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Camp Northway

Lock Box 10003 Huntsville
Cache Lake, Algonquin Park, Ontario, P1H 2G7
Camp Northway logo

Camp Northway  

Lock Box 10003 Huntsville, Cache Lake, Algonquin Park, Ontario, P1H 2G7

  • Type:
    Overnight camp
  • Focus:
    Traditional (multi activity)
  • Cost:
    $1,556 to $1,754/week
  • Ages:
    7 to 16
  • Gender:
    All Girls
  • Main language:
  • Capacity:
  • Programs:
Request more info
  • Summary

    Camp Northway answered our questions

    Who are you as an organization?

    Canada's oldest summer camp for girls on beautiful Cache Lake in Algonquin Park. Providing a home in the wilderness since 1906 for girls 7-16 to explore nature, form lifelong friendships, learn new skills, and discover their strengths while creating lasting memories. We offer traditional programming with a focus on canoe trips; fostering independence, resilience and confidence.

    • Special needs: Not available

    What do you do differently or uniquely well?

    "Northway has changed very little since it was founded in 1906--campers still live in large platform tents-3 girls with their counsellor; we still get our drinking water from a drilled well with a handpump, and have no electricity. Our founder's philosophy that girls should learn how to live simply in the outdoors and that the absence of appliances and luxuries would give campers a wilderness experience which they might draw upon throughout their lives still guides us, and is perhaps more relevant today than ever before. We believe the ideals of canoe-tripping—friendliness, lending a helping hand, and creative adaptation in a group—are a template for life in camp and throughout adulthood."

    Who are your staff and counsellors?

    "Many of our staff are long-time campers before joining the ranks of our staff team. We have a 3:1 camper:staff ratio in camp, and a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio on canoe trips. All staff have First Aid training and at minimum the Bronze Cross swim certification; canoe trip guides have Wilderness First Aid certification as well. Our small camp size, and high camper-staff ratio means everyone at camp gets to know everyone else, and our counsellors interact with all campers regularly, creating a welcoming and friendly community. Our staff are great advocates for our nature-based camp life, and share their passion for Algonquin Park while helping to create strong, independent girls."

    What do families need to know about registration?

    "Signing up for camp is easy; simply click the link to our online application site: https://campnorthwaycampwendigo.campbrainregistration.com/ and create an account for your family. The site will walk you step-by step through the application process. We require a deposit of $600.00 to confirm your child's spot at camp. "

    Camp Northway - profile photo
  • Programs, Rates & Dates

    Programs and Sessions Calendar

    Choose the right programs and sessions for your child; Camp Northway currently has 5 programs available.

    Filter activities available:

    Wilderness Out-tripping|Vocal Training / Singing|Theatre Arts|Arts & Crafts|Drawing|Painting|Nature/Environment|Canoeing|Hiking|Kayaking/Sea Kayaking|Sailing/Marine Skills|Swimming
    Overnight Camp
    All Girls
    Ages: 7 - 16
    Traditional (multi activity)
    Wilderness Out-tripping|Wilderness Skills|Vocal Training / Singing|Musical Theatre|Theatre Arts|Arts & Crafts|Drawing|Painting|Nature/Environment|First-aid/lifesaving |Canoeing|Kayaking/Sea Kayaking|Sailing/Marine Skills|Swimming|Cycling|Hiking
    Overnight Camp
    All Girls
    Ages: 7 - 16
    Traditional (multi activity)
    Wilderness Out-tripping|Wilderness Skills|Vocal Training / Singing|Musical Theatre|Theatre Arts|Arts & Crafts|Drawing|Painting|Nature/Environment|First-aid/lifesaving |Canoeing|Kayaking/Sea Kayaking|Sailing/Marine Skills|Swimming|Cycling|Hiking
    Overnight Camp
    All Girls
    Ages: 7 - 16
    Traditional (multi activity)
    $10,896 to $65,535
    Algonquin Park, ON
    Lock Box 10003 Huntsville
    Jul 01-Aug 19 $10,896 - $65,535
    Wilderness Out-tripping|Wilderness Skills|Vocal Training / Singing|Musical Theatre|Theatre Arts|Arts & Crafts|Drawing|Painting|CIT/LIT Program|Nature/Environment|First-aid/lifesaving |Cycling|Hiking|Canoeing|Kayaking/Sea Kayaking|Sailing/Marine Skills|Swimming
    Overnight Camp
    All Girls
    Ages: 7 - 16
    Traditional (multi activity)
    Wilderness Out-tripping|Vocal Training / Singing|Theatre Arts|Arts & Crafts|Drawing|Painting|Nature/Environment|First-aid/lifesaving |Canoeing|Cycling|Hiking|Kayaking/Sea Kayaking|Sailing/Marine Skills|Swimming

