YMCA Camp Pine Crest is located on 650 acres just outside Torrance, Ontario in beautiful Muskoka. Founded in 1910, the camp is now a part of the YMCA of Greater Toronto. Campers come from across the province and country to participate in summer programming and backcountry trips throughout northern Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and beyond.
With 650 acres of property to explore, we understand if you don't want to spend too much time inside, but it's nice to know it's there when needed. The Traditional Cabin-style accommodation can house up to 250 guests; available from May-October. While the Lodges accommodate up to 72 guests year-round.
Our traditional cabins have five bunk beds; maximum capacity of 10 people or eight campers and two staff members for our summer camps. Each cabin also comes with shelving, a bench seat, electricity, lights, and a small fan. Shared designated washrooms and shower facilities are only a short walk away.
These dormitory-style lodges house six rooms, each with two bunk beds. At maximum capacity, they can sleep 24 people. Or 20 campers and four staff members during summer camps. Our lodges also have a common area, indoor washrooms/showers, and a screened-in porch. Typically, these style accommodations will be used for winter overnight groups and our youngest campers in the summer.
Although 650 acres is a lot of land, the majority of Camp Pine Crest activity takes place on the small peninsula between Clear, Gullwing, and Echo Lakes. Whether you're climbing high above the ground, paddling along the pristine shoreline, or have your two feet firmly planted while releasing an arrow, you're never too far from your camp friends.
Air Programs: 3 high ropes courses, one static challenge course, one climbing wall, and 3 low ropes courses.
Land Programs: 8km of hiking trails, orienteering, archery, axe throwing, outdooring living skills, field games & sports, disc golf, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, tobogganing, Broomball, and many many more!
Sea Lake Programs: 3 swimming spots, one high diving tower, canoeing, kayaking, snorkeling, sailing, and SUPs.
The two largest indoor spaces at Camp Pine Crest are Centennial Lodge and the Yard House Recreation Hall. Centennial Lodge is the oldest building on site, with beams dating back to the late 1800s. It was originally a church and was rebuilt on Pine Crest in 1967. We currently use it for music programs, a gathering space to debrief, or a hiding place from inclement weather.
The Yard House Recreation Hall has been a staple at Pine Crest since 1915. One of the most recognizable buildings from land or canoe, what was once the dining hall is now a place to gather and play games. With paddles lining the walls of campers past and a view of Clear Lake that can't be beat, it's no wonder the "Rec Hall" is a favourite spot on camp.
Looking for a larger space? Our main dining hall, Kekindewin, can be used as a meeting space. It can hold up to 270 people.
Dining Halls and Meals
Meals are an essential part of the Camp Pine Crest experience. We recognize that eating away from home can be trying for participants and parents. Our goal is to be able to put as many of your questions aside before you arrive at camp. At Pine Crest, our Food Service is run by an in-house team. The team is led by our Food Service Director, Shelby Potje who has been with us for nine years and our dedicated kitchen team. All kitchen staff members have their Food Handlers Certificate and have training from allergy Canada (our manager has the allergen training certificate from Traincan). In many cases, our staff were campers at Pine Crest and our team is dedicated to creating the best Pine Crest experience possible.
Our participants' days are packed with activity, and we strive to keep our participants happy and well fueled with nutritious, filling, and delicious food. Our goal is to have lots of options to choose from so that campers can enjoy the food they eat and get the proper nutrition they need. At Camp Pine Crest we strive to meet the needs of all participants whether they are picky eaters, have any dietary restrictions, have a food allergy or follow a specific religious diet. At Camp Pine Crest we believe shared meals can create lasting memories.
Camp Pine Crest is a “Nut Safe” environment and adheres to a strict Anaphylaxis Prevention Policy. We know that many of our participants and staff come to camp with a variety of anaphylactic or non-life-threatening food allergies. All kitchen staff receives training from Food Allergy Canada as well as onsite site-specific training with a focus on safe food handling, cross-contamination prevention and knowledge of allergens. Every staff member on-site has a minimum of Standard First Aid and CPR-C we also review the signs and symptoms of how to spot an allergic reaction. Every counselor will receive a briefing about the allergies and best ways to prevent reactions about every camper in their cabin.
