Environmental Education - Facilities - NVCA

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​​​Environmental Education: Facilities

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The Tiffin Centre, located about 10 minutes west of Barrie in Utopia, offers a wide range of properties and facilities for your students to explore and enjoy!

Outdoor Spaces

The Tiffin Centre is a 300-acre property featuring a mixture of wetlands, forests and open meadows along Bear Creek.

Winding through the Tiffin Centre is a network of 12 km of accessible and clearly marked trails.

Widely used property features include:

  • two small ponds, used for wetland studies
  • a red pine plantation, used for a variety of games and ecology studies
  • a maple sugar bush, including replicas of aboriginal and pioneer syrup making techniques, used for maple syrup tours
  • several hundred acres of mixed and sugar maple forest, used for a variety of outdoor learning experiences
  • a professionally designed 9-hold disc golf course
  • ​a professionally designed low ropes course with over 15 elements that foster teamwork and leadership skills

Free Play Space at Tiffin Fence 4.jpg Free Play Forest

Especially​​ for our younger visitors, the Free Play Forest ​(aka "The Hive") gives students the opportunity to venture on their own into a large and fully enclosed forest plot to explore and learn.


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John L. Jose
Environmental Learning Centre

This multi-use facility boasts a large auditorium, a massive stone fireplace and an exposed-beam cathedral ceiling. Audio/visual equipment in the auditorium enables instructors to effectively incorporate a variety of digital media into their educational presentations.

Within the building itself, students have access to a fully equipped laboratory/classroom and large mudroom area to hang their belongings. Indoor accessible washroom facilities and water fountains are conveniently located and available for students' use adjacent to the mudroom area. Well water is UV purified and tested regularly. This building is equipped with a first aid station, Automated External Defibrillators (AED) and eye wash station. 

The John L. Jose building can accommodate up to 130 people.


Picnic Pavilion

The pavilion is an enclosed wood-heated picnic pavilion, located near our sugar shack, which can accommodate up to 80 people. Running water is available seasonally and a UV purification system is in place for students to fill up water bottles. Two outdoor washrooms are located nearby.

Outdoor Classroom - 2.jpgOutdoor Classroom

Our outdoor classroom is connected to the learning center via a covered boardwalk. Furnished with sturdy benches, this small building provides additional (three season) programming space. This classroom can accommodate up to 50 students; washroom facilities and water fountains are located nearby.

Group Campground

Situated in a peaceful wooded area, the Group Campground offers plenty of flat ground for tenting. It also includes a large lockable storage shed, two accessible outdoor washrooms with running-water sinks (potable), large stone fireplace, picnic pavilion and electricity. It is suitable for up to 100 people - larger groups may be accommodated with the rental of additional outdoor toilets.

Sugar Shack

Used during maple syrup season, our sugar shack is fully equipped with a wood-burning evaporator and a propane finishing pan. Staffed by highly experienced volunteers, visitors can get a peek into the conventional method of making maple syrup and, if supplies are available, will leave with a taste of syrup made on site. The sugar shack can accommodate small groups of approximately 20 students, and is part of 8 maple syrup related educational stations.​

Forest Cabin​

This cottage-style building is equipped with benches and woodstove. It can accommodate approximately 20 students.


We have the tools and technologies to bring science and environmental learning to life for students. These include, among many others:

  • a class set of GPS units
  • child-friendly compound and stereo microscopes
  • animal and plant artifacts, and 
  • replica tracks, rocks and minerals for students to pick up, examine, and experience!

Further, we provide students with all the necessary tools and equipment to physically experience our programs to their fullest capacity, including rubber boots, rain ponchos, snowshoes, kicksleds​​, and all-terrain wheelchairs as required.