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Camp Caritou Open House Sat Sept 8, 2018

Open-House half-page

Everyone is invited to an Open House at Camp Caritou, Saturday September 8, 2018! Drop in any time between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. There will be a BBQ and corn roast, guided hikes, games and activities. Please join us at Camp Caritou, 63 Development Road, Bonfield, Ontario.

Visit our website at or email for more information.


Camp Caritou’s website

Camp Caritou is now accepting bookings!

Visit the webpage at

Camp Caritou – Pasta Dinner & AGM 2018

Dear Friends,

Please mark your calendar to join us at our Pasta Dinner on March 3rd and our Annual General Meeting on March 22nd. 

It seems that for many years we have invited our members and supporters to our Annual General Meeting with a promise of progress and things to come. This year we have accomplished our goal and are happy to now be moving forward in our new role as joint owners of Camp Caritou, with the Bonfield and District Lions Club. The camp will now operate as a charitable purpose trust and we are thrilled to have kids camping there again. Stay tuned for more information about an open house in the spring.

If you have not yet renewed your membership with the Friends of Camp Caritou, I have attached an application for your convenience. Your membership fee helps us to get the camp back in order and to help us get kids, and others, out camping.

Pasta Dinner – Supported by the Ferris Lions Club

Saturday March 3, 2018
5:00 to 7:00 pm
$10.00 for Adults, $5.00 for Children
Trinity United Church (Corner of McIntyre and Ferguson)
North Bay
Tickets available at the door or from any board member or by calling 705-476-4043
Pasta Dinner poster (pdf)

Friends of Camp Caritou Inc. – Annual General Meeting

Thursday March 22, 2018
7:00 pm
Trinity United Church (Corner of McIntyre and Ferguson)
North Bay
Membership Application (pdf)

Other upcoming fundraising events

May 5, 2018 – Astorville Yard Sale
June 2, 2018 – Bonfield Yard Sale
June 9, 2018 – Plant Sale with the Ferris Lions Club Yard Sale

We are very appreciative of all the support we have received. We welcome support of all kinds. We welcome financial donations, and if you are interested in taking a more active role with the Friends of Camp Caritou, if you have a service or skill to offer, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thank you for your continued support.

Cindy Brownlee and the board of directors and members of the Friends of Camp Caritou

Lots of work to do after Camp Caritou returned to local groups

On Saturday, September 23, 2017 – 10am to 2pm at Camp Caritou we will unlock the gates and welcome the media and our friends and supporters to come out to the camp. Camp Caritou is located at 63 Development Road in Bonfield. (Directions to the camp are at the end of this article.)

Lots of work to do after Camp Caritou returned to local groups

NORTH BAY (September 20, 2017) – The Friends of Camp Caritou and the Bonfield and District Lions Club are very pleased to be working together to get Camp Caritou open as soon as a possible. We are looking forward to seeing children and youth, and their leaders all learning and laughing together and making memories like generations of young people have done in the past.

“I can recall one of the last times I took a group of Girl Guides camping at Camp Caritou. I can still see the smiles on these young girls faces when the three of them, after much discussion, and a few wrong moves managed to successfully pitched their tent…all on their own. They were so proud of themselves. I can hardly wait to see this sort of confidence, team building and fun happen at Camp Caritou again.” Cindy Brownlee

The camp was closed in December of 2009 and has not been used since then. We have work to do. We will need to raise some funds and have work parties to get the camp cleaned up and back in shape before we can begin renting the facilities to local Guides and Scouts and other youth groups, as well as make the space available for rent for non youth related activities.

The camp currently has one winterized building, Algonquin Lodge, that sleeps 30. The furnace, oil tank, water system all need to be brought back to approved working order. A significant amount of cleaning needs to be done both upstairs and down in the lodge before we can consider using it again. Unless we encounter any significant problems or expense we are optimistic that this should not take more than a few months.

The fields used for tenting are a little overgrown. The latrines, picnic tables, picnic shelter and hiking trails will need attention before camping can begin, but there will be camping again in the spring. There will be marshmallows and songs around the campfire again.

