A Little History
What began as three cottages with dialysis being performed in the back of a converted school bus has evolved over the past 45 years to include a state of the art medical facility, a recreation centre including a heated indoor pool, 14 cottages, 15 efficiency units and 6 trailer sites with bath/shower house. The result is a unique vacation opportunity for dialysis patients and their families in the heart of cottage country.
In 1972, the Hamilton East Lions rented cottages in Parry Sound for two families living with dialysis. A third cottage was rented to house the dialysis machines. In 1973, six families were brought to cottages in Dorset for a relaxing get away. By 1974, they brought twelve families to Dorset, but with funds exhausted, another 30 families were left on a waiting list.
The idea for Lions Camp Dorset came about at the 1974 International Lions Convention. Lion Sandy Ailles of Dorset and Lion Herb Walpole of Hamilton East had a chance meeting. The Dorset Lions had obtained 380 acres of crown land in the early 70’s as part of a plan to build baseball diamonds. However, after hearing of Hamilton Easts’ dialysis retreats, the idea of building a full scale camp emerged. Soon after, Hamilton East Lions and the Dorset Lions began to raise funds for the building of the camp.
On April 17, 1978 construction began. In the first year, 3 cottages were completed and the next year, 5 more were completed. Lions Camp Dorset acquired the property lease later from the Dorset Lions. The property was then bought by Lions Camp Dorset Corporation from the Ministry of Natural Resources.
With some assistance from corporate sponsors and various government grants, the Lions of Ontario have developed the Camp into a unique facility. Most of the construction was completed by Lions, Lioness’, Leo’s and other volunteers. The largest share of the funding for both construction and maintenance comes from members of the Lions family across Ontario. The camp is mortgage and debt free, thanks to the funds provided by Lions clubs across Ontario.
Lions Camp Dorset is a non-profit organization which is recognized by the government as an Independent Health Facility. It continues to be supported by the Lions clubs of Ontario. Volunteers from clubs around the province continue to give their time and expertise to help upgrade and maintain the facilities.