McGill Outdoors Club
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (April 2007)|
The McGill Outdoors Club (abbr. MOC), formerly known as McGill Outing Club (renamed due to confusing meaning of the word Outing) is a student club founded in 1936 by McGill University Athletics, but open to everyone. The MOC is the largest student outdoors club in Montreal, if not Canada, and definitely one of the oldest.
The club was originally mostly male, rugged types who participated in "roughing" it in the wild. They were not as concerned with protecting the environment as they were about getting out there and blazing trails. The tone has now changed over to a more environmentally sustainable approach.
In an average year, the club has over 400 members (and about 600 more non-members via the LISTSERV) who participate in club and independent sports activities like hiking, cycling, skiing, snowboarding, paddling, climbing and many others. On good days club members are outdoors.
Anyone is free to join. The membership fee for McGill students is $20 CAD, and for non-students $25 CAD.
The club organizes complete trip packages about 6-10 times a year, with the following outings occurring yearly:
- New members weekend - A simple get-to-know-each-other event that is hosted at the beginning of the academic year. All members are eligible for this weekend trip. Capacity is about 60-80 persons.
- Intro to Rock Climbing - Organized early in the year, this trip takes about 20 people to Val David to learn top-roping. All gear is included, and trained instructors set up routes and guide students on how to climb.
- Intermediate Rock Climbing- Generally taking place just before the first snowfall, this trip hosts 20 people in Val David. Goals include setting up anchors, advanced rappelling, and emergency situation recovery.
- Ice breaker trip - The idea is to emulate icebreaking tankers, but on a smaller scale. The trip takes canoes onto lightly frozen lakes, with a few nights of camping.
- Cross-country skiing trip - This is an outing to go/learn cross-country skiing.
- Ice climbing trip - An introduction to climbing using crampons, ice axes, and other ice-specific climbing gear.
- Freaks on Planks - An introduction to alpine skiing, telemark skiing, or snowboarding.
With over 1000 people on the LISTSERV, it is common for participants to arrange their own trips. Offers for rides and extra spaces to interesting local and not-so-local places are made here.
From the early 1950s until June 2008, a red-roofed house in Shawbridge (Prévost), Quebec served as a home base for many of the activities organized by the club. The house was run by the MOC executives, and members were welcome to stay at almost any time they liked. Non-members were accompanied by a paid MOC member. A small house fee per person helped to fund improvements and expenses related to the house.
The house was formally owned by McGill from 1954–2008, and leased to the MOC. This lease arrangement was ended on May 31, 2008, partly because of extensive house repairs which needed to be made. On that date, most of the contents of the house were put in storage just down the street.
Over the summer of 2008, MOC members and McGill alumni joined forces to find a solution for the houseless club. Although the property was valued between $85,000 and $105,000, they successfully negotiated a purchase price of $60,000, reflecting the need for extensive repairs to the building. Two alumni generously stepped forward to loan the entire purchase amount to the MOC. A non-profit organization called the "Fondation Plein Air de Montréal" (FPAM) was founded with five MOC alumni as its directors. The sole purpose of FPAM is to own the house, and to rent it exclusively to the MOC.
The house is being repaired during the winter of 2008-9, and is not being used during this period. A "Save the MOC House" fundraising campaign is now under way in an attempt to raise $110,000 to pay off the mortgage and most or all of the repair bills.
It is not exclusive to MOC members.