder.

Items found here include a number of clippings from a variety of newspapers and periodicals pertaining to the United Church Fresh Air Camps history and programs.

Title based on contents.

These clippings have been photocopied and the originals have been discarded


Rock Lake United Church Camp. – [ca.1902]-1996. – 1.5m textual records + other material.

Rock Lake United Church camp began life as the Epworth League Summer Institutes that were held in and near Killarney beginning in 1898. The purpose of the summer institutes was to promote “a more healthy, enthusiastic, and intelligent co-operation of the Leagues in the work of the Church, and to a more intimate acquaintanceship with Methodist history, doctrine and usages….” (Rev. A. W. Kenner. “Rock Lake Summer School: The Story of Its Commencement in 1897-8”, p.2.) A Rock Lake site was first used for the Institutes in 1904. Initially, the campsite was rented but in 1908 it was decided to purchase property from the Honourable Thomas Greenway. Brush was cleared in 1909 and the first Institute was held on the new site in 1910. The Rock Lake program included bible and mission study and later evolved to include Evangelism and Social Service and Religious Education studies. In the early years, speakers were invited out to Rock Lake to speak on Indian Missions and All Peoples’ as well as foreign mission work.

By 1925, attendance at the summer school as previously constituted had fallen off and the Young Peoples’ Board of Manitoba Conference was asked to hold a Leadership Training Camp that would share the summer with Boys and Girls Camps sponsored by the district. In the 1950s, Carman Presbyterial initiated a “Fellowship Camp for Church Women” at Rock Lake involving women from Carman and Rock Lake. This camp continued into the 1960s. The Rock Lake site is still in use as a United Church Camp.

Records pertaining to Rock Lake that have been accessioned are relatively few. Peter Kidd, one time Chair of the Rock Lake Camp Board, brought a number of records to the Conference Archives in 1985. Included among this accession were the records of Rev. Howard B. Gibson of Pilot Mound, Manitoba who at one time acted as Rock Lake Camp Director.

Records described here include Minutes of the Camp Board, 1957-1992; Reports and Evaluations, 1952-1985; Records of Title and Incorporation, [ca.1902-ca.1984]; [Camp Manager’s] Correspondence, [ca.1954]-1985; Board Correspondence, 1976-1991; Program and Financial Records, 1953-1992; Treasurer’s Correspondence, 1983-1990; Rock Lake Camp Manager’s Accounts, 1946-1954; Camp Brochures, [ca.1980-ca.1985]; Program Materials, [ca.1955-ca.1970]; Newsletters, 1935, 1938; and Histories, [ca.1930-ca.1985].

Title based on contents.

Records include 48 colour snapshots (8.5 x 12.5 cm; 3 ½ x 5), unidentified and undated (ca.1975-1985) of camp facilities, camp personnel and camper activities; 8 b&w snapshots (6.25 x 8.75 cm, 2 ½ x 3 ½; to 7 x 11.5 cm, 2 ¾ x 4 ½) of the camp site and campers, ca.1938, subjects identified verso; and one Video Tape titled ‘Open House & Reunion of 1925-1950 Campers, Sept. 4-6, 1998’ (T-120 VHS), running time unknown. An aerial view of Rock Lake Camp was accessioned in 2001.

Records also include 16 photographs pertaining to Rock Lake United Church Camp that have been described as part of the Conference and Church Camps Photograph Collection.

The records described here were accessioned in a disorganised state and in many cases order has been imposed by the arranging archivist; two issues of the periodical ‘Canadian Camping’ found among the minutes, duplicate minutes, Source Deduction records for c1988, 1991, a receipt book dated 1984-1987, brochures from unrelated agencies, cash books, camper registration slips and an incomplete set of camper lists from the 1980s have been discarded; the Fellowship Camp for Church Women Scrapbook accessioned with these records is now housed with the records of Carman Presbyterial WMS/UCW (WO4).

File level description; box lists available.

Accession: 1985-44; 1998-15; 1999-61; 1999-74; 2006 – 33

File Description

  1. – 1957-1992. – 6 folders.

These folders contain an incomplete series of minutes of the meetings of the Rock Lake United Church Camp Board for the period from 1957 to 1989. Minutes for the period prior to 1957 and from 1966 to 1975 have not yet been accessioned. Also found interspersed among the minutes are various periodic and annual reports of camp operations; circular letters; camp programs; items of correspondence, and insurance documents.

Title based on contents.

The Camp Board was known as the Camp Committee.

Chronological order has been imposed by the arranging archivist.

  1. Reports and Evaluations. – 1952-1996. – 4 folders.

These folders contain summary reports of seasonal activities, camper’s impressions and evaluations, year end reports and evaluations by the camp coordinator and issues of the annual camp newsletter that summarised camp activities.

Title based on contents.

