Town Island forest and shoreline now protected for the future

August 17, 2022
Kenora, ON


Community rallied to help NCC buy 82-hectare property from City of Kenora

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and its partners and supporters are celebrating today the conservation of its newest nature reserve in northwestern Ontario. After a successful community fundraising campaign, the private land conservation charity has purchased 82 hectares of forest and shoreline on Town Island from the City of Kenora. NCC will help care for the island in partnership with B'nai Brith Camp (BB Camp), a sleep-away kids’ summer camp, NCC’s neighbours on the island.

Local supporters from the Lake of the Woods community, including cottagers, campers and Kenora residents, helped NCC raise $2.85 million to buy the land and contribute to its long-term stewardship. NCC thanks The Asper Foundation, which made a very generous lead gift to the project in recognition of the importance of the island to the BB Camp community and other donors who contributed to conserving this land. The project was funded in part by the provincial government, through the Ontario Greenlands Conservation Partnership and the City of Kenora.

Town Island, situated in Lake of the Woods, was identified as a priority for conservation because of its intact forest, undeveloped shoreline and large size. Given the increasing development pressures in this section of the lake, keeping this property in a natural state for the species that depend on it is critically important. 

Lake of the Woods is home to more than 14,000 islands and 105,000 kilometres of shoreline. Mature forests play host to wide-ranging mammals, like American black bear and moose, while the shores and coastal wetlands provide nurseries for fish and habitat for migratory birds. Lake of the Woods is also closely connected to Shoal Lake, which supplies Winnipeg’s drinking water.

In recent years, this area has come under increasing pressure from development, contaminants, algal blooms and invasive species. It is for these reasons that NCC has stepped forward to work with the community and partners to protect and care for Town Island.

This project showcases how NCC is accelerating the pace of conservation in Canada. In the past two years alone, NCC has influenced the protection of more than 1 million hectares (almost twice the size of Prince Edward Island), coast to coast to coast. Over the next few years, the organization will double its impact by mobilizing Canadians and delivering permanent land conservation.

In the face of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change, nature is our ally. There is no solution to either crisis without nature conservation. When nature thrives, we all thrive.


“Town Island is a perfect example of why nature conservation matters, and how teamwork makes it possible. The island’s forests and shores harbour important species and offer opportunities for recreation. When intact, these ecosystems also help keep our water clean and store carbon. Together with BB Camp and nature-minded supporters, we’re excited to help steward nature on the island, for the benefit of all.” – Mike Hendren, Ontario Region Vice President, Nature Conservancy of Canada

“Our government has a plan to meet Ontario’s challenges, a plan for a cleaner, greener future. I am proud of the work we have done with the Nature Conservancy of Canada and its partners to safeguard natural areas and protect our province’s vital resources. Our investment in this project will result in the protection and conservation of Town Island, ensuring the island’s unique biodiversity can continue to thrive, and leaving a legacy for the benefit of future generations.”
 – David Piccini, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks

"It has been a long-term goal of BB Camp to secure the preservation of Town Island and this successful partnership allows us to continue to maintain and expand our current programs and provide for the education and stewardship of the Island. We also acknowledge this tremendous effort as a path to honouring the Jewish principle of Tikkun Olam, Repairing the World."  Leah Leibl, Co-chair of the BB Camp Board of Directors

“The sale of Town Island to the Nature Conservancy is a monumental transaction for the City. This island will now be preserved as green space and the City can invest the funds from the sale of this island into important municipal projects for our community.” – City of Kenora Mayor Daniel Reynard


The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the country’s unifying force for nature. NCC seeks solutions to the twin crises of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change through large-scale, permanent land conservation. As a trusted partner NCC works with people, communities, businesses and government to protect and care for our country’s most important natural areas. Since 1962, NCC has brought Canadians together to conserve and restore more than 15 million hectares.

The Greenlands Conservation Partnership helps conserve ecologically important natural areas and protect wetlands, grasslands and forests that help mitigate the effects of climate change. Through the Greenlands Conservation Partnership, a total of $50 million will be invested over four years, including $20 million from the Ontario government, and another $30 million from other sources, such as individual donations and foundation support through the NCC and the Ontario Land Trust Alliance, and other levels of government.

Find photos here.

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Media Contact:

Jensen Edwards
National Media Relations Manager
Mobile: (438) 885-9157

Tara King
Communications Director, Ontario
C: 416-937-5079

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