A short History of Hillside Beach Manitoba

A short History of Hillside Beach Manitoba

Pre-settlement in Hillside Beach

During the fur trading expeditions of the Voyageurs the lagoon was part of a portage for traveling between the Winnipeg River and Lake Winnipeg en route from French eastern Canada to the Red River Valley, avoiding the long often choppy route around Elk Island.

The Beginnings of the Resort

One of the first cottage subdividers at Hillside Beach was Colonel Chambrey. Colonel Chambrey supposedly was a veteran of the Boer War(1899-1902)and he received Hillside as a land grant for his military service.

Edith and Arthur Williams purchased a cottage lot from Colonel Chambrey in the early 1920s. At this time, Hillside Beach was made up of homesteaders and cottagers. Some of the homesteaders were the Smeltzers, Rodgers, Taylors, Bergeys, Watleys and Lesters.

Some of the cottagers were the Cavanaughs, the Lyons, and the McLellans. Tony Chapple was the local entrepreneur, contractor, and employer. At this time, the CNR train was the quickest way to get to Hillside, Albert, Victoria and Grand Beaches from Winnipeg(no good roads, yet). In about 1938, George and Elizabeth(Bessie) Williams (George Williams is the son of Edith and Arthur Williams)bought Hillside Beach Lodge including a half-section of land with beach and lagoon frontage at Hillside Beach.

The Lodge included six sleeping cabins on the beach front with hundreds of yards of sand in front of them. Meals and transportation from the train were provided. The Lodge included a store. Activities included horseback riding, volleyball and swimming in the lake. The cabins on the Beach front had to be moved to higher land two times(once in 1940 and once in the late 1940's) because of rising Lake Winnipeg levels. In 1950 the lake water reached up to the Lodge and the road to the lake was under seven feet of water during a storm!

Harry Craig is Elizabeth Williams' brother. Harry Craig became a business partner with George and Elizabeth Williams in the 1950's. When George Williams died in 1959(age of 46yrs), Harry Craig became a major business partner with Elizabeth Williams.

Elizabeth Williams and Harry Craig started the Hillside Beach Trailer Court and campground in the 1950s and 1960s. The amount of surrounding cottages kept growing as they sold off property to new cottagers. Soon other land owners, such as the Trainor Family and the Bergey Brothers started developing cottage property - first along the shore and then gradually further inward.

Upon the death of Mr. Craig(age67) in the early 1970s the Williams estate sold his trailer court to a co-op, jointly-owned by the people that used the trailer park. No new trailer sites are currently being added to the park and the waiting list to become a member of the co-op is quite long.

Author: Fredrick Buetefuer