6.22.2010

Bolton Camp

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Hey ya folks,

It's been a while but we've been biding our time, collecting our resources, effecting meticulous planning, and training our crack squad of urban explorer ninjas to bring to you this, our latest exploration. Unfortunately, like any decent Shakespearian play, we get caught by the caretaker or in this particular case, a witch in a Ford Truck posing as a caretaker.

Before we carry on too long, let's watch a short video . . .



A bit of History now on the Bolton Camp

This camp was founded in 1922 as Fresh Air Camp for mothers with small children, boys and girls from low income families by the The Neighborhood Workers Association of Toronto. The camp physically consisted of 92 acres of hillside, wooded glen and the properties adjacent to Cold Creek Stream which had been once used as a local Angler Club. The Association had purchased the property for $11,500 ( a large amount of money back then).

In it's very first year, 160 city children and their mothers travelled from Toronto to Bolton by steam train and then by truck to the 39-hectare camp north of the city. In the 1930's and the great depression had hit many hard in the area and this camp was a bright place for many unfortunate kids to escape the heat and extreme poverty of the city. This camp was available free of charge to many families (on a case by case basis) through the Fresh Air Fund.






















In 1928, it cost $8.56 per child for a 12 day program at Bolton Camp, which included food, transportation, medical care, upkeep of buildings, sanitation system and some non-volunteer staff positions such as
a resident physician and a few nurses.

The children were weighed on entering and before leaving for home. There are stories that some underweight children at that time gained a pound a day. During the first 17 years of Operation, 17,641 children and mothers enjoyed a holiday at the camp. There were a total of four separate camps which shared property and resources - Rotary, Sherbourne, Hastins and Howell.





















In 2000, the Bolton Camp property was sold by the Association (now known as the Family Service Association of Toronto ), when it was decided that collaborative, community-based programs would more effectively engage families at risk due to low income or discrimination. Part of the proceeds from the sale of Bolton Camp were used to fund many needed and worthy projects.























The camp and property was purchased by the Toronto Montessori Schools which had constructed a large modern complex on the north side of the camp which was named the Caledon-King Campus. This campus had closed its doors in just five short years (reasons unknown at the time of posting), and the property is now for sale. The property has an assessed value of approximately 4.6 million (OPAC / MPAC 2005 assessment).





















Unfortunately, local a$$-clown vandals have found their way onto the property and smashed just about anything they could lay their paws on. Due to this, the caretakers are now extremely sensitive to anyone coming onto the property and will likely run you over with their truck. (yeah rlly)
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40 comments:

~z0th said...

Heres to hoping the caretakers realize that people with cameras really arent interested in wrecking the place, we just want to document it.

Funky_Punky said...

I'm guessing the crazy Jamican lady (and I do use that term loosely) and her redneck counterpart were likely just protecting their grow op. Seriously, she was way too angry about our presence for just some underpaid caretaker! And that's Punky's take on the matter!

phrenzee said...

I'm glad y'all made it here. That's weird about the Jamaican woman. I think Funky_Punky's grow op theory might be correct.

Anonymous said...

I went to that camp back in the 70's and its a shame it had to close because it did do a lot of good for the kids.

Anonymous said...

I also went to this camp and really enjoyed it. My mother was a single parent and we were lucky to have something like this.

Anonymous said...

My mother worked there and so I spent every summer of my young life there. I also worked there in 1999 when they were shutting down. Your video made me very sad.

AJ said...

Some great pics. Its not often you come across an abandoned swimming pool, in my experience!

Anonymous said...

I went there when I was a kid. It's sad that it's abanded I think Tim Hortons should buy it and reopen it for kids because it a great memory to have, if I was rich I would totally buy the property in a hart beat and reopen for the kids that never get the chance to go camping :)

Anonymous said...

I went to Bolton Camp as a little girl with my Mom and I loved it. I went back year after year until I was just too old. It's really too bad. I too would buy it in a heartbeat and give it back to the kids. I was hoping to at least visit but that sounds like it's not an option either. :-)

Anonymous said...

Bolton camp sucked! My Brother and I went there in the 80's and cleaned up in the running marathons. The councilers were douch bags working for 5 bucks an hour. Even if it was still around I would not subject my children to that hell hole. As far as I'm concerned the place needs to be bulldozed!!

polarbeach said...

