Our History

Tradition lives at OCA.

This is our history.

From 1900-1925, Ontario was home to several private camps. The pioneer leaders of these camps regularly attended American Camping Association conferences. However, the sessions and discussions at these conventions primarily were for an American audience. There was no association focused on the issues that these Ontario camp leaders faced.

So, they started their own.

The Ontario Camping Association was formally founded in 1933. Finally, Canadian camp leaders had someone to advocate for them in government and within the camp industry. The knowledge they shared would shape Ontario camps forever.

The first order of business was to extend membership to all camps. Ontario’s diversity is its greatest strength. It only made sense to welcome agencies and religious organizations into the Association. 

Ontario’s diversity and population grew – and so did the OCA.

Soon, the development of health and safety standards for camps became necessary, so OCA took the lead! The OCA developed standards. Camps applying for OCA Accreditation had to adopt and maintain these standards at their camps, leading to safer camps.

Today, OCA’s membership is made up of more than 800 Members including 400+Camps and Outdoor Education Centres, Preferred Vendors, Affiliates, Individuals and Honorary Life Members.

Like our founders, our Members and Honorary Life Members continue to pass down our province’s camp traditions to the next generation.

For more information on the history of the OCA, please visit our archives at Trent University Archives.


Be part of OCA’s future!

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Help Us #SaveCanadianCamps

On May 19, 2020 the Government of Ontario announced that due to COVID-19, overnight camps in Ontario would continue to be ordered closed throughout the summer. Day Camps were allowed to open in August, but many did not open for a variety of reasons.

More than 1,000 camps are in risk of permanent closure if they don’t receive funding support from the government. We are engaging in ongoing constructive dialogue with the federal government about securing the right help — including with senior leaders from the Prime Minister’s Office, the office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and the office of the Minister of Economic Development.



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OCA Archives

Learn more about the archives, and how you can contribute.

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OCA Past Presidents

Learn more about our past leadership.