A playground of endless forests and crystal-clear lakes.
In 1936 on a cool, misty morning, Lou Handler and Omer Stringer paddled a red canoe across the still waters of South Tea Lake in Algonquin Park. They had a vision for a special place. One with countless outdoor activities, a community of soon-to-be lifelong friends and a place where kids were encouraged to learn, play and grow.
They found a children’s village, they found Camp Tamakwa.
When you get the opportunity to spend your summers in the beauty of Algonquin Park you just can’t help but want to make the world around you a better place.
WE PADDLE IN UNISON
Tamakwans are proud individuals who understand the importance of community, family values and the power of working together as a team. A Tamakwan is a person who appreciates camp, strives to achieve personal growth, yet is also kind and willing to give a hand in order to see others also succeed.
LEAVE THE CAMPSITE BETTER THAN YOU FOUND IT
Tamakwans are stewards of the land and understand the value of their surroundings and rich history in Algonquin Park. They are committed to leaving not just our campground, but any campground down the road, better than they found it.
FRESH AIR OPENS MINDS
Tamakwans believe that fresh air is fuel for the soul, and we’re not the only ones. Research shows that spending time outdoors not only boosts your immune system, it naturally increases energy too.
Icons of Algonquin Park and lovers of the outdoors, our founders made Tamakwa a magical place.
A strong man with a warm heart, Lou was a naturalist from Detroit with a deep-rooted passion for nature, camping and life on the water. Amorously known around camp as Unca Lou, the community he created on the shores of South Tea Lake with his friend Omer became a place of warmth and camaraderie that still rings true today.
As one of Canada’s foremost canoeist and outdoorsmen, Omer along with his friend Lou, put their passion for canoeing and the outdoors at the forefront of what Tamakwa would stand for, resulting in a summer- haven built on a strong sense of optimism, resourcefulness, and making every moment count.
Carrying on the legacy and traditions of Camp Tamakwa.
These are our leaders who take care of our camp and make sure every Tamakwan’s summer feels like it lasts a lifetime.
Diane spent her summers at Camp Wapomeo one lake away from Tamakwa. Her love of Algonquin runs deep. “Algonquin park was a large part of our family’s life and instilled in them a love of the outdoors, living simply in nature and their love for camp.” Diane is excited to preserve Tamakwa’s beauty and heritage based on her architectural background.
Michael first came to Camp Tamakwa in 1956. This is where he met many people who influenced and shaped his life including co-founder Don Green in 1962. Together they created the Iconic Canadian brand Roots. After spending his summers up at his cabin in Algonquin Park with his family, Michael has come back to his roots as Co-owner with his wife Diane.
Vic first arrived at Tamakwa in the summer of 1967 and under the guidance of Tamakwa’s founding owner Lou Handler, Vic rose up the ranks taking co-ownership of Tamakwa in 1980. Under his direction Tamakwa now offers more than twice as many activities, and maintains Tamakwa’s most revered traditions.
Les is a life-long ‘camp guy’ having spent part or all of the past 40 summers at overnight camps including a 9- year run as Program Director at Tamakwa. Les is over the moon to be back at Tamakwa as the Director and looks forward to connecting with campers and staff and infusing everyday with that good ol’ Tamakwa spirit!
Jamie first came to Tamakwa as a camper in 1985 and over the years has been a counselor, section head, Assistant Program Director and member of the Tamakwa band. A former school teacher and principal, Jamie lives in Durham, North Carolina where he is a professor of educational leadership at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Jamie is excited to be back at camp as the Assistant Director to support and mentor campers and staff.
OUR TAMAKWA LORE
Our alumni live the traditions of Camp Tamakwa, helping make the world a better place.
Acclaimed Writer, Director and actor.
“Camp Tamakwa is a very fond place for me where I developed a lot of my youthful adult tendencies.”
CEO of WealthSimple.
“Tamakwa gave me a love for nature . . . To this day, I'm happiest on a silent misty morning, on a lake, in a canoe.”
Linsey Beck Gold
General Surgeon at the Michigan Center for Breast Health
“My summers at Tamakwa taught me about "friends that become family". It will never cease to amaze me how the feeling of being part of the Tamakwa family transcends time, space and generation such that you can meet a stranger and when you discover you are both Tamakwans, you just know that you can count on that person for whatever you need.”
Comedian, Writer and Director.
“Camp Tamakwa is the most important place in my life . . . I’m a Tamakwan. Everyone that knows me knows that, and I’m really proud of it.”
Chairman of Neurosurgery at University of Toronto and recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award.
“Tamakwa's lovely spirit has been in the brains of the Charfoos and Tator families for about 70 years.”
President of La Mer Collections
“My love for nature and passion for adventures all originated while at camp. I honestly believe that my time at Tamakwa was a gift.”
Cardiovascular Surgeon at University of Toronto and awarded the Order of Canada.
“Camp Tamakwa was a turning point in my life . . . teaching me values that I carried into my life in surgery and family.”
OUR CLAIM TO FAME
Immortalized in the iconic movie, Indian Summer, Camp Tamakwa was the inspiration and filming location for the popular film.
Written and directed by camp alumni Mike Binder, the film is about a group of friends that return to their old childhood camp. It perfectly captures Tamakwa traditions, songs and pranks. The movie is certainly a nostalgic depiction of days gone by, but a true-to-life representation of the Camp Tamakwa spirit we continue to live every single day, every single summer.
OUR FAMILY VALUES & TRADITIONS
Our Jewish traditions and history have molded many of our core family values.
Camp Tamakwa was founded as a traditional Jewish summer camp. Today, the majority of our campers and staff are of Jewish descent yet we are happy and excited to continue to welcome an array of backgrounds and beliefs to our Tamakwa family.Learn More
We are proud members of the Ontario Camps Association (OCA). This organization plays an important leadership role in promoting and encouraging children and youth camping in Ontario, as well as setting high standards for safety and care of campers.