An Inventory and inspection of equipment and furnishings in the lodge, as well as the camping equipment and supplies will need to be completed. We can then determine how much will need restore or will need to be replaced, but the Friends of Camp Caritou and the Bonfield and District Lions Club will take it one step at a time, with the support of our friends and our community we can accomplish anything.

The camp was closed in 2009 and many things have happened between then and now. We certainly have many people to thank who have supported us all along the way. Don Wallace of Wallace and Klein partners in law for his many years of tireless and dedicated work. We also need to thank other members of his legal team including Melissa Sagat, Jack Wallace, Debbie, and Cathy.

The Bonfield and District Lions Club for their belief in The Friends Of Camp Caritou and the willingness to commit to making this endeavour a success. We are looking forward to a long and successful partnership.

The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for the assistance in working out this settlement.

Elsa and Dick Tafel who have been Camp Caritou supports since 1960 and were instrumental in initiating this effort to get the camp back.

To our current and former board of directors for the Friends of Camp Caritou; Lori Butterfield, Lori Hubbert, Linda Rioux, Linda Knight, Sharon Patrois, Margo Oleskiw, Thelma Blackburn, Angela Ringuette, Estelle Cameron, Elizabeth Hendren-Roberge, Cindy Brownlee, Gayle Denston, Elsa Tafel, Dorothy Burns, Connie Marcil.

The Ferris Lions Club for their years of support with out fundraising efforts including pasta dinners, plant and yard sales.

To the many members of the local Guiding community and the North Bay and Area who have supported us by sharing their expertise and through the support of our fundraising, memberships and words of encouragement. The list of people to thank is very long, but special mention to Chantal Pike, Tina Renaud, Mea Pike, Donna Robinson, Marci Becking, Mary Beth Van Trigt, Carol and BJ Szabicot, John Marcil, Clem Eggert, Jeffery Froud, Jo-Anne Groulx, and Trinity United Church.

Thank you
Friends of Camp Caritou

Camp Caritou Map pdf

Camp Caritou saved


Local guides and supporters hold signs outside Camp Caritou in 2011 protesting the sale of their camp by the Girl Guides of Canada Ontario Council. Nugget File Photo


Camp Caritou has been saved.

A long bitter and emotional court case has finally come to an end.

“We have the keys now,” said Cindy Brownlee, spokeswoman for Friends of Camp Caritou.

“It’s a great camp and this is a win for everyone. Camp Caritou belongs to this community. All the time, effort and energy to win this was totally worth it.”

The Friends of Camp Caritou, and the Bonfield and District Lions Club announced that after six years a settlement of the court proceedings involving the future of Camp Caritou has been reached with Girl Guides of Canada.

All parties have come together to resolve this matter in the best interests of all the stakeholders, and the community.

Camp Caritou, located on Lake Nosbonsing, will resume operation in 2017, and will be jointly operated by the Friends of Camp Caritou, and the Bonfield and District Lions Club.

Brownlee said when Camp Caritou resumes operation, it will operate as a charitable purpose trust with the objective of providing camping experiences primarily to the children and youth of the local community and area.

Programs will include nature and environmental programs, camping experiences, leadership skills, arts and crafts and other related activities.

“Camp Caritou will not operate as a Girl Guide Camp, and will not be in any way affiliated with Girl Guides of Canada. However, Girl Guides of Canada is supportive of the operation of the camp by the Friends of Camp Caritou, and the Bonfield and District Lions Club,” Brownlee said.

She said the facility will be used by local Girl Guide units, and other youth groups such as scouts, church groups and Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

There will also be access for adults and local organizations to use the facilities at the camp, as well, rentals for weddings and family reunions.

Brownlee said the camp has sat idle for eight years and there is plenty of work that needs to be done before campers can pitch their tent.

“We have to look at the furnace and water system and the ground maintenance needs attention,” she said.

“We will need volunteers and maybe some fundraising.”

The Friends of Camp Caritou group launched legal action in 2011, after Girl Guides of Canada’s board of directors decided in 2009 to close and sell 16 Ontario camps, including Camp Caritou.

