The Canadian Company of Pilgrims (CCoP) is a non-denominational volunteer-run association that supports Canadians interested in the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. We share the Canadian representation with l’Association Québécoise des pèlerins et amis du Chemin de Saint-Jacques.
The CCoP provides information and generates awareness and interest in the Camino through a network of chapters across Canada and also through its website and Facebook page. Local Chapters provide a forum for the exchange of information about the Camino and also offer practical training and information sessions.
The CCoP is also part of an international network of similar organizations operating locally and nationally throughout the world.
Our Mission: To share our love of the Camino, inspiring and enabling others on their Way
Our Vision: A vibrant, engaged and inclusive Camino community
Our Values: Open, generous, hospitable
Board of Directors
Lauren Rendle, President (Calgary)
Len Polsky, Vice President (Calgary)
Lauren Rendle, Secretary (Calgary)
Barb Smith, Treasurer (Saskatoon)
Lea Pennock, Past President (Saskatoon)
Tom Friesen, Chapter Liaison (London)
David Ramsay (Lunenburg)
Donna Coutts (Vancouver)
Dori Antolin (Toronto)
Ellie Witzke (South Bruce Peninsula)
Jim Rondeau (Victoria)
Mary Virtue (Victoria)
Neville Tencer (Victoria)
Tim Boreham (Ottawa)
CCoP Newsletter Pilgrim Footprints
Julie Burk, Lisa Mennell, Charles Moody – co-editors
Alfredo Martínez Serrano, Ambassador of Spain
Camino Spirit Fund
We know that many of our members are looking for ways to ‘give back’ to the Camino. The Canadian Company of Pilgrims operates a donation-based Camino Spirit Fund that supports the Camino by meeting short-term needs or funding larger projects that relate to services along the Camino de Santiago routes. Funds may be used to help with operating costs like replacing bedding and furniture, to pay for renovations, or to meet unexpected costs such as purchasing a new boiler. Donating is easy and simple. Simply sign in as a member, and upon payment by credit card, you will receive a “Thank You” confirmation email. As a Canadian non-soliciting Not-for-Profit Corporation, the Canadian Company of Pilgrims cannot issue a tax receipt, and can accept donations only from members. Sign up to become a member.
A Brief History of The Canadian Company Of Pilgrims
The Canadian Company of Pilgrims was founded in 1994 by Reverend Ben Lochridge, an Anglican priest whose dream was to walk the Camino. His dream was realized when, as a rector of Saint Paul’s in Mississauga, he took a paid sabbatical leave and in April of 1994 he and his wife, Vivian, received the pilgrim’s blessing at Saint James Cathedral in Toronto and headed straight to the airport. They started their Camino in Le Puy, France and Ben arrived in Santiago in June.
Upon returning to Canada Ben was interviewed by the Toronto Star and received many phone calls from people asking about this mythical, mystical, magical journey he had taken. However, his first presentation that consisted of 350 slides drew little interest, so in true Camino fashion, he and his friend, Mike Henry, hiked to the nearest bar. Undaunted, Ben and Mike drafted a constitution to set out the parameters of the group that they called the Little Company of Pilgrims.
In the years that followed, the gatherings grew in size and developed a basic organization that provided support for Canadians preparing for, and returning from, the Camino. By 2006 the Little Company of Pilgrims out grew its name and it was changed to the Canadian Company of Pilgrims (CCoP). The CCoP received the backing of the oldest and largest English-speaking Camino group, the London, UK-based Confraternity of St James, and the right to issue credentials recognized by the Archdiocese of Santiago de Compostela.
From 2000 – 2008, the CCoP under the leadership of Barbara Cappucitti, established new chapters in Victoria and Surrey, BC, Edmonton, Alberta, London and Ottawa in Ontario, and Saint John, New Brunswick. Austin Cooke took over as president from 2008 – 2015 and the CCoP expanded further, as the word about the Camino spread across the country. From 2016 – 2019, with Wendy Loly at the helm, the CCoP grew to 16 chapters. In March 2018, the CCoP had its first ever conference of chapter coordinators in Victoria, BC.
In 2019, the Canadian Company of Pilgrims celebrated its 25th anniversary. Since its founding, the CCoP has issued over 20,000 credenciales and is now over 3,000 members strong, with 18 chapters across Canada. The CCoP looks forward to the next twenty five exciting years!