Rendering of the HCAT Bunkhouse and MacGillivray Common Room (Credit: V+A Architects)
After more than a century of operation, Survey Camp — one of U of T Engineering’s oldest and most unique sites — is in the process of receiving a much-needed facelift.
Cutline: The scope of the Survey Camp project also includes a new sewage treatment system (pictured). According to Saint-Ivany, the challenge in preparing and installing this advanced on-site wastewater system is that the work to place the oil/grease interceptor, balancing tank, anaerobic digesters, dosing tank, and biofilters and to excavate and place sand fill into the two new dispersal beds has to bracket the winter season. The base-cut excavations for the beds, which can’t be left open through the winter, need to be in good scarification condition, with no snow in them, in order for the sand fill to be placed. Photo courtesy of Morosons Construction Ltd.
Progress on the HCAT Bunkhouse and MacGillivray Common Room, a new modern and flexible-use building, has officially passed the halfway point and are slated to be completed by summer 2021. New washroom facilities are also under construction.
“The wood framing of the three structures has progressed with plywood sub-flooring installed, washroom trusses installed and bunkhouse roof framing and sheathing complete,” says Tom Saint-Ivany, Director of Facilities & Infrastructure Planning at U of T Engineering. “The trenching for the incoming water line has been backfilled, with the waterline installed back to the pump house. Plumbing drains have been roughed-in and electrical rough-ins have commenced. Exhaust ductwork is in place in the washroom building and the exhaust fan is on site. Septic system installation has progressed, with sand fill material stockpiled on site. The buildings have been skirted with tarps for weather protection/heating and a weather barrier has been applied to the bunkhouse.”
Saint-Ivany says that in addition to the installation of the board and batten siding, windows and doors, extensive exterior work on the structures will commence over the winter, including the placement of wall insulation, electrical services, paneling, benches, vinyl floor finish, ceramic tile, interior signage and a variety of fixtures. By spring, a second electrical service and pad-mounted transformer will be in place and exterior landscaping will be completed.
A view of the HCAT Bunkhouse (foreground) framing and the MacGillivray Common Room floor (rear left) and washroom (rear right) in November 2020. (Morosons Construction Ltd)
A view of the MacGillivray Common Room floor (foreground) and washroom (rear) in November 2020. (Morosons Construction Ltd)
Located more than 100 kilometres north of Toronto, on the shore of Gull Lake, near Minden, Ont., Survey Camp is home to U of T’s CAMP (Civil and Mineral Practicals), a multi-week field educational program that challenges U of T Engineering undergraduate students to overcome the adversity of unpredictable, real-world field situations. Nearly 8,000 students have walked the grounds since the inaugural CAMP session in September 1920. Today, as many as 200 Civil and Mineral Engineering (CivMin) students participate in CAMP each year.
DEEP connections at Survey Camp
Survey Camp is remembered by many Civ/Min alumni as a place where they formed deep and long lasting bonds with classmates and faculty. But did you know that Survey Camp also host students outside of CivMin? High school students, attending the Da Vinci Engineering Enrichment Program (DEEP) Leadership Camp, have used the location since 2003. This unique program offers youth the opportunity to explore personal leadership development through a unique integrated curriculum that includes practical applications drawn from STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields in an outdoor setting. Participants explore topics in science and engineering through fun, interdisciplinary activities —taught by some of our faculty’s top alumni, PhD candidates, and Master’s and undergraduate students. Thanks to Camp supporters, exploration, discovery and learning is fosters in the next generation of engineers!
Over the years, Survey Camp has also expanded to host students outside of CivMin. High school students, attending the Da Vinci Engineering Enrichment Program (DEEP) Leadership Camp, have used the location since 2003.
After 100 years of vigorous use, a comprehensive upgrade and expansion — both to restore the historic existing structures and to accommodate U of T Engineering’s growing needs — were imperative.
“These developments demonstrate the University’s commitment to support experiential learning at Camp for the long term,” says Professor Emerita Brenda McCabe (CivMin), who is acting as the faculty lead on the project. “The facilities remain respectful of the history of Camp but beckon a new age of learning. Expanded facilities allow multiple student groups to use the facility concurrently. The new septic system allows us to reduce our impact on the environment. These are just the direct and immediate benefits. There will be many secondary benefits that we have yet to see.”
McCabe is anticipating that researchers, in addition to undergraduate students, will benefit from the revitalized Camp site as well.
“It is hoped that we can host graduate courses at Camp in the fall,” she says. “These would be research-focused courses that engage graduate students in a learning environment that is distinct from the city.”
That is, however, dependent on COVID-19 and any physical restrictions that may be put in place. Survey Camp was greatly impacted by the pandemic in 2020, both from an educational and development perspective.
