Un bon Été: Quebec Summer Camps & French Immersion

French-language programs don't have to end with the school year


The July sun casts diamonds on the cool green water of Lake Ouareau, deep in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec. Dockside, the girls of Camp Ouareau are frisking about as only kids who have been cooped up by three days of rain can do. Read more

ON THIS PAGE
  • Upcoming Events


  • advertisement

    SEARCH ALL CAMPS USING OUR ADVANCED CAMP SEARCH

    Special Needs Support: Mild    Specialized   
    FILTERS:
    FILTERS:
    City of Toronto Camps   
    There's a City of Toronto camp in every neighbourhood across the city! CampTO offers traditional camps and interest-specific experiences for children and youth ages four to 16, plus adapted camps for ages four to 29!

    Bathurst Manor/Clanton Park, Toronto; Downtown East, Toronto
    Traditional (multi activity)
    • Ages 4 to 29 (Coed)
    • Day Camp
    • Cost Varies
    daycampcoed04-291Bathurst Manor/Clanton Park, TorontoDowntown East, TorontoOntarioDowntown, North-York
    Le Petit Écolier French Language Centre   
    We offer In-Person & Online all year round programs led by expert native teachers. Le Petit Écolier is located in Oakville. Learn to Love and Speak French at LPE!

    Brampton; Hamilton; Oakville
    Education: Language Instruction
    • Ages 4 to 17 (Coed)
    • Day Camp, Program, Virtual Program
    • from $160
    daycampprogramclassvirtualprogramcoed1604-172BramptonHamiltonOakvilleOntario
    TAC - Sports, Aquatics and Education   
    TAC Sports, Aquatics & Education specializes in Sports, Swim and S.T.E.M programming. Ages 3-16, Co-ed. Year round Camps, Lessons, Academy and House Leagues across the GTA! Grow, Learn, Lead!

    Throughout Ontario (8)
    Traditional (multi activity)
    • Ages 3.5 to 16 (Coed)
    • Day Camp
    • from $250
    daycampcoed2503.5-163Bridle Path, TorontoLytton Park, TorontoRichview, TorontoAuroraThornhillWhitbyWoodbridgeOntarioEtobicoke, North-York, Uptown
    Camp Ouareau   
    This Quebec all-girls overnight summer camp offers a variety of activities and leadership opportunities, as well as a unique language program. A chance to grow in confidence & independence, and develop language skills!

    Saint-Donat
    Traditional (multi activity)
    • Ages 6 to 16 ( Girls)
    • Overnight Camp
    • from $3,035
    overnightcampallgirls30356-164Saint-DonatQuebec
    OakLearning Center   
    Oakville's top-rated learning center offering group and private tutoring, robotics and STEM camps, math and english clubs, assessments and more.

    Oakville
    Education (multi)
    • Ages 3 to 75 (Coed)
    • Program
    • from $35
    programclasscoed353-755OakvilleOntario
    MWS Montreal Language Camps   
    French and English language camps at McGill University where kids engage in language learning, daily excursions and camp activities. Programmes divided by age - 7 to 10, 11 to 13 and 14 to 17 years old.

    Downtown West, Toronto; Montreal
    Education: Language Instruction
    • Ages 7 to 17 (Coed)
    • Day Camp, Overnight Camp
    • from $1,010
    daycampovernightcampcoed10107-176Downtown West, TorontoMontrealOnlineOntario, QuebecDowntown
    Ashbury College Summer Programs   
    Ashbury's Summer Program offers a broad range of summer camps in the performing and visual arts, athletics, and STEM as well as academic workshops and reach ahead credit courses. Learn something new this summer!

    Ottawa North
    Traditional (multi activity)
    • Ages 8 to 18 (Coed)
    • Overnight Camp, Program
    • from $400
    overnightcampprogramclasscoed4008-187Ottawa NorthOntario
    Camp Mère Clarac   
    Located in Saint-Donat, Qc, on the bank of Ouareau River, the camp will charm you with its unique facilities and its activities conducted in French! « Joie de vivre » at CMC is discovering, exploring and having fun!

