Lions Camp Dorset History
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 cottagers 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 of a 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 plan to build baseballs diamonds. However, after hearing of Hamilton East’s dialysis retreats, the idea of building a full-scale camp emerged. Soon after, Hamilton East Lions and the Dorset Lions begin to fund raise 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. The property lease was acquired later from the Dorset Lions by Lions Camp Dorset Corporations and then the property was bought by Lions Camp 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 that is now valued at $3,500,000. Most of the construction was completed by Lions, Lioness, Leos and other interested parties and 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.
A non-profit organization, as well as a government recognized Independent Health Facility, Lions Camp Dorset was founded & continues to be supported by the Lions & Lioness Clubs of Ontario. Today, as in the past, groups of volunteers from clubs around the province give their time and experience to build new projects and upgrade the old. Starting from three cottages, with dialysis being performed in the back of a converted school bus, Camp Dorset has grown to enhance the dialysis patient’s vacation experience. Despite its size, Camp Dorset manages to maintain it’s grass roots style. While services expand, the client’s cost is kept to a minimum. The result is a state-of-the-art dialysis treatment facility which provides a place for a family getaway into the heart of Ontario’s vacationland.