TDSB Pine River TOES


Pine River Outdoor Education Centre — ‘mothballed’

Pine River's Main Building

Pine River Outdoor Education Centre is regrettably ‘mothballed’ as of 2003 March 28. Due to the lack of provincial funding for outdoor education, Pine, together with Boyne River Natural Science School, and Noisy River Outdoor Education Centre, are no longer open for students. We hope that this sorry state of affairs can be reversed.

Pine River Outdoor Education Centre was a residential field study centre located near the historic hamlet of Horning's Mills in Ontario's Dufferin County. The main building at Pine River OEC (see image above) was built in 1996 for the former Borough of York Board of Education. The centre is now owned by the Toronto District School Board.

Pine River OEC features scenic vistas of the rolling hills of Mulmur Township, a large pond, some tributaries of the bubbling Pine River, and a variety of terrestrial habitats. The extensive taxidermy collection located throughout the centre emphasizes local birds and mammals and always catches a visitor's eyes. A colourful new mural inside the front door captures the essence of Pine River OEC.

The Toronto District School Board had operated a residential outdoor education program at Pine River since 1978. Students had the opportunity of participating in a week of study and training in various environmental and outdoor activities under the capable leadership and supervision of the Centre's staff.

The regular classroom teacher accompanied the students to the Centre from the home school and assisted with the program. The Centre hosted 1,627 visitors in the 1997/98 school year. The majority of our visitors were a part of the mandated grade 6 program, but we also hosted groups such as secondary students, teachers and coordinators, senior citizens and outdoor educators. Classroom teachers were given the opportunity to assist with the program planning so the residential learning experience did not become isolated from the curriculum.

The lessons taught out-of-doors became a vital component in a student's understanding of the Ontario Curriculum. Pine River OEC welcomed visiting students and staff with hospitality, friendliness, and high quality outdoor programs.

Great Blue Heron
A long-legged resident of Pine River OEC enjoys a refreshing dip while patiently waiting for dinner.



In The Heart Of The Seed

In the heart of the seed
Buried deep, so deep,
A dear little plant
Lay fast asleep.
Keneisha McKenzie, York Humber High School


Pine River Outdoor Education Centre at a Glance

  • experiential curriculum-based programs
  • development of respect for and preservation of the environment
  • interpersonal skills and cooperative activities
  • communal living skills
  • outdoor education and recreation

The Facility

  • located near Shelburne, in Dufferin County, southwestern Ontario.
  • 80 hectares of escarpment land (with scenic vistas) supporting a wide variety of flora and fauna
  • modern residence accommodates up to 55 students and staff
  • separate dormitories for girls and boys with shower facilities
  • home-cooked, nutritionally-balanced meals provided in common dining room
  • study areas available for the week long activities in community living and learning.
  • safe and supervised outdoor recreation facilities
  • indoor lounge for quiet activities
  • camping cabins, pavilion, and picnic shelter for use by small groups in spring and fall


For further information, contact Mark Whitcombe, District-wide Co-ordinator, Outdoor Education.

Pine River Outdoor Education Centre, R. R. # 3, Shelburne, Ontario, L0N 1S7

Updated March 31, 2003.


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