“Many things had to be cancelled or postponed,” says McCabe. “For example, we’ve partnered with the Gull Lake Cottagers Association each year since about 1923 to offer the GLCA annual regatta. In 2020, we had to cancel the regatta. Similarly, we could not in good conscience offer CAMP to students as the facilities did not allow us to safely house the students and instructors. However, the students still need to complete the course to graduate. So, given the new facilities, we are looking to hold slightly larger camps over the next few years so that we can ‘catch up’ and ensure that all of our students experience CAMP.”
Covid 19 caused the cancellation of Survey Camp 2020 as well as unique construction challenges. (Morosons Construction Ltd)
Construction also experienced some setbacks because of COVID-19. Saint-Ivany says that the ability of the general contractor, Morosons Construction Ltd., to mobilize on-site was delayed by about a month due to the Ontario-wide COVID-19 shutdown last spring. The cost of wood products, which are used extensively in the construction of the HCAT Bunkhouse and MacGillivray Common Room and washroom facilities, also increased sharply during COVID-19 as supply was limited and in high demand.
All things considered, Saint-Ivany is confident the site will be ready by summer 2021.
“The buildings are expected to be substantially complete in April with takeover by the University in May,” he says. “Altogether, and COVID-19 dependent, the new facilities will be ready for use by students at the beginning of July.”
By Jamie Hunter
Centennial Campaign for CAMP:
This exciting progress wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of hundreds of supporters
who have brought us to 85% of the $1.5 million fundraising goal. There’s still time to get involved!
Leave your mark on Camp:
The ongoing Centennial Campaign for Camp offers alumni an opportunity to once again “leave their mark” on Camp, and bolster the success future generations of Civil and Mineral Engineering students. All donations are matched dollar-for-dollar as we work toward a goal of $1.5 million (we’ve reached 85 per cent to date!). Donors are gratefully acknowledged on the campaign website. Those who contribute $1,000 or more will be recognized on a permanent donor wall. In addition, bunkbeds can be named for $5,000 and built-in benches for $10,000
Learn more online: https://alumni.engineering.utoronto.ca/camp
or contact Kristin Philpot +1 (416) 946-7827
We are grateful for every donation. Big or small – every gift makes a difference!
We’d like to give special acknowledgement to those who have given at a leadership level:
Bunkhouse Benefactor: The Heavy Construction Association of Toronto (HCAT)
Student Common Room Benefactors: Robert MacGillivray (CIV 8T5) & Scott MacGillivray (CIV 8T2)
Peter Halsall (CIV 7T7)
PCL Constructors Canada Inc
East & West Wing Benefactors:
Hugh Macklin & Jennifer Joyce Macklin
The Association of Ontario Land Surveyors
Lloyd McCoomb (CIV 6T8)
Devon Biddle (Civ 6T7) & Linda Biddle (P&OT 6T5)
John Donald Barber (CIV 6T2)
Bruce Chown (CIV 5T5)
CAMP Instructors – Iron Bars
Skule Society ($1,000 – $25,000)
Class of 0T3
Classes of Civil 6T0–6T5 Campaign for CAMP
Class of Civil 6T8 Campaign for CAMP
Class of Civil 8T0 Campaign for CAMP
John Bajc, 8T2
Beacon Utility Contractors Limited
Ronald W. Bell, 6T9
Wayne M. Bennett, 6T9
Evan Charles Bentz, 0T0
David C. Brownlow, 5T6
Thomas A Bunker, 5T0
Brian Carter, 6T1
Arun Channan, 8T0
Michael Circelli, 8T3
Michael Cook, 6T3
Ralph Cowan, 6T8
Steve Patrick Dennis, 9T9
Gregory Dimmer, 8T3
Paul G. Douglas, 7T8
Henry N. Edamura, 6T0
Marie-Anne Erki, 8T0
EXP Services Inc
Hugh Fraser, 8T0
Gordon Gracie, 5T2
David H Gray, 6T8
Gull Lake Cottagers’ Association
Leslie & Margaret Kende 6T0
Anthony Lanni, 6T9
Ross Lawrence, 5T6
Arthur Leitch, 6T9
Terrence MacDougall, 6T9
Orlando Martini, 5T6
Brenda McCabe, 9T4
Malcolm McGrath, 5T4
Robert McQuillan, 5T0
Model Railings & Ironworks Inc.
Maureen and Robert Mountjoy, 7T5
Peter and Michelle Rhodes, 6T7
Sidney Richardson, 5T1
John H. Rogers 3T9
Glenn L. Rogers
Matthew J. Roorda
Kenneth Selby, 5T7
Senior Women Academic Administrators of Canada
Dana Stanojevic, 9T9
John Starkey, 6T1
John Vinklers, 6T6
Paul Walters, 5T6
Nicholas Walker, 6T5
Arthur H. Watson, 7T5
Previous stories about Survey Camp include:
Survey Camp update: November construction progress
Survey Camp construction underway
Survey Camp Centennial: CAMP100