    Financial Aid & Payment Details

    Payment Options:

    Deposit required with acceptance Yes


    Discount for 2nd child 10%
    Discount for 3rd child 10%
    Discount for 4th child 10%
  • Insider Reviews & Perspectives

    The Our Kids review of Camp Northway

    our take

    Northway is the oldest girls camp in Canada, having been founded in 1906, and much of the camp’s charm comes from the long-standing traditions and the overall approach to the camping experience. It’s hard to imagine a more traditional camp than this: paper and envelopes are listed in what to bring, and campers really do write real letters home. iPods, jewelry, cell phones, and valuables aren’t allowed. When campers arrive, they are really here, immersed in all the priorities of the camp: spending time together, singing together, and experiencing something different. It’s not a time capsule, but rather a place that has stayed absolutely true to the ideals that it was formed around. And it’s as charming, and charmingly beautiful, as any summer camp you could ever hope to find. The programming is strong and varied, though the experience of place is the focus. The campers stay in canvas, cabin-style tents, and they spend their time doing the most traditional activities: canoeing, sailing, tripping, reading, making crafts. The current director, Brookes Prewitt, came as a child in 1951 because his mother was camp director, and he’s been at Northway literally every summer since. That’s a run of 66 years. His mother was director for 26 years prior to him. Wilson, Brookes’ son, first came to camp when he was three months old, and he’s been there every summer since, taking various leadership roles along the way. That’s pretty great too. Girls who have attended Northway know that they’ve participated in something quietly unique, which is an experience which unites them, even much later in life. 

    Three Things: Camp Northway
    Hear the three things that Our Kids’ editors see when they look at Camp Northway

    Interview with the Director of Camp Northway

    Joan Prewitt, Director of Programming

    • 00:31 - What is unique about your camp?
    • 01:23 - What type of child is successful at your camp?
    • 02:15 - Is the schedule structured or is it more open?
    • 03:54 - How do your staff deal with behavioural issues?
    • 04:50 - What do campers value most about their experience at the camp?
    • 05:51 - What message do you have for new campers?

    Video interviews with parents, campers, and alum

    Emilie Taman, Parent

    View transcript

    Transcript of our interview with Emilie, Mother

    What's unique about the program at Camp Northway/Wendigo that made you want to register your daughter there?

    I think part of what makes Northway really special is its size. It's very small compared to a lot of other camps. And, as a result, I think there's a real intimacy and bond that both the campers and staff are able to form together because there tends to be quite a bit of commingling of age groups just by virtue of the small size. The camper-to-staff ratio is also tiny: three kids are in a cabin with one counsellor.

    The canoe trips, which are a big part of the program, have a one-to-one staff-to-camper ratio. And so not only does that as a parent bring a real sense of security and safety just knowing that your kid is going to be well-supervised, but it gives the children an opportunity to form really tight bonds with a small group while also integrating with the larger camp community.

    What was your daughter's first impression of Camp Northway/Wendigo?

    She was sold the minute she set foot on that peninsula. In fact, I drove her there the first year and expected potentially a difficult send-off and it was quite the opposite. She basically looked at me and said, “Okay, you can leave now.”

    What does your daughter like the best about Camp Northway/Wendigo?

    I think it's really the friendships. And actually those friendships played a huge role in getting her through the very difficult times that we've experienced with the pandemic. She stayed very connected with her camp friends. It was a challenging year, transitioning from middle school to high school with a pandemic. But I think what really kept her anchored was those friendships that were so long-standing.

    Very few of her close friends live in the same city as she does, but she was still able to maintain a really deep sense of connectivity with those friends. I think they’re a really important source of support in normal times, but during a time when a lot of children were feeling very isolated, they were especially important. 

    Probably the biggest challenge she experienced was when COVID required camp to be cancelled in 2020. That would have been her seventh summer attending camp and it was really devastating. But I think that made this past summer all the more enriching, really remembering what it's like to be socially connected with people who care about you and that you care about a lot, too.

    How did Camp Northway/Wendigo teach your daughter to be more socially courageous?

    She's a relatively introverted child, and being in a setting that really just naturally fosters bonds and friendships by virtue of living together and playing together made her more confident socially, reinforcing that she has the capacity to easily make friends at camp. It's so much easier to make friends just because of the amount of time you spend together, the quality of the time that you have together, which is overwhelmingly fun time.

    It’s really fostered her confidence when it comes to building relationships and maintaining them. I mean, seeing these kids, despite all the technology that they have available to them, sending each other letters in the off season. That’s been another way that she's been able to express herself.

    How did Camp Northway/Wendigo teach your daughter to be more independent?

    The very first summer that I picked her up at the end of camp, I could see a real transformation. It was her first really independent experience. She came back a more fully-formed person, having had a chance to explore her identity outside of her family. I noticed that the first year, and I remember my own parents saying that about me when I went off to camp—that I came back with a new sense of confidence and a sense that you can make your way through the world without always relying on your parents or your family.

    What advice would you give parents who are hesitant about sending their children to overnight camp?

    I think all children are going to feel anxious about the idea of being separated from their parents for the first time. I think you have to kind of know your kid. I think a lot of kids are ready at eight. Some kids might not be ready until nine or ten, but I don't think you can count on your child to explicitly tell you that they're ready because I don't think they can know that they're ready. It's very daunting.

    My daughter went for the full three and a half week session the first time that she went to camp…. I knew that of my three children, this was the one who was the least likely to experience significant separation anxiety. But you still don't know and you're not there to comfort them. So that's where I think a lot of us as parents experience our own separation anxiety and put that onto our kids.

    But also, having attended camp myself, I understood all of the tools that the camp staff have to support children who are feeling a little homesick in the early days and throughout their time at camp. But I don't think it's necessarily the case that just because you're homesick, you're not also having a good time. I think the more the children become integrated in the camp community and feel supported and feel safe, that a lot of that separation anxiety really does just dissipate very quickly.

    What tips or suggestions did you give your daughter to get the most out of Camp Northway/Wendigo?

    I think I just really encouraged her to participate as fully as she could. But also it’s an opportunity to unwind a little bit, so not to feel enormous pressure to be performing all the time or excelling all the time. If you're having an off day, to sit and read a book for a little bit or write a letter home. That’s a big coping skill, that if you're feeling sad or lonely, it’s a chance to write a letter home.

    That has become something really special between us: being able to exchange letters. I've always made an effort to send some letters before my kids leave for camp so that they'll have something early on in their time. I also really encouraged her to make the most out of it and to be courageous about new experiences. I also encouraged her not to feel pressure to excel at everything and to focus more on the experience and less on accomplishments.

    What would you tell other parents about the overall value of Camp Northway/Wendigo?

    I just don't think it can be understated. I mean, just the ways in which these kids emerge with leadership skills, with a strong sense of independence and of themselves, and form a connection with nature that is increasingly difficult to experience, especially for children that live in cities. 

    I think for a lot of parents, we really see the value, especially for our teens, of disconnecting from social media, focusing instead on real relationships with people who are in front of you. That's an experience that's incredibly difficult to come by any other way, because as much as we try to put limits and boundaries on our children's use of media, that's always a constant source of struggle. My daughter became a much more prolific reader, for example, when she was at Camp Northway/Wendigo because that’s one of the ways you unwind when you don't have a screen to turn to.


