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Hully Gully Playground Opens in Celebration of Company's 50th Anniversary
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Published September 2021

Hully Gully is a Collins Family of Company and the Collins Family, while well known for the “Ultimate Toy Store”, the family also personifies philanthropy. The Hully Gully Playground is the latest example but certainly not the first.

Saturn of London was also a Collins Family Company but closed when GM discontinued the Saturn brand in 2009. While Saturn of London thrived as one of the country’s most successful Saturn dealerships, the Collins Family always gave back to the community including the building of six playgrounds throughout the city. And while these playgrounds are rated among the best in the city by the website Yelp, Randy Collins, CEO of the Collins Family of Companies told us that upgrades to those facilities are planned.

After a decade since the last Saturn playground was completed Randy and Audrey wanted to “do it again”, knowing how much joy these facilities brought to so many London families. They began planning and budgeting for the unique structures that makes this playground one of a kind.

2021 marks the 50th Anniversary of HullyGully that all began when, in 1971, the Holstein-Friesian Association of Canada the HullyGully herd prefix was approved for Randy and Audrey Collins of Varna, Ontario. Who knew that then that the company would grow into a 25,000 sq. ft. lifestyle showroom known as The Ultimate Toy Store?

The Hully Gully Name:

In the 60’s, Randy and Audrey Collins purchased and moved to a farm in Varna. There was a gully right near the farmhouse so that, along with the song The Hully Gully Baby inspired the naming of their farm and herd. The family grew to love snowmobiling and there was just so much snow. It wasn’t long until they were selling and servicing snowmobiles from the barn. In a few years the business Hully Gully would replace the farm Hully Gully,

The Hully Gully Playground Opens at Southwest Optimist Park

August 28, 2021, the day before the grand opening ceremony, ten Christians met at at the Playground to anoint it with oil and pray. They walked the park’s perimeter in prayer along the fences. As they walked, often during showers of blessing, a rainbow appeared over the playground.

August 29, 2021: The Southwest Optimist Part, on Southdale Road, is just west of the new YMCA. There, on a beautiful August Sunday, the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Hully Gully Hully Gully Playground was held.

The family invested over $175,000 to build it and right up until the day before the official opening, the family along with a large group of volunteers and contractors put the finishing touches on what will become known as THE ULTIMATE Playground! It features state-of-the-art playground equipment, and in the not-too-distant future there will be adult fitness equipment as well, also thanks to the Collins family.

Families were invited for pizza and ice cream, and children got to play on the new equipment after the ribbon cutting. “This is a great example of community partners coming together to provide a facility that will be enjoyed by children for years to come,” said Deputy Mayor Josh Morgan. “It’s a great contribution.”

Following comments from Deputy Mayor Josh Morgan and other Municipal representatives Randy Collins welcomed the large group that turned out for the ceremony. He spoke with appreciation for the many, many volunteers that worked so hard to make the playground a reality.

“This park and playground are phenomenal, and this is a great community,” Collins., “We have a lot to be thankful for.” Considering that the entire project took just 27 days to build, from Aug. 2 to 29, it certainly made sense when Collins said, “Most of us are pretty tired, we were here until 8 p.m. last night (finishing) the sod.” “There’s hardly a person you talk to that doesn’t say ‘this is a miracle,’ but it’s only a miracle because people worked together.”

In another remarkable Randy Collins feat, while making his remarks to the crowd, he announced, “In a few minutes, at 1:00 a Canadian Air Forces 130 Hercules will do a fly by to help us celebrate.” And it did! The monster of an aircraft flew directly over the ceremony.

When questioned on how he managed to arrange for the flyby, he answered, “I asked!”

Apparently, Collins had made the request to the London Air Show organizers that was also happing at the time. Before the official unveiling (the completed structure was under a shroud of while plastic), Al Mills, Executive Pastor at Forest City Community Church, blessed the playground. Collins then invited a team of volunteers to “unwrap” the equipment as Audrey and other members of the family ‘cut the ribbon’.

“Let the fun begin!! And, despite attempts at crowd control, like a swarm of bees, instantly, the playground equipment was packed with kids having a blast!

Thank you Randy, Audrey and the rest of the Collins Family!!