[Toronto, ON] – Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST) is proud to announce the completion of its On the Land Camps revitalization project using non-repayable Government of Canada contribution from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).

In the summer of 2020, NCFST piloted the On the Land (OTL) program delivering land-based healing activities to urban Aboriginal families, to address the adverse health and wellness impacts of the pandemic. Building on the pilot’s successes, NCFST expanded on 20+ years of our annual summer camp programming to provide new, year-round OTL camps, creating valuable culture-based outdoor opportunities for Aboriginal children, youth, and their families to reclaim healthy spirits and rebuild healthy communities by reconnecting to culture and the land throughout all four seasons.

In 2021, NCFST purchased its own campground property in Eastern Ontario’s Clarendon Station, and began running the OTL camps in spring 2022. With the funding from FedDev Ontario, NCFST completed the revitalization of cabins at Clarendon Station by ensuring campgrounds are suitable for all seasons by insulating and modifying cabins and kitchen space for safe use and meeting Public Health/building codes. These changes will allow for NCFST to deliver year-round On the Land camps to Indigenous community members, with regard to winter safety.

“Investing in strong, cultural programming like the On the Land Camps created by Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST), ensures that youth and families have a space to come together. This project promotes physical activity while offering a space to connect with culture all year round.  The Government of Canada is pleased to support projects that put people first and empower communities.” The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

Investing in culturally relevant programs for Indigenous children, youth, and their families, is not just an investment in their future; it is a commitment to fostering resilience, connection, and holistic well-being. By embracing traditional knowledge and practices in outdoor education, we pave the way for a more inclusive and sustainable future.” The Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth and Member of Parliament for Toronto–Centre

The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario team was helpful and supportive, with straight-forward claim and reporting processes. This allowed us to focus on the project – getting contractors on board and scheduling the work within the funding timeframe.” Norman Clarke, Senior Manager, Real Estate and Procurement, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto.

Engagement with the Land across all seasons is vital to wellbeing for First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. NCFST is honoured to be able to provide enhanced winter land-based programming to community members. We thank the Government of Canada for its generous support.” Melissa Hamonic, Director, Holistic Services, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto.

The revitalization project enables NCFST to continue to foster a vibrant, welcoming and culturally responsive community space in a rural outdoor area that supports socially distanced outdoor activities to improve mental health, strengthen intergenerational bonds, decrease parent stress, reduce social isolation, increase physical exercise, increase cultural connectedness and build a sense of belonging.

About Native Child and Family Services of Toronto

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST) is a multi-service urban Aboriginal agency providing holistic, culture-based programs and services for Aboriginal children and families. NCFST strives to provide a life of quality, well-being, healing, and self-determination for children and families in the Toronto urban Aboriginal community. We do this by implementing a service model that is culture-based and respects the values of Aboriginal people, the extended family and the right to self-determination.  To learn more about NCFST, please click here.

About FedDev Ontario

For 14 years, the Government of Canada, through FedDev Ontario, has worked to advance and diversify the southern Ontario economy through funding opportunities and business services that support innovation, growth and job creation in Canada’s most populous region. The Agency has delivered impressive results, which can be seen in southern Ontario businesses that are creating innovative technologies, improving productivity, growing revenues, creating jobs, and in the economic advancement of communities across the region. Learn more about the impacts the Agency is having in southern Ontario by exploring our pivotal projects, our Southern Ontario Spotlight, and FedDev Ontario’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.


Native Child and Family Services of Toronto
Randall Arsenault
Manager, Communications, Public Relations, and Events
(416) 639-9039
[email protected]

Edward Hutchinson
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
[email protected]