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Hillside Lake Park Family Campground

Campground
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Founded by Jack & Tonny Ducker, Hillside is a seasonal family campground and year round mobile home community. We are proud to be family owned and operated since 1963.

Hillside Lake Park Family Campground

Hey Hillside Campers, it's a new month, and we can't wait to see what the flowers that these April showers will bring us. It's Friday and time for some more fun facts about Hillside to help tide us over while we wait for trailer time to start. Jack was always innovating new ways for every camper who came into the park to have a great time here at Hillside. The family was always having fun and dressing up and interacting with the campers. Some of the first activities from years ago still exist today, as campers back then enjoyed treasure hunts, horseshoe tournaments and dances. Other fun activities Hillside campers used to participate in, Big Chief Flat Foot and the summer Ayr parade on a Miss Hillside Float. We have Rifty, but back then, they had Big Chief Flat Foot! While the campers were busy having fun, Jack and his crew were busy expanding the park. Jack made sure that there was a picnic table created for each family at his park, so everyone had a place to sit and share a meal with family. They were always building more picnic tables! The hill was levelled out to make space for new sites. Did you know that the top of the hill has been re-arranged? Originally the road went around the outside of the hill with a highway barrier. It wasn’t until later that trailers were put there and the road moved to the inside! All the dirt taken away from the hill was put around the far side of the lake, and that created the sites that back onto Turtle Lane. Harry recalls the tough equipment of the past; some of his favourites were the Allis-Chalmers HD11G crawler loader. This machine was so large that two bucket loads filled the dump truck. Compared to nowadays, it takes 8-10 buckets to fill the dump truck. Their first dump truck, a 1952 Ford Dump box - with a wooden box required double-clutching to shift gears. Edee and her sisters would do garbage runs, they dumped garbage bins into the garbage trailer, to help keep the grounds clean. More seasonal sites meant the need for more outhouses, that meant making wooden outhouses and then Harry having to hand dig all the holes to place them over! On the family front at Hillside, they were expanding as well. During this time, Ken and Edee's love story began to involve new characters (their four kids, Heidi, Ron, Jeff and Ian). This is when we saw the entrance of some of the next generation of owners, even if they didn't know it yet. However, the growth of the Hillside family doesn't stop here as next week we see the entrance of Harry's love… Feel free to share some of your favourite activities from your times here at Hillside below! #Hillsidelakepark #FunFactFriday #Memories

