Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I meet the bus?

All buses depart from and return to Kingston at Centennial Public School, Elginburgh at Elginburg & District Public School and Sydenham at Loughbough Public School

When am I supposed to be getting home from trip? How would my parents know if the bus is early or late?

Our website will have pop-ups with ETA on the day of a trip returning. We also post updates on our Twitter/X account. 
The return times are approximate as we have traffic, construction and weather obstacles with which to deal. Patience is appreciated. 

Can I request to go on trip with my friends?

Gould Lake's first priority is balanced trip groups. We attempt to make groups that balance students' strengths and areas for improvement, that balance both sexes and that account for the group size restrictions within our parks. With this as our first priority, it becomes exceedingly difficult to assure friends are together. If you can choose to see this as an opportunity to meet and get to know others, you may be making new friendships that last a life-time.         

Who do my parents contact in the case of an emergency?

Parents/guardians should first try to contact the Gould Lake Outdoor Centre office at 613.376.1433. If the office is closed, the voicemail message will outline an emergency contact and appropriate phone number to call. 

How physically fit do I have to be to take Gould Lake courses?

Our programs are similar to phys-ed courses in your high school; they are designed such that anyone can be a part of them and that they help to increase your level of fitness. There are physical challenges in all our courses (paddling, portaging, hiking), but you will not confront these challenges alone, you have a group to support you and you will be supporting others as well. 

Do I need to buy new gear to go on these trips?

We hope not. Our hope is that you either have the required gear or that you are able to borrow it from a family member or friend. If you have any questions regarding the equipment list, please feel free to contact our office at 613.376.1433

How qualified are the staff that will be taking me into the wilderness?

We host a Parent Information Night in early June (for OE, GAP, Quest, OR, OS, OP, WIC and KIC programs) which will provide you with an opportunity to meet some of our summer staff and ask any questions you or your parents may have.

For our introductory tripping programs (Quest/GAP/Outreach), we schedule an opportunity for your parents to meet the staff taking you on trip during the course.

For our intermediate and instructor level programs, due to the condensed and very busy barn days, staff will call your home during their staff preparation day to answer any final questions you have.

There will be a supervisor at each bus pick up and drop off should your parents wish to ask any questions.

What are the tent arrangements while on the wilderness trip?

There is a maximum of four students in each tent and tent groups will be arrange by the students. Tents are set up in close proximity to each other with a staff tent close enough to supervise appropriately. Our tents are designed to withstand the environmental conditions of each particular trip location. 

What kind of food will we eat on trip and who cooks it?

Food that is taken on trip must be (for the most part) non-perishable. Dinners consist of various pastas, pizza and rice meals. Lunches consist of sandwiches made of  sun butter, jam, honey, cheese or meat (like pepperoni). Oatmeal and granola are common for breakfast. High calorie snacks are taken to ensure everyone has enough fuel for the day's activities.

Quest/GAP and Outreach students assist in preparing and cooking the meals. In the intermediate courses, students transition to cooking their own meals. In the instructor level courses, students will be doing their own cooking as well as baking.   

GORP is a well-balanced snack and a great way for keeping up your energy throughout the whole day. GORP is provided on GAP, QUEST and Outreach trips. Students enrolled in OP, OS, SOLO, WIC, and KIC will be required to provide their own GORP. We are asking that all GORP is peanut/nut free.      

How is the food safe from animals on the wilderness trips?

All trips have a specific method of animal proofing food which is appropriate for the trip environment. Gould Lake uses either bear barrels, food barrels or bear canoes. Each evening, all food and "smellies" (tooth paste, sunscreen, dental floss, etc.) will be secured and away from the tent sites. Food is never allowed in tents. 

Do I drink water straight from the lake?

While the water we drink does come from the lake, it is treated prior to consumption. Primarily we use the Sawyer Gravity Filter water filtration systems. We also use MSR Miniworks handpump filters as well as boiling if the need arises. 

How do I keep clean without a shower/sink?

As we are trying to minimize our impact on the environment, we do not use soap in the lake, however, proper hygiene is important. Hand washing stations, with soap, are set up back from the water and they are disposed of far from the water's edge. Hand sanitizer is used when needed. It is common to swim several times a day and this keeps everyone refreshed and clean. 

Where do we go to the bathroom?

As we are trying to minimize our impact on the environment, we use a suitable waste disposal method for our trip location. Ontario Parks have outhouses or treasure boxes (KYBOs) at each site. For more remote locations or for "emergencies", we will use the natural environment (with a method called a "cat-hole"). 

How do you deal with feminine menstrual products on the wilderness trips?

Your female staff will spend time with you and answer any questions you may have on this topic. All menstrual products that are used must be wrapped in aluminum foil and packed out in sealed Ziploc baggies. Students are expected to bring supplies and expect the unexpected. 
Recently there has been some great new products made by Knix that students may be interested in. 

What do we do if there is a storm?

If the weather is not safe for travel, the group will remain in camp or stop the activity and move to a safe location. All groups will travel at a safe distance from shore and stay close enough to communicate with one another. You will be briefed on lightning protocols and these will be used if required.