Elora, Ontario

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Unincorporated community
The Old Mill in Elora.
The Old Mill in Elora.
Motto: "Tempus Rurum Imperator"  (Latin)
"Time commands all things"
Coordinates: 43°41′6″N 80°25′38″W / 43.68500°N 80.42722°W / 43.68500; -80.42722
Country Canada
Province Ontario
County Wellington County
Township Centre Wellington
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Forward sortation area N0B 1S0
Area code(s) 519 and 226
NTS Map 040P09
Elora on the Grand River

Elora[pronunciation?] is a community in the township of Centre Wellington, Wellington County, Ontario, Canada. It is well known for its 19th-century limestone architecture, its artistic community and the geographically significant Elora Gorge.


Elora was founded in 1832 by Captain William Gilkison, a British officer recently returned from India. Originally called Irvine Settlement, the village was renamed Elora when the post office was established in 1839. Gilikson named the community after his brother's ship, which was itself inspired by the Ellora Caves near Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India.

Voluntary regiment in May 1862 in Elora, Ontario. The army consisted of 30,000 men in 1870, intended to defend Canada against a possible attack from the United States

Originally part of Nichol Township, Elora was incorporated as a village in 1858 and remained as such until it was amalgamated with Fergus and portions of Eramosa, Nichol, Pilkington and West Garafraxa Townships to form Centre Wellington in 1999. Elora had a population of 4,546 according to the 2001 Census, the last to record the village's population as a separate entity.

In 2000 a proposal was made to bring a racetrack with slot machines to Elora. The race track became the subject of much debate. The Centre Wellington Citizens Coalition was formed in opposition to the race track, primarily because of the inclusion of gambling facilities. A 4–3 decision to approve the opening was made by township council. It came down to a 3–3 decision and the mayor at the time voted in favour of it. In 2002, the Grand River Raceway opened in Elora, with 200 slot machines.

A street in Elora after an ice storm; early 1900s.

In 2002 the Township of Centre Wellington announced that for safety reasons it would be necessary to demolish the historically important David Street Bridge. Concerned about the preservation of Elora's culturally significant architecture, the group Elora Heritage was founded. They received over 1,000 names on a petition. They met with representatives from town council as well as the provincial and federal governments. It became apparent that the bridge was beyond preservation; however council agreed to preserve the pier and build a replica bridge. The replica bridge presented numerous engineering challenges and its successful construction was met with acclaim. The Township of Centre Wellington was also lauded for being responsive to its citizens in this matter.


Elora is situated on the Grand River, approximately 20 kilometres north of Guelph, and 20 kilometres northeast of Kitchener-Waterloo. Its coordinates are 43° 46" 6' N – 80° 25" 38' W.


The Canada 2001 Census was the last Canadian census to record Elora as a separate community. In the Canada 2006 Census, demographic statistics were published only for Centre Wellington. According to the Canada 2001 Census:[1]

Population: 3,796 (13.4% from 1996)
Land area: 3.54 km²
Population density: 1,072.3 people/km²
Median age: 39.1 (males: 37.4, females: 39.1)
Total private dwellings: 1,447
Mean household income: $29,473


One of Elora's many tourist attractions, the architecturally significant David St. Bridge was saved from destruction by active citizens.

The Elora Gorge is at the western edge of the village, adjacent to the Elora Gorge Conservation Area. At the eastern end of the village is the Elora Quarry Conservation Area, a scenic former limestone quarry, which is now a popular swimming area. The Elora Quarry was used to film a couple of scenes in the movie Angel Eyes. Both of these conservation areas are under the authority of the Grand River Conservation Authority.

Elora is also a noted tourist attraction, with a waterfall and small islet called the "Tooth of Time", overlooked by an old mill, numerous small shops and art galleries. The Gorge Cinema is Canada's oldest continuously running repertory theatre. The Elora Mill is Ontario's only remaining five-story mill and has been renovated as a prestigious inn and restaurant. The village is a terminus to Ontario's scenic 47-km Elora Cataract Trailway to its east, and is just 10 km from the Trans Canada Trail to its southwest. Elora is also known for its unique shops and its quaint cafés and restaurants, which lie along the river's edge. The Victoria Street Walking Bridge, a steel bridge first built in 1899, was removed in 2005.

In 2001, a group of citizens organized to develop a century school, whose headmaster had been at one time David Boyle, into an arts and cultural centre. After much hard work on the part of organizers and volunteers, the Elora Centre for the Arts has opened and has become an important part of Elora's traditional aesthetic heritage. Doctor Frederick Banting, A.J. Casson, Harold Town, and Corbett Gray were all admirers of Elora. Friend to A.J. Casson, Frederick Banting married Marion Robertson, a radiographer and daughter to Florence and Doctor William Robertson, both residents of Elora for over 50 years.

The township of Centre Wellington has a community museum and an active historical society.

Ruins of the Kiddie Kar Factory in Elora.


Elora has a very active lawn bowling club that offers programs for all ages. The Elora Rocks Lawn Bowling Club is a member of District 7 of the Ontario Lawn Bowling Association, and more information about the club may be found on the District website.

Elora is also home to the Elora Mohawks lacrosse team, the Elora Rocks hockey team.

At the community level, Elora also has a skating club, a curling club, a girls' hockey team (Grand River Mustangs), minor hockey team (Centre Wellington Fusion), soccer (Fergus-Elora District Soccer), a ringette team, and a few baseball teams, as well as several other sports clubs and organizations.

People from Elora[edit]


  1. ^ "2001 Community Profiles". Statistics Canada. Government of Canada. Retrieved 2010-09-10. 
  • Carter, Floreen Ellen, Place Names of Ontario. London, ON: Phelps Publishing, 1984.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°41′6″N 80°25′38″W / 43.68500°N 80.42722°W / 43.68500; -80.42722