Camp Shalom celebrated its 70th anniversary in the summer of 2018. From its inception, this successful residential co-ed summer camp has remained true to its Zionist philosophy.
Camp Shalom, located along beautiful Lake Muskoka, has been serving the Jewish community of Ontario since its founding in 1948. The original property was a tourist resort known as “Silver Birch Lodge”. The area consisted of 17 acres on which there was a main lodge, a garage and four tourist cabins of various sizes.
The property was purchased in the spring of 1948 by The Toronto Zionist Council. The name of the camp was most appropriate. The founding of the camp coincided with the establishment of the State of Israel, which was immediately attacked by the neighbouring Arab states, and the hope of the Jewish community was for an end to hostility and a peaceful existence in the reborne Jewish state in its ancient homeland. Hence the name “Camp Shalom.”
The Zionist philosophy of the Camp advocates knowledge of Israel. The program at the Camp emphasizes Jewish identity and the centrality of Israel as an indispensable element in that Jewish identity. All the cultural programs at the Camp deal with some aspects of Zionism.
Camp Shalom started off with a small group of 25 campers and a handful of voluntary staff in the summer of 1948, under the directorship of Harris Gulko. The following year there were 30 campers. Year after year the enrollment increased, and today the camp is at full capacity, with 235 campers in each of two sessions, and a staff of 95. In 1954 an additional 37 acres were purchased by the Camp to expand its facilities. Each year saw more construction and the addition of new equipment. Presently the camp has 65 buildings, which consist of 23 camper cabins, staff accommodations, a rec hall, a chapel, a modern kitchen, bakery and dining room, as well as buildings to house the 23 different Camp activities. The premises also includes two large sports fields, tennis and basketball courts, and a 100-foot waterfront.