This tiny village is just one hour from Toronto but is bursting with natural and artistic wonder.
ELORA & FERGUS
PHOTOGRAPHED BY RYAN JOYCE
Elora is a community in the Township of Centre Wellington, Wellington County, Ontario, Canada. It is well known for its 19th-century limestone architecture and the geographically significant Elora Gorge.
The two primary communities of The Township of Centre Wellington are the village of Elora and the Town of Fergus. Amalgamated in 1999, the area is a thriving tourist destination that's bursting with natural wonder, stunning scenery, and adventure. From tubing, swimming, zip lining and ice climbing, there's plenty to do for adventure seekers. For the photographer at heart, there's a mysterious or awe-inspiring photo around every corner. Filled with historic bridges, caves, hikes and trails there is plenty to explore any time of year.
Top 3 things to do in Elora
Elora "Ontario's Most Beautiful Village"
The Village of Elora is a bustling tourist community located within the Township of Centre Wellington. The nearest city is Guelph Ontario and you drive to Elora from Toronto Pearson in just over 1hr.
There's something unique about this place. You'll find all kinds of adventures to explore in what has been hailed "Ontario's Most Beautiful Village." Welcome to Elora Ontario Canada.
Appealing to your creative side
The township has embarrassed it's the deep artistic culture that makes Elora so unique. It splashes into the streets and all around the village you'll find the works of acclaimed sculptures, paintings and art from renowned artists. The Elora Centre for the Arts now showcases some of the incredible art, in what was previous Elora School which has been standing for over 160 years.
During "Monster Month" Elora is taken over by the mysterious artistic work of local legend Tim Murton. His impact and creativity is adored by locals and tourist alike.
Elora Hotels, Restaurants and Shops
Elora has an impressive range of shopping, culinary experiences and accommodations. Camping is a popular option for tourists during the summer months, with The newly renovated Elora Mill has been transformed from it's past. The property has exchanged many times over the past 160 years, but it's viewpoint hasn't changed. The Elora Mill has one of the most spectacular viewpoints of the Elora Gorge.
In 2018, they began construction on a glass bridge that will connect both sides of the river and give tourists one of the most spectacular views in the area.
Visit the Elora BIA :
The Elora Mill Hotel & Spa
Elora Mill Hotel & Spa is a newly renovated luxury hotel and spa perched over the heart of the Elora Gorge
The Elora Mill was first built in 1851 by JM Fraser as a sawmill, distillery and flour mill until it first burnt down in 1859. He rebuilt it again later that year in stone with additional wings and a larger facility. The property changed hands six times over its history as a sawmill, wool factory, flour mill and gristmill, hotel, restaurant and spa.
In 2018, The Elora Mill & Spa re-opened after a $120 million dollar renovation project that brings a world-class resort experience and over 250 local jobs.
Click here to learn more about the history of the Elora Mill (Offical Mill Website)
WATCH: Artist paints "Tooth of Time" gift and digital download:
Elora Quick Facts & Links
With nearly 8000 residents, this popular tourist destination is bursting with charm.
The town was founded by William Gilkison on September 4th, 1832.
Gilkison named the community after his brother's ship.
In 1846 the Smith's Canadian Gazetteer describes Elora as having beautiful watefalls and a deep channel carved by the river and the limestone rock.
The historic architecture and stunning gorge have attracted tourists from Ontario and around the world.
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The Elora Gorge
The most popular attraction in Elora is the Gorge. The stunning 22-metre limestone cliff river walls and cascading waterfalls are among the most picturesque spots in Ontario.
Camping at the Elora Gorge
The Elora Gorge has 250 unserviced sites and 130 service sites. There 15 serviced sites with water and 30 amp electrical and 20 serviced sites with 15 amp electrical. Check-in starts at 2pm and campsites are limited to six campers. Check-out is noon.
Book a campsite on the Grand River Conservation Authority Site here.
Alcohol Policy at the Elora Gorge
There is a total alcohol ban and possession or consumption of alcohol is prohibited. This includes anywhere in the park and campsites.
For more information visit the Grand River Conservation Authority Website
The Tooth of Time
In 1846, The Canadian Gazetter writes about Elora and the tooth of time. They say: "... the river having worn a channel thirty-five or forty feet deep through the solid hme stone rock. A large rock stands in the centre of the stream, just above the Falls, bearing trees; the base of which is nearly worn away by the constant friction of the water."
At that time there were only one hundred Elora residents.
Watch "Julia Sanders"
Fergus born artist Julia Sanders paints the Tooth of Time and shares her talents with Centre Wellington for Valentines Day.
A decaying tooth? A story from Elora's past.
The original wooden Elora Mill was burnt down and rebuilt in stone by JM Fraser in 1859. The man who purchased the property was a gentlemen named Mr. Ferguson who petitioned to have the island of land locals call the "Tooth of Time" extracted. He claimed it was diverting water into walls of the his mill.
He was denied.
Abandoned Elora Quarry "Swimming Hole"
Located nearby is the "old swimming hole", at the Elora Quarry Conservation Area, a 0.8 hectare (two acres) former limestone quarry encircled by sheer cliffs up to 12 metres (39 ft) high. Elora Quarry did not become a conservation area until 1976, but it was a popular swimming area long before that. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)