Property in detail
YMCA Geneva Park is an incredibly important part of Canadian YMCA culture. In addition to being a formative place and “second home” for many children and youth, it has been a training and relationship-building centre for YMCA staff from across the country for generations. YMCA Geneva Park has been in the YMCA family since 1909; first as a summer school for YMCA administrators and later transitioning into a leadership and training centre that hosted countless important events – most notably the Couchiching Conference that ran until 2016. In 1946, the site expanded to include a young adult camp (Leaders’ Corps) and a beloved family camp that continues to offer rental cottages and recreational activities for families each summer, many of whom return year after year, generation after generation.
In early 2021, the association announced the sale of Geneva Park due to unanticipated financial pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Geneva Park community responded with significant care, concern and big ideas for the future of the park, which led to the development of a process that includes an exploration of options that extend beyond the straight sale of the property.
The YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka is committed to looking at all possible avenues to contribute to the long-term sustainability of its charitable association while seeking the best community use of the property and ways to continue the legacy of the Park.
To that end, this unique process will take into consideration a number of values-based considerations and principles in the search for an innovative solution or partnership(s) to ensure families, groups and individuals can access this important place for generations to come. Solutions might include the potential for continued full or partial use by the YMCA; the facilitation of necessary investments to address immediate and future infrastructure and capital needs of the Park; facilitating the preservation of the local environment and waterways; respecting the historical stewards of the land, including the Anishinaabe people, the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, on whose traditional territory Geneva Park is situated; and, the generation of revenue to support the long term sustainability of the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka.