The Algoma Music Camp was established in 1964 by the late Ed Gartshore, a noted violinist and music educator in Sault Ste. Marie Ontario. Initially the camp's aims were to provide an incentive to young musicians to continue their studies and to form the nucleus of a future symphony orchestra in Sault Ste. Marie. The camp helped to round out school music programs and also provided a form of affordable summer recreation for the Northern community.
Initially AMC was a one-week day program held at a YMCA facility at Island Lake. Over time the program evolved to a two-week residential program including many out-of-town campers.
The Music Camp received recognition early in its history. It was featured in a video produced by Christopher Chapman for the Ontario Pavilion at Expo '70 in Osaka, Japan. In 1976, the Algoma Music Camp Youth Orchestra was one of six orchestras chosen to spend two weeks in Banff at the Canadian Festival of Youth Orchestras under the direction of Boris Brott.
In its thirteenth season the music camp relocated to the present location on scenic St. Joseph's Island. The camp site rests on a hill, overlooking farmers' fields. The barn on the property became a concert hall with wonderful natural acoustics, and the basement stalls became practice rooms. Ed Gartshore and his associates with financial assistance from the Algoma community built the striking "lodge" building which now serves as kitchen, dining hall, rehearsal space and staff accommodation.
In 1995 the Algoma Music Camp was one of only 15 recipients in Ontario to receive the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Ministry of Citizenship.
In the past decade the camp received Trillium grants to upgrade the lodge accommodations and improve the kitchen facilities with the aim of increasing utilization of the camp property by other camps and events. Algoma Trad has very successfully operated a week long camp in August on the AMC site since 2004. The the property is now busy with other events throughout the summer season. Further site upgrades and additional programming are planned for the near future.