We require all schools/participants to give Pine Crest the information on their food allergies or dietary restrictions in writing ten days before they arrive on site. This includes a description of the allergy or restriction, the severity, the last time they reacted, if they carry an epi pen, what their symptoms usually look like and how they treat their reactions. When Pine Crest has received all the dietary restrictions and food allergies from a school or camper session the food service director will create a menu and alternative menu that meets the need of those with food allergies and dietary restrictions.
During our summer camp season, our Food Service Director will speak to each child and parent/guardian that will be coming to camp with an allergy. When possible, we prefer to have a conversation with any students coming in the outdoor center season as well. Depending on the severity of your or your child’s allergy we may choose to completely remove food from the menu during your camper's stay. During this phone call, we will be creating an Allergy Action Plan. If your camper carries an Epi-pen or another auto-injector, we will remind you that they need to bring two with them. One always stays on them, the other stays at our wellness center. You are also welcome to send your own food to camp as long as it does not contain nuts.
At Pine Crest, we are able to accommodate many different food allergies, dietary restrictions and religious diets. Things we are able to accommodate are:
- Vegetarian and Vegan diet
- Kosher diets can be accommodated with a vegetarian diet only
- Gluten Free
- Dairy/lactose free
- Egg free
- Many other diets with discussion
Where possible we remove food allergens from the menu, however that is not possible for egg, wheat, dairy, or soy. It is also important to note that almost all Pine Crest general bread may contain sesame and we do not have a source of fully sesame free bread.
Once a camper/participant arrives on site we have their counsellors bring them to the kitchen to introduce themselves to the kitchen staff. We ask this for several reasons. First, it allows us to put a face to a name to make sure every child gets the right food. Second, it helps the participant feels more comfortable about any food they eat at camp. Third, it shows the participant where they will pick up their food at each meal. Finally, it allows us to go over any steps they need to follow while at camp in person.
Food Allergies on Trip
The kitchen staff work closely with all counsellors to pack and prepare all food safely for every camper/participant with a food allergy. We determine a menu that has the least amount of food allergen possible. If for example, some allergen is still going on a trip such as cheese with a dairy allergy, we ensure that all of that participant's food is packed separately including anything needed for food preparation. All staff members receive instruction on food allergies, first aid, and cross-contamination. The kitchen and wellness staff are always on hand to help.
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to our food service director by phone or email firstname.lastname@example.org
At breakfast each day we serve a hot option and a breakfast bar. Our hot option includes both a sweet and savory option such as french toast, sausage, scrambled eggs, fruit salad and home fries. Our breakfast bar includes a variety of cold cereals, yogurt, fresh-cut fruit, whole fruit, pastries, and bagels, toast or English muffins along with an oatmeal bar.
Lunches will see a wide variety of options including veggie sticks or a salad on the table as well a salad and soup bar. A few of our typical lunches are:
Greek chicken with pita, rice, tzatziki, roast potatoes and greek salad, a turkey and pesto sandwich with potato wedges and roasted broccoli, or tacos with a variety of toppings including cheese, lettuce, homemade Pico and sour cream with rice and nachos.
Dinners see an expanded salad bar as well as a hot option such as a variety of pasta, roasts, butter chicken, pad Thai etc. Dinners always include water, milk, and a dessert. Dinners may follow a specific theme coordinated with our program team.
Fresh fruit and water are available throughout the day at any time from the kitchen. Campers and participants are encouraged to use a water bottle throughout the day. A mid-afternoon snack is delivered to each skills group for the end of each skills block.
Evening snacks such as homemade muffins, fresh popcorn, cheese and crackers and fresh fruit with dip are served each evening before bed.
Food on trip is packed and prepared by campers and staff together. Food on trip is a learning experience and a great way for kids to learn about cooking. Food on trip is plentiful and varied. We ensure that there are also plenty of snacks. Food on trip is also geared to the participants tastes though we also encourage all participants to try new food too!