Belwood Lodge and Camp is a residential summer camp dedicated to meeting the summer recreational needs of children, youth and adults with intellectual disabilities. Our program provides an exceptional holiday experience for our participants, provides caregivers valuable respite time, and builds a foundation for an energetic staff to become future leaders and advocates.
Belwood Lodge and Camp was first established by the Kiwanis Club of Guelph under the name Camp Belwood in 1946 as a summer camp project for underprivileged youth. The project quickly discovered the intersection between the underprivileged and the population with disabilities and the focus shifted to offering camp programs for people with intellectual disabilities.
Belwood has seen tremendous growth in the last 70+ years. The first few years of Belwood hosted about 20 campers and a half a dozen staff all in tented sleeping areas nearby the large stone house that once acted as a farmhouse before camp's establishment. The house went on to be named the Hoffman House and it still stands today, named after Fred Hoffman - a long-time supporter and passionate Kiwanis Club member.
Through the 1950’s and 1960’s, the camp built its first set of cabins as well as a plumbing infrastructure and its first bathrooms. The program also expanded, allowing more participants and staff to spend their summers there and continue the great legacy of friendship building and connecting to the wonderful Belwood spirit.
In 1985, “Camp Belwood” incorporated as “Belwood Lodge and Camp.” Since then, Belwood has seen some major structural changes – the addition of the “treehouse” (which served as a sleeping area for the staff, but now serves as the camp office), a new tuck shop (now director’s residence), and replacement bathrooms converting the old bathrooms into the Health Centre.
The 2000s was when the property went from great to spectacular. From 2006 to 2011, our new wonderful colourful cabins were built to offer better accessibility and more space. The cabins have become the heart of what makes our property so wonderful.
We continue to improve our incredible program and have seen upgrades in the kitchen, bathrooms, pool, and program activities. To this day, Belwood continues to thrive as a vibrant, wonderful and important program for participants and staff alike.