This prestigious event is held in July or August each year at an approved location in Ontario, and is organized by one or more clubs of the National Square Dance Campers Association. These dedicated members arrange a fun-filled 3 – 4 day weekend that is always a “crowd pleaser”. There is always something for everyone to do and participate in.
The weekend usually starts off with everyone being parked in designated spots. Then the socializing starts. Old friends are met and new ones are made; the wonderful adventure has started. There are dances to go to; various sports to be played; workshops to attend; crafts to create; entertaining skits to watch, (and be involved in); visiting to be done; sightseeing or touring if you wish; and of course, for those who wish just to relax and socialize, there is opportunity to do that too.
The first Ontario Camporee was organized by three of our Western Ontario clubs and was held at the Fairgrounds in Tillsonburg, Ontario, from July 29th to August 1st, 1977. This camporee turned out to be a rousing success; attracting approximately 80 camper units. Attendees had the privilege of dancing to the talents of nine (9) different callers and cuers. This auspicious beginning turned out to be the birth of a yearly event that that has spanned thirty-three continuous years of fun filled Ontario Camporees. In 1981 there were twenty-nine (29) callers and cuers assembled for the pleasure of 231 camper units. The largest attendance of any Camporee occurred in 1983 when there were 249 units in attendance.
For the first several years there was limited electricity and water available, (that was a different style of camping in those days), but everyone still had fun. As time went by, electricity (15 amp), became available and water went from trailer to trailer by means of interconnected hoses. After a number of years a generator section was established for those who had them.
The Ontario Camporee was held at Tillsonburg from 1977 through 2000; (a total of 24 years). For the 25th anniversary, the Ontario Camporee moved away from Tillsonburg, as a result of more clubs being formed to the east of the Toronto area. The first eastern Ontario gathering was at Lake Ontario Park & the St. Lawrence College Complex, in Kingston Ontario. This became the home of our next three Camporees.
In 2005 the Camporee moved to Fergus, Ontario; to the facilities of the Center Wellington Community Sportsplex. In 2006 the Camporee was held at the Orono Fairgrounds, along Hyw. #115, east of Toronto. Since 2005, the Camporee has been either at Fergus or Orono.
Last year (2009), the Camporee was hosted by C-175, (Riverside Gypsy Squares), and as expected they provided an excellent weekend of activities at the Orono Fairgrounds. There was even a visiting couple from Germany in attendance; with their own motor home, which they had shipped over for their vacation travels in Canada.
This year, (2010), the Ontario Camporee returns to Fergus, Ontario. The gates to the camping area will opened at 9:00 am on July 15, 2010, and the festivities will run through until July 18, 2010.
A registration form can be downloaded from: - - - http://squaredance.on.ca/ or
Submitted by Gary & Lydia Boissonnault