The group is comprised of long-serving members and Guiders who wanted to preserve the property for future Girl Guides.

Volunteers held numerous fundraisers, such as pasta dinners, as a way to raise funds.

The camp, a 42-acre parcel of land was founded by Algonquin Division Girl Guides, in 1961. It’s located in Bonfield on the shores of Lake Nosbonsing.

The camp served as the main base for camping and outdoor education.

In the beginning, camping was restricted to warmer months, however there was a need for girls to experience winter camping.

Volunteers came to the rescue by raising money and building shelters.

In 1995, a permanent winterized building was constructed that can hold 30 girls for winter camping.

Girl Guide camp money must be returned: court

By Bob Bruton, Barrie Examiner
Monday, July 18, 2016 4:48:44 EDT PM

More than $240,000 raised for a never-built Girl Guide lodge north of Barrie must be returned to donors, an Ontario court has ruled.

The Superior Court of Justice, in a June 16, 2016 decision, has ordered the money returned to donors, or directed at their discretion, and that a letter be sent advising them of their choices and giving them 90 days from the decision to respond.

“That’s the vindication there, that the donors won,” said Sylvia Dufresne, one of the 19 defendants in a case involving Girl Guides of Canada.

“It’s good for all charities, I think, to pay attention that when money’s raised for something, it had better be used for that,” she said. “I consider that a really important lesson from this case.”

Girl Guides of Canada’s National Office could not be reached for comment Monday by the Examiner.

Camp Tewateno is 100-acres of land along Gill Road, just outside Midhurst, owned by Guides Canada.

The Camp Tewateno development committee raised money for a new lodge there, but fearing the property could be sold, would not turn the funds over to Girl Guides.

A statement of claim filed with the courts accused the group of refusing to account for the money raised, as well as wrongfully retaining possession and control over the funds.

The group said it was rightfully holding onto the money until it received assurances from Girl Guides the money would stay in the community and be used to build a lodge at Camp Tewateno.

Girl Guides of Canada officials said at the time there was never any intention to sell Camp Tewateno.

But Guides Canada launched legal action against members of the Camp Tewateno development committee.

At one point Dufresne separated herself from the other defendants, she said, because a settlement not to her liking was being worked out with Guides Canada – until the Ontario Public Guardian and Trustee became involved.

An arm of Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General, it can protect the public’s interest in how charities raise and use their money.

“The Public Guardian stepping in is what finally turned the whole thing around,” Dufresne said of the seven-year battle.

The court ordered $19,729 returned to the Barrie Bingo Sponsors Association, as well as $240,205 to those who had made a donation to Camp Tewateno between 1994 and 2009.

‘At the time of donation, you were informed that the money was being raised in order to build a new lodge at Camp Tewateno and develop the camp,’ the letter from Guides Canada reads. ‘However, due to unforeseeable events GGC (Girl Guides Canada) has decided that this lodge will not be built.

‘Instead, these funds will, at your election, be returned to you or be reallocated to other GGC initiatives which will enable the betterment of GGC and its members.’

The donations can be reallocated to subsidize girls from lower-income families so they can attend Girl Guides camps. Or the funds can go to the Canadian World Friendship Fund, which would then transfer them to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts for programs outside Canada.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision includes a list of 75 donors to be repaid, including individuals, businesses and associations.

Dufresne said that in the course of the battle with Guides Canada, members of the Camp Tewateno development committee were turfed from an organization many had been with for decades as volunteers.

Despite an endorsement from Justice R. MacKinnon, who made the court decision, Dufresne said their status with Guides Canada remains unchanged.


Camp Caritou Pasta Dinner


Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 4.32.46 PM

Please join us for this fundraising dinner. Proceeds go towards our ongoing efforts to keep Camp Caritou.

Saturday March 5, 2016
Trinity United Church
$10 for Adults
$5 for Children 12 and  under


Pasta Dinner 2016 Poster (pdf)

Friends of Camp Caritou – Country Dinner

You are invited to a Caritou Country Dinner!

Proceeds go towards Friends of Camp Caritou, in their ongoing legal battles to save Camp Caritou.


