“Elora“- the name itself brings a scent of a mystical vibe with it, doesn’t it? Elora is a small town situated in the corner of the heart of Southern Ontario, one of the well-known provinces of Canada.
We might as well say that it is an underrated town embellished with a load of natural beauty and a peaceful ambiance.
Anyone can get here easily as it takes only 1 and a half hours to drive from Toronto to Elora or people can simply board a train from Toronto to Elora.
Elora is famous for its most beautiful limestone architecture and Elora Gorge Conservation Area. Captain William Gilkison of Scotland was a military man in the British Forces who bought these 14000 acres of land area and after 1832 named the land near the Grand River Elora.
Elora has a very less population varying to around 3000 only. The Elora Community Arena became part of Centre Wellington township in 1999.
Catalogue Of 20 Things To Do In Elora
There is a never-ending list of things to do in Elora, Ontario but to refrain people from confusion, here is a catalogue of not-to-miss things.
1) Wellington County Museum & Archives
Wellington County Museum & Archives is a famed National Historic Site and is appointed as the storehouse of all municipal records like council minutes, tax records, collectors’ rolls, etc. Wellington County Museum is maintained by Wellington County.
The Archives are the collector of donations and are a treasure house of old photographs, maps, ancestral stories, newspapers, etc. Anyone can take an overview of these reserves through an online brochure.
Many collections were made available in digital forms, some of them are:
- Women’s Institute Tweedsmuir Histories
- Wellington County Historical Society essays and journals
- Wellington County local history newspaper articles.
2) Elora Festival
Ellora Festival is a prestigious music festival that takes place in the charming small town of Elora, Ontario.
It is an international-level music festival where many Elora singers use to sing in choirs throughout the three weeks. Mark Vuorinen, artistic director escorts both the festival and Elora festival singers.
The festival goes on for three weeks in July, which includes solo and combined concerts with guest celebrities.
3) Victoria Park
This beautiful Park found at the termination point of Victoria Street, Henderson Street, and James Street of Elora, itself is not only a main hub of Elora but is an opening to many other things to do.
Apart from well-maintained walking paths, this park is rich in natural beauty with super pretty leafy trees, and comfortable benches, full of lovely couples. Elora Gorge is one of the most famous sites accessible through Victoria Park.
The onset of the famous David Street Bridge and one of the most popular hiking trails of Elora Gorge lookout of Elora Ontario are also accessible through the parking area at Victoria Park.
4) Elora Gorge Conservation Area
Elora Gorge is an alluring site that is a gem embedded in the heart of the Grand River Valley. Elora Gorge is denoted as the western beauty spot of Elora, Ontario.
The 2-kilometre long, gorgeous Grand River Gorge runs through the bed of the Gorge along the 22-meter tall limestone cliffs, the result of the ancient ice age melted glaciers is also known as the mother of the Elora Gorge.
Elora Gorge Conservation Area can be enjoyed between the dazzling sunlight of summer from May to October. It is determined to be 25 km away in the north of Guelph. It can be reached easily from the town of Elora, Ontario.
Elora Gorge Area is rich in many fun-filled outdoor adventures like hiking, fishing, tubing, etc. Tubing being the center of attraction at Elora gorge conservation area is accessible from the last week of July to September. Booking of tubes is required to not miss the joy of tubing.
5) Elora Quarry Conservation Area
Visiting Elora quarry is one of the most exciting summer things to do. It is more than 100 years old and is maintained by the Grand River Conservation Authority.
This place is full of outdoor adventures such as hiking trails and swimming, or you can plan a picnic in the breath of nature.
Elora Quarry Conservation Area also known as the old swimming hole is 2 acres of a quarry of limestone bounded by 12 m tall sheer cliffs. The Quarry gained the title of a conservation area in 1976 and was one of the most renowned swimming sites until 1976.
6) Twilight Zoo
People who are fond of horror stuff, do not forget to add this site to the list whenever you visit Elora.
The Twilight Zoo came into existence in the year 1996. It is a house full of unthinkable lantern sculptures of various haunting creatures created by Tim Merton.
Usually in October, these sculptures have been in the limelight of the streets of Centre Wellington for the last 20 years.
The show begins Downtown, Elora in between plenty of sweet distractions such as Village Olive Grove, Elora Pottery, Pod Design, etc.
After it gained fame, customers from Southern Ontario increased and some more things were added to this event renaming October as Elora’s monster month.
7) Elora Mews Shopping Center
Undoubtedly, nothing can stop you from falling in love with shopping at the 45 West Mill Street shops located in the land of Elora Mews.
Elora Center at west mill street is the home of unique gifts, fashion accessories, and vintage style of home decor. Here are a bunch of shops and restaurants, so you can shop without waiting or skipping your meals.
