Swallowdale Camp, Lake Rosseau, Ontario (Returning in 2022)

Operating on the beautiful grounds of Rosseau Lake College in Ontario's world famous Muskoka region, Swallowdale Camp is the perfect choice for a traditional summer camp adventure. Canadian and International campers join together to develop skills in sports, arts, outdoor activities and leadership. Camping traditions runs deep in the Canadian spirit and are embodied in this programme, which has been in continuous operation since 1943. At Swallowdale Camp, students come to appreciate the stunning beauty of the nature that surrounds them, and the cultural distinctions that make up our global community.

LocationLake Rosseau, Ontario
Ages7-15 years, boys and girls
Leaders in Training (LIT)16-17 years, boys and girls
DatesReturning in 2022
AccommodationShared residence rooms
NEW! Forest Camp10 hours per week

Dates and Fees 2021

All fees are in Canadian Dollars $CAD

Swallowdale Camp is coming back in 2022. Please visit the Lakefield Camp page for a great 2021 programme option.

*Canadian and US citizens currently residing in Canada or the United States are asked to contact CISS for domestic rates. Taxes are included. Information updated: September 26, 2018


Swallowdale Camp offers the perfect combination of a traditional Canadian summer camp and the comforts of home.  It is based at Rosseau Lake College, a highly-regarded private boarding school located on Lake Rosseau.  The Muskoka region of Ontario has long held a special place in the hearts of its year-round residents and seasonal cottagers. With fresh water lakes offering spectacular views, surrounded by the natural beauty of forested landscape, it's no wonder that this region holds a strong reputation as one of Canada's premier recreational destinations.

Facilities include:

  • Modern Classrooms
  • Dining hall
  • 2 sports fields
  • Indoor gymnasium
  • Extensive waterfront facilities for swimming, boating, canoeing, and kayaking
  • Art Studio
  • Student Lounges
  • Comfortable dormitory accommodation 

Campers are separated by age and gender and live in one of three school residence houses.  We place up to eight campers in a room, depending on the size and layout.  All rooms includes beds (or bunkbeds), desks, chairs, dressers and wardrobes and campers will each receive a clean pillow and sleeping bag.  There are full toilet and shower facilities in each residence, which are shared.  Campers must bring their own towels and toiletries.  Safety is our number one priority so staff live on the same floor of the residence with the campers and students are monitored 24 hours a day. 

We provide three meals plus a healthy snack each day.  Meals are served “family style” in the school dining hall. Campers will sit with their assigned group and counselor at a large table and food is brought to the table and shared.  Our menu offers a variety of nutritious meals, all cooked on-site by professional staff.  Meals at Swallowdale are famous for being lively and loud – campers are encouraged to join in the songs and cheers!


Each day is divided into five activity periods* (three in the morning, two in the afternoon). Campers choose their activities from a wide range of options, all of which are instructed by knowledgeable staff and taught in English. Free Time is also offered daily, allowing campers to take part in arts & crafts, land sports, swimming or woodworking. These activities are fully supervised, but not necessarily instructed.

Note: Classes may happen in any of the periods, not necessarily in the order presented above

*1 period = 1 hour = 60 minutes

General English 

Campers who want to improve their English can enrol in English as a Second Language (ESL) lessons.  All students taking ESL are tested on their first Monday at the programme, and placed in a level-appropriate class. ESL classes are 10 hours per week and comprise two of the five daily activity periods. Campers can then choose for their remaining three activities.

The general English experience is the choice for most international summer students. This option provides classroom instruction in speaking, listening, reading and writing, with a focus on helping students of all proficiency levels to improve in their fluency and accuracy of speech.

NEW - Forest Camp

New for 2020, CISS is proud to introduce “Forest Camp” at Swallowdale!  This programme offers campers an opportunity to improve their English fluency through lessons and activities that are designed specifically around environmental themes.  Lessons are taught by instructors who are passionate about the future of our planet, providing campers with a more concrete knowledge of the natural world, a greater appreciation for biodiversity, and a more profound respect for indigenous culture.

The curriculum for the Forest Camp programme at Swallowdale is designed to take place outdoors and features emergent, experiential, and inquiry-based learning.  It provides students with an opportunity to have hands-on experience with nature – an approach that we believe is essential to both the physical and mental well-being of today’s children.

Activity Camp

Learn by doing in the all Activity Camp! This programme gives students an opportunity to enjoy all five daily periods devoted to water and land sports, arts, music and skill-building exercises. Each activity programme is divided into weekly modules; students start out with a basic introduction and learning the safety rules. As the week progresses, they develop their skills in each of their chosen activities.

Leader In Training (LIT)

The Leader in Training course puts the concept of "leadership" into motion by providing participants with a combination of theoretical knowledge and practical hands-on experience in a camp setting.  This programme is ideal for participants who are 16-17 years of age and who possess a high-intermediate to advanced level of English.

Morning lessons focus on examining theories, models, and meanings of leadership. LITs learn techniques used by educators to lead and support young children, including strategies for different scenarios that may occur in a camp setting.

Afternoons provide LITs with the opportunity to apply their new knowledge, as they assist camp staff in leading and organizing various camp activities. Participants leave the programme with new skills and experience they will draw on for the rest of their lives. 

