Easter Seals (Canada)

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In Canada, Easter Seals is a group of charitable organizations which provide opportunities for children with physical and/or mental disabilities. Founded in 1922 by a group of ten Rotary Clubs, it sought to emulate the success of the American Easter Seals program. In 1945, the first Canadian Easter Seals was introduced in Alberta. Today, licensed agencies work across Canada to provide programs and services to over 40,000 children and their families. Easter Seals Canada is considered to be well-funded and more known than their American counterpart.

The most well known services are the camp programs. There are 12 camps across Canada providing camp opportunities to over 4600 kids with physical and/or mental disabilities. These camps provide children with opportunities to do activities such as: sledge hockey, archery, arts & crafts, music & drama, campfires, accessible High Ropes, camping in a tent, other fun sports, swimming, pottery, and much more. Camps are provided to children at little or no cost to the families. Easter Seals also provides services such as mobility aids, adaptive computers, communication aids, and wheelchair-accessibility modifications to vehicles and homes.

Common disabilities that Easter Seals helps are cerebral palsy, autism, muscular dystrophy, and spina bifida, among many others.

National Programs[edit]

Access 2 Entertainment Card[edit]

The Access 2 Entertainment Card is a partnership with Cineplex Entertainment that’s purpose is to offer more opportunities to people with physical disabilities to participate in recreational activities. Those who chose to purchase the card will get a personalized card printed with their name on it which they will present when going to the attraction of their choice to receive either a free ticket or a discount for their support person. The card is valid locations including movie theatres (95% of all movie theaters across Canada),[1] museums, art gallaries, zoos, historical sites, and aquariums across the country. You can find a full list of locations attractions at the access 2 entertainment website. In 2013 available data showed over 200,000 individual uses [2]

Disability Travel Card[edit]

This card is a partnership with Via Rail, Greyhound and Coach Canada which is intended for people with disabilities who require assistance from support personnel while traveling. The card applies the same discount the holder receives to the support person that is with them at the time of travel[3]

Canadian Easter Seal organizations[edit]

British Columbia[edit]

The BC Lions Society for Children with Disabilities www.lionsbc.ca BC Easter Seals Camps

New Brunswick[edit]

The New Brunswick Easter Seals helps to support thousands of New Brunswickers living with a disability. One of their most noted programs is their summer camp Camp Rotary.[citation needed]


Alberta Easter Seals: Easter Seals Camp Horizon is the only Easter Seals camp in Alberta, and is located near Bragg Creek.[4][5]


Saskatchewan Abilities Council


SMD Foundation


Easter Seals Ontario currently has two running camps: Campy Woodeden and Camp Merrywood

Camp Woodeden[edit]

Opened in 1946, Camp Woodeden is located on the Thames River just outside of London and sits on 107 acres of land. The camp currently has 18 buildings which include camper cabins, and outdoor amphitheatre, swimming pool, high ropes course (The only fully accessible rope course in North America) and an accessible outdoor climbing wall. In 2011 the camp opened a new gym and life-skills kitchen. Woodeden Camp is run by a staff of 58 individuals including 3 registered nurses and 2 health care assistants. At Camp Woodeden the campers get to participate in a variety of fully accessible camp activities including sports, overnight camping trips, campfires dances, and many more.[6]

Camp Merrywood[edit]

Camp Merrywood open for the first time in 1948, 2 years after the first camp (Woodeden) opened, originally starting as a camp for children with polio in which 6 children attended in the first year, now the camp has grown to include children with all physical disabilities with 12 buildings in which 72 campers can be accommodated each session. The Camp sits on 30 acres of land between Smith Falls and Perth, just outside of Ottawa. On site, the staff is compiled of 64 people includes 3 registered nurses and 2 healthcare assistants. Here the campers get to participate in a variety of traditional camp activities such as those at Camp Woodeden, including overnight canoe and camping trips, sport activities, fishing, music and drama, campfires etc.[7]

Ottawa Drop Zone[edit]

On September 22, 2014, 55 people rappelled 20 stories in Ottawa, raising over $80,000 for families with children with physical disabilities. This brings the Ottawa drop zone’s five year total to over $500,000 contributing to the nationwide total of $10 million. Even Kyle Humphry, a former Easter Seals ambassador made the 20 story rappel in his wheelchair[8]


Easter Seals Ontario is dedicated to helping children, youth and young adults with physical disabilities achieve their full individual potential and future independence. Easter Seals funds disability solutions through financial assistance, summer camps (Merrywood and Woodeden), the Recreational Choices Funding Program, research, advocacy, and public and consumer education.

Additional information[edit]

Easter Seals Ontario main offices are located in Toronto. The Provincial office houses a team of almost 40 individuals working for children with disabilities. A number of events runs throughout the year. These events are organized to raise funds for Easter Seals' kids. Some of these events include: Conn Smythe, Gala Ball, Regatta, 24-hour Relay, Snowarama.

Nova Scotia[edit]

Easter Seals Nova Scotia


Easter Seals Newfoundland and Labrador is a charitable organization which is dedicated to maximizing the abilities and enhancing the lives of children and youth with physical disabilities through recreational, social and other therapeutic programs, direct assistance, education and advocacy.

Easter Seals Newfoundland and Labrador has a long, rich history of service to the community in NL, dating back to 1937 when the then Rotary Sunshine Camp Association was formed with a mandate of establishing a summer camp for children. Offices are currently located in St. John's and Corner Brook.


In 2014 Easter Seals Ontario was awarded with The Tourism Industry Associate of Ontario’s (TIAO) Award of Excellence for Accessible Tourism. Easter Seals is the first recipient of this ward which celebrates the efforts made to make tourism destinations available to all Canadians, regardless of abilities. The reward is reflected upon Easter Seals programs indluding the Access 2 Entertainment Card, and the Disability Travel Card. The TIAO was quoted in 2014 stating “Easter Seals acts as an inspiration for all tourism businesses, destinations and operators to become more inclusive of visitors from across the province and beyond” [9]

External links[edit]