Hillside Lake Park Family Campground

Hey Hillside Campers, we know all the days are melding into one but we are here to tell you it’s FRIDAY! This fun fact Friday we are going to talk about some of the things that don’t exist anymore or have changed dramatically at Hillside. From the inside washrooms over to the end of the current store/office, used to be an open space that consisted of storage for the family and housed all the firewood that Harry had to split for the Friday evening fires. Every Friday night the Ducker family hosted communal fires behind the store/office for all campers to come and enjoy. There could be up to 5 large campfires on any given night! The bar area of the banquet hall (parking lot side) is where the original store and snack bar was. There are still 3 small windows on the outside where customers used to come and order food. They also had the option to come inside and play pool while enjoying hamburgs, hot dogs, candy and ice cream. It was always guaranteed that Tonny had a hot meal not only for her family at lunch time but the staff as well! Also did you know, the nice green bank that we enjoy today at the beach was put there roll by roll. Jack would cut sod from other areas of the park and his belief was the more soil you took with the sod the better! His sod was 2 and ½ inches thick (equals to 3 rolls today) and the Ducker children can remember very well how heavy these were to lay. The shallow end also wasn’t always there; this is a feature that Jack and his children put lots of hard work into to ensure that everyone had a place to swim. Making the shallow end was not an easy task, as the family had to use virtually a mud suck pump, aka a large vacuum with a nozzle on the end. They used this tool to suck out the green muck in the shallow end, to leave it clean for swimming! This is another cool fact about the swimming area, is that there wasn’t always a sandy bottom there. No it was quite the process to get it this way it is today. The way Jack got a sandy bottom to the lake was in the winter the family would put piles of sand on the ice, so when spring came and the ice melted the sand would float to the bottom and create a nice bottom instead of muck. Jack thought trail rides might be a neat way to increase business at Hillside. So they built a stable which was where the apartment now sits, and created a a pasture that stretched from beside the office, ran parallel to Cotton-Tail drive and all the way over the horseshoe pits, the garbage/recycle area, all the way down the the first mobile home (Lot 501). At auction Jack picked up 2 ponies (Shortstop and Blackie) and a bunch of horses. Everyone had a favourite except Tonny that is. She was very afraid of the horses, but one day Jack and his kids got Tonny on the pony Shortstop. For those of you who remember Tonny, she wasn’t very tall and sitting on this pony her feet still didn’t touch the ground. Once they had Tonny on Shortstop what did they do? They walked away and left a hollering Tonny to fend for herself! Everyone in the family had a horse! There was a palomino named Flash (Ken’s), Tex who was Edee’s favourite pinto, a buckskin name Blueboy, and barrel racer for Sue named Charlie Brown, a purebred pacer named Timothy (Yvonnes), and a quarter horse named Midnight that Harry would whistle for when the bus dropped him off from school every day. Harry recalls enjoying riding that horse bareback before he had to drop his schoolwork in the house and head out into the park to work. Horses weren’t the only animals at Hillside. Jack had a pet pigeon named Pige that would ride along on his shoulder or use Harry’s long hair and make a nest and sit on his head. The duck pond as we call it (the first pond on the right as your drive into the park) used to be fenced all around and contained an array of animals. There was a Racoon, ducks, 2 llamas that Edee recalls she would always avoid because they constantly spit at her and a goat that was guaranteed to buck you if you bent over. Sadly the trail rides didn’t take off, and that left the kids to enjoy the horses themselves….but for Edee and Ken their horse ride off into the sunset turned into something else ... (See the last pic !)

COVID-19 March 25th – Update from Management @ Hillside With the announcement in Ontario of all non essential services needing to close, that means that our seasonal section will now be CLOSED ENTIRELY for the next 2 weeks. Gate cards will be turned off for all the affected customers and this also means that parking in the parking lot and entering the park is not acceptable. We appreciate you adhering to these rules. The closure will last until April 8th at which time things will be reassessed and we will update all of our customers. The extended seasonal 8/10 month section is open as it provides isolation for campers returning to Canada. All extended seasonals and Mobile Home owners are encouraged to continue the practise of social distancing and self isolation. At this time guests should be discouraged from visiting. There is to be no gathering of any kind as we continue to practise social distancing. Public bathrooms remain closed and the office continues to be closed to foot traffic. If you need to contact us, we suggest phone/email as they are being monitored daily. Again we thank you in advance for your diligence in this manner and look forward with you to the official start of the camping season.

Hillside Lake Park Family Campground

Happy Friday Hillside Campers, we know this week has been crazy and you have spent plenty of time with your family. So, we are back again to tell you a bit more about Hillside and the family that has made it the campground we love today. Last week we left off with some major growth in the business and in similar fashion there was growth within the family. What we are talking about here is Jack and Tonny’s children meeting their future significant others and getting them roped into the family business fun. So, as seasonal camping started we saw the entrance of Ken, Edee's future husband. Ken and Edee met at a neighbours New Years Eve party and the stars must have been aligned that night as Edee didn’t want to attend but ended up going and little did she know her future husband would be there that night. Then just a week later he phoned and asked her out and that was that. From that point forward Ken was like one of the family, when he wasn’t working at Lear Siegler he’d be out at Hillside helping do things in the park from clearing brush to building structures. Harry and Ken became bunkmates and brothers. The family continued to work on their home in between looking after the campers and growing Hillside. Tonny was a very patient wife and easily worked with lawn chairs as furniture. She even climbed a ladder everytime she wanted to do laundry in the basement. After an entire year of lugging clean and dirty laundry up and down the ladder Tonny informed Jack that she needed some stairs or else her and the kids were bunking in a hotel!. The Duckers completed house was tested a few years later when Ken who was driving a school bus pulled up to the door to pick up Harry and Sue and the brakes gave out, sending the bus right into the outer wall of the house where the bathroom was. A startled Jack who happened to be in the bathroom at that exact time came out to see just a crack, which can still be seen today. This truly proves that the craftsmanship of the Ducker family was one that can withstand the test of time! #hillsidelakepark #funfactfriday @ Hillside Lake Park Family Campground