    Close window
    • 00:31 - What's unique about the program at Camp Northway that made you want to enroll your child there?
    • 01:25 - What was your daughter's first impression?
    • 01:44 - What does your daughter like the best about Camp Northway?
    • 02:50 - How Camp Northway taught your daughter to be more socially courageous?
    • 03:48 - How Camp Northway taught Emilie's daughter to be more independent?
    • 04:30 - Emilie's advice to parents hesitant about sending their children to overnight camps
    • 05:56 - What tips or suggestions would you give to other parents to get the most out of Camp Northway?
    • 07:31 - What would you tell other parents about the overall value of Camp Northway?
  • Location & Site Details


    Lock Box 10003 Huntsville, Cache Lake, Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada



    Sleeping Accommodations

    • Platform Tent

    Washrooms Facilities

    • Outhouses

    More details about accommodations: Campers live in large platform tents.

    Are meals provided? Yes

    Is Camp Northway technology free? Yes We are a technology-free camp. Cell phones, iPods, iPads, etc. have become a part of daily life for many children. When surrounded by this technology “bubble”, it is difficult for them to see how it impacts their lives. In such a hectic world, it is a rare opportunity for kids to step outside this bubble and engage with new friends face-to-face. To nurture this opportunity, we do not allow cell phones, iPods, or other electronics at camp. These items can greatly detract form the wilderness experience. Camp is an opportunity for your child to have a break from all the technology that is ever-present in their life throughout the rest of the year. As a child’s dependence on electronic entertainment and communication increases, so does the importance of time away from it. Camp is an opportunity for your child to grow and experience greater independence and autonomy. They will form friendships with other campers that will last a lifetime. Keeping the camp environment free of distracting electronic devices will help this special bonding experience.

    Property Details


    • Forested Area
    • Lake/Pond/River

    More details about property: Northway and Wendigo are located on a peninsula on Cache Lake in Algonquin Provincial Park.


    Ontario Camps Association Associations
    Canadian Camping Association/ Association des camps du Canada Associations

  • What's New

    Director's Message

    Brookes and Joan Prewitt; Wilson Prewitt, Rebecca Prewitt, Owners/Directors
    Brookes: BA (Hons), York University; LLB, JD, Osgoode Hall Law School; Director since 1976; Joan: B. Comm (Hons), University of Guelph; BEd Brock University; Director since 2005

    During Northway’s 110-plus years we have remained committed to our small size of just 51 girls.  Each camper is an important part of camp life.  Lasting friendships form where girls have the opportunity to spend time together in the absence of today’s constant exposure to technology.

    Our wish for girls to live in and appreciate the beauty of nature is accomplished at our extraordinary location in Algonquin Provincial Park.  Algonquin provides an ideal location for our small, two-canoe, 6-person out-trips.  With a large staff presence, girls are able to gain confidence, independence, a sense of community and wilderness skills that will last them a lifetime.

    Wendigo provides a unique opportunity for older boys interested in canoe tripping to spend their time in a small group setting exploring Algonquin Park.  Wendigo emphasizes teamwork, canoeing skills, self-confidence and creating a connection with our natural, wilderness environment. 

    We look forward to welcoming your child to our Algonquin summer home.


