My name is Jay Kahane. I was a camper at Forest Valley Day Camp from 1973 to 1977. I was hired as an Apprentice Counsellor by Bert Fine in 1981. That same year I also worked as a Photography Specialist. After running the photography program for several years, I became Program Director. I later served as Transportation Director and then as Assistant Director to Jennifer Fine from 1989 through 1992.
More than 20 years after the camp closed, I finally got around to assembling my significant collection of camp photos, documents and souvenirs. I have also compiled a significant amount of historical information based on my own knowledge and experience. It took about a year to put this site together and the site went “live” in the spring of 2014.
Photographs & Images
Many of the photos in this site are from the camp archives. They were originally located in the basement of the main office and contained records, camper bags, t-shirts and promotional items. The history of the camp – in the form of 35mm slides and 8mm filnms from 1958 through 1992 – were also stored there, along with a small number of black & white and colour photographs.
Tragically, all of this material was lost when the camp closed in 1993.
Fortunately, a collection of these images was in my possession when the camp closed in 1993. Preserved for more than 25 years, they represent the only existing images from the official camp records. The majority – in the form of 35mm slides – have been scanned and digitally restored.
In addition, a large personal collection of documents, news clippings, promotional material and camp artifacts have been catalogued and photographed. Many newspaper articles and ads were acquired from the archives of The Toronto Star. Architectural drawings and documents were obtained from the Mandel Sprachman Collection in the Toronto Archives. Several photos were also copied from the Facebook page, “I Went to Forest Valley Day Camp.”
Despite the loss of many original photos and documents, I have managed to assemble a relatively complete history of the camp.
In 1983, Bert purchased an early JVC portable video camera and VCR. In 1984, a promotional video was made using this camera by Del Schwartz – the photographer who did the cabin photos. From time-to-time, Bert would take the camera with him on this golf cart to record scenes around camp. Several of these videos are also included. They have been taken from the original VHS tapes that were also in my possession.
In July 2014, a number of slides were obtained from Bert’s son, Jon Fine. Most of the slides duplicated the content of those already in my possession, however some new images were found. These were scanned, restored and posted.
A number of super8 and 8mm films were also obtained from Jon Fine. These are being converted to digital files. These movies are were taken between 1957 and 1971. Included is a complete promotional documentary “A Day at Camp” from the mid-60’s which complements a similar videotape I have that was made in the 80’s.
I would like to thank those people I have spoken with who were at camp prior to 1980. In particular, thanks to David Morrison for his extensive contributions. I would also like to thank my friends on Facebook for the information and photos they have provided to the Facebook Page, “Forest Valley”.
Finally, my sincere thanks to the late Bert Fine, founder of Forest Valley Day Camp. I was fortunate to work with Bert for almost 10 years. We developed a close relationship and he was a very influential person in my life.
Bert placed considerable confidence in me from an early age. He did not stand on pride and was always open to my ideas and efforts to make changes and improvements to many operational aspects of the camp.
Even when he was skeptical, he still allowed me to take risks and potentially make mistakes in his business which was truly remarkable. Ultimately, his trust led me to feel a sense of ownership. His guidance and support were unwavering and his memory remains very strong.
This site has been created in memory of Bert Fine, the founder of day camping in Canada.
I welcome your comments and feedback at: firstname.lastname@example.org