Peterborough-based entrepreneur/world traveller Olaf Dunn has launched Pitched, Canada’s first campsite booking model.
The platform—"it's really the outdoor version of Airbnb," says John Gills from the Innovation Cluster—is designed to let campers escape the crowds and get the chance to explore new land by allowing any person in Ontario to host their own property and get paid for it. Pitched allows anyone to host their land as a campsite, from farms to forests, vineyards to waterfronts and more.
With over 50 campsites in Ontario alone, Pitched provides an opportunity for the campers to have a unique place to stay and the host an opportunity to share local knowledge of the site, creating memories travellers wouldn’t experience at an average campground.
The inspiration came to Dunn as he was searching for campsites one summer for a family getaway, and came to the realization it was difficult to find a campsite. “It is hard for the average person to find a campsite that is both secluded and quiet,” says Dunn. “We wanted to create an experience for campers who are adventurous, maybe take impulsive road trips, or just want to try somewhere new.”
When searching for a location, campers will be able to view everything available to them when they are at the campsite. The minimum requirement is room for a tent, but hosts can choose to provide equipment like fire pits, tent supplies, and more.
In order to know the reliability of campers and hosts, the Pitched app allows reviews of each person’s experience. If an issue occurs, users are allowed to contact Pitched to be investigated. As a company based on being passionate for the outdoors, Pitched most important rule is a “leave no trace” policy when campers depart the site.
Peterborough resident Alex Bushell was one of the first users to beta test and list his property (located near Ottawa) on Pitched. "My property would often go weeks without being used during the beautiful summer weather,” he says. “Pitched allows me to let people enjoy the property while also earning a few dollars to help me offset some of the costs of ownership."
Bushell's property instantly gained attraction, and he had eight bookings. “It’s also really nice to share my weekend getaway property with like-minded people and I've actually become friends with a few of them,” he says.
For more information, visit Pitched.ca.
With the Trent Severn Waterway set to open for the season May 18th, a unique experience to try this summer is camping along a Lock in a oTENTik—which is a cross between a tent and a rustic cedar cabin.
Parks Canada gives you the opportunity to experience camping at their oTENTik accommodations at two locations: Lock 24 - Douro and Lock 35 - Rosedale. The oTENTik is a unique destination for visitors to enjoy camping at ease with the convenience of a bed and a campsite already set up.
Lock 24 is situated between Lakefield and Peterborough at 4052 County Road 32 in the Township of Douro-Dummer. There, you can choose from 3 oTENTiks located on a small island between the canal and the Otonabee River, or one fully-accessible oTENTik located lockside.
The oTENTik accommodations on this site are a nature-lover’s dream, but with modern amenities close at hand. Learn more about booking a site here.
Lock 35 is situated between Balsam and Cameron Lakes in the City of Kawartha Lakes, and there are great oTENTiks located there as well. Learn more here.
Watch this video to get a feel for the oTENTiks...
The Just BeYOUtiful Campaign in Peterborough was created by Niki Allday and Christina Abbott in 2013 to promote inner beauty and self confidence in youth.
The empowering BeYOUtiful has a school program run on a volunteer basis and some topics include bullying, volunteerism, how to be a role model and how to love yourself.
Throughout the last three years, the BeYOUtiful program has been run in numerous local schools. BeYOUtiful also has monthly camp days and run a volunteer garden in downtown Peterborough (generously donated by Ashburnham Realty).
The next camp day is Saturday, March 19th from 10 a.m. to noon at Peterborough YMCA. The camp will have great team building activities—including teaching children about growing their very own fruits and veggies. They will be painting a pot and planting seed.
The cost for the camp day is just $10 per child, and you can email Niki Allday to register here. There are limited spots available so register now!
STRUTT's next 6 Week Program starts this Saturday (April 11th) and runs until Saturday, May 16. Here are 5 great reasons to register your child for it...