    Saint-Donat
    Traditional (multi activity)
    • Ages 5 to 16 (Coed, Girls, Boys)
    • Overnight Camp
    • from $640
    overnightcampcoedallgirlsallboys6405-168Saint-DonatQuebec
    Edu-Inter French School   
    Edu Inter: 9 camps, 2000+ students, global friends, join us for a summer of learning and fun!

    Quebec City
    Education: Language Instruction
    • Ages 10 to 17 (Coed)
    • Overnight Camp
    • from $950
    overnightcampcoed95010-179Quebec CityQuebec
    French International Language Camps   
    English students learning French mix with French students learning English in this innovative program in the French Alps. Sports and other activities are an important part of the experience, along with language lessons.

    International
    Education: Language Instruction
    • Ages 6 to 16 (Coed)
    • Day Camp, Overnight Camp, Virtual Program
    • from $3,400
    daycampovernightcampvirtualprogramcoed34006-1610InternationalOnlineInternational
    Focus Learning Academic Centre   
    An academic enrichment learning centre committed to igniting the love of learning among children and teens with over 20 course offerings in the Language, STEM, and Leadership streams. Visit us at www.focuslearning.ca

    L'Amoureaux, Toronto
    Education (multi)
    • Ages 7 to 13 (Coed)
    • Virtual Program
    • from $420
    virtualprogramcoed4207-1311L'Amoureaux, TorontoOnlineOntarioScarborough
    JOA Camps   
    An exceptional camp, all in French, offering weekly themes and diverse activities. Weekly outings included in pricing.

    Ottawa
    Traditional (multi activity)
    • Ages 4 to 8 (Coed)
    • Day Camp
    • from $70
    daycampcoed704-812OttawaOnlineOntario


     

    "Hey, where you going?" one tanned and smiling teenager calls to a passing friend.

    "Leçon de natation. Toi?" the other answers. "Swimming lesson. You?"

    That easy back and forth of French and English is a hallmark of Camp Ouareau, a bilingual summer camp that has been catering to girls from age 8 to 15 for more than 82 years.

    Campers from all over Canada and as far away as Europe gather each summer to hone their language skills and form friendships that will last a lifetime. It is one of several camps in Quebec that help kids perfect their "imparfait," even as they canoe and learn crafts.

    "Our first goal is to promote fun in a safe environment. Language acquisition comes next," says camp director Jacqui Raill, whose family owns and operates Camp Ouareau.

    The six-hectare site is dotted with cabins and canvas tents on wooden platforms. Inside the rustic dining hall, English- and French-speaking campers mingle at tables set for 12. The lodge, a cool and dark hall with a stone fireplace, is the central meeting place and venue for regular theatrical events.

    The camp hires bilingual counsellors and alternates between two days of French and two days of English during each two-week session. Girls are encouraged to do their best in the language of the day.

    "You can't force them," Raill says. "If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that kids will try if they feel comfortable and relaxed. They may start off shy, but as soon as they meet a new friend, they make that extra effort to speak the other language because they want to be able to communicate."

    Aimée Legault, 15, is typical of the Ouareau campers who come from Ontario. This is the Toronto teen's fifth summer at camp. Both her parents have French-Canadian roots, though neither speaks French. Legault attended an immersion primary school, but goes to a non-immersion high school.

    "In Toronto, I don't really have a chance to speak French in my day-to-day life," she says.

    Now, when she writes home from camp, she writes in French. That thrills her mother, Barb Gingras.

    "It's one thing to learn French in school and another to use it on a daily basis," Gingras says. "The camp has given Aimée confidence and that's really what they need — the confidence to speak, even if they make mistakes."

    Talia Cheifetz, 14, makes sure to stow a French-English dictionary in her duffel bag when she heads to Camp Ouareau each summer. The Toronto native is an immersion student who uses the camp to sharpen her skills. This year she had a breakthrough, volunteering for a French-language part in the camp's production of The Sound of Music. That was "kinda cool," she says.

    "It can be frustrating trying to get your point across on French-language days, but I'm glad we try. I'm able to understand a lot better than I used to. Because of camp, when I (hear) people speaking French, I feel like joining in," Cheifetz says.

