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Bark Lake Leadership and Conference Centre
Bark Lake Leadership and Conference Centre
1551 Bark Lake Drive
Irondale, Ontario,
K0M 1X0

Contact name:
Amanda Mackie

Phone number:
(705) 447-2447×


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Bark Lake Leadership and Conference Centre

Bark Lake Leadership and Conference Centre

1551 Bark Lake Drive, Irondale, Ontario, K0M 1X0

Day camp, Overnight camp
Traditional (multi activity)
1 to 100
Coed, All Girls, All Boys

Get more information

Contact Name:
Amanda Mackie

Phone Number:


About this camp


Bark Lake is known for quality outdoor education and leadership training amid the beautiful Highalnds of Haliburton County. Operating year round, we are passionate about making leaders and building character in today’s youth. Adult & Youth programs register at: www.barklake.com International Summer Campers register at: http://www.cic-totalcare.com/summer-camp/

Camp Address
1551 Bark Lake Drive, Irondale, Ontario, K0M 1X0, Canada

Session Calendar

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Activities available at this camp: (Currently showing 1 of 1 sessions)

Available Sessions:

Overnight Camp
Ages: 10 - 18+
Traditional (multi activity) $1 to $300
First-aid/lifesaving |Leadership training|ESL|Archery|Basketball|Canoeing|Fishing|Hiking|Kayaking/Sea Kayaking|Ice Skating|Skiing/Snowboarding|Soccer|Swimming|Volleyball|Rock Climbing|Arts & Crafts|Photo/Video|Painting|Wilderness Out-tripping|Rope courses|Wilderness Skills

Director's Message


Maria Paterson, Director of Sales and Program

Bark Lake Leadership and Conference Centre is open Year Round for Group Events, Retreats, Conferences, Activities and Trips.

All International Summer Guests must register at: http://www.cic-totalcare.com/summer-camp/

Welcome to Our International Guests:

We would like to take a moment to introduce you to the Bark Lake Leadership Centre. As you consider this website, you may learn more about us, where we are, our programs, our people and our facilities. Because we realize that your needs are unique, we have dedicated this page on our website to you, our International Guests and their Parents.

We are very excited you may be joining us this summer when we will host guests from over 15 different countries around the world, including... Brazil, Russia, Mexico, China, Japan, Ukraine, Argentina, Israel, Korea, Ethiopia and more!

Some international campers arrive on their first day not knowing much English. Some guests are jet lagged, having just arrived in Canada the night before. There will be some uncertainty in the beginning, but we take special care to ensure that all of our guests become acclimated to this unique environment. We also offer calling cards, post cards and ‘tangible memories’ in our Tuck Shop and have pay phones onsite for calling home…cell phone and internet use may be irregular in the forest!

The Bark Lake Advantage

Bark Lake Leadership Centre has earned its reputation as one of the finest Outdoor Education and Leadership centres in Canada for the excellence and range of its programs, the low camper to staff ratio, the clarity of vision, and the leadership and team building focus. Since 1948, groups from around Ontario and the world, searching for the most nurturing, motivating, challenging, and safe camp, have entrusted their campers to the Bark Lake Staff. Finding the right program is an important decision; being away from home, particularly for the first time, is a major commitment and adjustment for any child and their parents.

The Bark Lake Leadership Centre offers year round Outdoor Education & Leadership programs for groups aged 10 and up, and a Canadian Summer Camp experience as a stop on the Columbia International ESL Summer Camp. We are located just two hours north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada on beautiful Bark Lake. Our unique location, directly bordering a fresh water lake in the midst of over 2500 acres of wilderness forest, allows us to offer an unprecedented range of activities and opportunities. While our Challenge course and waterfront programs are highly regarded, we also take pride in the quality and variety of our other adventure initiatives and activities, our facilities…and great Canadian food…yes, we will provide tasty ‘Canadian’ meals and snacks, as this is a uniquely Canadian Experience.

