August 14-18 • Unifor Family Education Centre
The votes are in. Mindcampers loved both candidate locations, but twice as many of you preferred the Unifor Family Education Centre. Here’s why:
- The buildings are clean and well designed. The site ticks all of our boxes.
- The other location, a family resort, is not (and will never be) available to us in August, whereas Unifor is.
- There is a “Hub” where Mindcampers can relax in the evenings (including a dance floor!)
- There is an outdoor gathering space with a firepit.
- The accommodations are very comfortable… nicer than our previous locations.
- The site is accessible to people with mobility challenges.
- The price is very reasonable when compared to other available options.
- There’s lake and a beautiful beach.
- The classrooms are great!
- Like Mindcamp and like our previous host the YMCA, Unifor is a values-driven organization, and their values are aligned with ours.
The new site is 200 kilometers (125 miles) north-west of Toronto Pearson International Airport. It is right on Lake Huron, one of Canada’s “Great Lakes”, and known for its broad, sandy beaches. The beach area adjoining the Unifor site does not disappoint in this regard.
Questions & Answers
Many of you asked questions about the site in the selection process. We’ve gathered these together here below.
What is the capacity?
We had previously decided to cap Mindcamp participation at 130 participants, and as it happens that matches their capacity very well. We will be the only folks on-site.
How the heck will we get there? Will a bus/shuttle be available?
Driving’s the best way. We will definitely be organizing ride-sharing as well as a bus to take participants there and back again. Lots of details need to be ironed out, but one is this: How might we make the 3-hour drive up and back a fun and useful time?
What will the food be like?
We regret we did not have the chutzpah to ask for a sampling, but we did meet the chef who was friendly and very willing to work with us on menus. Things smelled pretty good in the kitchen! 🙂
Are there quiet spaces for meditation and introspection?
Definitely. The property was designed so that the experience of moving between the buildings can happen inside or outside (it’s year-round and winter is COLD); the spaces between the buildings have all been designed to invite slowing-down, lingering, and introspection.
How far away is the lake?
Most of the facilities are across a very quiet road from the lake; one part of the property actually extends across the road to the lake itself.
Is there water equipment? Are there any lake activities other than walking and swimming?
We are going to explore these options; we’re told there are boat rental services in nearby Port Elgin who are willing to deliver kayaks to our beach — we still need to find out more (like price!).
Are there places to play sports, put a labyrinth, etc?
Not shown in the video were the extensive sports fields. We did have our “Labyrinth Glasses” on while we toured the site and found a couple of good spots for one.
Are there walking trails? How far can we walk on the beach?
You can walk all the way around Lake Huron if you have the time (a year maybe?). But if you walk 30 minutes south along the beach (or drive 5 minutes) you will come to Macgregor Point Provincial Park, where there are many kilometres of wooded walking trails. We will for sure explore organized outings for the car-less.
What else is nearby?
The town of Port Elgin is a 3-minute drive away. You can even walk there. It’s a small town but there are stores and restaurants and several popular beaches. Macgregor Point Provincial Park is a 5-minute drive away.
Am I going to be able to catch my flight after I leave Mindcamp?
Only if your flight leaves quite late in the day. It’s probably best to plan to stay the night in Toronto and fly out the next day.
Can I book an extra day or two at Unifor?
Unfortunately it will not be possible to stay extra nights. However the area is a popular vacation spot and there are lots of rentals nearby. If you have a car available we would definitely recommend exploring the Bruce Peninsula.