Camp Kawartha

Our History

For almost a century, Camp Kawartha has been providing outstanding outdoor recreation and education experiences to children, families, youth groups, and the wider community.

1921Established in 1921

In 1921, the Rotary Club of Peterborough purchased 186 acres of land on Clear Lake in the Kawartha’s region of eastern Ontario for $250 from a local farmer, Mr. Samuel Bryson. The Club intended to develop a boy’s camp “free from the artificial life of cities” … “where boys learn to rely on their own resources and experience the joys of achievement in their work and play” (from a brochure published in 1922).

  • Boy’s Camp – story of how Camp Kawartha came to be (exerpt from a document found titled “Historical Sketch of the Rotary Club of Peterborough)


By July 1922, the “Kawartha Boy’s Camp” was in operation, serving its first forty boys. The Camp operated under the direction of the Rotary Club until the early 1950’s.

group of campers, circa 1950


The camp was purchased by the Peterborough and District YMCA in 1954. The Camp developed into both a boy’s and girl’s facility and was renamed “Camp Kawartha.” After many successful years of operation, the YMCA closed the camp in 1982 when it encountered financial challenges.


A group of Rotarians and concerned citizens formed Camp Kawartha Incorporated. They purchased the property to promote camping and an awareness of the natural environment to youth “for all seasons”. Camp Kawartha has functioned as a year round, not-for-profit organization ever since.


Rotary Hall was Built. Gainey & Orielly Cabin donated, IODE cabin built


Greenhouse was built


Camp Kawartha hosts the International Straw Bale Conference, who assists with building our straw bale main office.


In November 2007, Camp Kawartha in partnership with the Peterborough, Victoria, Northumberland, Clarington Catholic (PVNCC) District School Board and Trent University created the “Trent Nature and Environment Centre”. Located on Trent lands, this facility provided innovative curriculum-linked nature and environment programming from Kindergarten to Grade Four.


The Camp Kawartha Environment Centre, designed and built by students in Fleming College’s Sustainable Building Design and Construction program, is a unique partnership between the Gainey Foundation, Trent University, Fleming College, and Camp Kawartha.


Cabin Upgrades, various facility upgrades


Kitchen undergoes a major renovation


More cabin upgrades.