Ruskoka e-letter
Ruskoka Orthodox Retreat
Spring 2005 

You are receiving this e-letter because we think you may be interested in hearing news about Ruskoka, a Russian Orthodox camp 200 kms north of Toronto in the Muskoka recreational region of Ontario. See our site at for information on who we are and our activities. We hope you find the e-letter to be an enjoyable and valuable resource that keeps you connected to this unique retreat and natural playground.
Please advise us by return e-mail if you would like to be removed from the list or have changed your e-mail address. Comments and suggestions are always welcome.
In this e-letter:
- Update
- The St. Alexis Chapel Project
- The St. Alexis Chapel Weekend, July 16-17 - blessing of the Chapel
- Camping for Teens 2005 - time to register!
- Call for volunteers

We are glad you are reading the spring e-letter from Ruskoka! As the better weather arrives, so does the beginning of Ruskoka's most active season. But winter hasn't been quiet - after the concert of the Valaam Ensemble in November, many of you enjoyed The White, Blue and Red Ball in February. This fundraiser attracted close to 270 people, raised several thousand dollars for the camp, and also marked the official start of the campaign to raise funds and construct the new St. Alexis Chapel at Ruskoka, many months in the planning. In April, Fr. George Sachewsky served the 'moleben before the start of a good deed' at Holy Resurrection Church and Ruskoka supporters prayed for the Lord's blessing for the chapel project.
The chapel project and the summer camp will be our main efforts this spring and summer. Detailed information can be found on our website, (including great photos from the 2004 Summer Camp) and the chapel site,, but here are a few notes to tell you about what lies in store!

The St. Alexis Chapel Project

Ground-breaking and blessing of the site on Saturday, May 7th at 2 pm
On Saturday, May 7th at approximately 2 pm, Fr. Vladimir Malchenko of Holy Trinity Church in Toronto will visit Ruskoka and bless the site of the new chapel. You are welcome to come up that day for the short service and stay for at least part of weekend as we work on early preparation of the site.  

Chapel work weekends: June 3-5, June 24-26, June 30-July 4
There will be several work weekends to build the chapel under the direction of our construction manager, Alex Shishkov. We especially appeal to those with construction experience to help out, but there will also be other camp preparation work including cutting grass, trees and brush; improvement of the summer kitchen, water and plumbing systems; getting sports equipment and camping facilities ready for summer; and lots of other thrilling jobs!  

The dates of the work weekends are:

  • June 3rd-5th - chapel work weekend, building the floor 
  • June 24th-26th - chapel work weekend, construction of the spire and pre-assemblies
  • July 30th-July 4th - mega chapel-raising weekend: this is the main effort where the beams, posts and roof will be erected and, if all goes well, the spire and domes will be raised atop the chapel!  

Depending on the weather and the turnout, we may sleep inside or in tents. A little advice - depending on rain, June and early July can bring bugs so it is always wise to bring long-sleeved shirts, hats and bug screens and repellent! While you should be ready to roll up your sleeves and work hard, you can also count on a lot of fun through camaraderie, campfires and great cooking! We have to know how many people will be coming so we can plan accordingly, so please contact [email protected] or [email protected] to let us know if you are coming.

The St. Alexis Chapel Weekend, July 16-17 - blessing of the chapel

Following all the hard work of building the St. Alexis Chapel, everyone is invited to help celebrate the patronal Feast of St. Alexis the Royal Martyr and participate in the first services in the new chapel. His Grace, Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan, will celebrate the divine services with other visiting clergy, dedicate the foundation stone and bless the new chapel. The full schedule of services and times will be announced soon. Clergy will be accommodated in the Ruskoka cottage.

Families, singles and children are welcome to come for the weekend and camp in the beautiful wilds of Ruskoka, starting 10:00 am on Saturday, July 16th, 2005 8:00 pm Sunday July 17th, 2005. Pre-registration for overnight camping is required. The cost is a modest $40/person or $100/family, campsite and meals included. You may also choose to come for the Liturgy and blessing on Sunday. Information is here.

Camping for teens 2005 - time to register!

Sunday, July 31st, 2005 Saturday, August 13th, 2005, limit of 45 children. Pre-registration required!
Campers: ages 12 to 16 $450/2 weeks

Help build the St. Alexis Chapel

Ruskoka would like to invite you to be a part of Russian Orthodox history in Canada. In Spring of 2005, construction will begin on the summer chapel dedicated to St. Alexis, the Royal Child Martyr, the first church in North America to bear the Saint's name.


A gold dome and cross, now in transit from Russia to Canada, will crown the chapel and rise high above the banks of the Muskoka River. The natural pine exterior shell is scheduled to be completed in July 2005, with Bishop Gabriel celebrating the first Liturgy and laying the foundation stone on July 17th, 2005, the feast day of St. Alexis.


We appeal to you to help finance the purchase of building materials to realize this important goal. The estimated costs for completion of the chapel are $90,000 for materials, $30,000 for skilled trades and $30,000 for icons and interior furnishings. Most of the construction will be carried out by young volunteers, saving us labour valued at $60,000. Fees for professional services including design, engineering and construction management, valued at $40,000, have been kindly donated!


We have already raised over $25,000 (donors are listed on the chapel website) but we hope you can make a gift to support this worthy project. Donations can be made by cash, cheque or Visa, through one-time gifts or monthly pledges. Even a small monthly pledge will make an immeasurable contribution to Russian Orthodox youth. Categories of donations are: Founder from $3000 / Builder $2000-$2999 / Supporter $1000-$1999 / In memoriam from $1000 / Donor $100-$999.


Contact George Skok at 416-483-2441 or [email protected] to make a donation. All donors will be acknowledged through plaques, announcements and commemorative lists and will be our guests at the St. Alexis Feast Day on July 17th, 2005.


Jr. Counsellors: age 17 (subject to Camp Director's approval; camp experience necessary! ) - $450/2 wks.
Sr. Counsellors: age 18 (subject to Camp Director's approval; camp experience necessary!) - $225/2 wks.
Teens are asked to bring their own tents, sleeping bags, locks (for individual locker racks) and, where possible, their own mountain bikes, cycling helmets and lifejackets.
Further info and registration forms may be found here. Space is limited so hurry and get in your application. Call George at 416-483-2441 if you have any questions.
Call for volunteers
Ruskoka needs volunteers for all its activ
ities. Work includes sports leadership where people have appropriate qualifications, helping in set-up of activities, kitchen work, etc. Volunteers do not get paid, live in the same conditions as campers (food, drink and tent space is provided!) and usually make a donation towards the camp as well. At the same time, they make a priceless contribution to the formation of Russian Orthodox youth. If you are interested, contact our volunteer coordinator, Alexandra Easson at [email protected]
We invite clergy of the Canadian (and other) Diocese to visit and stay with and will send a separate appeal soon!
See you in Ruskoka!



Upcoming events

Spring and Summer 2005


May 7            

Blessing of chapel site

June 3-5    

Chapel Work Weekend

June 24-26   

Chapel Work Weekend

June 30-
July 4

Main Chapel-raising Work Weekend

July 16-17   

St. Alexis Chapel Weekend

July 31 - August 13

Fifth Annual Camping for teens


family weekend