The Southern part of the farm, about 100 acres in size, consisted of farmland. To get to the 9-acre recreational area, lying north of the Nith River, it became necessary to cross the river to reach the trees and woods on the other side which were ideal for camping. In order to be able to reach the other side with dry feet, the members began to construct some sort of bridge with a great deal of enthusiasm. A few large capacity pipes were placed on the riverbed, and a concrete surface covering was added. Unfortunately, this bridge flooded, not only during the spring thaw but also during every major rainstorm. In 1975, the water level was measured at 3 metres above the bridge.
A lot of physical labour went into converting this part of the farm into a fully functioning recreational area. In 1966, the swimming and wading pools were built, in 1967 the pavilion was constructed, and in 1972 the Outdoor Group erected the HOME ON THE RANGE. Simple camping spots evolved into locations for trailers and recreational vehicles. The camping area became so popular that waiting lists for future occupants of lots had to be started.
The new facilities at the farm did not only benefit our members. The City of New Hamburg, only a few kilometres away, asked if it could use the swimming pool for the school children since the town did not have a pool at the time. The board saw this as a good public relations gesture, as hundreds of school children learned to swim during the week when the pool was relatively unused. Eventually, the town constructed its own facility.
Life on the farm was multi-faceted. Volleyball courts were in constant use by children and adults members of the club. Soccer was being played on the meadows, and a small kitchen was built in order to satisfy hunger attacks after a vigorous game. Every other weekend one of the club’s groups organized a picnic. Visiting clubs from out of town and guests from as far away as Germany attended often. There would be singing around the campfires and the music lasted long into the night. If one got fed up with the crowds and noise, one could retreat to the tents or trailers without having to face the drive home. Water hookups were installed in the camping area at an early date; however, electricity did not arrive until our President Mary Huschka was in office in 1991.
429 Ottawa Street South