The YMCA Camp of Saint-Adolphe d'Howard

Matthew Farfan
Y.M.C.A. Camp at Saint-Adolphe-d'Howard. (Photo - LHWM)

larger_ymca.st_.adolphe.jpgThe Young Men's Christian Association, or YMCA, was founded in London, England, in 1844, to provide assistance to young workers during the Industrial Revolution. Seven years later, in 1851, the very first branch of the "Y" was established in North America -- in Montreal.

In 1892, the Montreal YMCA inaugurated its summer camping program. In that year, Lemuel Cushing brought a group of boys up to magnificent Lake Saint-Joseph in Saint-Adolphe-d'Howard in 1892.

In 1893 or 1894, the YMCA opened its first summer camp outside of Greater Montreal. That camp, called Camp Jubilee after the fiftieth anniversary of the YMCA, was located in the Laurentian town of Saint-Adolphe-d'Howard.

The idea was to provide boys (and later boys and girls) with a wholesome, open-air environment where they could enjoy nature away from the pollution that the growing city was already experiencing.

Saint-Adolphe at that time was becoming a magnet for summer vacationers, and the area saw the construction of several hotels, boarding houses, and vacation camps -- both inside the village and around Lake Saint-Joseph.

Camp Jubilee was situated on several islands in the middle of the lake, with a landing area on the shore. In 1909, the YMCA changed the name of the camp to Camp Otoreke. In 1982, the camp closed its doors after nearly a century of continuous operation. Today, very little remains of this long-lived and very popular camp.