Very sad video ! I was also in a single mother family and Bolton was the only way I could afford to go to camp. Maybe it was crap to you like the one poster said, but to me it was a place of escape and magic and I had nothing but great experiences with all of the staff. IMo they made a mistake in selling it, you just can't put a price on these kind of experiences.

Anonymous said...

i also went here back in the 80's it was some of the best times as a kid does anyone remember the story about the old man and his family they had the little house there and where buried there

Anonymous said...

Ya I remember that story lol I also was there in the 80s & I went in that half in the ground house of old man Bolton! Wish it was still up and running cuz I would so go back to help in anyway I could! Great camp when I was there.

Anonymous said...

I was walking through the forest just the other day and I met a purple people eater on my way and he put me in a big pot! Making a purple stew....

Anonymous said...

I was a Chestnut, Sumac and a Sequoia! I remember the mosquitoes and moths flying around the outdoor washroom lights. I remember a girl wearing a black bathing suit and singing Rod Stewerts "if you like my body.." I thought she was so cool. We slept in a cabin with a few other girls in our own bunks. We had a competition and were divided into groups. We had to come up with a skit. The prize was 1st group allowed to shower. This meant hot water! If you were last you got cold water for sure! The regular old skit was to throw a blanket over yourself and pretend you were a giraffe that would pee on people. Our skit (my idea) was to get contestants to try and look at the scary creature under the blanket. The host would call the audience one by one and one by one each person would run away after looking under the blanket at the creature. The last person was called down to look and was so hard to look at and scary that the creature ran away! Well we won first place! That was a great day!

Unknown said...

To ~z0th's comment about caretakers, trespassing is trespassing whether you're carrying a camera or a baseball bat. Can't expect people to know your intent when you are already breaking the law by being there.

Nevertheless, this is a nice tribute to Bolton Camp, thank you!. I grew up right next door to it but never attended it (what for when it was already my extended back yard?). The caretakers of the past always gave us permission to walk it because we were their eyes on the ground. The campers sometimes blundered onto our land and mistook my dad for Old Man Boton. I can't say I know who this crazy Jamaican lady is, but I assure you there are no grow ops. I keep an eye on the place (not that the most recent past owner really cared about the property - hence the assclowns had their way).

You will be glad to know that the Toronto and Region Conservaton Authority recently acquired it, and they intend to re-establish a kids' camp use on the former camp area of the property.

Hubert said...

I went there in the 70's. It was an awesome camp. I grew up in the Toronto Ontario Housing Projects so it was cool to go there in the summer. Do you haver or know where to get anymore of the camper group photos. If so can you post them. Thank.

Glen C. said...

I loved it their. i went in the late 70's and early 80's. it was a shame that it closed. old man bolton and the groanies rocked. lol. Oh. im from camp bolton and were on the best team. lolol.

Anonymous said...

Sadly I didn't know it had closed. I went every summer, and had a blast as a child there.

President TDot said...

i went there too...in the video,pic with all the boys sittin with stu and jimbo,that was the year shotgun got sent home...too bad this place got shut down...no kids will hear of how old man bolton did in his family and turned em into groonies

Anonymous said...

I went there with my two brothers in the early 60s for a summer or two. We really enjoy it. I still remember "Bolton's Song" but can't remember a small part of it. What I can remember is: "Green hills, valleys, and meadows brown, ......??...., friendship, hearts full of gladness, this is Bolton's Song, Bolton, Bolton, this is Bolton's Song." Can anyone remember the bit that I've left out?
As someone who used to live in Regent Park, I really benefited from a week at Camp Bolton. I hope they restore it to its former glory.

Anonymous said...

I loved Bolton Camp. I was there in the early 60s. I sometimes recall Bolton's Song: "Green hills, valleys, and meadows brown ....???..., friendship, hearts full of gladness this is Bolton's Song, Bolton, Bolton, this is Bolton's song." Can anyone fill in the missing words that I can't remember?

Anonymous said...

As a young boy growing up in the Junction, Toronto, in a single parent family, my mother and 4 younger siblings it was a fantastic journey to Bolton Camp via train. I don't recognize the large buildings but do remember the pool! I ventured into the deep end one day and was suspended below the surface and couldn't go down to push off from the bottom. I was just about to swallow water when a counsellor noticed my dilemma and reached down and pulled me out! I went to the camp a couple of years when I was 10 & 11, II think. It would be a great idea to revive a place like that:)

Anonymous said...