COVID-19 and Camping at Hillside It is with the safety of our family, our staff and you and all of your families that we send this message. At this point in time, we are still planning to open as per regular season dates. If something changes we will be in touch with all current members. For the safety of everyone the following changes are in place until further notice. Our office is closed to foot traffic. We are here working/answering phones most days (Monday to Thursday). We are asking customers to use phone (519)632-7572 and email as much as possible in terms of communicating with us. E-transfers would be the preferred method of payment, if this is not an option for you, cheques can be dropped through the office door. The speaker on the office door will be utilized to speak to customers who show up at the office. Campers are more than welcome to come but we expect that you practice social distancing. For our extended season customers arriving back to Canada, it is expected that you will be self-quarantining for 2 weeks, please do not come to our office during this time. To further secure the safety of all we need to make all customers aware that effective immediately our public bathrooms are closed. If you are coming to check on your trailer, be prepared that water and bathroom facilities are not available. As always we are only a phone call/email away, please contact us directly with any questions or concerns you might have. Stay safe, see you all soon!

Hillside Lake Park Family Campground

Happy Friday everyone, we know it has been a long week and that you can’t wait for your weekend to start so to here's a your fun fact Friday to get you through the rest of the day! Who can guess who the young guy is in picture #4? Camping is always fun no matter who you are, but if this business was going to really take off Jack knew that his family was going to need to settle and create a home at Hillside to dedicate the necessary time needed to run the business. So, one of the first things they needed was a place to live that was more than fabric for walls. Brick by brick they built the first house (currently where Harry and June are living now). Attached to that was a small store and snackbar. (Currently the lower area of the main hall also known today as Rifty’s den). The store sold ice cream, candy and other treats along with french fries, hot dogs, hamburgs. Tonny traded in her camp stove for a real stove where she continued to cook and make those yummy meals for her family. As they continued to expand the structures in the park to make it a home for all, they also expanded the landscape as well. Clearing the brush took multiple summers, but as we all know many hands make light work. With the help of an excavating company some of the first tents sites came to. This opened up the park to allow campers to not only play for the day but also stay the night. Visitors could enter the park for 1.50 per car and staying overnight cost an extra 1.00. Campsites were 3.00 per night and 18.00 per week and so it began ….. #hillsidelakepark #funfactfriday #camping @ Hillside Lake Park Family Campground

Hillside Lake Park Family Campground

Hey Hillside Campers, it’s Friday again, and your break from the work week starts very soon. We know you want to be here at Hillside, but don’t worry you will be spending your weekends again with us very soon, as there are only 69 days left till the opening day here at Hillside. So to keep you entertained here is the next Fun Fact Friday... So where did we leave off in our story... the family moved out to Hillside to start the journey of a lifetime. As we all know, the running of the park has always been a family affair and that held true since the very beginning, as everyone including Jack and Tonny’s four kids put their all into getting this park to the place where it is today. The family commuted from Hespeler (Cambridge) over the next 4 summers to Hillside and camped in their canvas tent and Volkswagen van while building Hillside from the ground up. The park at that time was mainly brush and swamp and most people came to use the park for the day and enjoy the activities such as; 9 hole mini golf, horseshoe pits, picnicking and of course the swimming. During Hillsides first year to drum up business for the park, admission to the park was FREE! While customers came to enjoy Hillside the Duckers were busy making improvements. Jack built a little concession with bathrooms at the entrance that sold pop, ice cream, fries and other treats. His family would once a week head back to their home with their car stuffed full of dirty laundry to get ready for the next week. The Ducker children remember with great fondness the acres of bush and stumps they cleared, serving customers in their little shack, helping to build picnic tables, outhouses, dredging of the channel in the lake and the shallow section, removing grass from the field and laying it to establish the bank at the beach. Tonny would make sure her hardworking family had a complete hot meal everyday with homemade soup, meat, potatoes, vegetables and always, always a dessert, and she did this all on her coleman camp stove! After a hard days work there was always plenty of time left to play in the lake! #hillsidelakepark #funfactfriday #memories @ Hillside Lake Park Family Campground