Some of the not-to-miss attractions of mews are:
- Aria Boutique for women’s accessories and clothing collection.
- Aria for Him for men’s gifts, clothing & accessories collection.
- Elora Beauty Bar for unique manicure & pedicures experts.
- Lost & Found Cafe for its luxurious ambiance and delicious dishes.
8) One Axe Pursuits
People who want to experience something memorable and adventurous at the same time can step out towards the most exciting One Axe Pursuits which was introduced in 2001 by Christa Niravong.
One Axe Pursuits is the place serving for several outdoor adventures like rock climbing, ice climbing, exploring caves, and climbing down limestone cliffs over more than 20 years with full stacked ice climbing guidance from beginners to experts.
It has been providing a well-secured roping system for toddlers to the professional stuntmen of Hollywood movies over years.
9) Elora Centre for The Arts
Elora Centre For the Arts is spotted in a school dipped in limestone, living in downtown, Elora and situated on the other side of Bissell Park on the beautiful River.
To not mess things up, pick up a map book of Elora Centre from Pathways Art & Sculpture Garden. The gallery at “Elora Centre For The Arts” is accessible between 11 am – 4 pm on Wednesday to Saturday and 12 pm – 4 pm on Sundays.
This Elora Centre map book will guide you through several private and public galleries, outstanding sculptures, and wonderful public artworks.
10) The Mermaid
The Mermaid is a remarkable jewelry store with doorknockers and fulfilling stationery consisting of a wide range of greeting cards for your loved ones.
Initially, it was a small store that became the part of Elora community in 1992. It is located above the hill at Metcalfe Street in Elora, Ontario.
The Mermaid is one of the best shopping hubs in Elora, and people believe it does not exist. People can also go through the other parts of the store which are not limited to leather bags, clocks, or just globes.
11) Riverfest Elora
Riverfest Elora takes place for nonstop 3 days beside the banks of the Grand River in favour of the people of the “Centre for The Arts”.
This funfest was introduced in 2009 by an artist of Elora named Marilyn Koop and after the demise of Koop, it was celebrated every year in her remembrance.
This outdoor festival is a bunch of joy filled with great music, mesmerizing art, delicious food, and dance floors. Also, a fascinating variety of authentic local craft beer.
Bissell Park witnesses many outsiders for the Riverfest celebration. The most demanded Tokyo Police Club also took place in Riverfest on 15 August 2015.
Live Music Industry Awards honoured Riverfest with the award of the “Green Operations Festival of the Year”. It’s a partially crowded friendly festival for people of every age group.
12) Elora Brewing Company
Elora Brewing Company is seated in the beautiful street of Geddes of Elora, Ontario. This Elora Cafe admits people from 11 am – 11 pm from Monday to Thursday, 11 am – 1 am on Saturdays, and 11 am – 9 pm on Sundays.
Local craft beer made in an old authentic way is the most renowned celebrity of Elora Brewing Company. The food is also good but a little expensive. Do not forget to taste these must-have food items like beef, bacon, pork, fries, etc.
Also, a peaceful environment with a divergent race of customers is the plus point of this place. No type of racialism is welcomed here.
13) Downtown Elora
Things to do in the Elora catalogue are not worth writing about if we skip the main aspect of Elora – Downtown breathing in the air of Elora, Ontario.
The main attraction of Downtown, Elora is its stone buildings lined up near the Elora Mill at the bank of the Grand River. This is also the main hub of several pubs, shops, and restaurants.
Downtown Elora gained its fame from the horrifying setup made up of multiple scary sculptures and buildings during the week of Halloween. The Downtown also witnesses everyone’s favourite Santa Claus Parade every year.
Elora green space is a tiny park that serves as the oxygen to the hustle and bustle land of Downtown Elora and was made with the help of Centre Wellington County.
After walking a few steps from Downtown, people can also enjoy the satisfying charm of 7.6m tall Elora Gorge Falls by the adventurous Elora Raft Rides.
14) Elora Distilling Company
Since the late 1900s, Elora Distilling Company situated at Metcalfe Street in Elora, Ontario is carrying the crown of the most heavenly part of the Elora tours.
The specialty of their liqueurs is the result of the journey from local grain to customer’s glass including the various processes of mashing, fermenting, and distilling of local grains obtained from the flowers grown on the garland owned by the company itself.
They offer several tours, tastings, and fancy cocktails. The star liqueur of Elora Distilling Company is the Sugar Maple Liqueur.
15) Elora Farmer’s Market
The Elora farmer’s market takes place at Bissell Park every Saturday from 7th May to 8th October every year. After October, the market moves to the paddock building, Elora Grand River Raceway till 17th December.
You can easily feel the glow and magnetic nature of this weekly Elora farmers market from its location along the Grand River to the vendors and local goods such as fruits, vegetables, wine, cheese, eggs & meat, etc.
