Healthy CommunitiesHealthy KidsYMCA Camps and Outdoor Education

Self-described city people experience a day of family firsts on Toronto Island

20 July 2020 - by Leigh Coffey

Every summer for the past 30+ years, hundreds of sun-screened campers would board the ferry with their YMCA Day Camp counsellors and head to Ward’s Island for fun-filled days of canoeing, kayaking, fire building, crafts, ga-ga ball and more. A few short months ago, when we realized summer day camp wouldn’t be quite the same this year, our team was quick to think of new ways to ensure as many families as possible could enjoy a Toronto Island Y experience. To sum up a long story of planning, developing safety protocols, and brainstorming new ways to bring you fun in the sun… Y Family Adventures was born!

Y Family Adventures is a brand-new program running at Brampton Heart Lake, YMCA Cedar Glen, and Toronto Island. For the first time ever, our experienced Y Day Camp staff are taking entire families on day-long adventures in the great outdoors.

What our very first family had to say

Last week, we welcomed our first family to our first-ever Y Family Adventure at Toronto Island! Heather and her family are members at the West End Y. Her eldest son had been looking forward to spending two weeks at YMCA Camp Pine Crest this summer, so Heather thought Y Family Adventures could be a unique alternative — for her whole family!

Here’s what she wanted to share about the experience.

Woman and child in a kayak on the lake

“We had such a WONDERFUL day. The kids learned so much! Will was a warm and experienced camp facilitator who managed to capture the kids’ attention while making every moment a teachable one. We joke that we are city people, so during our family camp day, we experienced a number of family firsts: the first time we went canoeing, the first time we tried archery, our first campfire, and our first family bike ride. The YMCA had all of the resources we needed to have these experiences and do so safely. It truly felt like a curated outdoor experience tailored to our family.

“Each of our children had a different favorite experience — one loved going canoeing, one enjoyed the ghost story about the island lighthouse (and wants to research more about it!), and one cannot wait to go back to the island and play in the garden maze. Y Family Adventures unlocked a love of the Toronto Island for our family.”

Take your own adventure

It’s not too late to take a Y Family Adventure this summer! Visit our website to learn more, or jump straight to our Camp Guide and choose one of our three Y Family Adventure locations: Brampton Heart Lake, YMCA Cedar Glen, or Toronto Island. You’ll then get to choose the dates for your adventure and save your spot — all online, with just a few clicks.


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