Photostory #490: Bold Innovation in Adult Education: Quetico Centre, Ontario
National Film Board of Canada
March 15, 1969
Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archive
Set with clear purpose amid the wild beauty and solitude of the lake-studded woodland wilderness of western Ontario's Rainy River district, Quetico Centre has brought a fresh concept to the adult education field. A dozen years ago representatives of industry, labor, community organizations and municipal authorities successfully asked the provincial government for the use of an abandoned ranger station. Within a few months, incorporated as a non-profit organization, Quetico Centre was in operation. Since then buildings have been renovated, additions built and a diverse program of education brought into existence. At this residential centre, groups of people with common objectives of learning come together and, being physically removed from the bustling everyday world, all their attention is focussed on the student-teacher roles. Here, isolated from outside distractions for the required spans of time needed for particular studies, the groups, under guidance by instructors, explore new thoughts, test established ideas and discover fresh patterns of learning. Courses or seminars last from just two days at weekends to several weeks and cover a wide spectrum of modern education, from the field of business administration to the arts and social-fabric studies to woodcraft, first-aid and the operation of heavy construction equipment. At this centre a young girl swimmer may learn life-saving, a businessman may practise still-life painting, an Indian trapper study map-reading and hunter guiding, or a social worker formulate new thoughts on human behavior. Quetico Centre operates mainly on student fees and is assisted by provincial and federal grants and contributions from many private sources. Accommodation is available for over 100 people taking part in several concurrent study groups which are to a large extent kept separate to increase the group's intensity of study and strengthen its objectivity of thought. Ontario's Quetico Centre is showing the way along a broad new avenue of learning - a scenic proving ground for modern approaches and attainments in the vital field of adult education.