    • Camp Birthday
      On the last night of camp, Camp Birthday celebrates another wonderful summer at Northway. Campers and staff enter the dining hall under an archway of paddles decorated and held by the Wee Woodsmen. A special dinner that includes birthday cake and ice cream is followed by singing, awards, and skits. The evening ends around the campfire with a gift exchange. Names are drawn (but kept top secret!), and gifts are made with items available at camp--from the craft house and the forest's natural media.
    • Drama--Alice in Wonderland
      Our talented counsellors produce 2 full musicals each summer. Impromptu playlets, one-act plays and skits are also a part of the drama program. The girls use their creativity to decorate the outdoor amphitheatre for the many plays. Alice in Wonderland, complete with dancing lobsters, was one of our most popular plays. In the past, other plays have included Annie, Grease, The King and I, My Fair Lady, Oliver, and The Wizard of Oz.
    • Welcoming Home Trips
      Canoe trips are the most special and loved of all activities. Over the decades that campers have been singing "Au Large Trippers" to each trip as they leave camp, Northway has developed an unmatched style, spirit, and skill in canoe tripping. Three campers, one counsellor and two guides set off in two canoes for 2 to 10 days to explore Algonquin Park, one of the finest wilderness areas in North America. The planning of trips is always a well-guarded secret and no camper ever forgets the thrilling surprise when her trip counsellor touches her on the shoulder at breakfast and invites her on a trip that will leave that day after morning council. When trips return, campers gather to form a kick-line on the dock and sing to welcome the trippers back to camp.
    • Canoe Restoration
      Each summer campers have the opportunity to assist Jim Spencer, Director of Camp Wendigo and a local canoe builder, in the restoration of a wood-canvas canoe. Girls help in all aspects of the work--bending ribs, replacing rotted wood, caning seats, and as in this picture, stretching the canvas.
    • Annual Visitors
      "The year I turned 14 my mother suggested that we think about Camp Northway for the summer. I knew that this was a place of great importance to my mother, but did not know what to expect. She was careful not to push me too hard for fear that I might build a teenage aversion to it. I loved it right away. Through the course of the nearly 10 years I was a camper and counsellor, I made some of the best friends of my life. There is something about sharing that experience, in that setting, that makes it an extraordinary place. Over the years, my desire to return has turned into a sort of annual pilgrimage to Family Camp. A few years ago, I met a man in Boston who just happened to go to Wendigo back in the 80's. He felt the same sort of connection to the place, and now my husband and I make the same pilgrimage together."
    • Camp Memories
      "The faint breakfast call rings in my ears as I stumble to the dining hall. I smile broadly as I see pancakes sitting at each wooden table. Pancakes are my favourite. I wolf them down, drenched in maple syrup. My eyes scan the dining hall, and I realize that many girls are being asked out on trips. Their eyes dance with excitement and they shriek yes. Trees surround me, making me feel small, and roots poke up from the dirt ground. I can see the glimmering lake between the trees. A loon calls faintly in the distance. Rain patters on my tent roof, as I come back from wash dips. I peek my head outside when I am changed into clean, fresh clothes. A hazy mist slowly inches towards the lake. I pull on my rain jacket and run to play practice. I rush with excitement into the sheltered building. The rain has stopped, leaving puddles of muck everywhere, obstacles I have to dodge when I'm running to dinner. Joy floods me when I realize that dinner is pizza. After, I go back to my tent and get ready for campfire, and join the herd of girls walking to the library. A blazing fire in the corner of the wooden lodge warms it. When campfire is over, I make my way back to my tent. The thousands of stars above me glimmer and glitter against the jet-black sky. The pale moon is full and big, as it reflects perfectly on the deep blue lake, here at Northway."
    • A Parent's Perspective
      "When I came back to camp after 30 years to visit my daughter there, it was just the same as when I was there in the 50's: no electricity, no running water, no radios, only the sound of the wind in the trees, the water lapping on the shore, the girls laughing and calling out to each other. Because it's the same as it was, and because the world has changed so much in 35 years, this is the only thing that my daughter and I have experienced in common. It's a great blessing.
    • Thoughts on Summer
      "Relaxing in wildlife, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and sailing is what we do at Northway. With about 50 campers, a good small number, I know almost everyone in camp. We have friendships that will never break. We sing in tune all the time whether it's at the table, or at the campfire. We go portaging, hiking and canoeing on trips from 2-15 (or more) days, depending on your age. On trips, we cook our own meals, and altogether have a great time. Northway Lodge is a wonderful camp. I can't wait until summer comes!"

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