Some delicious dumplings from Ugly Dumpling Elora and Gelato derived from sheep’s milk will satisfy your hunger during the long shopping hours at Elora Farmers Market. There were also a bunch of baked snacks.
16) Churches In Elora
If someone wants to experience a pure mind refreshing experience nothing is better than a visit to a beautiful church. Let us take a peek at the mesmerizing architecture of some famous Florian churches:
a) Elora United Church
Elora United Church first called the Elora Methodist Church came into existence in 1863. It has a very minute detailing carved on its red bricks with a strange bell tower hit by a thunderbolt several years ago and is still the same as it is.
b) St John’s Anglican Church
St. John’s Anglican Church got its popularity from its well-known coir which unknowingly cover-ups the beauty of the infrastructure of the church. It is situated on Henderson Street in Elora.
c) Knox Elora Presbyterian Church
Knox Elora Presbyterian Church is one of the most loved and fame gained churches in Elora, established nearby Church Street in Elora in 1873. The opening hours of this church are 9 am – 12 am from Monday to Saturday and 10 am – 1 pm on Sundays.
d) St Mary’s Church
St. Mary’s Church is a Catholic church with glass windows brought from Germany. This church was built in 1871 near Geddes Street in Elora.
Visitors can also visit other churches too as everyone is unique and beautiful in itself.
17) Elora Cataract Trailway
Elora Cataract Trailway is a well-marked 45km long trail, acting as a mediator between the Grand and Credit Watersheds and moving towards the Canadian Pacific Railroad Bed.
Elora Cataract Trailway is managed by the Grand River Conservation Authority.
Elora Cataract trail is a trip of more than 10 hours which includes many exciting activities like backpacking, hiking, and skiing across the country in a peaceful environment.
The trail should be visited between May and October for an overwhelming experience. Dogs can be brought along with the family only on a leash.
18) Elora Mill Hotel And Spa
This hotel at Elora Mill is the most lavish part in Elora, situated in Wellington County for more than 17 decades.
Who will believe that this luxurious Elora Mill hotel was a distillery till 1843? This hotel with a heavenly spa facility is seated on the corner of the Grand River.
Apart from the spa experience, people can enjoy their yoga sessions, steam & sauna facilities, and the most exciting pool experience over heading the Grand River.
After the very delicious dining experience at the Elora Mill Hotel, head towards one of the 27 well-maintained apartments of the hotel to release the tiredness of the tour. Dogs can also visit Elora as this is a pet-friendly hotel but only until the leash is put on.
19) Bissell Park
Bissell Park is spotted near Elora Mill Street on the periphery of the Grand River. This is one of the family-perfect spots.
Bissell Park is comprised of green grassplots with long-legged shady trees with a bunch of playful activities such as basketball, an outdoor rink, and a parking lot free of cost.
Bissell Park is surrounded by several paved trails and historic locations. The park is also appointed for the organization of several events.
Steal some time from the busy tour and enjoy a cup of afternoon tea with your family at this beautiful park. People can also opt for locally baked snacks at Elora Bread Trading Company just walking a few steps from this park.
20) The Wild Tart
Nobody wants to miss the peaceful garden ambiance of Wild Tart while enjoying the aroma of afternoon tea seated on a beautiful glass table with a red umbrella attached to its top.
Wild Tart serves a total of 12 types of afternoon tea including black tea, green tea, herbal tea, caffeine-free tea, and a lot more. The tea demand of Wild Tart is fulfilled by a famous tea company in Ontario named “Pluck Teas”.
The side snacks and sweets served with the afternoon tea have very fewer options. There are only 4 types of sandwiches and cakes are served with the afternoon tea, either you can go for a finger sandwich or just a delicious cake.
The Wild Tart is found near the Street of Metcalfe residing in the small town of Elora since 2019. It is handled by the most experienced hands of Geoffrey and Dominique who mastered the skill of Hospitality & management more than four decades ago.
Hotels To Stay
Holiday means full luxury with no inconvenience especially when it comes to the basic facilities. To ease the ache of confusion about where to stay, after researching we brought up a list of the best hotels and restaurants in Canada. These are:
(iii) St. Andrew Suits
(iv) Evening Shade
(v) Etherington Suits
(vi) Romantic Riverside Trails
Village inn is the most preferred hotel as it is situated in the main town of Elora, Ontario, and can enjoy meals at Elora Getaway restaurant. Other than this list there are many other budget-friendly hotels too.
Although Ellora is a small town whenever people visit Elora there is a never-ending list of things to do in Elora.
Apart from this list, there are some more refreshing things like watching a movie at Gorge Cinema, grabbing snacks from food trucks, or spending a night at Fergus Scottish Festival.
Also read, Best Restaurants in Montreal.