Pine River

2 St. Clair Ave. East, Suite 800 
Toronto, Ontario M4T 2T5



Boys and Girls

Call admissions department for current tuition.

Pine River Institute is an intensive therapeutic boarding school for youth 13 to 18 years of age who are in crisis, largely as a result of addictive behaviours. Their family lives are in uproar. Their personal and academic lives are in jeopardy. These are kids who have exhausted other interventions, and need a new, creative approach.

That new approach is available in a peaceful area outside of Toronto, where family-centered wilderness, therapeutic, and academic programs come together in a unique, holistic treatment and educational model. At Pine River, we address the self-destructive behaviour. We teach math skills and life skills side-by-side. We take all the time it takes — from six months to a year or more—to rebuild a life. And we remain supportive of our families long after the program ends.

A place where kids and families can start to feel whole again.

Admission is on a voluntary basis. Students can self-refer or be referred by parents, teachers or health care professionals. Our Admissions team will work with you to determine if Pine River is a suitable program for your family’s needs. It is important to us that you make the right decision.

The first step is to complete the Admissions Inquiry. Once we have received this form, the Admissions Director will contact you about next steps. Our admissions process includes a detailed application package and interviews.

You can download the complete admissions package by clicking here.

Information for US applicants is available here.

Pine River is a not for profit, fee for service program. Please contact us for tuition details.

For general inquiries, please contact our head office at 416.955.1453.

Pine River is designed for 36 students, ages 13 – 18. Most of them will have a history of:
• serious drug and alcohol problems
• family conflict
• defiance
• lack of motivation
• depression
• thoughts of suicide • school failure & truancy
• street involvement
• excessive anger
• low self-esteem
• anxiety
• running away

These are the kids who, if they make it to school at all, hang out at the edge of the school property. If they are even in class, they are either asleep, or disruptive. They are not able to function in a normal school environment.
Most will have experienced a number of interventions: counselling, individual psychotherapy, family therapy, medical intervention, day treatment, or short term residential programs. These youth will not have responded to these less intensive interventions, and continue to spiral down.

The academic program at Pine River is a combination of the traditional classroom, credit recovery, experiential education, wilderness experience, supported distance education (through correspondence& virtual schools) and individual tutoring. Academics at Pine River are designed to take advantage of the unique nature of our school, emphasizing Outdoor Education in our ‘200 acre classroom’ and a distinct curriculum that is brought to life through the arts, healthy living, life-skills and experiential education. Students usually spend their first 4 weeks in Algonquin Park with a small group of students and staff, earning an Outdoor Physical Education (PAD30) credit. They usually spend the remainder of their stay at the Shelburne Campus.

A personal education plan is developed for each student based on individual academic needs. Each student’s past educational achievement is reviewed to design a tailored academic program. Credit recovery is our primary goal. Distance education is supported in the classroom for students to earn academic credits, so that students can complete credits regardless of the length of their stay at Pine River. Ongoing academic counseling supports students to earn credits while at Pine River and to successfully integrate into future academic pursuits when they leave.

Therapeutic and academic focuses are defining threads which are woven through the tapestry of all areas of the program. Maximizing educational opportunity is a theme for therapeutic interventions. Every moment of the day has the potential to be therapeutically and educationally relevant, whether it be in the academic classroom, individual therapy, daily groups, daily living experiences, recreational experiences, wilderness experiences, or incidental contact with staff or other students. At Pine River we focus on the life principles of Courage, Respect, Integrity, Compassion, and Accountability, supporting and encouraging each student in understanding and integrating these principles into daily life.

Pine River offers a unique, holistic, treatment and educational model, based on the developmental needs of adolescents, and grounded in best practices for substance abuse treatment for youth.

Pine River campus is located approximately 100 km northwest of Toronto, Ontario. The school lies on 200 acres of spectacular escarpment land, in a UNESCO designated biosphere. Overlooking the rolling hills of Mulmur Township, the property offers forest trails, sports fields, a pond, maple sugar shack, greenhouse, and cabins.

The 15,000 sq.ft facility offers everything in one place – classrooms, separate girls’ and boys’ dorms, a dining hall with a commercial kitchen, a common room, and recreation areas.

All of our staff members including senior management spend most of their time working directly with the students. They are role models – experienced professionals committed to the families, the program, and their own personal and professional development.

With a 1:4 staff to student ratio, our staff have the opportunity to build strong relationships with our students and families as they experience all aspects of the program together. We have a strong front-line with a diversity of expertise – qualified teachers, dance & movement therapists, professional chefs, adventure therapists, wilderness experts, & professional athletes.

Our senior staff are leaders in their fields. Click on a name for a photo & bio.

Pine River

Wilderness Programs


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