    Patrick Casey has had two summers at Camp Air-Eau-Bois, a total immersion wilderness camp in the Gatineau region of western Quebec. Ask the 16-year-old Ottawa resident how he likes it, and his voice takes on a faraway quality.

    "It was the best time I ever had. Even now, that's all my friends and I talk about at school," Casey says.

    An outdoorsman in the making, Casey thrived in the rugged camp setting. Located on the shores of the Poisson Blanc Reservoir, near Denholm, Quebec, about 60 kilometres north of Ottawa, Air-Eau-Bois provides French-language living in a spectacular natural environment.

    "We recommend that our campers have a good foundation in French," says camp director Alexandre LeBlanc. "Our instructors are bilingual, but the program is conducted in French."

    Over the course of sessions that last from three to 26 days, Air-Eau-Bois campers are exposed to the beauty of nature and given a grounding in conservation.

    "Our motto is ‘Leave no footprint,' " LeBlanc says.

    Campers take part in canoe-camping trips and learn to navigate the woods using a compass.

    For Casey, the highlight of his 2002 camp experience was the 24 hours he spent alone in the woods, equipped only with a sleeping bag, matches, whistle, knife, compass and a bit of food. During this solo trip — a rite of passage for senior campers — he built a shelter by the edge of the water and went for a swim before turning in for the night.

    "We don't often get a chance to be alone and really quiet in life," he says."It was an amazing experience."

    His group built a sauna on one of their canoe-camping trips and sat up late to view the northern lights. Sitting around the campfire, he learned Québécois folk songs.

    "He's a boy who is simply wild about the outdoors, so that is the number one selling point for us," his mother Isabelle Casey says. "The fact that he is living in French and getting a better appreciation of that part of his identity is an added benefit." For some parents, language learning is a primary requirement. They want their kids to have fun, but also want to see demonstrable progress once summer comes to an end.

    At French Summer Camp des Laurentides, campers age 8 to 15 are guaranteed at least 12 hours of French-language instruction each week.

    Catherine Vaillant, 25, was program director during the summer of 2002. On a typical day, her 10 students, hailing from Quebec, Ontario and as far away as Texas and Hong Kong, spent 45 minutes in the classroom learning grammar or vocabulary before heading out the door to work on individual projects.

    "It is summer vacation, after all. You can only hold their attention for so long," Vaillant said. She likes to lead campers on hikes, calling out the names of trees and birds along the way.

    "Sometimes we do a lot of hand gestures to get our point across, but kids are smart, it doesn't take them long to work things out," she says.

    The camp exists as part of a larger camp, La Base de Plein Air des Laurentides, located on the shore of Lac Sauvage, near Mont Tremblant (one of camps.ca's many Quebec summer camps). Language-program students have access to all the same camp activities — swimming, horseback riding and crafts, as well as class time. When they aren't receiving instruction, they are free to mingle with the other kids. No more than 10 students are generally enrolled in the language camp at one time.

    "You learn more French here than you do at school," says 15-year-old Lorena Elliot of Markham, Ontario. "I think it's because you're having more fun."






    Upcoming Events view all events on OurKids.net

    May 18
    Camp IAWAH
    Open House 2024  
    May 18, 2024
    May 21
    ARTSies Youth Theatre Programs
    Into The Woods Jr.- Tuesday Show  
    May 21, 2024
    May 22
    ARTSies Youth Theatre Programs
    Into The Woods Jr- Wednesday Show  
    May 22, 2024
    May 26
    Brain Power Enrichment Programs
    Prosserman JCC Campus Tour With Dr. Joel Benabu  
    May 26, 2024

    Disclaimer: Information presented on this page may be paid advertising provided by the advertisers [schools/camps/programs] and is not warranted or guaranteed by OurKids.net or its associated websites. See Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. Our Kids ™ © 2023 All right reserved.

    Sign up to receive our exclusive eNews twice a month.

    You can withdraw consent by unsubscribing anytime.


    Name

    Email

    verification image, type it in the box

     


    Our KidsFrom Our Kids, Canada’s trusted source for private schools, camps, and extracurriculars.