In 1926, philanthropist and activist Rose Dunkelman purchased 100 acres of land on the shores of Lake Simcoe. After successfully circumventing restrictive racial covenants, she had approximately 30 cottages built. This newly formed cottage community was named Balfour Beach, after Lord Balfour (architect of the Balfour Declaration) and the Balfour Beach Association was formed.
In 1932, Camp Katonim was founded by Rose Dunkelman and the Balfour Beach Association. K’tanim is Hebrew for “Little Ones” and the camp originally serviced the young families of the member cottages of the Association.
Over 85 years later and Camp Katonim is still operated by the Balfour Beach Association but now caters to children of all ages and backgrounds and services both the local community as well as those in Toronto and Thornhill/Richmond Hill through its free busing program.