Groups will arrive by bus and will be greeted by our enthusiastic and friendly Staff. They will then be led on a tour of our property and facilities and each assigned to an equipped cabin or dormitory, for resting and attending to their personal needs...these facilities are segregated…males are not permitted in the females’ quarters. Chaperones and CIC Staffers will be supervising at all times...day and night.

Programs are designed for challenge and mastery in a fun, recreational environment. All instruction is provided by highly qualified and certified coaches, educators & instructors. Our goal is to allow each guest to improve their perceptions through leadership development and involvement with positive role models in a great outdoor education facility. We are a ‘challenge by choice’ facility that accents individual and team skill building and fundamentals and are committed to all guests in the transfer of skills & knowledge through experiential learning. If you ‘choose’ to come, you will be challenged!

For over 65 years, Bark Lake Leadership Centre has been a safe place where students learn to overcome obstacles, grow as individuals, bond as a group and develop into adults who are excited about meeting life's challenges.


Accommodation & Property Details

Property details

Sleeping Accommodations

  • Cabins
  • Dorm or Building


  • Electricity in Sleeping Area
  • Shower in Sleeping Area
  • Toilet in Sleeping Area

Washrooms Facilities

  • Flush Toilets
  • Showers (indoor)

Sports facilities

  • Archery Range
  • Basketball Court
  • Climbing Wall
  • Rope Course


  • Beach
  • Forested Area
  • Lake/Pond/River
  • Nature Trails
  • Open Field

Cost & Financial Aid


Cost: $163 /night

Payment Options:

Deposit required with acceptance Yes
Credit card payment Yes

Stories & Testimonials


Climbing to New Heighs

This has been a year of many new and exciting things around Bark Lake. One of those being the new installation of the 3-sided Climbing Tower. For many years we have been looking to expand our Adventure Programming, so in partnership with Adventureworks! Associates Ltd and our management team our dreams and wishes came true…

Welcome to the new Escarpment Climbing Tower. It contains 3 sides. One side that features a nose element jutting out from the wall, one side with a concave section adding a new level of challenge and the final side contains a short climb up to a rappel platform.  We are pleased to be able to offer a variety of challenges to our clients whether it is ascending the wall or descending the wall!

As the Challenge Course Supervisor I’m excited that we at Bark Lake are able to offer this new and challenging program to our clients. We are already aware of the benefits of outdoor play, but there are many benefits to a climbing tower in particular. It is an opportunity for participants to work on skill development by having a repeat experience, and trying not just once but multiple times to improve their climbing technique.

Some of the outcomes of climbing are an increase in physical strength, it also promotes a better sense of body awareness and an improved sense of balance. We are able to make the climbing tower accessible to a wide range of clients by manipulating the climbing routes to an appropriate level of challenge, while still allowing room to grow. After experiencing the climbing tower myself, and trying a couple of different routes, I can attest to the differing levels of challenge. With this, I will be able to empathize with the participants and aid them should they need it.

Along with the many physical benefits to climbing, there are also emotional benefits. Climbing will develop the participant’s determination, whether it is to finish the climb and get to the top or the ability to transfer the learning to be able to complete a project. It spurs on that desire to set goals that are attainable, and creates a safe environment where participants can coach and support each other. We have all seen the power of encouragement, and it is something that I am very familiar with when working with participants on the high ropes challenge course. With the climbing tower, it will be no different. There will be greater opportunities for students to coach and support each other as they climb to new heights.

The climbing tower is a place where we can create a sense of community. Climbers will motivate each other to participate and get excited when someone completes their goal. They will be there to cheer each other on as the try repeatedly and finally succeed at a difficult move, or offer support if the attempt doesn’t work. It is not about reaching the top, but about reaching your goals, or at the very least to try your best and have that experience of climbing. Having a sense of community within the group will help to create an environment of shared goals that will last much longer than the 2 hour climbing session.

Seamlessly built into our Climbing Tower program are many opportunities for personal development and community building. Are you ready to push your limits and step out of your comfort zone to reach new heights?