Wednesday December 3, 2014
Adults $15
Children (12 and Under) $10
Trinity United Church
Corner of McIntyre and Ferguson
North Bay, ON

Join us for dinner, and spread the word! Let’s pack the house!

Download the poster and share it around:
Caritou Country Dinner PDF (1.1MB)

Camp Caritou Announcements

Annual General Meeting for Camp Caritou: February 6, 2014, Pasta Dinner - March 1, 2014

Come out and support our cause!

Friends of Camp Caritou is having its Annual General Meeting. Please join us if you can, on Thursday February 6, 2014 at 7:30pm, at Trinity United Church (corner of McIntyre and Ferguson, North Bay).

Mark your calendars as well for the Friends of Camp Caritou PASTA DINNER! Saturday, March 1, 2014, 5-7pm, also at Trinity United Church.
$10 for Adults, $5 for Children

We hope to see you there!

Bayfield Guiding – Campers Return to Klahanie

6 Nov 2013
Article originally from Bayfield Breeze.

Camp Klahanie is 40 years old in 2013 and has been given a new lease on life thanks to the efforts of the Goderich Lions Club. It will, however, remain true to it's roots, acknowledging that it was first given to local Guiding for $1 by the Hindmarsh family.

Camp Klahanie is 40 years old in 2013 and has been given a new lease on life thanks to the efforts of the Goderich Lions Club. It will, however, remain true to it’s roots, acknowledging that it was first given to local Guiding for $1 by the Hindmarsh family.

Full Article (Scroll down almost to bottom of page)
Support Camp Klahanie by voting through the Aviva Community Fund, Nov. 11-25:
The International Day of the Girl Camp at Klahanie held on Nov. 2-3 was a dream realized by many after Girl Guides of Ontario suddenly closed the camp in November of 2009. Four years of challenges and negotiations resulted in the property being sold to the Goderich Lions Club. It is now being revitalized for youth in Huron County and beyond to use and will officially open in Spring 2014.

The members of Bayfield Guiding were allowed an early visit to the property over the weekend. It was a meaningful return for a few of the older girls and their leaders and an exciting new experience for others.

The weekend was filled with crafts, games, songs, fresh air activities and outdoor cooking much of which celebrated being girls and women with rights and freedoms. The membership learned that in some countries in the world girls and women aren’t afforded the same opportunities as they have in Canada, that some face challenges even to go to school or to drive a car. They also learned a bit about the Famous Five and how they played a role in bringing women’s rights to the forefront in this country in the 1920s.

The Bayfield membership are now eagerly anticipating returning to Camp Klahanie in the New Year (many thought they should visit every weekend) and look forward to sharing it with other youth organizations in the community.

Camp Klahanie has a bright future ahead of it and it could be even brighter if the Goderich Lions Club is successful in their quest to make it into the Top 10 in the third and final round of the AIVA Community Fund competition that begins on Nov. 11 at noon.

In the second round of voting, that ended on Nov. 4, the Camp Klahanie Revitalization idea, finished just shy of 17th position. If all of the current supporters vote everyday in the third round and others rally their support the idea has a very good chance of making it to the semi final and a chance at winning $50,000.

One of the goals of the Camp Klahanie Board of Directors and Lions members is to provide better facilities for co-ed camping opportunities. A second building with washrooms is needed to realize this goal. In addition there are dreams of having a hiking trail around the property and individual camping bunkies hidden in the woods for campers to fully enjoy camping in nature. Beyond the dreams there is a real need to replace the roof on the kitchen building and picnic shelter in the very near future.

The Aviva Community Fund is, according to their website, “an annual competition that is changing Canadian communities by bringing great ideas to life. The most popular ideas, as determined by passionate Canadians like you, will have a chance to win a share of the $1,000,000 Aviva Community Fund.”

The competition has three qualifying rounds. The third round will run from Nov. 11-25. People are encouraged to vote for the cause everyday to help the project move to the semi-final. New voters will have to register but all it takes is an email and a password. Here is the link Anyone on Facebook who would like helpful voting reminders is asked to join the group known as: “Goderich Lions Club – Camp Klahanie Revitalization”.