  1. Records of Title and Incorporation. – [ca.1902]-1992. – 3 folders.

Included here are copies of legal documents pertaining to the ownership of the Rock Lake Camp property and incorporation of the Camp ca.1960. Also included here are copies of a Constitution for the Rock Lake United Church Camping Society prepared in anticipation of the incorporation of the Camp in 1960; a set of minutes of a Committee on a Philosophy for Church Camping; a copy of ‘The Camp Philosophy to be Tested’; and a copy of the site plan. As well, there is a copy of the proposed Rock Lake United Church Camp, Inc. by-laws dated ca.1984. Copies of land transfers, certificates of title, site plans, proposed by-laws, insurance agreements and correspondence regarding property were accessioned in 2001.

Title based on contents.

Records of title and incorporation are photocopies.

  1. [Camp Manager’s] Correspondence. – [ca.1954]-1985, predominant [ca.1954]-1963. –1 folder.

This folder largely contains the incoming and outgoing correspondence of Rev. Howard B. Gibson, volunteer camp manager from 1954 to 1963. Topics include the proposed diversion of Northern Avenue around the camp buildings in 1955; the dedication of the new camp centre in 1957; and the water quality of Rock Lake in 1962.

Title based on contents.

  1. Board Correspondence. – 1976-1994. – 4 folders.

Items found here include the incoming and outgoing correspondence of the Chair, Secretary and other members of the Rock Lake United Church Camp Board from 1976-1985. Topics include an inspection of facilities by the Public Health Inspector in 1976; responses to request for information by the National [Church] Advisory Group on Camping, ca.1983; materials pertaining to incorporation of the Camp, ca.1984; the Camp’s Capital Assistance Loan, ca.1987-1989; Registered Charities Returns; correspondence pertaining to insurance; and other items of correspondence pertaining to camp operations.

Title based on contents.

  1. Program and Financial. – 1953-1992. – 5 folders + 2 video tapes.

These folders contain material pertaining to the annual program of activities offered at Rock Lake United Church Camp from 1953 to 1991 including circular letters and posters. Also found here are miscellaneous financial records including financial statements and reports; notes pertaining to camp operation and maintenance of facilities; permits; and documents pertaining to insurance coverage, ca. 1956, 1979 to 1991. Correspondence pertaining to fundraising, health and safety of the camp facilities and environment, and a camp manual were accessioned in 2001. This material included 2 video tapes of the Rock Lake Quilt Auction in 1994 and 1996.

Title based on contents.

  1. Treasurer’s Correspondence. – 1983-1990. – 10 folders.

Incoming and outgoing items of correspondence pertaining to receipts for such items as fees, donations and bequests made to the Camp as well as items of correspondence pertaining to disbursements for items such as taxes, professional fees, advertising and camp maintenance.

Title based on contents.

  1. Rock Lake Camp Manager’s Accounts. – 1946-1954. – 1 volume.

This volume details receipts and expenditures for Rock Lake Camp from 1946 to 1954.

Title taken from front piece of volume.

  1. Camp Brochures. – [ca.1980]-1995. – 2 folders.

Items found here include samples of brochures produced to promote Rock Lake United Church Camp. Also found here are samples of brochures produced by the Conference Camp Committee produced to promote Church camps in the entire Conference area.

Title based on contents.

  1. Program Materials. – [ca.1955-ca.1970]. – 1 folder.

Included in this folder are various materials pertaining to the annual program of activities offered at Rock Lake United Church Camp such as daily camp programs, song sheets, and camp rules.

Title based on contents.

  1. – 1935, 1938. – 1 folder.

Items found here include two issues of the annual Rock Lake Camp Newsletter, the ‘Newsance’/’Nuisance’.

Title based on contents.

  1. – [ca.1930]-1994. – 4 folders.

These folders contain several accounts of the founding of Rock Lake Camp in the late 1890s and camp programs over the years written by former campers and camp staff. Rev. A. W. Kenner, Anne Alsop, B. M. Allison, D. R. Patterson and Mrs. Naomi Jasper are among those identified as contributors. The authors of two accounts are unidentified. Also found here is a history of Rock Lake United Church Camp: 1884-1984 written to commemorate the Camp’s 100th Anniversary. Newspaper clippings, a camp history dating from 1994 and a newsletter dating from 1933 were accessioned in 2001.

Title based on contents.


Portage Presbytery Camps. — 1960-1980. — 25cm textual records + other material.

Portage Presbytery operated camps at several sites including at Delta on Lake Manitoba. The Totogan site (also known as Lynch’s Point) on Lake Manitoba was used for junior camps and was also rented out to other religious and community organisations. Camp Jackson Wilderness Camp was used primarily by boys aged 12 to 15 years was located at Jackson Lake near Sidney. Camp Totogan opened ca.1968, although there appears to have been a Lynch’s Point United Church Camp for junior girls operating from 1961. By 1977, church groups were making little use of both sites and they were largely rented out to other groups. Plans were made by 1976 to close the Totogan site and develop Jackson Lake as the only Presbytery camp. Ross Taylor of Trinity United Church in Portage la Prairie brought the records described here to the Conference Archives in 1989.