Sabrina Cook

Challenge Course Supervisor

Guess Who's Turning the Big 2-0?

(This story was originally posted on 6 May 2013, http://barklake.com/?p=904)

Happy 20th Birthday, Bark Lake Challenge Course!

Bark Lake’s Challenge Course, as it stands today, was first build by Project Adventure Inc. in 1993. It was then, one of the most extensive challenge courses in North America. The course originally had two levels designed for use; one high and one mid range, allowing a number of participants to climb at one time. The course has changed over time, with old elements giving way to new ones; but some of our favorites still remain.

The pamper pole is a utility pole about thirty-five feet high. Using staples and climbing holds, the climber makes their way to the top, where the fun really begins! Trusting their belay team, the climber, one step at a time, ascends to the top of the pole and amid ‘cheers from their peers’, the climber takes the leap of faith! We have many fond memories of participants climbing to the top of the pamper pole and reaching their goal of a ‘challenge mastered’ or an obstacle overcome. This element is a great activity that builds trust and stretches participants outside their comfort zones; the end result is ‘high fives’ and winning smiles all around!

The Aspen Forest at Bark Lake Leadership Centre resounds with ‘unheard’ echoes of the past, with an element that was built long before this present course. Karl Rohnke, (a key figure in the development of Adventure Education and one of the founders of Project Adventure) and the long gone staff of the Ontario Camp Leadership Centre (currently known as Bark Lake Leadership Centre) built a 3 line bridge that can still be seen hanging in the trees today! Though the trees have grown over the cables, and the ropes have been worn away, you can still feel the energy of young camp counsellors pushing themselves to reach the end, in the midst of this beautiful forest tract!

The Bark Lake Challenge Course has a long and storied history, with ongoing memories made twenty-five feet in the air. The Challenge Course is the place where stories begin and self-esteem is gained, and lives are changed for the better!

So, Happy Birthday Challenge Course! We are excited about your next 20 years!


No matter what you wear...

(This story was originally posted on 27 January 2014, http://barklake.com/?p=1347)

I was recently reminded of a student who visited us about five years ago in the early spring.

We were playing the Survival Game up in Aspen forest.  About half way through the game she came up to her teachers and I complaining of cold feet.  As she took off her rubber boots a mini-avalanche of icy-snow came tumbling out.  Her very thin ankle socks were soaked.

We offered the student some dry boots and socks which she promptly turned down.  She insisted that her boots were insulated.

I’ve owned several pairs of insulated rubber boots.  All of them have had the removable liner.  What the student was calling “insulation” was a burlap-like material that gave the boot their shape.

After asking some questions and carefully listening to her answers we were able to determine the footwear we offered wasn’t “hip and with it”.  The student was worried about how she looked instead of worrying about her health.

In the end, it took an almost Herculean effort, but the teacher and I were eventually able to convince the student to try the heavy duty socks and insulated boots.  Begrudgingly she donned the, admittedly, ugly boot and rejoined the activity.

Afterwards we offered to let her swap our ugly boots for her prettier ones.  She decided that having warm and dry feet was more important than looking good.

Fast-forward to last week.

A bunch of the staff came over to my cabin to enjoy some down time.  While watching some television one of them found my Dad’s copy of Paul Dickson’s “The New Official Rules”.  As the book was passed from person-to-person we discovered Doris’s Law of Looks, which summarizes the importance to dressing for the weather:  No matter what you wear, you will not look good if you look cold.

The next day, it was -30C… before the wind-chill.  And I looked FABULOUS!

In the News


November 11, 2016 - Climbing to New Heights

A new adventure at Bark Lake. Challenge yourself to go further then you have before and build trust along the way. Come climb with us! ...

November 11, 2016 - Bark Lodge: The Creation of a Bark Lake Icon:

Bark Lake has a rich history; in 2016 we decided to preserve that history with restoring the original building on the property. Bark Lodge ...

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Contact Name
Amanda Mackie

Phone Number:

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