Our Story

It all started about sixty years ago in 1955.

There was a vision: to give children in Toronto a chance to experience God through the beauty of the northern Ontario wilderness.

Emerson McDowell, the pastor at Danforth Mennonite Church in Toronto, along with a committee of seven others, planned the first summer of programs. In the summer of 1955, children from Toronto went to camp at Elvon Burkholder’s farm near Fraser Lake. There were 23 boys one week; 30 girls the next week. Activities that summer included climbing trees, watching the farmer milk his cows, and playing with the kittens in the barnyard. After a half hour hike through the forest to the lake, the campers enjoyed swimming and boating. Campers slept in tents, and meals were served in the summer kitchen at the back of the farmhouse.


It was the beginning of a great story – one that continues today.

What a different place it is now! With a beautiful dining hall with a wrap-around lakeside deck, no more half hour trek to the lake, electricity in the cabins, a climbing wall, jumping tower, water trampoline, landscaped waterfront, kayaks, bikes, dragon boats, canoes, and more, it has grown and evolved beyond this early vision.

But the vision remains: to give children an escape from the everyday – to find their true selves and the people God is calling them to be in the natural setting of Fraser Lake. To nurture a diverse community where everyone is welcome, and where everyone can grow.

What is it about this place? Over the years, many people have come to describe it as “home.” As a place where they really come alive, explore their faith, and live in community with others.

Fraser Lake Camp boasts a rich history, with hundreds of hands that have helped to make it the wonderful place it is. We continue to promote Mennonite values of community building and peacemaking. We continue to grow and evolve, adapting to change.

And do you know who continues to shape this amazing place? You! By becoming part of this community, you help to mould it through the gifts and talents that you bring.

Can your hands help to build Fraser this summer?

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