1. Your child will be featured as a Model & Designer in the incredible 2015 Public Energy Wearable Arts Show—a major Fashion Show at Market Hall! This show is the most creative runway event in Peterborough!!
2. This STRUTT program has 3 amazing photo shoots taking place. Photo shoots with be with the amazing published Fashion Photographer Paisley Spence!
3. A local voice actor star will be in to teach the girls about radio and the power of your voice. How cool is that!!
4. Ever made stiletto cupcakes? Come celebrate International Cupcake Day the STRUTT way! They will be posting their marvelous cupcakes and a very cool vintage '50s inspired photo shoot to Pinterest.
5. One of North America's top stylish twins will be coming in help with their Wearable Arts Fashion Design!
To register for this program or for more info, email email@example.com.
Learn more about STRUTT's programs here.
The Wolf's Ken Elrick II—aka "Dr Patchbeard"—has the hippest set of wheels anywhere. Here, in his own words, he tells us about "The Patchbus"...
The Patchbus is a 1984 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Camper that I purchased in the fall of 2012 from a nice hippie couple in Cobourg. I've been interested in cars my whole life and had been looking for a while for a project car to play around with. The idea of buying a VW bus didn't really cross my mind until my dad got one of his own about a year prior. Since buying it, I've learned a lot about working on it, having swapped the engine out myself. I've used it as a daily driver around Peterborough as well as gone on road trips and camping trips with it. The pop-top and bunk beds allow for four to sleep comfortably—as long as they don't mind cuddling a little bit—so it's perfect for long trips. One day, it will take me across the country. One day. —Ken Elrick II
Here's a bunch of pictures of The Patchbus...
Peterborough's Shelley Hermer is Ontario Program Coordinator for Camp Kerry Society. Here, she gives us an insider look at the impact of Camp Kerry retreats in British Columbia—which use a holistic approach to bereavement care where emphasis is placed on healing both within and between families—and writes about the first Camp Kerry Ontario being established.
Camp Kerry offers family retreats and year-round support programs for children, youth and parents who are grieving the death of a loved one. The camp is named after British Columbian Kerry Kirstiuk, an inspiring mother of two young children, who lost her battle to colon cancer in 2006. Designed and overseen by family bereavement expert Dr. Heather Mohan, Camp Kerry began in 2007 as a pilot project after Kerry's husband Bob requested that donations in her memory be given to Dr. Mohan's program at Lions' Gate Hospital in North Vancouver.
Dr. Mohan's response was immediate, fulfilling a long-standing dream to run a family bereavement camp. Since then, more than 150 families in British Columbia have benefited from these specialized services. In 2011, Camp Kerry officially separated from Lions Gate Hospital and was incorporated as an independent Canadian charity.
In 2011, I traveled to BC to volunteer at Camp Kerry and since then have been working towards bringing this exceptional and unique program to Ontario. With the approval of the Camp Kerry Society Board of Directors, we have set a goal to bring 10 Ontario families to the first Camp Kerry Ontario retreat in October 2014, held in the beautiful Haliburton Highlands.
Parents often describe their biggest worry is that they—and their children—won’t recover from the loss of their loved one. They talk about the balance of needing to keep old memories alive and creating new ones. Children and parents convey their desire to see their family enjoy life.
At the retreats, so much happens for families. Yes, there are tears—the Saturday evening memory service and Sunday afternoon message balloon release allow families the chance to openly remember their loved ones. Parents and children participate in groups led by professional therapists, providing opportunities to share and receive peer support. Key to the model is the therapeutic use of art, music and adventure challenges in a natural setting. In the words of one parent, "we experienced what we never thought possible."
Fundraising and events to help raise awareness about this Camp Kerry Ontario retreat are in the works, involving support from and collaboration with Peterborough and area community organizations. If you would like to be part of the first Camp Kerry Ontario—either by offering financial support, assisting at events, volunteering your time, or if you simply would like more information—please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—By Shelley Hermer
Here's some more pictures below from Camp Kerry in BC, as well as a YouTube video about the camp...