In response to the pic comment. I was actually in that pic to my surprise lol great memory ! Stu was my counsellor and the best. I remember getting in a fight with a kid in that pic and punched him in the face crazy kids. Why did shotgun get sent home ?

Anonymous said...

I went there two years in a row around 1959 or 1960. Remember how the age groups were named after Indian tribes, Huron, Iroquois etc. The video says the pool was installed in 1972, but I remember there being one when I was there. A friend of mine almost drowned and they had to pull him off the bottom of the pool. He coughed up a gallon of water but he was okay.

Anonymous said...

yes its a shame, i was a camper aswell as a counselor there and had hoped to share my memories with my children, besides my secret friend, purple stew my fav was rock a way beach aka cliff with a rope to swing into water....goodtimes

Teresa said...

I also went there in the 80's. I remember old man Bolton story. I remember it like this it was a stormy night and the husband/father had to go out and get is dog or something and was hit by lightening. When he returned he killed the wife and kids. There were nails hanging out of the wood and that's how he killed the wife.

Teresa said...

Camp Bolton songs

Oh where from camp bolton and we're on that best team we do the wa-tu-see we're 7 feet tall
no matter the weather, we all stick together, cause we're from camp Bolten and we're on the ball
sing-along, sing-along, sing-along woo ..... en-gawa (6x's) en gawawa....one more time!!! Bang on tables
Rotary.. You better learn..cause when you play with fire you get burned..jump back..don't touch..cause the sherbourn girls are too much, hot stuff (point to butt with finger) sssssss

Anonymous said...

I'm 80 and my widowed Mother worked at Rotary in the kitchen during the 1930's and 40's...we 3 children got to stay all summer for several years.
I learned to swim quite young and the old camp songs have never left me, loved the train ride and then the trip on the back of a truck with benches to get to the camp...caring fun staff....we set sail little candle boats on the creek on our last night.....great memories.

Hubert Boorder said...

Please post the address. I can't find the address anywhere. I'd like to see where it was. I use yo be a camper in the 70s and it was the best place ever.

Thanks.

Charles gans said...

I worked there 84 or 85 everyone was given a nickname Bochuck was mine I still think about that summer to this day and it was a very special time and will never forget

Anonymous said...

I worked as a teacher at the Kindergarten Cottage at Howell in the summers of 1959 and 1960. I loved it and will never forget the experience.

Troy said...

I'm also one of the lucky ones that got to spend a few years at Bolton Camp. It was a great time. The archery and red rover, zip line and camping outdoor at eagle lookout.
Who doesn't look back and remember the horrible camp burgers and kinda miss them, even want to have one more.
I wish I could say I would even recognize anyone I went there with if I saw a photo of them, but I do remember the time I was there. To all the others that remember it fondly,, UNGOWAH !!!

Anonymous said...

I went to the school for the 5 years that it was running. my father worked for the school and we lived on the property in the house by the pool (which is now gone). i attended the camp for the 5 years that the school was running and it was the most amazing experience. i loved growing up on this property it made my childhood an experience no other child ever had.

Anonymous said...

The site has been purchased by the Toronto Conservation Authority and will be re-developed into a community space.http://www.trca.on.ca/the-living-city/public-consultations/bolton-camp-redevelopment-committee.dot they are looking for imput.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed Bolton camp in the mid 70's...Have great memories, from swimming lessons to all the songs. Jonny Appleseed before meals. Sequoia's a tree...and we all will agree...that it stands for strength and growth...when your with us, your having fun, because we are number one...wow 35 years later and I still remember the songs...oatmeal in the morning and the blueberry applesauce :) A little trip down memory lane. You can google map the camp. It is just to the north west of King and townline in Bolton.

Sean McAuley said...

Check out Bolton Camps Facebook page tons of photos and people you probably haven't heard from in a very longtime...

little Smoky said...

Old man bolton cabin by the clay pits wattch out four the groanies i know every place there i weent for 15 yrs i loved it there !!!

Anonymous said...

was just googling to have my grand babies go there...I went in the early 60;s and part of the 70.s my kids went so would have made a great family tradition....."we are the sherbourne girls we wear our hair in curls ..wear our dungarees way down below our knees..we wear our fathers shirts and our brothers ties and when we want a guy we just give an eye

Anonymous said...

Looks like they are actually going to redo this place. Good on them!

http://prezi.com/knu1pqvurmoq/bolton-camp-revitalization/