Programme Options

Programme Ages Daily Schedule English Proficiency
General English 10 hours 7-15 2 class periods + 3 activity periods All levels accepted
NEW - Forest Camp 10 hours 7-15 2 class periods + 3 activity periods All levels accepted
Activity Camp 7-15 5 activity periods All levels accepted
Leader In Training 16-17 2 class periods + 3 practical training periods Advanced ESL required

Evening Programme

Evenings provide an opportunity for students and staff to do activities together. The programme is mandatory and is a combination of house-based activities and leisure options. Students from each residence house may team up to face each other in competition. Students may also enjoy camp-wide activities including the following: 

  • Campfires
  • Camp Games
  • Dances
  • In-house Videos
  • Overnight camping
  • Sports Challenges
  • Skit Night
  • Talent Shows 


Daily Instructed Activities

Whether taking the Activity Camp or General English, all campers have the opportunity to select and participate in general interest activities as follows:

  • Activity Camp: 5 instructed activity periods daily + Free Time activity period
  • Forest Camp: 3 instructed activity periods daily + Free Time activity period 
  • General English: 3 instructed activity periods daily + Free Time activity period 

At the beginning of each week, students select their activities from a wide variety of water and land sports, as well as arts and movement programming. Students attend their chosen activities in one-week blocks, ensuring they develop skills in those particular areas. ESL students are automatically scheduled into classes comprising the first two periods daily.  

Activity choices are listed below. All activities are supervised and instructed in English. Each activity period lasts for 1 hour (60 minutes) daily, five days per week. 

Activity Instructors

  • Activity instructors have proven competency skills in each of their activities 
  • Lifeguards and activity instructors have certification in accordance with Ontario Camps Association (OCA) regulations

Free Time Activity Period

On regular camp days, 1 hour is allocated as a recreational period (REC). During REC, a variety of water and land sports & activities are offered to students. Campers have the opportunity to participate in different REC activities on a daily basis. These REC activities are supervised but not instructed.

On Sundays and on days when optional excursions are offered, the daily programme is modified to allow for group activities rather than the typical daily choices.

    Water Sports

  •      Canoeing
  •      Kyaking
  •      Fishing
  •      Sailing
  •      Stand Up Paddle Board
  •      Swimming

    Field & Court Sports

  •      Archery
  •      Ball Hockey
  •      Basketball
  •      Soccer
  •      Vollyball
  •      Ultimate Fisbee


  •      Arts & Crafts
  •      Guitar
  •      Outdoor Survival
  •      Woodworking
  •      Yoga


  •      ESL

For Parents

What is included in the programme price?

  • Residence accommodation
  • Three meals daily plus an evening snack
  • Supervision
  • All scheduled activities
  • Use of lifejacket, paddles, and other sporting equipment
  • Study materials
  • 10 hours/week of ESL instruction (optional) with certificate upon completion of course
  • Shopping excursions to Huntsville
  • Full-time healthcare provider on campus
  • Laundry service once a week
  • Bedding/sleeping bags (students must supply own towel)

International students also have included:

  • Toronto airport meet & greet plus transfers to/from camp
  • Emergency Medical and Dental insurance

Does my child need a visa to enter Canada or to attend this programme?

Students who come for a summer camp (or any programme with a duration of less than six months) do not require a Study Permit. Students coming from certain countries, however, will require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV). Most non-visa students will require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Please refer to the Canadian Immigration and Citizenship website for details on your particular situation: www.canada.ca/en/services/immigration-citizenship.html 

Do I need to purchase out-of-country emergency travel medical insurance for my child?

CISS provides emergency medical and dental insurance to a maximum of $100,000 CAD for international campers. Students coming from the USA, however, are responsible for their own out-of-country insurance. Canadian campers are typically covered by their provincial healthcare plans. 

Who will receive my child when he/she arrives at the airport? 

For international campers, and Canadian or US campers who have requested transfer to/from the airport - Staff from Swallowdale Camp will meet your child in the arrivals area at the airport. Staff hold signs showing the programme name. Students should look for this sign and remain in the arrivals area until he/she has met the staff member. Students travelling as part of a group with a group leader should remain together. The group leader will assist the students to find the CISS staff member. If your child is registered as an Unaccompanied Minor (UM), the designated person that CISS told you about during the UM registration will be ready to personally receive your child. 

How will I know that my child has arrived safely at camp?

CISS maintains regular contact with your Representative, and will immediately inform the Representative if a student has not arrived as expected. Otherwise, it should be assumed that all students have arrived safely.

What happens if my child has a medical emergency? 

Our staff is trained to handle all medical emergencies. Swallowdale Camp hires a health-care provider who is on site.  The camp is also in close proximity to hospitals and clinics. CISS will inform both you and your Representative (if applicable) of any emergencies that arise and the details/treatments involved.

Do you have a clothing list available? 

Yes. Please download the Swallowdale Camp Clothing List (PDF) here.  

To ensure your child returns home with all of his/her belongings, we recommend that all clothing and personal items be labelled with your child's name.  For your convenience, we have partnered with Mabel’s Labels, a Canadian company with all types of labels that are colourful, indestructible and fun! This company ships both domestically and internationally. To purchase labels, go to www.swallowdale.mabel.ca

How can I communicate with my child? 

All parent communication, by phone or email, will be limited to one time per week (except in emergency situations). In our experience, frequently calling home prompts homesickness.  It also interrupts the campers from their routine at camp. If you have concerns about your child, our staff is available to talk with you about it. Rest assured that if there are any problems, a staff member will contact you.

Phone Calls - Campers are permitted to call home once a week. Campers may use their own personal mobile devices to call home or they may use Skype (headphones with microphones available).  Campers who do not have a Skype account may use the Swallowdale account and will be charged accordingly. We ask that parents not call the camp office to speak with their child, except in the case of an emergency.  

Mobile Devices - Mobile phones/devices are not permitted at Swallowdale Camp. Campers who arrive with them will be asked to leave them in safe-keeping at the camp office. Phones/devices will be given to campers only when needed to call home, or during full day excursions.

E-Mail - Campers will have limited access to email during their stay at camp. Campers wishing to use email must have a personal web-based email address.