Attn all Hillside customers here is an update from the Township. www.facebook.com/103139689762243/posts/2745889028820616/?sfnsn=mo

To all customers our phones aren't working due to the power outage, the power company has been notified and we will keep you updated as we are given more information. There is currently no estimation of when the power will be back on, thanks for your patience!

Hillside Lake Park Family Campground

Isn’t it funny how life sometimes throws you a curveball, and it is the best thing that could have happened to you? Well that’s the theme for this week's fun fact as we talk about how Hillside Lake Park came to be. Fun Fact: Jack and Tonny Ducker (our parents/grandparents) immigrated from Holland with their 2 daughters (Yvonne and Edee). Living in Preston (Cambridge), Tonny worked for Walkers as a seamstress sewing drapes and Jack had an upholstery business. They added 2 more children (Sue and Harry) and were very happy! Jack got into real estate and bought “Hillside” for one of his clients that wanted to purchase a park. As we said before sometime life throws you a curveball and the curveball of this story is that the client backed out of the deal and that left Jack with a park. He then had to go home to his wife Tonny and drop a bomb on her that they were now the proud new owners of Hillside Lake Park. After the initial shock wore off Jack and Tonny and their four kids packed up and headed out to Hillside Lake Park and never looked back! More to come next week….. Feel free to share your stories below about how your family came to Hillside #hillsidelakepark #thestart #family #history #funfactfriday @ Hillside Lake Park Family Campground

Hillside Lake Park Family Campground

Hey Hillside Campers, we know you're having a bit of withdrawal this winter season, and we don’t want you missing us too much, so welcome to Fun Fact Friday! Every Friday we’re posting a fun fact and sharing some of our favourite memories as we’ve journeyed through the years. Please feel free to share some of your own memories with us too! And who knows maybe some of this trivia will come up in a contest later Fun Fact #1: Did you know our entrance has moved three times since 1963! The first entrance was directly off of Spragues/HWY 24A, exactly where the green gates are now. To accommodate the growth of the park and safety, the entrance was moved off of Brant Waterloo Road where Ron’s house is currently located (lot 524) (Pic2). It was finally moved to the existing location. (pic3) Both entrances off Brant Waterloo Rd. had vehicles driving directly beside the main building. In the early 80s after a vehicle almost hit one of our kids (Jeff) as he exited the house, the laneway was moved and a gate house was built and that's what we still have today. #hillsidelakepark #memories #funfactfriday @ Hillside Lake Park Family Campground

Hillside Lake Park Family Campground

Don’t despair camping season is just around the corner, with only 104 days left till the beginning of the season! #hillsidelakepark #countdown #camping

Hillside Lake Park Family Campground

Well it's official....the snackbar is closed for 2019! We want to thank all our staff for a job well done this year, and an even bigger thank you to all our customers for their support this season. It was a pleasure cooking for you and we look forward to seeing you back next year! Have a great winter! #hillsidelakepark

Hillside Lake Park Family Campground

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Hillside. Just a reminder that today is the final day to come and get your bills and see us in the office. The office will remain open until 5pm. After that we are on off season hours and office will be open Mondays from 8:30 am to 12 noon. #hillsidelakepark