Records described here include Records of Camp Administration, 1960-1980; Cash Book, 1965-1975; and a Camp Log [for] Junior Girls Camp, 1961.

Title based on contents.

Records include 9 photographs described as part of the Conference and Church Camps Photograph Collection.

All classes of records, including minutes, correspondence and financial, were mixed together in files that were organised in a roughly chronological way and this arrangement has been left essentially intact; United Church General Council Camping and Manitoba Camping Association blank report forms, the ‘Church Camping’ Bulletin issued by the [General Council] Board of Christian Education, Christian Education Leader’s Guides published by the United Church Board of Christian Education and the United Methodist Church and information on unrelated camping programs collected for reference have been discarded; records of the Manitoba Conference Consultation in Camping, ca.1970, have been re-housed with the records of the Congregational Life and Work Committee.

Accession: 1989-3; 2003-3.


Belair United Church Christian Education Camp. — 1956-1976. — 25cm textual records.

Camp Belair was conceived as the ‘Christian Education Camp’ of Winnipeg Presbytery. The Presbytery had searched for an appropriate site for many years before land was purchased at Belair in 1956. The Sub-Executive of General Council approved the camp on 18 January 1957 and the Executive concurred on 10 June 1957. Camp Belair was incorporated 13 February 1957. Belair was described as a United Church Christian Education Camp. Christian Education camps were considered as one of the best ways for teaching the Christian ‘way of life’ and training Christian leaders including candidates for ministry (Brief to Winnipeg Presbytery, ca.1956). As the United Churches of Winnipeg Presbytery sponsored Belair Camp it was advertised in and drew campers mainly from Winnipeg and Selkirk Presbyteries. The camp was also used by Girls’ Explorer and CGIT groups and by Boys’ groups. Construction of the first camp building, the main lodge, was undertaken in 1957 largely with volunteer labour co-ordinated by the District Council AOTS. The Woman’s Association also contributed practical necessities for camp operation. AOTS continued to provide volunteer labour for subsequent building programs. Cottage developments encroaching on the site and the loss of lakefront due to rising water levels on Lake Winnipeg led to a decision to close the camp and sell the property around 1970. The sale was concluded in 1973 and proceeds were ear marked for future camping initiatives.

Most of the time, clergy supplied the camp leadership. In 1964 the Inner City Council appointed Ken Metcalfe as part-time camp manager. A Board of Directors aided by committees that included, at various times, Girls’ Camp, Boys’ Camp, Building, Volunteer Labour and Finance administered Belair Camp. A Camp Operations Committee was added later to arrange for general camp management, hire staff, and deal with other operational decisions. The committee structure was reorganised in 1959 and job descriptions were written for Finance, Property, Publicity, Management and Policy & Program Committees. A House Committee (to look after equipment as opposed to structures) was added 1961.

The provenance of these records is unclear. A number of items were accessioned by the Conference Archives in 1985. Although the name of the donor is not recorded they appear to be the records of the Secretary Treasurer of the Camp Belair Board.

Items described here include Minutes and Reports, 1956-1974; Records of Title and Incorporation, 1956-1959; Correspondence, 1956-1976; and Financial Statements and Reports, 1957-1971.

Title based on contents.

File level description; box list available.

For records of the Belair Camp Sale Committee dating from 1971, see Treasurer’s Files in “519/2/2 Administrative Support Committee” described as part of “519/2 Records of Conference Administrative Support”.

Accession: 1985-56; and others.

Fresh Air Camps in Digest of the Meetings and Proceedings of the United Church of Canada Manitoba Conference



Date Place Page
October 20-22, 1925 Young Church, Winnipeg 26-27
May 25-27, 1926 Westminster Church, Winnipeg 23-25
June 1-6, 1927 Augustine Church, Winnipeg 29-31
June 5-10, 1928 Central Church , Winnipeg 13
June 5-11, 1929 Westminster Church, Winnipeg 9
June 2-6, 1930 Grace Church, Winnipeg 37-39
June 7-11, 1948 Young Church, Winnipeg 15, 39-40
June 6-10, 1949 Augustine Church, Winnipeg 71-73
June 7-11, 1954 Westminster Church, Winnipeg 44-45
June 6-9, 1955 First Church and St. Paul’s United, Brandon 59-60
June 4-8, 1956 Knox Church, Winnipeg 8, 52
June 6-7, 1958 St. Stephen’s-Broadway Church, Winnipeg 63, 64
June 3-7, 1963 United College, Winnipeg 59-65
June 1-5, 1964 St. Paul`s Church, Port Arthur, Ontario 60-63
June 7-11, 1965 Trinity Church, Portage la Prairie 109-111
June 6-10, 1966 United College, Winnipeg 121-122
June 5-8, 1967 Westminster United Church 100-102
1980   70-71