The Presbyterian Church in Canada has been involved in camping for over 50 years. Camp Christopher has been an integral part of this program since 1945. Our history is rich and has brought us to the wonderful place we are today!
1944 – The Prince Albert Presbyterial of the Women’s Mission Society visited potential sites for a summer camp north of Prince Albert. The chosen site was located on Christopher Lake about 30 miles north of Prince Albert. The property was owned by Mrs. C. Levall and had everything they needed, including room for expansion and future development.
“The site consisted of 103 acres between the lake and the highway. The waterfront had a splendid, sandy beach, some one-half mile in length. The property also contained several stands of poplar, spruce and tamarack trees.”
Mrs. Levall and her husband had developed parts of the site for commercial operations, so it contained several buildings ideal for starting a Christian camping program. The property was purchased by the W.M.S. for $2200 and they held the land title until its transfer to the Synod of Saskatchewan in 1988.
Soon, the development of the land began in earnest. Both the Saskatoon Presbytery and the Presbyterial of Saskatoon were invited to make full use of the facilities and to help form a camp operating committee.
1945 – This was a year of great activity, with the W.M.S. granting $2000 towards the erection of a building that would serve as a kitchen, dining/recreation hall and dormitory.
As construction on the lodge began, word was sent from Ottawa that the license to build had been rejected. This was due to the pressing need for lumber to build houses for servicemen returning from World War II. However, it was possible to erect a smaller building costing less than $500.00, so the committee decided to go ahead and complete a kitchen, dining room and sleeping area. The doors and windows were temporarily covered with canvas and more tents were purchased.
St. Paul’s Church in Prince Albert loaned the camp their dishes, with the option that the camp could buy them at a nominal price once the church had obtained some new ones.
Food rationing was still in force at this time; therefore, it was necessary to make application as a quota user of sugar, butter and other preserves.
The first camp was held in the summer of 1945, with registration fees for board and transportation of $10.00 and had 51 boys and 63 girls in attendance.
1989 – A relationship began forming between the Synod of Saskatchewan of the Presbyterian Church and the Saskatoon Presbytery of the United Church in order to run the summer camping programs. The United Church needed a more appropriate site for camping and the Presbyterian Church needed more campers to make full use of the Camp Christopher site.
From then on, the summer programs at Camp Christopher were a collaboration by the two denominations. The United Church was asked to send representatives to the Synod Camp Committee and to have representatives on the Leadership & Program Committee. Volunteers and staff were actively recruited from both denominations. The Presbyterian Synod remained the camp owners and were responsible for the development of the property.
1994 – Murals were added to the craft room walls. (Honour/Love/Kindness Photos)
1995 – Murals created for Camp Christopher’s 50th Birthday (Birthday Hats + Globe)
1997 – A very large mural added to the ceiling of the craft room. (Noah)
2004 – A new duplex was completed.
2005 – A mural made in the lodge to celebrate Saskatchewan’s 100th Birthday (sask)
2009 – A second duplex was completed.
2006 – Sandy and Elizabeth Scott collected sponsorships to run a marathon. They raised a total of $3100, enabling camp to partner with Riverside School and send 19 kids to camp.
These fundraising efforts continue to support Camp Christopher which allows us to bring more kids to camp than ever before. The Tri4Kids4Camp committee consisted of St. Paul’s Church, Riverside School, King George School, Prince Albert Collegiate Institute, and W. J. Berezowsky School. The marathon continued with Sterling Swain, principal at King George, and Kim Jones, vice principal of Riverside School.
2013 – Camp Christopher received the PCC Chisholm fund to complete a playground on site.
2016 – The last round cabin (Round 3) was demolished to make room for a gazebo.
2017 – A large gazebo was completed and used by campers. 2017’s Junior 1 section was the first camp to have a fire in the gazebo and it was used for closing ceremonies the rest of the summer.
2020 – Due to the global pandemic no summer programming was run at Camp Christopher. Many volunteers gave their time and energy throughout the warmer months to paint the kitchen, dining room and craft room. As well, a new deck was built on the North side of the building.
The Chapel was demolished and removed from site.
2021 – A new boat shed was built thanks to the Tri4Kids Committee and the PCC Chisholm Fund.