Scouting and Guiding in Ontario

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Scouting and Guiding in Ontario has a long history. Although there is some dispute about the founding of the first Scouting Group, 1st St. Catherines Scout Group has a documented existence from 1908. In 1955, the 8th World Scout Jamboree was held at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Scouting continues in Ontario to the present day, serving thousands of youths in programs that suit the environment in which they live.

Scouting organizations in Ontario

Ontario crest prior to 2000
L'Association des Scouts du Canada Ontario crest

There are several Scouting organizations operating in Ontario. The largest of these is Scouts Canada, which had a combined youth and adult membership as of August 2007 of 99,573.[1] While most Scouts Canada groups operate in English, some operate in French, and French language handbooks and resource material are available. Scouting in the French language is also provided under the auspices of L'Association des Scouts du Canada (sometimes referred to as Les Scouts). These groups are situated mostly in the eastern and north eastern parts of the province which have a higher concentration of francophone residents. Together, Scouts Canada and the Association des Scouts du Canada are members of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM).

Ontario has several organizations which are not part of WOSM. In some cases, they were created because members felt that Scouts Canada had drifted too far from the program originally developed by Robert Baden-Powell. Some trace their roots to the Baden-Powell Scouts in the United Kingdom such as the PBSA Ontario Provincial Council, which was formed in 1998 as a member of the PBSA Federation of Canada. Some are members of the Canadian Federation of Independent Scouting, which in turn is a member of the World Federation of Independent Scouts. Members of this federation include the Traditional Explorers Association Council of Ontario.[2] The 1st Four Arrows Group in Thornhill, Ontario is part of the Federation of North-American Explorers, who in turn are Members of the faith-based Union Internationale des Guides et Scouts d'Europe, founded in 1956.

There are at least three ethnic or culturally based scouting associations which operate in Ontario:

Scouts Canada

History of Scouts Canada's Provincial Council for Ontario

On December 21, 1910 his Excellency Earl Grey, Governor General of Canada and Chief Scout for Canada, together with His Honour J.M. Gibson, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Dr. K.A. Pyne, Ontario Minister of Education, and a number of prominent citizens from all parts of the province, met in Toronto to select gentlemen who are interested and who would assist in the Boy Scout Movement and form a Council for Ontario.

For many years Scouts Canada scouting in Ontario was led by this Provincial Council for Ontario, under which operated numerous regional councils the exact number and geography of which changed over the years. However in 2002 when Scouts Canada reorganized, the provincial council ceased to exist and the eight councils remaining in Ontario reported directly to the national council. An incorporated body still exists for the purpose of holding ownership of property as required by provincial laws.

Presidents of the Provincial Council for Ontario[3]

  • 1910–1913 W.K. George
  • 1913–1920 Lt. Col. A.E. Gooderham
  • 1920–1922 G.E. Fauquier
  • 1922–1936 J.W. Mitchell
  • 1936–1938 P.G. Cherry
  • 1938–1939 Col. Sir G.McL. Brown
  • 1939–1645 W.J. Cairns
  • 1945–1951 A.H. Richardson
  • 1951–1957 J.B. Ridley
  • 1957–1959 W.H.J. Tisdale
  • 1959–1961 I.D. MacArthur
  • 1961–1962 A.R. Aylsworth
  • 1963–1964 J.B. Ridley
  • 1964–1965 W.R. Kay, F.C.A.
  • 1966–1967 E.A Jarrett
  • 1968–1969 K.R. Van Wyck
  • 1970–1971 J.K McKay
  • 1972–1974 S.E. Lovell
  • 1974–1975 Judge C.O. Bick
  • 1975–1977 Dr. B.M. Jackson
  • 1977-1978 W.B. Tilden
  • 1978-1979 F.L Greaves
  • 1979-1981 R.A. Norman
  • 1981-1983 W.A. Baker
  • 1983-1985 T.D. Philp
  • 1985-1987 M.W. Townsend
  • 1987-1990 H.R. Finley
  • 1990-1993 L.R.L. Symmes
  • 1993-1995 J.S. Cowan
  • 1995-1998 D.W. Hamilton
  • 1998-2000 R. Dychuck
  • 2000-2002 Kathryn Brown (1st female Ontario Council President)

Provincial Commissioners[4]

  • 1910-1913 Capt R.S. Wilson
  • 1913-1922 W.K. George
  • 1922-1924 J.F.M. Stewart
  • 1924-1934 H.A. Laurence
  • 1934-1938 W.J. Cairns
  • 1938-1941 Lt. Col. R.P. Locke
  • 1941-1948 Lt. Col. L.H. Millen
  • 1948-1957 W.H.J. Tisdale
  • 1957-1964 F.A. Worth
  • 1965-1966 R.A. Phillips
  • 1966-1969 A.W. Denny
  • 1969-1972 Rev. Prof. Dr. R.J. Williams
  • 1972-1976 C.J. Clark
  • 1976-1978 F.L. Greaves
  • 1978-1980 D.M. Deacon
  • 1980-1983 F.A. Whiskin
  • 1983-1986 E.R. McCrimmon
  • 1986-1989 H. Coulson, C.D.
  • 1989-1992 K.H Robertson
  • 1992-1994 Rev. P. Jackson
  • 1994-1997 J.A. Evans (1st female Ontario Provincial Commissioner)
  • 1997-1999 T. Godfrey
  • 1999-2002 C. Lawrence

Provincial Executive Directors[5]

(Previously known as Provincial Scout Executive or Provincial Executive Commissioner or Executive Secretary. In early years it also carried the title of Assistant Provincial Commissioner.)

  • 1910–1920 Capt. H.G. Hammond
  • 1920–1954 Frank C. Irwin
  • 1955–1969 Reginald St.J. Terrett
  • 1969–1989 Joseph E. Turner
  • 1989–1995 Frank C. Spence
  • 1996–2002 Barry M. Hardaker

Col. Rufus Spooner of The Salvation Army acted as Provincial Executive Commissioner following Frank Irwin's sudden death until the appointment of Reg Terrett.

Scouts Canada and WOSM Jamborees held in Ontario

  • 1949: 1st Canadian Scout Jamboree, Connaught Ranges, Ottawa, Ontario. 2,579 attend.
  • 1953: 2nd Canadian Scout Jamboree, Connaught Ranges, Ottawa, Ontario. 1,196 attend.
  • 1955: 8th World Scout Jamboree Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
  • 1961: 3rd Canadian Scout Jamboree, Connaught Ranges, Ottawa, Ontario. 2,095 attend.
  • 1985: 6th Canadian Scout Jamboree, Guelph Lake Conservation Area, Guelph, Ontario. 12,000 attend.
  • 1997: 9th Canadian Scout Jamboree, Boulevard Lake Park, Thunder Bay, Ontario. 13,879 attend.

Scouts Canada councils in Ontario

Ontario is administered in Scouts Canada by 8 Councils divided into Service Areas.

  • Battlefields Council
    • Brant Area
    • Fruitbelt
    • Haldimand
    • Hamilton-Wentworth Area
    • Lynn Valley
    • Merritt Trail
    • Niagara Area
    • South Waterloo Area
    • St. Catharines Area
  • Central Escarpment Council
    • Brampton Area
    • Burlington Area
    • Greater Halton
    • Mississauga Area
    • North Waterloo Area
    • Oakville
    • Wellington Area
    • Yellow Briar
  • Greater Toronto Council
    • Alders Area
    • Agincourt Area
    • Humber West Area
    • Old Mill Area
    • East Scarborough Area
    • West Scarborough Area
    • Seton Area
    • Skyline Area
    • Sunnybrook Area
    • Willow Valley Area
  • Northern Ontario Council
    • Nipissing Area
    • Sault Ste. Marie Area
    • Sudbury Area
    • Thunder Bay Area
    • Black River Area
    • Points North Area
    • Ken Kee Area
    • Sunset Area
  • Shining Waters Council
    • Simcoe Phoenix Area
    • South Lake Simcoe Area
    • Wendake Shores Area
  • Tri-Shores Council
    • Elgin Area
    • London Area
    • Sydenham Area
    • Windsor Area
    • Essex Area
    • Chatham/Kent Area
    • Bluewater Area
    • Frontier Area
    • Mindaamin Area
  • Voyageur Council
    • Heritage Area
    • Loyalist Area (Kingston/Frontenac)
    • Nunavut
    • Stormont-Glengarry
    • Nepean Area
    • Valley Highlands Area
    • Rideau Area
    • Upper St. Lawrence Valley Area
    • Algonquin Hills Area
    • Odawa Area
  • White Pine Council
    • Oshawa Area
    • Algonquinte Area
    • Kawartha Waterways Area
    • Owasco Area
    • Trillium Highlands Area
    • Whitby Area
    • Lakeshore Ridge Area

Scouts Canada Council camp sites

Because much of scouting's programs are focused on the outdoors, a large number of properties have been donated or purchased and developed as scouting campgrounds over the years. Driven by declining membership, increasing costs, and liability issues, Scouts Canada conducted a property review in Ontario which concluded that dozens of camps should be sold. This has resulted in legal action between the Scouts Canada Ontario Incorporated Body and local Scouters. Action was underway in November 2005 and is ongoing. [6] Scouts Canada's camps in Ontario are generally administered by one of the four Administrative Centres. The following list is as of May 14, 2007 [7]:

Central Ontario
  • Blue Springs Scout Reserve (near Acton, Ontario)
  • Camp Char'Bro (near Owen Sound, Ontario)
  • Camp Everton (near Rockwood, Ontario)
  • Goodyear Memorial Scout Camp (near Orangeville, Ontario)
  • Green Bay Scout Camp (Lake Cecebe, Ontario on the Magnetawan River system)
  • Haliburton Scout Reseve (near Haliburton, Ontario)
  • Camp Manitou (near Campbellville, Ontario)
  • Camp Wildman Scout Camp (near Midland, Ontario)
  • Woodland Trails Scout Camp (near Stouffville, Ontario)
Eastern Ontario
  • Camp Apple Hill (near Stormont-Glengarry)
  • Camp Opemikon (near Perth, Ontario
  • Otter Lake (Otter Lake, Quebec)
  • Camp Samac (in Oshawa]], Ontario)
Southwestern Ontario
  • Camp Attawandaron (near Grand Bend, Ontario and bordering Pinery Provincial Park)
  • Barber Memorial Scout Camp (adjacent to the Eramosa River)
  • The Bryson Centre (in the north end of London, Ontario)
  • Camp Cataraqui (east of Chatham, Ontario)
  • Camp Cedarwin (near Kingsville, Ontario)
  • Camp Impeesa (near Brantford, Ontario)
  • Camp Mohawk (in Kitchener, Ontario)
  • Mount Nemo Camp (near Burlington, Ontario)
  • Ragged Falls (near Dwight, Ontario)
  • Camp Shegardaynou (near Woodstock, Ontario)
  • Camp Sylvan (north of London, Ontario)
  • Camp Timkin (near St Thomas, Ontario)
  • Camp Wadiscoca (near Wallaceburg, Ontario)
  • Camp Wetaskiwin (near St. Catharines, Ontario)
Northern Ontario
Other facilities and province-wide events
  • Belleville District Scout-Guide Museum
  • Scout Brigade of Fort George [1], Niagara-on-the-Lake
  • Gilwell Reunion

129th Toronto Scouting Group

The 129th Toronto Scouting Group (also known as the Queer Toronto Scouting Group) was believed to be the first group worldwide exclusively for gay, lesbian, and bisexual youths and adults. The group was founded by gay activist Bonte Minnema and chartered by Scouts Canada in 1999.[8][9] Consistent with Scouts Canada policy, the group was co-ed. It made world headlines, including the BBC World News, when a story by Reuters first brought attention to the group's existence.

In October 1999, American Pastor Fred Phelps and his congregation at the Westboro Baptist Church planned to protest outside the Ontario offices of Scouts Canada. However, Canada Customs denied them entry into the country. This prevented Phelps and his church members from appearing, and left supporters of the group to rally outside the offices without opposition.

The group folded in 2001 due to a lack of interest.

Girl Guiding in Ontario

Mary Malcolmson organized the first Canadian Girl Guide Company to be officially registered in St. Catharines, Ontario; their registration is dated January, 1910. A park in St. Catharines was later named for Mary Malcolmson. Other Guide Companies were registered later in 1910, in Toronto. The First Toronto Company held the first-recorded Girl Guide Camp in Canada on the banks of the Credit River in June, 1911. By 1912, the movement had spread to all parts of Canada, and had become so popular that on July 24, 1912 Agnes Baden-Powell created Lady Mary Pellatt "Chief Commissioner of the Dominion of Canada Girl Guides". Many Guide events were held at her home, Casa Loma, in Toronto. It is now a tourist attraction with a special Girl Guide display.

Guiding is now served by the Guiding in Canada - Ontario Council, with 44,000 girl members, 11,000 adults, 13 Areas and 37 camps throughout Ontario.

8th World Scout Jamboree

In 1955, the 8th World Scout Jamboree was held at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. This was the first World Jamboree to be held in the Western Hemisphere. The setting was a rolling parkland, and 11,000 Scouts attended this gathering, which was notable for the number of Scout contingents that crossed the Atlantic by air to attend—1,000 from Great Britain alone.

Scout memorials

Scouting memorials include a Thompson Seton Park in Toronto, Ontario,[10] a historic plaque in Lindsay, Ontario and, the commemorative for the 8th World Scout Jamboree in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario where the 50th Anniversary Plaque is located near Butler's Barracks.[11]

Scouting by City

Ottawa / Sudbury / Toronto /

See also


  1. Canada Membership Statistics
  2. "Canadian Federation of Independent Scouting". CA Retrieved 2007-09-17. 
  3. Celebrating 90 Years of Scouting in Ontario, 2000, p.165
  4. Celebrating 90 Years of Scouting in Ontario, 2000, p.166
  5. Celebrating 90 Years of Scouting in Ontario, 2000, p.167
  6. "Legal action over Camp Timken". Retrieved 2007-09-17. 
  7. Scouts Canada, Canadian Campsites and Outdooor Programs|accessdate= 04-05-2008
  8. "First gay/lesbian Scout troop". Perceptions P133 (v17n8): 28. December 8, 1999. 
  9. Brooke, James (July 3, 2000). "Gay and Lesbian Scouts Received With Open Arms in Tolerant Canada". San Francisco Chronicle. The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-26. 
  10. "Toronto Parks". Retrieved 2007-09-17. 
  11. "Plan Your Visit". Retrieved 2007-09-17. 

External links